My collection is just beginning to become unwieldy. It started with a dozen or so painted metal ones for PCs. Then a case of Heroes and Monsters. Now a couple bricks of RotRL minis (because I just couldn't afford a whole case). In March, I'll be getting like 240 minis out of the Reaper Kickstarter.
So ... what are some good strategies for storing minis? I'd like something reasonably compact that still allows for reasonably rapid retrieval during a game session.
I did opt for a couple of cases in the Reaper Kickstarter, but those look primarily good for carrying pre-selected minis to remote sites rather than quick access when GM'ing at home.
I've got a stacking, wheeled "mobile work chest" similar to this:
Mine actually has a spin-out section great for holding dice and Small/Medium figs. The top stack comes off the base (which is big enough to hold several Huge figs). The top then has a toolbox that unstacks again, so I end up with two large compartments and a toolbox with sections. You can get some cheap foam and cut sections to fit the minis.
There are some smaller ones like this as well:
I really like the stackable one as it can hold a ton, rolls around if I need to move a lot of stuff at once (sometimes I put all my books, props, and figs in it and roll it to the game table!) but if I just need a few I can pull off the relevant stack. There are some less expensive ones at Wal-Mart and Sears.
I also use some stackable drawers for more long-term storage. I cut some 1/4" plywood into sectional dividers that fit inside the drawers. I can then put all my dwarves, elves, halfings, and gnomes (for example) in one drawer but keep them separated. This is more for the pre-painted figs--throwing a bunch of painted figs in a drawer does a number on the paint jobs over time!
I use a lot of these. I usually get them from Hobby Lobby or Michaels. With the dividers you can modify the slot size.
Also, I use the shoe box sized plastic boxes for larger minis. Some of the bead boxes without dividers I use are really cheap at Hobby Lobby.
There are a bunch of posts already on this subject that you can search for. Lots of great advice in the last major thread on the subject.
I use a wide combination of things. My main collection of roughly 2,000 minis is stored in custom made foam trays with individual compartments for the minis. These store minis up to huge size pretty well.
For my most commonly used miniatures I use a Games Workshop carry case and a craft carrying case that is like a fishing tackle box, but with lots of tiny compartments. It was originally designed for sewing I think, I found it in a thrift store for a buck.
And then for my large dragons and other colossal scale minis I keep those in plastic containers, but I need to do something better since some of my minis are fairly fragile and I've had to repair a couple of broken wings and horns lately.
For a just starting out collection I'd recommend something like the Game's Workshop case, they are very nice and hold a lot of minis, but they aren't cheap. You can buy a pistol case with pluck-out foam and turn that into a miniatures case too.
I think I have one of these
I also have a toolbox for transport
Here is a link to how I store my 2,000 minis. I also have clear sandwich bags that are labeled as well inside each bin. When I open a bin I can quickly see any 5+ minis inside the sandwich bags and the rest of the minis laying in the bottom of the alphabetized bin. You will also notice I have bins for elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, soldiers, etc.
I have similar storage for my 60 sets of Dwarven Forge.
Here's the link and you may have to scroll through a few of my pictures to find the shots of my closet:
With mostly reaper and pre-painted minis you can go for stuff without foam, and a number of the things above work well.
If you get into more posable minis, like Games Workshop or any wargaming, KR Multicase or Battlefoam are the way to go.
I do not reccomend pull and pluck foam. It is a pain in the ass. Its cheaper than other foams, but it destroys itself over time even if you don't destroy it while plucking the holes you want.
I don't want to monopolize the conversation about mini storage with discussions about my game room. Please go to my other post on the topic of my game room. I will answer your questions there and thanks for your kind compliments about my room: