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My bench is overflowing with stuff ... I have several racks of little drawers, and another bench that has heaps of stuff on it. My label maker works hard. And yet, stuff gets temporarily lost all the time.

How do you keep track of all your parts?

If you have any ideas on how to keep track of your inventory, please share. This is driving me nuts and spending money to solve the problem is certainly on the table. My latest idea is to have everything ordered by supplier part number, and use a database to look them up. Any better ideas?

(My goal is to optimize findability, not (say) everything being reachable - walking around and collecting stuff is OK).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related question here: chiphacker.com/questions/3578 but that seems to be more about the physical problem of selecting drawers/bins/boxes/envelopes than about the database design. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Aug 7 '10 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ BOMER might come in handy! - bomer.co Disclaimer: I'm the developer and I created it for the exact same reason as you. \$\endgroup\$ – msr Jul 24 '17 at 8:00
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I had exactly the same problem. In the end I gave in to my warehousing instinct and assigned each physical drawer, box, etc a location code. For example, I have ten of those 20-compartment boxes, so they are referenced as 1.1, 10.6 (e.g. box 10, compartment 6). Then everything went into a spreadsheet with tabs for different categories (capacitors, LEDs, relays etc).

Each item has a column with part number, type, value, max voltage, RoHS, quantity in stock, min quantity for reorder, etc., plus preferred supplier part number etc. Then I can just use 'find' on the spreadsheet to look something up, or run a simple procedure to check for things to reorder.

The only thing that isn't given a location is resistors, but each value is in a separate zip-lock bag, in numerical order over three shoe boxes.

One day I will port the lot in Access, but couldn't be bothered at this stage. :)

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    \$\begingroup\$ A very good solution. I ran the aviation maintenance shop for a UAV unit in the US Army for 3 years. We had over 500 different "line items" of stuff. This method was the only way to keep it all organized and restocked. I did eventually did go to an Access database, but everyone else was too scared of Access. \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Aug 6 '10 at 7:02
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I hated having search for datasheets over and over, so I threw together a little web app that keeps track of my inventory and datasheets. ('guest@mailinator.com' and 'guest' if anyone wants to play around with it - be nice). It's basically a database with a front end so I can get to it from anywhere. For physical parts storage, I keep most of my SMD stuff in 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 envelopes in plastic bins. The envelopes are cheap enough that I can use one for each value of small part, and big enough to hold most of my SMD stuff. Through-hole parts are still in little plastic divided containers, but that's only because I haven't moved them to envelopes yet.

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I use a database (Postgres).

I wouldn't use the supplier part number. If you change suppliers you will need to change your tables. You could use manufacturer/manufacturer part number. If you decide to expand your application to do ordering you can create a table that maps manufacturer/manufacturer_part_number to supplier/supplier_part_number.

Recently I have added an internal part numbering system so that parts with identical form/function can be mapped to multiple manufacturer/manufacturer_part_number records. For example RES-1K00-0W125 (1K 1/8W resistor) can map to parts made by Xicon, Yageo, Stackpole, etc. This is a lot more work to setup but is not difficult to maintain.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How do you interface to your Postgres database? \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Aug 7 '10 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I use perl for various utility scripts. I use Perl + Mason for webpage access. \$\endgroup\$ – jluciani Aug 9 '10 at 14:31
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If you are looking for a web application for tracking your electronic components you have to check out http://partkeepr.org/. I was so happy to have stumbled across it. You won't be disappointed.

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I started with a spreadsheet a long time ago. Then I used to use PartKeepr, which is great, until I ran into some limitations — in particular, I needed to keep some parts in multiple storage locations (such as resistors on cut tape, but also a full reel somewhere). I decided I'd create my own solution, and so PartsBox https://partsbox.io/ was born.

Disclaimer: I am (obviously) the founder and creator of this app. But since it is free for hobbyists/makers I thought this was relevant here and deserved posting.

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