Keeping Track of Supplies

We’ve talked a few times about how we store our felting and craft supplies, but how do you keep track of what you have so you know when you’re running low? Do you have a system? I don’t have enough room to keep the whole amount of my wool and fibre supplies out, so I usually keep some out to use…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA… and the rest ‘spare’ in bags (or pillow cases!) out of the way in cupboards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis often leads to me running out of certain breeds or colours, or in some cases, ordering twice because I forget that I checked before the last time I ordered. I decided to do an inventory of all my supplies and stock this week, so I know exactly what I have, then I can try to find a way to keep a better track of it all. I thought the easiest way to do this, would be to put an old sheet down on the floor, get everything out…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA… make lists …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand weigh it all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had some Word documents with lists of what I usually use from the last time I tried to be better organised, so I started with those and did print outs for my supplies and also for what is ‘spare’. I decided I’d start with my ‘natural’ wools and do the dyed wools and fibres another day. I have my natural wools split into lights and darks, and I also separate the commercial tops from the locks, scoured and carded wools. I know it sounds like a lot of messing about, but it is easier for finding what I want with limited space.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wasn’t thinking when I started with the light colours. I weighed everything first, then added to the supplies I keep out if they were getting low. But when I did the dark colours, if any of the supplies were low, I added to them before writing down the weight, so I didn’t have lots of scribbled out numbers or have to do two lots of weighing 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, now I have huge lists with the weights of all my supplies, and spare supplies, do you have any tips or advice about how to keep track of it all better? The only thing I can think of is to weigh the supplies again after each use and also the spares each time I get more out.

UPDATE: I have uploaded a couple of Word documents, altered from the lists I made doing my natural wool supplies inventory, in case anyone wants to use them for themselves. They are in tables, but are easy to alter to suit you. For a list of Commercial wool tops in different breeds, click here then click the link to open the Word doc. For a list of scoured, washed and raw wools, locks and fleeces, click here for the Word doc attachment.

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25 Responses to Keeping Track of Supplies

  1. Chris says:

    I like to keep all my color tones together in clear plastic bags so it is easy to see if I’m getting low on blues or greens etc. I also try to organize the bags in a rainbow pattern just cos it looks nice on the shelves.Your post just reminded me I’m really low on most colors at the moment so need to place an order.

  2. Lyn says:

    Being organised with stock sheets would save the frustration that comes with the realisation that I don’t have enough of the colour I want…right now…today.
    However, although I’m a very organised person in most things, my fibres and fabrics are without stock control. It just seems too big an undertaking.

    • zedster66 says:

      I must admit, the first day I decided to do it, it all seemed too much and I put it all away again. I could email you my lists if you like, it’d be much easier to add and delete types than to start from scratch?

      If anyone else is interested, I could upload a Word document with the lists of breeds in a table for you to use/alter as you like?

  3. Juliane says:

    I’ve wondered about the task of ‘taking stock’ after reading about folks going through this for tax purposes. It is a good idea (and that and to ‘date’ wool as have noticed that the stuff that I’ve had for a long time is more difficult to lay out (sort of pre-felted from being mashed into those bags that Wingham sends AND then being put into the World of Wool boxes….similar to your pillow case solution, only stack-able. I’d love to have them on display and easy to access!

    • zedster66 says:

      I’ve had that problem with wool stored for a long time too, since I bought my drum carder, I’ve ran a few lots through and it’s like new again.

  4. luvswool says:

    My wool stock is not organized in any way, just thrown into those large clear plastic bins; and every time I do a project, it means sorting through the bins, pulling out this and that. I have to admire you, Zed, for getting organized to the point of creating stock lists!

