As we wrap up our time in Kolkata, we are trying to get serious about a more accurate inventory of our stuff. We will have our suitcases, UAB for D.C., HHE for Prague, and HHE back to storage in D.C. to organize as we leave Kolkata. And then when we leave D.C. for Prague, will have our suitcases, UAB and possible HHE with items out of storage.
I had created some spreadsheets when we left D.C. almost two years ago. They meticulously detailed all of Sicily's clothes, toys and other items. That was all. For the rest of our stuff we scribbled some things down on paper and did a walk-through of our house with a video camera. Not quite sure where the video tape is but I can find the spreadsheets, which are now all out of date.
As you shuffle stuff around, it becomes even more of a chore to keep the inventory up-to-date. She wore stuff out, we gave stuff away, we got more stuff. I didn't want to even open the spreadsheets to try to reconcile what we have now.
After reading a post on livelines about Delicious Library, I was curious to see if there was a better solution to my rudimentary spreadsheets. Delicious Library is an application for Macs that allows you to organize and manage your stuff through visual shelves.
What makes it a nice choice for our lifestyle is that you can create collections or shelves and then drag items into the shelves to organize them into groups. For example, I can create a UAB shelf and then drag items onto that shelf so that I can see what we have in our UAB shipment, and still look at all of the books we have at one time regardless of what place they are in. Much easier than cutting and pasting in Excel. You can also keep track of items you loan to people through the Friends category.
Aside from the categories, the next coolest feature is the ability to input items by scanning the bar code through your built-in webcam. I have been able to hold up a book, CD or DVD and it will read the bar code, then bring in all the information about that item. I was able to do all of Sicily's books in about 30 minutes, much faster than if I had typed the same information into Excel.
The main drawback is that it is really designed for books, games, software, toys, movies, music, gadgets, tools and clothing. If you want to capture your furniture you will have to put it under one of those categories. Right now, I see it as the start of a detailed inventory for those types of items (kitchen will go under tools) and then supplementing with an Excel spreadsheet, videotape or scribbles on a piece of paper.
We use the inventories for three reasons: 1. insurance replacement if it gets lost, damaged, stolen or eaten, 2. so that we don't buy duplicates of stuff we already have but forgot about because it is in another shipment, or 3. so that we know where to find that stuff we really need for our next post (winter clothes!). Documenting everything is a momentous task, but if you generally have enough information to help you with the three above that is more than enough.
Sicily helps enter books into the inventory.
More information on Delicious Library at http://delicious-monster.com/