Use your imagination a bit… 10 is an abstract number, just as I’m sure 500 is an abstract number. My point is simple, you don’t need 3-5 different variants of the same ship fitted up and ready. One or two tops. If you’ve chosen to live like a packrat in a station, the problem is yours for hording a bunch of junk.
As a genuine attempt at offering you a solution to your problem, I’ll suggest you adopt a naming convention for your ships (obviously change the names when you use the ships). Then set up filters.
No matter what, you have to handle your inventory in some fashion, whether that’s shoving them in containers or otherwise… so it will be work either way.
As an example naming convention, ShipClass_EngagementProfile_Ship.
Consider two variants of a Garmur, one LML and one Rocket. I’m not looking at the ship stats so imput the correct engagement range.
Add in a Caracal
C_RLM_Caracal (RLML Caracal)
C_HML_Caracal (HML Caracal)
And an Osprey
C_LOG_Osprey (a typical osprey)
And a Griffin
F_ECM_Griffin (a typical griffin).
Now you set up filters per your interests, based on the names:
ROC (ships fit with rockets)
RLM (ships fit with RLMLs)
LOG (logistics ships)
ECM (ECM ships)
Now you try. Which filters would you use to find “an” ECM cruiser?
For things like “I know I want to fly a caracal”, you’d be able to simply type Caracal in the search box, then see all of your caracals in addition to their engagement profiles.
I’m not saying this system will fit your playstyle perfectly, but it’s a start. Build on it.
EDIT – Sadly the forum killed my filter section a bit. _ something _ (sans spaces) apparently italicizes things. ECM filter: _ ECM _ (sans spaces again)