@Cone suggested making a new topic here, so here it is.

We don’t have enough shelves. We need more. We have ~250 members and 100 shelves.


I can offer some help here. My father is retired but used to run a small publishing company. He is slowly selling off his remaining stock, but has some spare racking.

My parents are willing to give this to the hackspace for free. I see my parents reasonably regularly so I expect I’ll be able to bring this to the space within the month.

There is one lot of racking with blue struts. Some is shown pictured constructed, and some is dissembled spare, which can be donated.

Details from my mum:

Enough for two gangs of these. There are 16 uprights. Each makes one corner of half the height of one gang. There are eight shelves, but, again, you can make shelves if you need more.
Shelves about 60x90 cm. Height 90cm.

In addition they have this grey metal shelving that would have been part of a racking system, but they no longer have the uprights for.


Eight of these.
Three about 90x37cm
Five 100x 40cm

If anyone has objections to me bringing the blue racking let me know. The grey shelving would rely on uprights being bought or built, so I’ll not bring that unless people are happy to build such a thing or a source of uprights is found. I will try to get pictures of the edges etc. and see if I can identify struts that could be used. I don’t know how standard racking is etc. I imagine those shelves are quite a few decades old

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As an aside here, I am going to get some (20?) temporary shelves up next week to allow newer members to have a space. @Cone is it relatively easy for you/the digital team to add 20 rows to the storage list?

This shouldn’t detract from the larger job in hand: long term member storage.

That’s great although I really can’t see them actually being temporary. Is there a good reason they have to be temporary? They won’t be unless there’s a big push to stop people using them after x time.

I think this might be opening up a historical can of worms that precedes me, but people have been very protective of the precise dimensions of their storage space in the past (for… reasons?)

So great care was taken with the current storage to assure certain dimensions, even to the point where each shelf is has been made about 100mm deeper with an MDF strip.

The temporary shelves I was gonna stick in (white cubes) are smaller than that, so I had envisaged they would be replaced by sotrage of the “correct” dimension down the line.

Though personally I don’t think this is a super important thing. People can just deal with the fact that we have a mish-mash of different shelving and accept that they might have a slightly smaller unit.

This seems like a useful tool Racking Identifier Item (

Yoooo thanks for creating this thread!

@mikeh - about the membership system, we can absolutely add new storage slots. Let me know what numbering system you’d like for them (e.g. 40 new spaces, 4 rows, 10 columns…) :+1:

Thanks for the new shelves, they seem like they’ll be useful in the immediate term one way or another… I reckon if we tackle some underlying issues we won’t be back here again in a few weeks :smiley:

About storage more broadly, my intuition is that we are still stuck in the same loop as before because of the assumptions we traditionally made:

  • that all spaces have to be equal in size
  • that a storage space is a right even if someone doesn’t visit for years

We already have at least two people sharing a space, so having some smaller storage sizes could be useful? The new shelves could be useful for those who don’t need an entire 600x400 space? This would mean more people can get value from the new shelves.

This leads us to the question of “how do we make it fair so that newcomers who want a larger space can get one?”.

Other hackerspaces have limited storage space, and it’s assigned to those who need it. It may be we prefer to just keep building more storage so there’s always a storage slot for every member… Or we police it.

Usually this means human effort, but there is some low hanging fruit: the new doorbot tells the membership system when someone scans in, so once the old system is decommissioned the membership system will have a (private but queriable) record of entries. This will mean that storage spaces of people who haven’t been in for a while (e.g. 6 months) can be automatically highlighted (to admins) on the storage page, and the board can then take whatever action needed. It may be there’s a good reason and they do need storage, or it may be that they’ll take their stuff with them.


Generally I’m OK with us getting more storage, but I do think we need a more robust process for it, that doesn’t involve adding extra leg work. I’m keen hack the space days don’t become ‘sorting out storage’ days.

Ive bleated on about my coloured storage sticker idea, as I think it’s immediate visual cue around the space, and no more open to abuse than the digital system (I wreckon its less open to abuse) but understand people would rather a digital system.

Connor, the ability to add into the system dormant members is good. If there could be a more automated system that emails people after say 3 months and says ‘hey you haven’t been in the space for 3 months, you still have a storage space, do you need it?’. Then it doesn’t rely on much board intervention at the first port of call.

I don’t believe storage space should be a right at the space, and we certainly shouldn’t treat it as so. Based on this I see no problem with slightly varying size shelves, picking up what we can get for free as we need it. If new members want bigger storage they can look at who isn’t storing much on their shelf and ask to swap.

Peter those racks look pretty good to me, we’d need to figure out a way to secure them at the top to something and given we’re running out of wall space, they’d probably be fixed in a corridor style.

I think we want to find a volunteer happy to set up the shelves and create some very clear signs explaining how to claim a storage spot (maybe with screenshot) and also letting people know they MUST also physically label the stuff on the shelf with their details, this will hopefully stop the phantom storage appearing.

I wasnt much of a fan of the tone in the meeting about people who’ve put stuff on shelves without claiming it online. This isn’t well explained anywhere in the space so I really can’t blame those who don’t know they needed to assign one online.

This could be part of hack the space day, but I’d hope some of the members who are asking for more storage might be happy to contribute their time to installing it.

I drew a couple of drawings of what I imagined storage might eventually look like once we have the pool table. With say 3 lines of shelving, one pair back to back.

The above is all just my personal opinion rather than a statement from the board.

I like this idea, but I do worry about the complexities of plugging systems together like this. If the doorbot system stops reporting properly, or fails and is replaced by something else without this integration, people might start erroneously receiving these automated e-mails. It’d therefore be wise to make any such e-mails informational only; not take automatic action or highlight for action based upon them.

The only downside is such e-mails would be easy to ignore. In my mind, it would be great to have members actively re-affirm that they need & are using their storage space, which leads to a potentially simpler solution.

Instead of acting upon last-visit date, we act upon the date somebody claimed the storage space. After 12months (for example), we can send an e-mail asking them to re-affirm their claim on the space. If they do so, they’ll have it for another 12mo. If not, after a grace period (3mo?) the system can then flag the spot as potentially abandoned? Which will then require human intervention to resolve.

I do apologise if I had made any disparaging remarks about unclaimed use of storage!

I do agree that instructions and signage could be much improved.

I’ll put the storage side of the membership system on my to-do list as an area to look at for user-experience improvements. I think it would be helpful separating the list of “available” spaces from the complete list, so the first piece of the page is directly actionable for those wanting a space (as opposed to having to scroll through ~100 rows). That would simplify the instructions we’d have to put together as well.

More directly on-topic, I’m on board with loosening size requirements. Having a mix of storage sizes is something we ought to embrace instead of shy away from; as somebody else suggested in the members meeting, we can get immediate relief and capacity by repurposing some of the library slots as “small storage”?

I’m planning to be in on Weds to add 20 (maybe more) new slots in the form of white storage cubes. I feel this scratches an immediate itch and gives us time to plan storage in the longer term, potentially with racking from Peter’s dad.

I don’t particularly have bandwidth to be part of the convo about storage policy and active users and so on, but I would add that policing storage is a huge time drain, so automation would be a must. And if people are in violation of a policy, we’d need secondary storage to store the noncompliant items. And someone needs to physically move them from location A to location B, then to the tip. It’s just a massive headache that nobody joined the hackspace for.

That said, I think some of the policy and UX ideas above are great! I’ll shut up now.

OK, 20 new slots. Can @Cone or @rjackson (or anyone?) add A21-24 to E21-24. Does that make sense?

Also, the current storage list contains D21 already for some reason.

Anything else we need to do? I’ll publicise these new slots once they’re selectable by users.

Done :slight_smile: A22 and D21 already existed, one of which you’d already caught!

The listing in the membership system isn’t ordered properly, so these all show up at the bottom of the page for now.

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Thanks Rob! Apols for not getting back last night but it was late. I already downsized and moved my stuff to a smaller shelf.

Will communicate the change in Telegram now.

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My parents are planning to visit me on Saturday and could bring the shelving. I’d like to put the dismantled shelving in large storage. I’ve got a major DIY project in my home to be done 22nd-29th which I’m taking time off work for. I can’t commit to assembling the shelves in that time period.

Others are of course welcome to volunteer for this.

The next opportunity to drop off shelving will likely be 4th February.

Please could someone from the board contact me and let me know whether to ask them to bring it or not.

