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Topic: Storing your stuff for easy practice at home.
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Jul 14, 2009 10:09PM)
Recently I went on a mission to organize all of my magic props and books all in one section of a room so I could easily practice. I found it quite annoying to have go searching to and fro around my house for a certain "gaffed card" or a book. Also, it was very frustrating to have to go into my bathroom every time I wanted to practice in front of a mirror. So today I share with you how I organized all of my stuff.

What I first did was a get a "perfect magic table." What I mean by this is a card table size table which is the perfect height for lapping and big enough for a few spectators to gather around. Now I know it's not a professional close-up table, but with a close-up pad on it, it's good enough for me (of course you shouldn't skimp out like me and get a REAL close-up table :goof: ). This I placed against an empty wall in my room.

In front of the table I put a cheap door mirror I purchased and underneath the table I put a large bookcase with sliding doors in the front. In the bookcase I stored all of my magic books and DVDS along with all of my close-up magic props (The bookcase is really wide). This puts all of my magic props at a hands reach away and has made practicing really easy.

I know however a lot of you on the Café have a much larger collection so I was wondering... how do you all organize your magic props for home study? Please share!

Thanks for reading
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (Jul 14, 2009 10:31PM)
I keep what I am using at the house and the rest is in a climate controlled storage unit. I keep my resturant effects in the house and my stage and b-day show stored in a enclosed trailer. So far it has worked pretty good. my 2 cents...
Message: Posted by: Sam Weiss (Jul 15, 2009 11:27AM)
Really? Climate control? Is that for the preservation of old props or just to give a longer life to the ones you use?
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (Jul 15, 2009 12:27PM)
Climate control works like your home it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Without climate control the props would warp and bend in the extreme heat and extreme cold. I use the climate control for prop storage that is not in my current act.
Message: Posted by: Sock Puppet Monkey (Nov 19, 2010 06:30PM)
Having your props out so that you can practice. I know I should be doing this and not just thinking about it. Add a small camera set up as well.
Message: Posted by: Loopback (Nov 19, 2010 08:47PM)
On 2010-11-19 19:30, Sock Puppet Monkey wrote:
Having your props out so that you can practice...I know I should be doing this and not just thinking about it. Add a small camera set up as well.
I wish I had the luxury of doing this. With a 2 year old, a 5 year old, and a 6 year old in the house I actually have to do the opposite and hide my stuff.
Message: Posted by: MuleePete (Nov 21, 2010 10:29PM)
I got soooooo tired of lugging a bunch of suite cases and boxes into the venue and back out. Got to thinking about an all in one case approx 20x36x66. Compartments for all the show props, costume and sound board. Mounted on casters so I would only have one large box to move.
Then I noticed on a Harry Potter movie, several of the professors used the old steamer trunks. One really stood out. Had several drawers on both sides, and a writing desk built in. I've seen and they are very nice.
I have a couple of wardrobe trunks from about 1915 - 1929. So I replaced the old weakened cardboard drawers with 1/8" hard board with wood grain finish. It holds all the props needed in one trunk and is easy to move with a hand truck. In addition I can open it up and it has everything ready to practice.
I made two tables to work off of, one of painted cabinet grade plywood on rollers that folds down, and a second table of walnut with green velvet top that also folds.
Still designing the all in one trunk. The more I build it in my head and on paper, the less trouble it will be when I put wood to saw....and cheaper.

Message: Posted by: ablanathanalba (Nov 22, 2010 03:14PM)
This sounds like a good, straightforward approach to things. I don't envy those of you who have little space and big props!
Message: Posted by: jnrussell (Dec 1, 2010 10:49PM)
I've found there are two issues: storing and transporting (I'm thinking close up here). I need larger boxes to store my stuff, but smaller boxes like plastic shoe boxes or toolboxes to transport to a gig.