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Cathy 🙂
      The thing is, once you know what you have, you also know what you don’t have, which means it’s time to do an order 😉

  5. ruthlane says:

    You are much more organized than I am for sure. I kind of have the embellishment fibers separate from the wool but other than that it is just a big mish mash. It is hard to find stuff for sure. Perhaps you could just come over and organize mine for me 🙂

  6. What a wonderful idea! My fiber stash is organized in bins: I have a teaching space in which I have bins of merino separated into color groups (blues/purples, greens, yellows/browns/neutrals, and reds) and merino/silk blends; as well as a large bin of locally-sourced fiber and dyed non-merino; and a bin of white and natural-colored fibers; separate bins of silk and novelty fiber/fabrics/curly locks/ prefelts. I have a second fiber storage area where larger amounts of these same fibers are similarly stored in larger bins. Of course, there are bins of beading and embroidery supplies. A written inventory is a great idea!

    • zedster66 says:

      I’d give up the written inventory in return for all your supplies and space to put them!

  7. Great job Zed. It’s a lot of work to get it organised. I am still working on this. I have lots in clear plastic bins of various sizes with labels but having inventory list would be good. also a list of things for sale. I wonder if an excel spread sheet would be better than work docs. I like being able to print out just the parts of the list I want and being able to re arrange them different ways. I only know how to do the very basics but I know you can do a lot with it.

    • zedster66 says:

      Thanks, Ann 🙂
      I’ve only used excel for accounts, I like Word for copying and altering the tables, but then I often forget which is my ‘current’ document 🙂

  8. Nada says:

    Unfortunately I am limited in space and need to keep amounts of wool to minimum. I have my merinos organised in three transparent plastic boxes (reds/purples, greens/yellow and orange and blues). Silk and embellishments I keep separate. Then I have larger quantities of coarse wool for slippers which I keep in our shed in the garden. My biggest problem is that I don’t have sufficient quantities of merino wool in different colours and that I never know what I am going to make next and what colours I will need. If postage was cheaper (I am buying mostly from Germany and UK) there would be no problem – I would place orders more frequently.Still looking for a solution to this problem.

    • zedster66 says:

      Yeah, the postage is the biggest cost, really. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do the inventory, so I could do a large order and save on the postage costs, the less often you have to buy stuff, the less paid out in postage. I know World of Wool do discounts for orders over a certain amount, but they’re so cheap it’s hard to spend enough! 🙂

  9. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    That sounds like a great system Zed. I started out organized. I do keep track of what I’ve ordered from who with a sample file. My rovings are in hanging plastic shoe holders so I can see them. Embellishments are in a 3 bin storage container, prefelts and yarn are in a different clear storage boxes and I have separate bins for ribbons, silk fabrics etc. I can visually see most things. All my undyed wools rovings and yarns are also separate bins. I can see why you put everything away the first time. The thought of weighing and documenting everything I have is daunting.

    • zedster66 says:

      Yours sounds nicely organised and accessible 🙂 If I had a half decent memory and could see what I had, I wouldn’t nee to do it, I just hope I keep up now. I won’t be doing fibres/embellishments though!

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Zed. It’s probably sounds more organized than it looks. Basically the fiber has taken over my basement!

  10. Plastic storage containers with labels of everything inside. I sort my fabrics by color. I keep my brights all together. I keep my pastels all together. That takes care of my lights and my brights. All my embellishments are stored in these containers and every item is on the labels on the front of the box or drawer. I can look at a glance at every container on the shelves and read the labels. If I run out of something it goes on a shopping list. I could not work without this system. It would be chaos.

    • zedster66 says:

      That sounds like a good system, Judy 🙂
      You just reminded me that I need to keep my shopping lists updated too, I start one, then find an old one, and can’t remember which is which!

  11. Leonor says:

    That’s quite a feat, Zed! I wish I were that organised myself… I keep most of my merino in a vertical container with drawers and just have the colours more or less separated (blues with greens, reds with pinks and purples, yellows and oranges, naturals and black). As for my “specialty” wools, I just keep them in another plastic container inside their bags. I do, however, notice that everything that’s *not* in my vertical storage thing is forgotten a lot. I need to change that soon 🙂

  12. Pingback: New Felting Supplies | feltingandfiberstudio

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