I've never gotten into the habit of making contact sheets, but when I have to dive into my big 10 pound heap of unsorted negs, I wish I had. It'd be a lot quicker to sort through them and find what I am looking for. For small numbers of negs viewed side by side, just looking at the neg works well for me, but oftentimes I will shoot the same subject with small variations (different exposures, filters, slightly different lighting) and I wind up with a whole roll or several sheets of roughly the same thing, and in that case I usually can't judge the subtle differences by the neg alone, the eye is just too accommodating. And my memory isn't good enough to remember what little bitty thing I thought might be wrong with one exposure. So then I wind up schlepping a whole bunch of negs into the darkroom and ultimately making test prints to jog my memory...

One thing that I find very useful about contacts is that they can be stored with the negs and notes written on the contacts. The kinds of notes that are hard to write on the neg holders... and things that I tend to forget very quickly like dates, exposures, dev times, etc. Of course, as a teacher I lecture very frequently on the importance of good note-taking, but unfortunately I do not usually practice what I preach :rolleyes:

So... I think it's an excellent practice to make contacts routinely and notate them thoroughly, if you are patient enough.