Doing something about hoarding

2009-12-31 19:11

Okay, so, one of the problems I have is that with all this stuff, I can’t find stuff, so I can’t even tell if I already have something.

Solution: A database. Since I sprained my ankle, I’ve been sitting around without much to do, so I decided to implement this. This is pretty much the polar opposite of most inventory-management programs I’ve seen, because it’s built about a particular use case. I’m not looking for a database which can have multiple photographs of every item, serial numbers, warranty information, and so on. I want something where if I type in a list of things really quickly, just banging out short descriptions, I don’t have to stop typing or click or do anything else — I can just fill out a list of things for a box and move onto the next box.

I’ve put the source up at:

http://www.seebs.net/boxes-0.01.tgz

This is a rails app. I make no promises that it’ll work for anyone else, or that I included everything you need, or that it’ll work without hassle. All I did on top of a basic rails installation (I’m using phusion passenger, because it makes life easy) is add will_paginate. That seems to be enough. It’s a pretty lightweight app. It’s not particularly well-written, secure, robust, or anything like that — the goal is that I can have the netbook next to me, pick a box, put stuff in it, type up what I put in it, close the box, hit save, and then the computer remembers what’s in the box, and if I type “sharpie” it says that the sharpie markers are in Box #4 (plastic tub on black rack in basement), Box #8 (banker’s box on wire rack in garage), Box #11 (banker’s box by radiator in bedroom), and Box #26 (plastic tub on chrome rack in basement).

Once I have that, I can do a few things. One is I can start packing more freely. Another is that, if I think “didn’t I just see one of those recently”, I’ll be able to find out where. Finally, and this is the cool part, once I realize that I have four sets of sharpies, I could maybe consolidate them, get them all in one place — and then not feel that I need to buy more because I’m not sure I have any.

I hope.

We’ll see.

Peter Seebach

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