How do you store your portfolio of tangible stuff?

Forgive me if this thread already exists–if not, it seems like a good long-term discussion to have in the Core77 community here. As a fairly young designer, I’m quickly starting to accumulate fairly large objects. I design speakers from earbud to furniture size (I’m fortunate to work under Yo, tons of fun). My questions are:

1. How do you store all the stuff you work on over the years?
2. Do you keep all of it? If not, what do you weed out?
3. Do you combine long-term storage and ‘interview presentation’ suitcase storage or keep them separate?

It is interesting how product categories can vary so greatly and drive different size needs here, depending on what you’re creating. Never had to worry about this until now. Keeping them in retail packaging doesn’t seem to be the most space efficient and my better half is a minimalist (which I love!) :smiley:

The largest product I’ve worked on is a scaffolding system. So I have kept some pre-production samples of details - like a grip, a short alu profile section, end knob etc.
Some smaller products are in their retail packaging, but only those where I have been responsible for packaging and done most of the work.
Many products I don’t save or even own myself. Sure there’s a unique story or lesson for each one, but it needs to be something really interesting and something I’m really proud of.
I store most of the stuff in boxes in the basement. Some stuff I actually use in my daily life and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring a used object to an interview (if it still works and looks good).

  1. Mostly through images. Having done many floor-standing instruments and exhibit work, I couldn’t save any of it even if I wanted. Electrons take up very little space.

  2. No. I limit myself to one shelf to display stuff (at work) and 2 Rubbermaid totes (at home) to store stuff. I rotate stuff to keep the stuff on display changing. When I acquire new stuff, something old must go. The stuff I keep is what I consider to be “nifty”. I don’t think it could be any more subjective than that.

  3. It is only 2 Rubbermaid totes, a shelf and several gigabytes of images. No need to separate as it all can be accessed in minutes.

Wow, if I had a penny for every time somebody asked about the best way to store portfolio work… I have a lot of designer and artist friends who take out self storage units to keep their hard copies but most of the time, the design and a picture seem to suffice. Or they find a loving home where the items can go to.

A storage unit? Wow! That is going a bit overboard with some high fixed costs…

I like the idea above of a small bin or two of ‘career highlights and good design/material references to save for later.’ When you’re designing tangible things, it’s just too easy to be dishonest with an image, even a photo. You can’t hide from an object you design that you hand to someone else!

We have 2 garages and non of them has space for a car.

My former boss rented an office space, that had twice the
floor plan as cellar which was thrown in for free.
An artist friend rented space in a closed brewery, which had
5 story cellars. These two solutions were free, but the mildew
was also.

I’d go with “use it or loose it” in the long term.