Let’s look at that monster called archive. You will build one from scratch. Much better than wasting time in trying to get some overview of the mess you have already. This will be your new archive, which also represents your new life as a magician. And you will want to build it right from the beginning.
It has to be a working archive. So you need some system easy to use and structured. Nothing in there that is just dead weight. The simpler the system, the better. The basic idea with this new archive is to focus on simplicity and ease of use. Nothing wrong with the stuff you have already, but forget that for the moment. Pretend you don’t have it.
I will describe things the way I do them. This system evolved after a lot of experimentation with mixed results. This current system works very well for me, but change it as much as you want. It is flexible. I divide the archive into three chunks: knowledge, props and skills. Each section has to be handled with a different approach. This is the place into which I store everything that comes along the way.
Here we have everything concerning information. Printed material, digital material, personal notes, historical stuff. Everything that can be classified as knowledge about magic.
The title says it all. Here we organise the physical accessories we need for our magic: tricks, gimmicks, wardrobe, transportation, additional material, tools, and material for replacement. Everything necessary to practise your magic.
Here we are talking not about a physical storage place. This is your collection of the routines, moves, sleights, feints, patter, gags, and routines you can perform (or want to perform). It is what you can do already. This archive shows where you stand as a performing magician.
That has to be organised as well because some techniques might warrant constant refreshing (memo deck, sleights, remembering set-ups, etc.) and some sleight-of-hand techniques have to be kept “sharp”. To learn a new technique, some planning and organisation is essential.
Your archive should enable you to create small acts, routines, and tricks with the material you have already (or the array of magic technique at your disposal). It should enable you to put them together without losing time and then practise and perform them. It personalises the archive for your abilities, equipment and your interests in magic.