My base is pretty big. It has a lot of farms, a number of villagers, a big smelter, and plenty of other things that might require a lot of item management. But my base isn’t the only place I do things on the server. There’s farms and builds all over the world (and nether, and end) that produce and/or require materials.

On other maps I’ve done automatic sorters of various kinds, large silos for bulk materials, and localized storage systems attached to farms, but I never really had everything in one place. So when I came up with this idea, it seemed perfect. It turned out to not be, but it’s still pretty good for my purposes.

So what is it?

At first glance it looks like I’ve just stuck a bunch of shulker boxes to the wall and called it a day. And yes, that’s basically it, but there’s intent with the specific layout and design of the room.

Each group of shulkers has a rough theme, and each column within the group generally has associated items together. For example, the first thing to your left when you enter the room is all the overworld stone.

These themed groups continue around the room; on the left side are stones, nether/end blocks, sand/gravel, wood, and dirt/grass/plants; the right side has food/dyes, valuables/ores, redstone/potions, and the last block is a catchall for anything that won’t fit into the other groups nicely. Each column has up to 4 boxes in it; this is about the most you can reasonably reach from the ground and still be able to pick up a box if you break one on top (version 1 of this system had as many as 6 in a column and I kept losing boxes – the ladders are left over from that era).

Below each column is a chest containing “overflow” boxes from the column, so I have room for basically as much cobblestone as I will ever have.

The sign under each column indicates what’s in the column, obviously, but the order matters too: each line of the sign, top to bottom, corresponds to the contents of the shulker in the same position, when there’s more than one thing in a column. Some blocks, e.g. stone, I just have so much of that the entire column is dedicated to it, although there is a small adjustment: one box in those columns contains what I call “bits” – stairs, slabs, walls, buttons, etc. made from that material. I should probably add that to the sign too.

Thanks to signs in 1.20 being editable, this system can easily be adjusted if the organization isn’t meeting my current storage needs. For example, I previously had a slot just for dripleaf/vines, which was taking up valuable room that I wanted to use for bamboo wood. So a quick edit and this column is now ready to move some boxes around and be more useful to me.

One thing that is absolutely required for this is a good shulker farm. Thankfully we have one on the server, and in fact one of the boxes near the entrance is dedicated entirely to shulker shells, so I can make a new box whenever I need one.

How do I get by without a sorting system? Well, I just do. One perk of doing things this way is that I can just take entire shulker boxes with me when going out for a project, so when I return I just need to put the boxes back in the right place. After using this system for about a week, I just have a good intuition for where everything is, and even when I don’t, the group organization lets me find the right place to put or retrieve something quickly. Being able to color-code shulkers also helps.

I still do have sorters on the output of some of the builds around the base, namely the melon/pumpkin farm and super-smelter. But when I need to use those, I can just grab a couple shulkers from the main room and move things around easily. This also plays nicely with having an organized ender chest. The top row of boxes is all my usual “wallets” – in order: valuables, food/tools, redstone, dyes, lights, rockets, and wood. All the boxes below that are general purpose for when I need to mix and match things, and there’s a regular chest next to the ender chest in the front of the room where I can temporarily store those if I need the room for other boxes from the wall.

This system isn’t completely perfect, and finding good categorization for some items was difficult and probably has no right answer. Do bones go with bonemeal, or with mob drops? Should nether wart blocks go with the nether wart in the potion ingredients section, or with leaves since it comes from crimson nether trees, or with the wood itself? The entire section of plants, crops, and food is a big mess at the very end of the room because I just don’t want to deal with it most of the time.

So this won’t be for everyone, but it works for me. Let’s go over the pros and cons of doing your storage this way.


  • Easily transition from early-game “stack of chests” to this system
  • Extremely easy to build
  • Organizing things into groups and color-coding shulkers makes it easier to find what you want
  • Can have multiple different items in one box, difficult to do with traditional sorting systems
  • Can pick up and drop off bulk quantities of items quickly; works well with ender chests
  • Overflow chests allow large amounts of storage
  • Editable signs and being able to move shulkers around makes the system flexible when your storage needs change (or updates add things)
  • No redstone or hoppers to cause lag


  • No automatic sorting
  • Requires a shulker farm or a lot of end busting
  • Requires a lot of wood for chests to make shulker boxes too, although not any more than an equivalent chest system would
  • Some items are difficult to categorize (but this would be a problem with a sorter-based system anyway)
  • Also need a lot of levels if you want to name every shulker box

But perhaps the biggest pro of all: it looks great.

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