SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious ...

Do any of you keep an inventory of the stuff you own and the things you have on your boat, where to find them, that kind of thing ? If yes, I am interested in your thoughts on how best to do it, what purpose it serves for you, whether you bother keeping it up to date, what kind of information you keep about the various items, etc. Is it worth the trouble for you to do it ?

I have so much junk, and I want to "downsize" and get rid of a lot of it, but I honestly don't even know what I own anymore because there is so much junk packed away in different places, I have been accumulating it for years of course. I'm considering actually doing an inventory, just like folks do at stores where they go through and pull every single thing out and write down what it is. I thought I'd inventory everything and sort out some of the obvious stuff that I want to get rid of, then go back and keep sorting through the list from time to time getting rid of even more.

I have heard people say that to visit some foreign countries you almost have to keep an inventory of what is on the boat to give to customs so that you can prove you own it, and that you should keep receipts when you buy things along the way. Anyone have thoughts on any of this ?

One thing I was thinking is that keeping an inventory might be such a PITA that it might help to keep me from buying stuff in the first place. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,336 Posts
Windy,
The only inventory you need to keep is of your sleeping pills! It's 4:30 in the morning! Your wife is in bed. She's naked. Now go in there and wake her up in that oh-so-special way...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
We also have too much "stuff". George Carlin used to say "Stuff expands to fill all the available space." Our approach is to regularly pull a couple of items out, and list them on Craig's list, often at giveaway prices. If they sell, great. If nobody wants them, we trash can them. Makes the decision easier. We inherited lots of the stuff, including a drawer full labeled "pieces of string too short to be used". Trying not to do the same thing to our kids
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,428 Posts
I keep an inventory for 2 reasons. Customs often want to see what you have ( and if you are super organised, it looks good --> easier time with them)- and for us to find things like CAV unit O rings or inflatable life jacket gas cylinder spares & charts. etc etc etc.

Once done, it is easy to modify ( I dont do that _ I leave it for the cook/admiral/accountant.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,475 Posts
I am not horribly diligent or accurate about many things, but I do maintain a boat inventory. In excel, no less. I drew a floor plan/ deck plan of Whiskeyjack, and lettered each bin, drawer, shelf, cubby and locker. I laminated the stowage plan and it is kept in the binder of manuals. All stowed items are indexed by item and location, and locations are indexed by item. The inventory is also in the binder of manuals.

Why?

I once spent three hours trying to track down a keeper ring for a clevis pin. I knew I had some, I knew the nearest chandlery was 15 minutes of walking each way, and i knew it was late in the day, I wanted to go sailing, and it wouldn't take that long to find what i needed onboard. And then I couldn't. And then I got sidetracked with all of the stuff I DID find. And then the stores were closed. So, I lost sailing time for lack of being able to find a nickel's worth of wire.

Once you get the inventory done the first time, it is easy to keep it updated.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Once you get the inventory done the first time, it is easy to keep it updated.
Thank you for the feedback everyone. Two of you said essentially the same thing, that once you actually complete the inventory it is easy to keep up to date, so I think I am going to do one too. I really think it might help.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Windy,
The only inventory you need to keep is of your sleeping pills! It's 4:30 in the morning! Your wife is in bed. She's naked. Now go in there and wake her up in that oh-so-special way...
Well see hog that is what happens when you stay single for too long, you are up at 4:30am in the morning considering whether to inventory the house or not. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
We do indeed keep an inventory. Spreadsheet with a few pages; right now, just victuals and tools. If you keep a victuals inventory, I recommend you have a column for "purchase date", "last fresh date", and "expiry date", and every time you check it and decide it can be kept a little longer, update the "last fresh" date.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,491 Posts
I have kept modified drawings of the boat's layout from above with several variations: "safety", "maintenance", "stores" and so on. Go to the "safety" page and you'll see the location of the crash box, the flares, extinguishers (not all of them are out in the open), spare PFDs, etc. "Stores" indicates where stuff will go under floorboards and in lockers. "Maintenance" shows the location of tools, particularly specialist tools like bolt cutters, giant wrenches, etc, that are likely to be buried deeply due to size and weight.

"Ground tackle" and "medical" might be other pages.

I also have fairly detailed instructions in the log on how to operate the boat if you are a complete novice.

The idea is that if the skipper's unconscious, some one can read a graphic quickly to find the area where stuff is stored. A full manifest of all gear would be just a two column list, like "oil filters (6)==port side locker aft in green bin".

It seems bureaucratic, but if we are going offshore, I want to tear apart the boat as rarely as possible at sea, where dozens of little objects loose are dangerous. Ideally, I don't want any gear that isn't bedding or a paperback visible when underway if not actively in use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
I once used to keep all the necessary stuff on board. Impeller, somemotor pieces, some sailing goodies etc. What I found later is that the failing parts are generally not available on board. You have to turn back to a marina and buy them.

I am not keeping anything on board now. If something fails or if I need something I buy it and use it. This is really a cheaper way.

Since I do not keep any inventory I do need to write them down.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Started an inventory today, kind of fun actually. :)

Strategy - I decided I would keep my inventory in a relational database so I made tables for manufacturer, location, and the items I am finding as I do my inventory. I also made two other tables, one for DVD's and another for CD's, but for now I am not using them. I designed some sheets that have the database fields written on them - name, description, location, manufacturer, model number, and serial number, and printed a pile of those out.

