I just tore down my old Realistic DX-390 radio to look at fixing its sticky keypad. I had lots of little parts to keep track of while doing so. As I was working on this, it occurred that others may find my parts storage trick as useful as I do.
I picked this trick up some time ago. I have no idea the source of the original tip. I suspect it was from some book I read.
I keep a stack of 3oz paper cups at my work bench. When I start disassembling a particular device, I flip over a paper cup and put each part or series of like parts (e.g. external case screws) into a cup.
As I remove each little part it goes into its own cup and I stack that cup on the prior cup. When I’m done I have a nice stack of cups:
Now I not only have each part separated from the others, but I also have the removal sequence saved due to the stacking of the cups. Note the big plastic cup to the right. I keep big pieces in it.
When it is time to reassemble the parts, I simply remove each cup from the top of the stack and reinstall the parts in that cup.
I can still have trouble remembering where the parts go, so I sometimes stick a note in the cup to help id the parts:
I also tend to take pictures of the device during tear-down to help remember where all of the parts go. Smart phones are sure handy!