I like the idea of setting up a mirror at the card table... much more workable than a bathroom counter!
Message: Posted by: Al Leach (Dec 22, 2010 10:28PM)
I love the idea of a two shelf model of an enclosed tote cart of this type : http://www.churchonwheels.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=HDT&Category_Code=COWSTOR does anyone have any experinece with doing things this way?
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Dec 23, 2010 03:23AM)
DVDs - put them all in a CD binder (easier and faster to look through 100 dvds than 100 dvds in their cases - I believe), take out the cover sheets and store them in a folder - now you have more room for books
Hard Briefcase or similar - house all the current running tricks and props you are a master at. This is your GO TO case. Add other routines as you master or switch around.
Plastic card cases from Container Store - they are stackable - One case for gaff/gimmicked decks and cards etc.
Find ornate or vintage trunks or boxes to store props - for me, this helps to keep all props special and wanting for me to look at - none of this shoebox ******** for me. sorry Try Cost Plus or Pier One and best of all Antique store - Vintage and so on. Ok, shoebox for that junk cheapy magic you can't throw away.
Fancy Tea Tins to store sponge balls - Peets have nice tins with a slight Asian motif.
A binder with report covers for all those loose sheets of trick explanations. Easy and Fast and organized custom a million ways.
Basically I stored all my magic anything in things that look exotic, mysterious and cool rather than boxes and large Tupperwares that look like an office closet.
Get another pad (large) and frame it with a dark gothic looking picture frame to frame the pad. Did that after attending a Michael Ammar lecture - I highly suggest looking into this. I think Kozmo has homemade one himself also.
Rope - A tie case - check used clothing stores or not. Holds a set of prof nightmare, a length for c&r and extra and some hankies and this one has leashed small zippered pouch for I use for a few coins. Just feels better than pulling out a clump of rope or from a Ziplock.
Various manila envelope sizes to store and organize
Fake Books that are cases, the ones that look like old leather bound editions from the 1800s - magnetic clasp closures - those are cool.
Coins - Do you have a coin store in your area? if not, google coin storage or something like that. or again Container store
And as mentioned many times on this forum, Home Depot for the nicer metal plated outside tackle/tool box for the endless magic stuff - hold outs, pk rings, dice, etc. etc.
Good Luck - your set up will constantly change and get tweaked a few more times until you have that set up maxed out for efficiency, looks (magic inspiring), and order.
Face it - it will always be this organized clutter. Have you seen some of the pro's magic rooms from videos and such, you think they were budding hoarders.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Dec 24, 2010 08:03PM)
I just store it in the prop case that I'll be taking to the gig. Packing and unpacking are a part of the practice, too. If the setup is impractical, I'll find that out before rushing around at a venue. Keep the rehearsal conditions as close as possible to what you'll experience during the gig.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 25, 2010 01:34AM)
I'm not proud of my "system" but I keep my regular props in the Magic Table I use for shows and I leave the Case open most of the time for easy access.

We have a "Magic Room" office but we both have Magic stored throughout our personal space. Under beds and on big grey shelves in several rooms.

I can't put Magic in the garage. It's cold and spidery.

I keep a Toy Box near my chair in the living room and all my favorite things are close at hand and covering nearby surfaces. Neat, not so much.
I'm lucky we are both Magicians so we both "get it". On the plus side, I can, and do, practice at will.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: gaddy (Dec 25, 2010 02:51AM)
I put everything I'm currently working on in a small box that I keep on my work table.

Everything else is on it's bookshelf or display case, and in it's proper place (although my wife would tell you differently...)
Message: Posted by: motown (Dec 25, 2010 10:55PM)
Depending on the items, I keep everything in labeled boxes or plastic storage containers with multiple clear drawers. I use these to store various decks, packet tricks, gaffed coins and other smaller items.
Message: Posted by: Dale Houck (Dec 27, 2010 09:00PM)
I keep my RNT2 cups in a chest that was designed for flatware:


I have an attache case for my coins, my P&L tables are under my bed and everything else is in bookcases that line one wall of the dining room.
Message: Posted by: Magic Patrick (Dec 31, 2010 09:33PM)
I keep everything in the cases I got with the illusions, props or plastic bags. My illusions and illusionetts are in the garage. My complete kids show is in my large Lefler suitcase table. My close up stuff is in a 12x10x6" close up case that use to be for playstation storage. I found like 5 of them for $10 each and bought them all. This case is in my closet. As for practice I am a creature of repetition. I only practice one trick at a time until I master it. Could be a week or month, depends on the trick. Once I learn that then I only practice it on a weekly occasion. So I only have one trick out at a time. I am working now on Wolf's Magic Happy Hyena. This will take a little time but I leave it out on my table to remind me to practice it. However, I always have a deck of cards on me at all times.

