Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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home inventory system

Where is that darn _______?
  [vote for,

I am always losing things, within my living space. Partly this is because I live a cluttered life, and things tend to migrate out of organization. So here's what I want... You bring something new into the house, and if you expect to have it for longer than a certain amount of time, say a week (I don't want to do this with groceries, yet), you label the object in some fashion, which gets scanned into your computer. It gets entered into a database which can be cross-referenced by size, weight, usage, date of entry, etc. A few weeks pass, and you can't find it. So, you pull the item up on your computer, and it is either tracked by a device or there are scanning modules throughout your place which gives you a quadrant in which to look for the object, even if it is in a bag in a box in your closet.

Another way in which this could be used is if your place is a mess and you want to organize, you could pull up all items of a particular category that you store together, and you could find out which items are not where they should be, continuing on until each category is satisfied and there is no mess!

I don't know if there is anything out there that is relatively inexpensive to use as a trackable label/signal. I would pay good money for something like this that could be used on thousands of items in the home, including clothing, so it would be best if it were washable (i.e. I have three red shirts and I can't find any of them!)

rwagaman, Jun 26 2000

Real World Search http://www.halfbake...al_20World_20Search
Make sure to check out the links on this related idea. [egnor, Jun 26 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Article about cheap RF tags http://www.eetimes....ry/OEG20001102S0031
Hoping to get below 10 cents per tag [wiml, Jun 26 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Another article about the same tags http://www.technolo...e/mar01/schmidt.asp
some more detail [wiml, Jun 26 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       I recently imagined about the same idea. I'm always helping my wife find her keys, purse, cell phone, etc. I figured some hand held device where you took a blank tag, entered a brief description of the item, which would scan the tag number, then you'd stick it one the item. The tags would have to be fairly small and durable. The hand held device could have a built-in direction finder so you could go track down the item quickly.
gsarasin, Jul 26 2000

       This idea would also be excellent for those of us with homeowner's insurance. You could leave a backup copy on disk with your insurance provider for safekeeping, and in the event of fire or theft, you'd be able to show the insurance company exactly what was lost.   

       Have a croissant.
BigThor, Aug 26 2000

       four words: free radioshack barcode scanner
amadeus, Aug 28 2000

       Somewhere in between my home and office are two very important papers and a small coin collection....I've considered hypnosis to find out where I've put them.....
Susen, Feb 09 2001

       Into a household of chronic losers and a series of elementary school classrooms I introduced the low-tech solution of the Clutter Barrel. [Look Mom no keyboard.]   

       Mine was a sturdy waist-high lidless barrel-sized container BOLTED TO THE FLOOR where everybody passes. That's the secet element. You have to grovel in it.   

       Rule 1 is "If you see something not yours left lying around, put in the barrel."   

       Pick your time carefully to get something out that belongs to you because Rule 2 is "Anyone caught bending over the barrel may be whacked on the bottom".   

       Of course the littlies have their own half-sized barrel.   

       The Clutter Barrel - a real barrel - seems to have been common in early North American elementary schools and dropped out of use with those barrels.
rayfo, May 27 2001

       RFID tags, of the sort used for shipment tracking, non-contact card keys, implanted pet IDs, automatic toll gates, quick gas payment, etc., are apparently getting cheap enough for this sort of thing to be practical. I've seen a company proposing to do this for paper documents (e.g. legal originals which can't just be stored in electronic form). Each folder would have an ID tag on it, and each doorway and desk would contain a tag reader, and the system would keep track of where each folder was. Persumably a similar system could be used at home.
wiml, May 30 2001

       How do those wireless zappers they use to [apparently] stocktake with in supermarkets, work?
rayfo, Jun 05 2001

       This is totally feasible and should be available in the shops now... I want a handheld scanner connected by USB. Upload the item you are looking for and go scanning. Better still just let me use my mobile phone handset to find my stuff.
andrewuk, Nov 09 2003

       I lost a little gold whistle when I was young.. it was really high pitched and annoying. I miss it.
riksta9, Jul 21 2004


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