Notes from Puzzle Palace

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Storage for small items

 What does one do with puzzles that are so small they can get lost or easily walk away?  To solve this problem, we had to get creative with our storage solutions.  This week I give you a peek into the workings of my simple brain.

I started out using jewelry boxes on the walls at Puzzle Palace.  These were used to store keychain puzzles and well, jewelry-puzzle rings, necklaces...When we acquired the HD collection, we recieved with it many vesta match boxes, cricket boxes, small banks, secret opening boxes and more tiny objects that I didn't want to lose on the shelves. 

I started with the jewelry boxes at the museum for the small dexterity puzzles, the Hoffmann balls, and some small kumiki puzzles.  I soon realized that this wouldn't work for some of the other objects we recieved so I took a trip to Michael's in search of shadow boxes.  I found two types that work perfectly: baseball bat boxes and shot glass holders.  Both open from the front and have spaces large enough to hold the small or delicate items we don't want people to play with.  A word of warning, these are an expensive display solution if you purchase them in store.  Online, the price drops in half.  

Off the kitchen there is a long wall between rooms that we could not put cabinets into for lack of walking space. This wall is now covered in these display cases.  This area houses most of the match boxes and quite a few of the smaller secret opening boxes.  

Above each room entry door there is a baseball bat box filled with some of the curiosities you will find in that particular room.  So for example, the Jigsaw puzzle room has some wooden jigsaws, a metal one, and a few paper jigsaws in it.  

James was nice enough to send along a large number of storage units with the puzzles and these have all been placed in the garage.  Many of these are simply too small to hold anything thicker than a 2D packing puzzle and have been used for just this purpose.  These units also store all of the matchbox puzzles that came with the collection and those we added to it.  

On to the weekly museum update.  Ikea finally delivered our order of shelves!  400 came in on one day.  George really has his work cut out for him over the next few weeks.  He had to start with the vase wall so I could begin unboxing the vases.

I finally finished unboxing the puzzles in the dexterity room, but now I need to put all of them into their permanent home.  Currently, I have 'piles' of wire that need disentanglement and hanging or placement.  The problem I have is that I do not have any shelves in the room yet.  

Shelves are a real problem.  We have to wait until Ikea has them in stock and then we order all we can. It's been over a month since our last order. I expect it will be a month before we are able to place another order.  

We have hired a young man to photograph the puzzles.  He's a 17 year old high school junior who has zero interest in puzzles and 100% interest in making money.  So far this has proven to be a good working relationship. He comes over 2-3 times a week and takes photos for five hours.  He then takes the photo disk home and processes the photographs.  I'm hopeful that we can continue with this relationship until the puzzles are all photographed.  I expect at some point in the future we will hire a second student to help with this process.  

As I unbox, I have been taking all of the IPP puzzles to Puzzle Palace. We are working our list of missing puzzles down. As of 1 August, we were missing only 232 of the exchanges from IPP10 onward. I am hopeful that as I unbox more and shift puzzles around I will find the missing items. 

Until next week, keep puzzling!


  1. Baseball bat display cases are really a thing in the US? Who knew! But a very creative solution.

  2. I added tiny glass shelves to a shadow box to create a display case for my collection of 2 sun 10 step puzzle boxes: