The last two times I’ve relocated I’ve taken the time, when packing, to develop a pretty comprehensive inventory of my stuff. Yeah, in fact it is a pain in the ass to do that. Takes time, too. So what’s the point?

This is also the second move that’s been somewhat less than ideal. There were wildly different reasons for that, but the result has been the same: lots of boxes stacked chaotically for a an extended period.

The movers delivered us, offloading into the garage, literally an hour after the garage doors had been hung and tested. That’s tight timing. Stuff went in as it came off the truck, nothing like the way it might be needed. We had about 500 pieces.

About ten days later I dug into the pile. The goal was simple. Stack like-sized containers into rows with their identifiers arranged so that they could be read. When the parade of subcontractors had subsided just a little, being able to find stuff by searching a list saved us a ton of time.

Yesterday Pam & me spent some time recycling empty cartons and rearranging the rows, the first time since the first triage. The bikes fit comfortably now and the idea of allocating some workshop space doesn’t seem so far off.

I need to spend a moment talking about the tools I used, mostly because it was a little different from the way I did it about a dozen years back. Back then it was a simple text file on a computer, which meant that I needed either the computer or a printed sheet to use the inventory. This time I used a document on Google shared using Google Drive. This meant that the inventory was always available no matter what device was handy. That was a big win. There were two downsides, though. The first is my own – I’m just not very effective with data entry on a phone. I don’t know how these kids do it. Voice input isn’t there yet. The second is that search blows, which is kind of funny since it’s Google. Search wasn’t terribly important until we hit the ground, so it was easy to turn the document into a portable and searchable PDF.

Go ahead and say it.