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Hello all!


I have been reading for a little while now but this is my first post.


I am an ASM for a troop that is almost 50 years old. As you can imagine we also have 50 years worth of "stuff" in our storage room. We also have, over the years, gone from being a large troop to having 9 scouts and crossing our fingers until we get some new scouts from our recently revived cub pack.


Anyways, we are in the process of cleaning, organizing and most importantly.....throwing stuff out! What I am looking for are suggestions on the following things:


1. We have large amounts of great equipment mixed together with older equipment of questionable quality. Imagine 50 years of accumulated "stuff". Any suggestions on how to decide what to keep and what not too keep?


2. Looking for some storage ideas. How do you organize your equipment room? How do you keep inventory? I have been thinking of plastic totes as a place to start. We also have the scouts working on some patrol boxes.


3. We have large numbers of tents, tarps, ground clothes, dinning flies and other assorted items. The original containers for which are gone, broken or never existed. What is the best way to store these?


Any suggestions would be great! Thanks for your anticipated help!



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Our Troop is blessed with a very large trailer which we use to store equipment for our current needs. We actually have enough equipment for 3 Patrols, but our troop is small (12 Scouts), so most of our extra equipment is in a storage closet.


We have an equipment list for the trailer itself, listing all big items, i.e., cooks stoves, tents, patrol box, leader box, tarps and poles for quonset hut, ground cloths, dutch oves, etc. etc. Tarps and ground cloths are folded and stored in large plastic tote boxes. Another tote box for ropes, another for cleaning supplies.


Then, inside the patrol boxes is a separate equipment list showing all the contents of each box.


We are working on organizing the extra equipment in the closet since we just recently moved into our new headquarters - church basement. This equipment too will be listed on a checklist and pulled out when needed.


As for old equipment you don't need or use, maybe there is a needy or new Troop in your area that could use a start on building up their own equipment.

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Welcome ASM416,


as a bonifide troop gear-head, I'd like to help you out...but what is the size and layout of your room? Does it have shelves? can it have shelves?.. and what does "50 years worth of stuff" look like? My troop was nearly fifty when we joined and didn't have many pots...to carry water with!


Lets start with the easy "stuff". You need to have a gear day and pull everything out. Make a long list.


tents and tarps and ground cloths- set em up/roll em out, inspect for damage, missing parts and usefulness...best thing for tents are bags...and a trip to a discount fabric place can set you up with cheap material (mill ends are reall cheap...) if a parent has a sewing machine you are "home free", if not some heavy thread and heavy needles and the boys can have a "sewing bee"...paterns are easy. Tarps can be just rolled and "roped with pins and ropes in-side but bags are best! Depending on the material of ground clothes you can roll em tight and use rope or large rubber bands to "hold em tight" and store them in the tent bags or in a separate large bag (old duffles work)...PM me if you need help...


Any tents that are determined to be junk...junk them, but not before canabalizing anything useful...poles, rain flys even hardware (like hooks or pins) if the tents are all the same make this is very important. You can also cut some tent material, "free" for future patches...


ground cloths..repair holes

tarps check for missing grommets and repair if needed...may need to re-waterproof...


shelves in a room make life easier- you do not have to move the junk on top to get to the junk on the bottom.


plastic "totes" are wonderful...you can store kitchen gear by patrol in one box. Wooden patrol boxes are my favorite!


As you list every thing that comes out of the room...give every thing you keep a good cleaning and make sure it operates...clean and fire up each stove or lantern...or recondition and repair.


suggestion...if you have propane lanterns like the coleman two mantle units- the small two gallon plastic paint buckets (with snap on lids), you can get at hardware and paint store make great storage containers. By drilling an appropriate size hole in the top of the bucket and laying 'round the inside a "top to bottom" coccoon of thin foam rubber you have a great way to transport the lanterns with less globe and mantle damage. The "hole in top" centers the top "threaded nut" and keeps the lantern from slopping around...the hole should be large enough to fit over the "nut" or knob without dismantling the lantern (ya don't need to undo the nut to open and close the lids...)


If you have less than 'lovable' stuff that is still usable... either put it in the back of the storage room for future "emergency needs" or think about donating it to a less well equiped troop.


We use a trailer for our outdoor gear and do an annual inventory - tents, tarps, kitchens, lanterns, first aid kits, poles, ropes, axes, saws, and files, hoses, propane tanks, distribution "T's" water cans, gray-water cans, fire box contents, canoes, sail boat, flags, etc.-results go on paper and are transferred to disk and soft copies are sent to the committee.

