At the time when I was taking pictures with my phone, I rarely had a problem finding or identifying my stuff. But ever since I went into photography, things went out of hand pretty quickly. Every new piece of gear comes with a number of small accessories that I need once in a lifetime, but when I need it, I have no idea where it is or even how does it look like.
The time has come to put things in order. Once and for all.
I use Notion as a database of things.
Quick spoiler how items in a database look like:
The example database, that we will start building in a sec, is shared here:
You can fork it, poke it and use it as a starting point for your own thing.
Create a new page called Inventory and make it a database with default
Adjust initial properties:
URLto store URL of a product page to quickly access manuals, to re-order item, etc.
You can also turn off wrapping cells, so URLs wouldn't break the table's layout.
The initial table should look like this.
The primary goal of the database is to quickly provide information on where can I find a specific item. The Notion's feature called
Relations will help us with it.
Let's create the first entry.
Keychron K3 Keyboard
This database is going to contain not only things like laptops, keyboards, cables, etc. but also entries where these things are located, such as containers, closets, desks, etc. Since the keyboard we just created is located on the work desk, let's create its entry next.
Once all the base stuff is created, the next step would be to relate 2 created entries to each other. I.e. the
Keyboard is at the
Work Desk and the
Work Desk contains the
Add a new
@ property of type
In the appeared window, choose the database that we're in — Inventory. And then pick an option Create a new property.
After you confirmed creation by clicking
Create relation button, you should see two new properties created:
Related to Inventory (@).
Related to Inventory (@) one to
Keychron K3 Keyboard item and update its
@ field: click on it and select
Next, open the
Work Desk entry and you should see that field
Contains is set to value
Keychron K3 Keyboard automatically.
It doesn't matter which field you set,
Contains, once one of the fields receives a value, the related field will be properly linked automatically.
One more useful relation I have in my database is the one that indicates that item
X is an accessory of item
Y (or other way around,
Y has an accessory
X). This way I can easily see that this device is compatible with the following cables or can be charged using the following batteries etc.
Such relation can be added using exactly the same technique as used for
Contains fields. In the same way as
@ was added, add new relation property called
Accessories and, when it's done, rename auto-created
Related to Inventory (Accessories) property to
I want things I don't use often (like 90% of the stuff I have) to be hidden from sight but at the same time are easy to find when I need them. It would require some hardware.
Each box has its own unique identifier. It might be a simple number or letter, such as
C, but I prefer generating random combinations, so in case if at some point I will want to re-shuffle boxes, I won't be suffering from
|1| |3| |2| |4| situation.
The workflow I settled on looks like this:
@field for the added box.
Containsfield of this box in the database.
Let's apply this workflow to the following use-case. Keychron keyboard comes with several accessories including a keycap puller. I don't need it often and I definitely don't want things like this to hang around my work desk.
Work Desk Storage).
Keychron K3 Keyboard Keycap Pullerentry to the database.
ABCidentifier from a generated list and put it on a sticky tag using a permanent marker.
Rabbla Small Container: ABC.
@field to the
Work Desk Storageentry.
Keychron K3 Keyboard Keycap Pullerto the
Rabbla Small Container: ABCbox in the database.
The result would be something like this:
Now, if you need this puller:
Rabbla Small Container: ABCwhich is in the
Work Desk Storage.
Big boxes fit more stuff and can be more convenient to store than a bunch of smaller boxes. But in a large box, things are more difficult to organize. E.g. I want to store accessories of 2 different backpacks in a single box plus several other things, but I don't want them to mix with each other. To sort it out, I use zip storage bags and the same old sticky tags. Each group of accessories goes into its own zip storage bag and the tag with the name of the item gets slapped to the bag.
Use sorting. I sort my tables by
Tag and by
Prefix all accessories with the name of the item whose accessory this item is. E.g.
Keychron K3 Keyboard Keycap Puller. So in the table, all related items are grouped together.
Place a box ID right in the name (instead of stand-alone ID property) so it's easier to spot a specific box in a relation list.
Create additional views with filters, such as for items with missing
@, so you can easily spot them and clean up a mess later.
It took me around 3 weekends to get things sorted. Worth it!