Let's go back... way back... to my very first course in library school:
Organization of Information!
From what I can remember (and it's been years now, so please cut me some slack), the first thing to think about when organizing a collection of something is to think about the purpose for the end user(s).
For example, alphabetizing is great, but it makes no sense to put, say, spices in alphabetical order by name if a competent cook relies on knowledge of flavors that go well together.
(My spices are alphabetized, because I only use spices if specifically called for by diligently-followed recipes, and what of it! You're here for knitting, not cooking! I make perfectly edible food sometimes! ...okay, more to the point, it totally makes sense for me to alphabetize spices.)
SO! As the only end user of my knitting needles (hereafter referred to as "the collection" because it's fancy), I have some decisions to make:
- Do I care about size of needle? Do I care about "type" of needle (straight vs double pointed vs circular)? Do I care about color, material, other aesthetic value? What physical traits of the collection matter most to me on a priority scale?
- How much sorting, repackaging, labeling, &c. do I want to do upfront? How long will it take to access the collection each instance?
- What amount of space do I have to work with? Should the operation be centralized, cataloged, searchable, &c.?
- Should alphabetical order factor into any of this? Because I love me some alphabetizing, not gonna lie.
The current state of the collection: