So after a while, you, and all other cosplayers, reach a point where you realize you need a better system to keep up with your costumes. I've been through quite a few. In the beginning, I had one tub. It was one of the $3.94 Walmart kind. It had EVERYTHING in it for costumes. But I only had about 3. I put it all in there, without regard to organization and it wasn't a problem. Wig heads would fit even. So, start there. Many call it a "costume bin". About a year later, I had quite a few more. I trekked to Dragon*Con with 8 just for one weekend. Somehow, that's always the case, no matter how hard I try. The "costume bin" now became the "things that won't fit in the garment bag" bin. I had a garment bag with everything that would hang, specifically so that as soon as I arrived, I could hang it all in the closet. Keeps everythign from getting wrinkled. YOu can buy a LONG (meant for dresses) garment bag at Walmart for like 1.97. Inside the costume bin, I had each costume's wig and accessories in 2 gallon zip lock bags. And I had a box for emergencies and anything like tights that would be necessary for multiple costumes. When I needed a costume, it was very easy to dig it all out and put it all back. At home, each costume had it's OWN garment bag. I tossed the 2 gallon zip lock bag into the bottom of the garment bag and hung them in the closet. Click for more on how I'm currently organized.

The problem with the above system is the initial packing and unpacking. I have to find an unused tub at my house (this is a bigger feat than you think). Then I have to take everythign out of their garment bags and put them all in one. That's more of an issue when I get home and am exhausted. So on a trip to Mary's house a few years ago, I noticed she had all her costumes stacked neatly in tubs slightly bigger than shoeboxes. I asked and she said that everything fit in one box, wig, shoes and all. This sounded fantastic. I found tubs for about 3.50 at Target and began the process. I've made some alterations.

  • -Each costume/character is in it's own tub, with the exception of those that take little space and then they get to share.
  • -Each tub contains a sticker (size of a name badge from Avery) that has on the left, a reference image and on the right, a list of all the pieces. If a piece is shared with another costume (like Motoko's boots), then it's highlighted in yellow to tell me to double check and make sure I have it before I leave.The stickers are on one of the short sides.
  • -Each lid of each tub has a handwritten address sized label for the costume.
  • -Each tub is then stacked in a non-walk in closet labels facing out.
  • -Oversized props are stored in an "under the bed" rolling tub that is quite long and opens on one side. This is mainly so they don't get bumped and then broken.

Now, when I need to go to a convention, I just grab the boxes, throw them in the back of my car and don't worry about packing/unpacking. When I get home, they get carted upstairs and put back on the stack (unless they need to be washed). When I'm in the hotel room, they usually fit between the bed and the wall and when done with a costume, it's entirely out of the way for the rest of the weekend. Also, typically I can fit a lot of the emergency supplies into the tubs. Wigs may or may not go in the box. If they coordinate to mutliple costumes, they usually don't. Otherwise, so long as it's okay to put them back in the bag, I'll do it VERY CAREFULLY. The rest sit on the wig heads on the shelf. Usually with the hats from completely unrelated costumes sitting on top of them. Hopefully this helped you. That's my goal of sharing all of it. (Side note about the picture: It's from when I first started this. So not everything is turned around/has labels yet. The green bin is all the Emma Frost costumes. The square looking bin is thread. There's a few more bins now and there is a fancy sewing box/kit that is now my emergency case. If you see me at a con and have a costume emergency, if I"m staying in the host hotel, I'll definitely loan you a safety pin. )