One thing for me is my parents have an estate and I have a hatchback so it’s slightly easier for them to drop it off… It would be my turn to visit them in February.

I’m happy for you to go ahead with it, so long as someone volunteers to make some signage for how to register a shelf, and to label your shelf as well

Thanks. Dismantled it wouldn’t take too much space, so hopefully doesn’t cause issues

I’m happy for you to go ahead with it, so long as someone volunteers to make some signage for how to register a shelf, and to label your shelf as well

(I accidentally submitted this too early, bear with me as I edit and refine!)

Do we have any sort of templates or brand guidelines for signage? So its consistent with the wood equipment signs, for example? Don’t know how important that is.

As for content, here’s a rough draft:

Member Storage: Registration process

We require storage slots to be registered in the membership system ( before use.

Storage is claimed on a first-come-first-serve basis, but to ensure fair usage as members come and go we ask:

  • Clearly label your container with your name and/or username.
  • Please pick a storage size suitable for your needs. If you don’t need a lot of space, please claim or move to one of our smaller storage slots.
  • Keep your items within your slot, as much as possible. If items are going to exceed your storage place, please use Large Storage.
  • Take items home if you’re not going to use them often, or you’re not going to be in the Space very often.

How to register a slot

(Screenshots and QR codes to be added)

Members are allowed to claim 1 storage spot each.

  1. Log into the membership system:
  2. Click “Member Storage” in the left-hand menu
  3. Scroll through the table of storage slots, and click the “Claim” button against any that are available

Release your claim on a slot

(Screenshots and QR codes to be added)

  1. Log into the membership system:
  2. Click “Member Storage” in the left-hand menu
  3. Your storage space will be listed in the top-left box on the page. Click “Return Storage Location” to release your slot, and make it available for other members

Frequenty Asked Questions

What do I do if somebody else’s items are in my slot?

Please move any misplaced items to one of the tables in the Storage area, and drop a note in Telegram that you have done so.

If the items contain any usernames or contact information, feel free to inform them that their items have been moved directly.

(Draft question: Should we encourage or discourage members from contacting eachother like this? In case anybody whose items are moved get grumpy. Defer to storage volunteers or the board instead?)

What happens if my membership expires and I have a storage space?

The board and/or storage volunteers may move your items and free up the storage slot for other members to use. Please make arrangements to come and collect any items left behind.

Can I share my storage slot?

Absolutely. Only one person will need to register the slot in the system, but you may privately arrange with other members to share your slot if you wish to do so. This is a great way to keep spaces available for other members, if you don’t require much storage yourself.

(Draft question: Any other questions?)

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This is great Rob, thanks! Only thing I’d recommend adding is a QR code to the storage page on the membership system - I use a free QR code generator online.

Branding: we have some guidelines on GitHub but these are out of date.

Generally it’s just a clear, readable sans-serif font (I’ve used Asap on the website and membership system as it’s clear but friendly), and using simple colours that are readable and as accessible as possible :slight_smile:

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Thank Rob. Just a quick one, big storage should only be used for projects that are actively being worked on and there are plans to reduce the time frame of ‘DNH’ labels to 1 month to reinforce this point. Before the very recent suggestion of adding a different sized storage slot, there was only 1 size to keep things as fair as possible, which I had understood we’d return to once more storage had been sourced. I gather that the storage Peter’s parents are hopefully donating is a close enough size to what we have currently for this 1-size to continue? Someone at the members meeting highlighted that different sized storage locations in the past had caused more arguments than it was worth :man_shrugging:

A quick bit of maths - if we have 200 members currently and we’ve only just run out of the 100 storage locations then we either: only need storage for half our membership or there’s a fixed 100 members that don’t need a slot.

My proposal was to duplicate what we have on the furthest wall, copying and pasting 2 rows of 40 storage slots, so 80 total (circled blue below, (thanks Joe)). Based on the 2 scenarios above, this would cover us until our membership was either 360 or 280, or somewhere between the two.

This would take up very little space and should tackle the immediate issue for some time. By all means, if we have more shelving available, then this will futureproof us even more. My hope is that once people see that there are empty shelves going, they’ll actually be more likely to release their space when it’s not in use, rather than hogging it for fear of not getting one back again.