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Knowing What You Have

downtimeAh, inventory management. I never thought of myself as the kind of person who would enjoy entering, cataloging, and maintaining an inventory, and yet…

There is something infinitely satisfying about pulling up a site like LibraryThing, or opening Delicious Library to see, at a glance, whether or not I have a particular book I’m looking at, or whether I’ve already bought a particular James Bond movie. I use Delicious Library for books, movies, and video games. iTunes for music and audiobooks. And Ravelry for yarn inventory. Because the bulk of my yarn is tucked away in the storage bay beneath the RV, having a site where I can peruse it photographically really helps when I’m thinking about starting a new project and buying a bunch of yarn to support it.

It should come as no surprise tha my husband and I inventory the food in our cabinets before we head out to the grocery store. We don’t fill in a list as we finish things off– doing that means not noticing until you get back from the store if your produce is starting to look a little “iffy.” Instead, we take 20 minutes before heading out to look through the cabinets (there are 4 of them) and the fridge to decide what we need and what we didn’t use last week.

Over the past couple of days, as part of the book purge to find space for the books I inherited from my grandmother, I’ve updated my book inventory to reflect what books are in the RV and where they are. I currently have about a dozen books I can’t account for– they’re not in the rig, and they’re labeled as being in “storage.” My stored books are labeled by the box they were stored in, so any book labeled “Storage” is effectively lost.

I’m anxious about those books, but not as much as I am about the 4 lost little books labeled “Uknown” in my inventory. Sure, they’re not terribly crucial. And I’m pretty sure one of them isn’t missing, it just got wedged behind something. But I am not ashamed to admit that, having lost these four in such a haphazard way, my greatest hope is that they accidentally found themselves in a box heading to Goodwill. To think of them lost, truly lost, breaks my heart more than just a little.

The result: 40 books are heading to the Salvation Army today. I am keeping 120 books in the RV, of which about 27 belong to my husband; the rest are mine and include grandma’s books, some music books, and my knitting and writing book collections.

I also updated my catalog of ebooks, including audiobooks, which now weigh in at a whopping 154 books in electronic format. That means my library is half the size and weight it could have been, if I was confined to the limits of a physical book.

Now isn’t that a reason to be glad for the digital age?

Originally posted to Life on the Road.

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