A look at organization, or, does this count as OCD?

I had so much fun reading Jennifer's posts about stash organization, that I thought I'd show my method (and madness).

Today I'm just going to show my stash software and later some pics of my actual stuff. I started off with a paper journal to keep track of stuff, then downloaded a couple of the stash software freeware or trials that were online. I didn't really like any of them...I wanted both a "pretty" interface and some more powerful search options. So I built my own in Access. I've been working in Access for years & was learning Visual Basic at the time, so here's what I came up with:

The main screen (the upper left window) has the places I enter stuff on the left (Charts, Fibers, etc.) and the right side has some reports I've built. So when I buy a new chart, I click the "Chart" button and add info (the lower window shows the entry for Cirque) such as the stitch count. If it uses specialty threads, I'll also click the "add fibers" button & mark them as "needed".

When I click the "Search for Fabric" button, it will look at the stitch count, whether it's over 1 or 2, and the margin I entered, and see what fabric in my stash is large enough. So for "Cirque" I have 17 pieces in my stash that could work. I can scroll through the records to see what colors/counts they are. Cirque is medium sized, so it fits a few more fabrics; when I search on a bigger project, I may only have 1 or 2 choices.



When I'm ready to start a project, I hit the "Start Project" button on the Chart window & it pulls up and pre-populates the "Project" sheet you see here, including start date. I outfitted it with a super-dork option of tracking time, but I never really use it. I can attach progress pictures like this one for Marriage of the Minds.

Last picture, I promise!

I built a few reports, like one that will tell me which projects I have all the threads/fabric for, but the one I use most often is the shopping list. When I mark threads or beads that I need on the "Chart" sheet, it matches it against what I have. If it's missing, it goes to the shopping list.

One of the software pieces I tried just had "Need" list, but I couldn't tell whether it was for something I was dying to start, or something that was sitting in my stash for years. I like this one because it's organized by chart, so I can get what I need for one project.

So that's how I keep track of stuff. And I do admit that this thing is a little overboard - but I've been able to apply the things I learned while making this to other real-work projects. Since I like how it's laid out I do a better job of keeping up with it. I try to enter new purchases before putting them away, but not as good at removing things that I've used. I'd be happy to share, but I'd have to warn you that there are some quirky things since I'm not a professional programmer and it's a work in progress!

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

WOW!!!!! I am so impressed! I love what you've come up with!

Teejay said...

What a wonderful tool!

Anna van Schurman said...

You could totally sell that.

tintocktap said...

Looks like just the sort of thing I've been looking for! I like Access based solutions I can fiddle with and customise myself. I'm just too lazy to start from scratch. Also Access means I can copy/import for the random collection of spreadsheets I occasionally use. I'd love a copy if you're willing to share - maybe you could email me?

Chiloe said...

Waow! waow !!! I am soooooooooo impressed :-o that's such a great tool ;) and yes that count as OCD !!! lol

Pumpkin said...

Would you be willing to sell that? What a great tool. Plmk.

monique said...

Wow... now that's organized!

Linen Stitcher said...

I love this! What a fabulous idea!!

Stitching Cat said...

Allison, I LOVE your *pretty* organization tool. I've been using Organized Expressions off and on for many years but it's not PRETTY!!! If you decided to sell you product I'd love to try it. Thanks.

Charlene said...

Well, maybe...but we all have some amount of it, don't we? I'd sure love to give it a try with my stash. I am still in the Excel spreadsheet stage, but would LOVE to import it into an Access database. When you're ready to sell, give me a shout!
http://needleinhand.blogspot.com

Gerry said...

What a wonderful tool you've created. I guess the difficult part is getting started...Or knowing where to start. LOL.

Wonderful job!

Mindy said...

WOW! I found your blog via Jennifer's blog. I've been thinking about buying Organized Expressions for a while but what you have created is so much better! I agree that you could probably sell this -- it could pay for your stash. :) I'd love a copy if you are willing to share. mbogue at cavtel dot net.

Awesome stuff! I've used Access on and off for years but am not so good at actually creating these things.

Michelle said...

That's awesome! I especially love how you can see the photo of the piece right there. When I'm searching through my Excel file of my charts, sometimes I can't remember what something looks like. I also like that you can make shopping lists and look for what you have in your stash.

Meari said...

How awesome is that!?! Great job. Are you willing to share the file? I've been taking some access classes and was thinking about doing something like that.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

I just found this entry! I love it. Do you still use this method? I'd be interested to know how it's worked for you since you created it.