Message: Posted by: jimvines (Jan 4, 2011 07:55AM)
On the subject of transporting to gigs, the late great Chris Frings always made one trip in, and one trip out, with his entire act. (He had a suitcase table to accomplish this.) If it didn't fit in the table, it wasn't in the act. Anyone who does b'day party shows understands the widsom of this! RIP, Chris... we miss you!
Message: Posted by: Magic Patrick (Jan 10, 2011 10:20PM)
Chris sounded like a smart guy. I am currently trying to do this very thing with my bday shows. So far I am loving it, very low stress.

Message: Posted by: TheGreatNancini (Jan 12, 2011 11:45PM)
We have a "Magic Room" which I used to keep everything neatly covered in plastic on shelves. Now that we are working and performing professionally, I have actually moved my living room furniture out and turned it into our staging area where we keep all of our various sound systems and footlocker trunks with each of our various shows in them. From there we can easily access our props for practice, set up and preparation for a specific gig. I also keep things that need replaced like batteries, slush powder, give aways, etc. organized there as well. Works for us and we only use our family room for R&R anyway!
Message: Posted by: Riku_Pajari (Jan 13, 2011 12:21AM)
I am just bad storing my magic stuff, I have about half of my magic books and magazines in a toilet so I can read them when I'm doing my business and all the props are scattered all over my house. I thing I have like 3-4 bags with some props and 2 different shelf's were I keep 'em too. Only place where I can be organized is my unopened deck shelf.

Sometimes it's a bummer to thing where are my linking rings/rubber chicken/chop cup/you name it, but I somehow has managed to find all my props that I need with a little effort. My most often props are always somewhere where I can see them all the time. I have planned to get a bigger apartment (I now live in very small apartment, like 33 square feet) where I can just have one room for just my magic stuff.
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Jan 23, 2011 03:25AM)

"Cold and spidery", that is THE best description of a garage I have ever seen.

Message: Posted by: Leland (Jan 31, 2011 01:34PM)
Plastic containers. You can see what in it without having to pull it out and look inside it.
Message: Posted by: Loopback (Feb 27, 2011 01:26AM)
On 2010-12-27 22:00, Dale Houck wrote:
I keep my RNT2 cups in a chest that was designed for flatware:


I have an attache case for my coins, my P&L tables are under my bed and everything else is in bookcases that line one wall of the dining room.

I see that Dale likes Delrin! I have a set of the RNT Black Beauties and they are fantastic for portable on the fly cups and balls.
Message: Posted by: rsylvester (Mar 9, 2011 12:10AM)
On 2011-01-23 04:25, Tom Fenton wrote:

"Cold and spidery", that is THE best description of a garage I have ever seen.


We have an unfinished basement in our 100yo house that a contractor once looked at and said, "This looks like a one of those basements where people hide bodies."

I was at Hobby Lobby picking up some craft type stuff to fix and prepare some props, and in their furniture section, they have fantastic trunks, cases, boxes and even lightweight tables (which could be used as side tables), for anywhere from $20 to $100 each. The looks range from antiques to flashy. Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: AndrewJ (Mar 9, 2011 08:29PM)
On 2011-03-09 01:10, rsylvester wrote:
I was at Hobby Lobby picking up some craft type stuff to fix and prepare some props, and in their furniture section, they have fantastic trunks, cases, boxes and even lightweight tables (which could be used as side tables), for anywhere from $20 to $100 each.[/quote]Thank you for the tip. I have been considering more of a light trunk than a suitcase to travel with. There's a Hobby Lobby pretty close to my workplace as well.

Right now most of my regular use gear is in an inexpensive Sterilite Officeware / portable hanging file container. I can also tuck some cups, rings and other goodies in with room to spare.

I also have a second one for storing and - literally - filing silks in.
Message: Posted by: rsylvester (Mar 11, 2011 07:45AM)
Ha, Andrew, and I've been looking for some Serilite containers, or some other plastic file drawers, because they seem to be popular and work well for storage by folks here on the forum. The hanging files would save space.
Message: Posted by: Mike Maturen (Apr 24, 2011 09:02PM)
I like the ideas of "filing" your silks! You could label by size, color, type, etc! This would make pulling them out for use quick and easy!

I know some others that store their silks in envelopes.