June 14, 2013

Costume Put-Away Day

Last Tuesday, we, that is the Thin Ice Theater costume crew, held a big Costume Put-Away Day.  Our costume (and props) collection is stored at 3 houses, mostly in big plastic bins with some special items on hanging racks. You can read about the origins of our collection here.  And you can read about about how we've re-purposed costumes for each show:  The Importance of Being Earnest, You Can't Take It With YouA Midsummer Night's Dream, Little WomenBethAmy and Jo and Meg, and An Ideal Husband.  

Our task was to sort and store everything from the past 3 shows - Witness for the Prosecution, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Arsenic and Old Lace.  Lots!

Here's the jumble of bags containing not quite all of that stuff.  Some more arrived after I took the photo.  The things have been at various houses being washed and aired and stored until this day arrived.  Men's suits had already been hung up on their storage rack.

Here's how we do it.  We lay out numbered papers representing all of the 54 boxes of Stuff.  These go all around the living room and dining room.

Then we go through the items one by one, determine which box it belongs to.  I have a checklist of all the things pulled for these shows and which boxes they came from.  As we go, we label each piece with the box number as often as possible (meaning that the item has a label or facing to write a number). Occasionally, we move things to different boxes in an attempt to make the storage more logical (ha, ha!), and I make notes about that.

Eventually, we have piles for each box.

And then......  lunch!!!!  You can see how absolutely elated we all get about this process.  (Or are we elated about the prospect of felafel and shawarma?   Hmmmmmm..........)

We also keep a pile of new things that were acquired for the shows, or that were donated by families and friends.  We go through that pile and discuss what we might be able to use.  We try to limit what we take in to things that are not easily found at resale shops.  We decide what box might have room for something new, and I take notes on color, size, style, etc. for each piece.

After all that, we head to the boxes.  Some are in the basement.  Some are in the garage.  The men's suits hang in the mudroom.

A few boxes are stored in the basement of another house, and those things go home with someone who will stash them away there.  And some gowns and large or special things come to my house to hang in a closet and the upstairs hall.  My closet, behind the clothes, also holds the hanging racks and hangers that we use backstage, and the jewelry boxes.

We started at 9:30, had lunch at 12:30, and finished up at 4:00.  It really is a full day's job.  But we love our Stuff and enjoy sorting it out together.

And then, I spent the evening typing in all the info about what happened during the day.  It makes for a long day, but I find that I remember the details of what happened much better.  I remove the flags on items on the pulled checklists for each show, and add to the description the name of the show, name of character, and any changes to styling that were made.  I think it took me about 3 hours.

Just as a point of information, the inventory file now has over 1800 entries!  

And a plug for our inventory program - and yes, I do have an affiliation.  We use Helix, which is the data base my husband has been head programmer on for about umpteen years now.  A brand new, super updated version is due out any day now!  

And now, I feel like summer is truly starting for me!

1 comment:

  1. I was exhausted simply reading all this! Wow, you have way more gumption than I.