Tom Ward over at Instructables describes his system for storing components in a ring binder as the ultimate parts storage system and I'm inclined to agree. It basically uses a ring binder with zip-up plastic sleeve inserts along with zip-lock bags for holding loose components.
"I have now organised over 1000 different types of components in eight folders (less than a quarter of the volume all of my boxes took up!), including all my electronic parts, and all of my miscellaneous small hardware such as nuts, bolts and screws.
Here's how it works. Once you've chosen your categories for the folders (a couple he uses are Components and Capacitors), then assign sub-categories to the plastic sleeve inserts. The individual components (let's say PC case screws for example) go in a zip-lock bag, then into the plastic sleeve.
The nice thing about this system is it's easy to expand by adding more sleeves or binders. And due to the double bagging of sleeves and ziplock bags, you can stand it on a shelf and no bits will fall out. Even if a baggy pops open, it will still be contained by the plastic sleeve.
If you have any tips for getting that cardboard box full of spare parts under control, let's hear them in comments.