QM keeps a master copy as do I (QM mentor-equipment guy). QM has a lap desk style clip-board with repair tickets for each piece that has an "accident" (and is repairable) I assist him in these repairs as needed. This clipboard also has "activity inventory sheets". AT each campout tents are issued to scouts and recorded by name. Wet tents go home to be air dryed and returned at the next meeting. Scouts "sign tents in" as dry and complete or "noting" any damage or missing items...(for which they are responcible- ie. repairing or replacment) QM starts making phone calls if equipment is not returned.


This system also "allows" for the next campout when "scout johnnie" returns to the trailer after opening up his tent, and says..."my tent is missing a pole or has a tear or has no lines and stakes", QM can open the clipboard and "get up front and personal" with the scouts who borrowed the tent at the "last" event...or at least the last time that tent was used any event.


Each kitchen (wooden box with fold-down doors -work areas) and tarp is designated (named and numbered)for a particular patrol...pheonix, disco donkeys, scorpions, tiberwolves, etc for as long as that patrol exists...thus, if it's dirty or something's lost... they deal with it or replace it before the next inventory...


QM makes sanitation inspections every so often to make sure stuff is reasonably clean...BTW- EVERYTHING IS CLEANED on the CAMPOUT! Nothing goes home for Mom to clean.


In the end it (tossing stuff)will depend on your future expectations and goals...(going to grow?) and your perceived financial ability... Can you raise money for what you may toss aside now, but decide you need later? If not, store it in the back of the room (with the spiders).


Word to the wise -old is not necessary bad! I picked up two white gas lanterns and two white gas stoves at a scout troop yard sale...They were old, dirty and didn't work...you know "for sale - for parts"- for a dollar each...Put all four appliances in working order for under $25.00... grand total under $30.00!

The Coleman single mantle lantern (classic red) puts out more light than most double mantle lanterns and only needed the old leather pump oiled and stretched plus a new mantle!


One more thing...if there are more cub packs in your area. Go talk to them about checking out your troop...troops do not have monopolies on cub packs...Our Troop now gets more new scouts from "other packs" than we do from our historic "feeder" pack!


shine on shine, shine on lantern light ...


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Thanks to both of you for your advise!




You had a lot to contribute, I am almost overwhelmed! To answer your questions, our room is probably about 8'x2' with the door halfway down one of the long sides. There is a "nook" off one of the short walls (were we keep the spiders). This area is probably about 4'x8'. It has some duct work running through it and is a bit of a challenge to make useful. It does work well for storing large stuff that doesn't fit into anything.


We have 1 shelf, bakers type, about 8' high, 4' wide. We also have 3 lockable cabinets, the locker type from the military, 1 desk and 1 file cabinet (4 drawers i think) and a long folding table. We also are already in possession of 6 plastic containers, the kind with interlocking lids like they use in drug stores.


As far as what does the stuff look like. We have everything from 6 chef kits that we use all the time to 50 year old folding army shovels to canvas army tents and shelters that have been sitting for years. We even have an old arctic survival tent that we set up and used a couple winters ago. Large and heavy but still worked great! We also have a lot of stuff in old steamer trunks that I haven't even seen yet.


We are also planning some kitchen/patrol boxes like you mentioned.


As far as the other packs, we have our PLC working to get our troop program to were it needs to be. We are coming off many years of a SM run troop. Once we are in better shape we plan to talk with some other packs.


Thanks again!



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Just a comment.


A troop I was a member of had a "1 car garage" attached to the scout hut. That was the equipment storage area.


We installed some boards with hooks attached, so that, after a campout, tents could be hung in the garage to dry, rather than go home and never return.


Tents would dry, and then be rolled at the next troop meeting. It worked out great for us.... occasionally tents still went home to be washed, but we didn't have to worry about "jonnie scout" forgetting the tent in his garage for a year.



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the plastic bins you have are ok for storing stuff in side but you want to look for the snap-lid (solid-no over lapping joints)for things that go out doors with you.


if you can build some shelves (even cinder blocks and board)you can get it off the floor and you can remove the box in the middle or on the bottom without moving the upper layers.


On the GI tents and artic shelter...don't know where you live but if you have a Fourth of July parade/small town type festival, or Veterans Day event you might think about your boys using the old stuff set up next to new "stuff"- sort of "then and now" display...could be real 'cool'.


remember to keep air circulating between stuff, it help fight mildew and mold. I hope it's well lit - makes finding stuff easier.


When you do figure out what to keep and where it goes... do up a "placement plan" (a drawing of each wall/shelf and what goes where)...keep copies on file but post one on each wall or shelf unit (use plastic sheet protectors). That way almost anyone can figure out where to put something so you can find it next time it is needed...no just tossing stuff back in the room.


good luck and let us know if you need more help!


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