Hi Farkas, All,
First answering your additional and a bit easier question about the patches. I like to keep my current patch as long as possible because once it's gone, it's gone :-) It grows over time though and it usually doesn't take much time or there is a kind of forest of cables "growing" over the case. When waiting really (too) long the forest becomes thicker and the supply of patch cables is thinning out seriously...
I just like to keep building on my existing patch, trying to make it yet more interesting and yes, I guess I just not dare to let go ;-)
However once I clean it up, I totally remove all cables and completely start from scratch but that can easily take a few months.
Now your more difficult questions. First the second difficult one, the reshuffling of modules. I also try to avoid that as much as possible because easily a few evenings can be gone by just unscrewing the modules put them somewhere in then realising oh damn wrong position (well I try to avoid that by using here the rack planner of course). Over entire last year I only did one major reshuffling. I foresee that I need one more large reshuffling but I try to wait with that as long as possible just because of the hassle (which is sometimes nice, if you have plenty time but sometimes also just a bother).
Okay, now your most difficult question ;-)
How to plan the modules over your rack layout, is definitely something for a long term view and building up experience. I usually plan my rack layouts for at least a half year till about a year or a little over it, just to avoid the reshuffle matter as just discussed above.
However where to put the oscillators, the modulators, etcetera. Lugia's approach is definitely one of the better ones. I try to combine that with the overview of Mowse's setup (Mowse can you please show it us one more time, your rack with those coloured boxes, beautifully done, it's just that I can't find it back) and some general ideas. Like how we read a book, the same "workflow" I try to keep with modular as well, starting the patch from the left (clock, dividers, sequencers, MIDI input, that "kind of stuff") towards the right (VCAs, mixers & output modules) via the middle (sound source modules, oscillators, etc.). Here and there a multiple where roughly needed.
Then I take a bit the approach of Lugia and putting the EGs and LFOs roughly on top there where I want to modulate most modules. Filters usually go on top as well.
Though once the rack(s) start to fill up and less space is available it all doesn't become so much organised any more due to the lack of space, makes the rack actually more messy when it's getting filled up...
I am still searching for the "ideal" module arrangement, for me it's Lugia's approach mixing with Mowse's (that's similar) and a bit of myself. The problem every time again, I realised, is that problems come when the racks are getting filled up... how to avoid that? Sure don't buy any more modules but I guess that's not really what you or I want :-)
Though how silly that might sound, but perhaps that silly joke I was kind of telling on that post where Sajmund showed us a case full of VCAs:
For every function a case full of it, might not sound too bad at the end at all, naturally space is a huge problem and of course the finance of it. But you don't need to fill up all the racks and to make this a rather bit more realistic you could certain functions that go almost always hand-in-hand together (like for example VCAs, mixers and output/input modules) put combined in one rack.
Take a rack (again, it doesn't need to be full, it needs to grow, so even if it's half empty still good, at least you don't need to reshuffle the modules) for the sound sources like the oscillators, wave tables and those nice fancy digital modules that can do a lot of stuff including samplers for example. Then all the modulating modules (LFOs, EGs, some fancy digital stuff) put that in one rack on top of that sound creation rack.
Take yet another rack for drums/percussion only (if there is still space left). Depending on finance and rack space, take one or two utility racks (could be small racks) where you put all the rest of the stuff and position those racks there between the other above discussed racks where it's most needed.
Yes this sound ridiculous but think about it, it might get close to an ideal setup. The racks can be for 80% empty, so what? At least you don't have for the next few years that reshuffle issue. It's just that one time investment of a few extra racks. Call me a blithering idiot, I don't care but I am actually considering this as an option, not saying it's going to be like that but it would solve here and there a few issues. Naturally there is this huge finance issue of getting those spare racks to start with... which is the reason why I haven't done it yet ;-)
Back down to earth :-) You could minimise the above idea, keep on shrinking it what has just been offered as an idea here above, keep it shrinking, thus less racks, less money, less space. Keep it shrinking till you reach the point that it becomes realistic for you moneywise, space-wise and rack-wise. I think it's not too bad, add that setup from Lugia and Mowse together with it and there must be laying the answer for all of us. Each in another way, sure, but I think it might be feasible.
The more I think of it, the more I like it. I am going to save a s***-load of money for a few spare racks ;-)