For exhibit and event professionals  

Dilemma: Anyone understand the mysteries of inner space?

August 7, 2012 By Editor

My company recently merged with another firm. Now my exhibit will have to accommodate additional demo stations and product displays. Needless to say, I’m going to lose much of my storage space. Is there a way to estimate how much storage I really need? Does anyone have a clever idea for maximizing storage space?

— Althea, Exhibits Manager

Our readers provide some intriguing clues

Althea, space is always at a premium on the show floor, and trying to jam more stuff into an exhibit — and maintain storage room — can seem impossible at first. But with a little ingenuity, you can do it. How? Some industry pros suggest you:

  • Think cube.
  • Use a Russian nesting doll model.
  • Expand your mind — and space.

Think cube

Sometimes, organization and using what you have more efficiently can help you get more items in a limited space.

Al Gregg, warehouse manager at MC², provides tips based on his personal experience.

“Think of everything as a cube, and use packing strategies based on stacking and cubing. Fill your boxes (cubes) to accommodate their full use. Obviously, some things can’t be cubed, but trying to cube gives you a better idea of how to store efficiently.

“Also, know your storage space and how stuff will be moved to accommodate your delivery space to prevent reloading and minimize cost on travel pickup and delivery.”

Use a Russian nesting doll model

As an adjunct to thinking cube, or as a stand-alone solution, consider the efficiency of Russian nesting dolls, with the largest holding a smaller one, which holds an even smaller one and so on.

An industry veteran is a proponent of this model and offers a few other helpful pointers as well.

“Develop a preshow ‘needs’ plan so you have only necessary items on the show floor. Also, if you’re renting furniture, find pieces that provide storage space.

“At the show, consolidate your boxes and containers, and nest items within each other whenever possible. And instead of keeping them on-site to replenish items in your booth, store them off-site. This may be a bit less convenient, but it’ll help you gain that valuable space you need on the floor.”

Expand your mind — and space

Instead of concentrating on the “floor” space of your exhibit, maybe you should look in a couple of different directions.

Ethan Hostetler, senior designer at MC², explains how to do this.

“First, carefully look at your exhibit to determine how you currently allocate its space. Then, find new ways to maximize this space.

“For example, can you build shelving vertically within the current storage closet or area to accommodate more items? Or can you tell booth personnel to tuck personal items within the actual demo PODS or stations? Also, consider limiting booth staff personal items to one bag per person.”


  • Since Althea is obliged to bring along additional product displays, that’s one place she could start. Perhaps she could feature a representative product of a line (maybe the newest or the most popular model). Then, instead of handing out product sheets on the rest of the line, she could have the sheets loaded onto inexpensive flash drives. In this way, she could save on printing and shipping. Plus, all the drives could easily fit in a single, small container, conserving exhibit storage space.

    If you were in Althea’s place, how would you handle the space issue?

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