Lessons learned so far - It is time consuming, but satisfying. The sheets work great, just fill them out as I find things, take them back to the computer and do some data entry. It is a little time consuming at the moment because I have to use a generic database tool to enter the data, it would be easier if there was a custom gui like a real application, but I will manage just fine as is. I think it is probably best to build the inventory one location at a time so things don't get messed up and you don't miss anything while you are doing it.

I can't even imagine how great it would be to have it all in a database and know what I own, and where it is located, maybe even actually be able to find something instead of having to buy another of whatever it is because I can't find the one I know I already have. I imagine going back on a periodic basis and doing another inventory using the inventory list I already have to check and make sure it is still right, I am sure that is much easier than the initial inventory.

Could I write about a more boring subject ? :D

Just trying to develop some good habits for when I am on the boat all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,705 Posts
I am not one to keep inventories.

We keep all related stuff in the same locker. All the cleaning stuff in one, all the tools in another, all the groceries in a third and so on. We have become so accustomed to what goes where that there is never any confusion. We generally know exactly what we have on board and where it is. I NEVER put tools or spares anywhere other than where they belong. And the same goes for everything else. If I want a torch or a pair of scissors, a screwdriver or a fishing reel, I know exactly where to find it.

I also never share tools and equipment between my boat and my home/car. What is required on the boat is on the boat and is never removed. I have many tools duplicated to keep this philosophy pure.

And this discipline pretty much goes for everything else. Groceries are obviously more difficult to remember but we always have a bit of an over-supply and rarely have a problem of shortages. We also don't keep grocery "stock" on the boat. We plan our food and beverage consumption on a per trip basis and take a budgeted amount of stuff on board. What is left over goes home.

Having said this, I am told by the many long-term sailors/voyagers that I have spoken to over the years that despite all the computer technology presently available, many of them still use the age-old Kardex system that has been around for decades. It is seemingly the easiest to keep updated.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I am not one to keep inventories.

[snip]

Having said this, I am told by the many long-term sailors/voyagers that I have spoken to over the years that despite all the computer technology presently available, many of them still use the age-old Kardex system that has been around for decades. It is seemingly the easiest to keep updated.
Nice post, thank you for responding.

I thought about keeping a written inventory instead of doing it on the computer, but I think one of the key benefits for me of keeping a computer inventory is so I can sort through it from time to time and decide to get rid of things. I have tried to go through things by hand and sort them into piles - this goes to the dump, that goes to a family member, this goes to the boat, etc, but for some reason I seem to be completely incapable of making a decision when I am actually going through the stuff, I don't know why! I end up with two piles, trash, and not-trash, and then it all goes right back where it came from. I am already finding that if I just go through everything and inventory it and put it into the database that I can sit and look at it on the computer screen and make better decisions about it, whether I want to keep it and what I want to do with it.

Of course the great thing about index cards is they don't stop working when the power goes out, though you might have some trouble reading them if it is dark outside! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
When we were cruising full time on the boat we had to keep a lot of "stuff" on the boat and had to be creative about finding space to put it(only a 27ft Tartan) so a list(in a stores and supplies book ,no computer) was essential.
As for it carrying spare parts or not when in isolated spaces having just the right bit or bob is a life saver.Also when cruising on a VERY tight budget "going back to a marina" is not an option except in a real emergancy.
Since we have a house again and only go out for a week or two our inventory had all gone to pot and we can't find stuff any more!!!
Omatako seeing you write "torch" reminds me of when I started nursing in Canada and mentioned I would get my torch ,the patient(whoops sorry,client)was conerned I would set him alight!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,491 Posts
I also never share tools and equipment between my boat and my home/car. What is required on the boat is on the boat and is never removed. I have many tools duplicated to keep this philosophy pure.
This is very important, if a bit expensive to achieve. Boat tools are treated differently; even on fresh water as we currently are, rust is an issue and I oil-coat and wrap "boat tools" far more than I do in my garage workshop.

As for spares and tools, when I've finished painting and installing tie-downs, lighting and outlets in the forepeak, all that stuff will go forward and the lead pigs currently there for trim will come out! I find having a variety of small plastic tool boxes (fishing tackle boxes are good) with bright labels or ink on all sides based on function (ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING, SAIL REPAIR and so on) is helpful, as I can grab a multi-head screwdriver, some self-adhering tape and the applicable toolbox and get almost any repair done without rooting around for stuff.

I will tolerate a fair amount of disorder or "creative filing" as my wife calls it, on shore, but having been conked a few times early in my boat-owning career, the dictum of "everything has its place aboard" is my mantra.;)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,006 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all again for the great responses, I appreciate your time.

From reading what has been written it sounds like some people move beyond inventories to knowing their boat well enough to have a place for everything and to just know where that place is, so they don't really need an inventory anymore. I hope to get to that point someday, but I am definitely not there yet! :)

I think I will have to manually keep an inventory for a while before I get that organized, maybe as I go along getting rid of things I will naturally start associating things in various ways and find, buy, or build storage areas for everything, but at the moment things are just clutter for the most part, packed away in boxes, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,705 Posts
I find having a variety of small plastic tool boxes (fishing tackle boxes are good) with bright labels or ink on all sides based on function (ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING, SAIL REPAIR and so on) is helpful, as I can grab a multi-head screwdriver, some self-adhering tape and the applicable toolbox and get almost any repair done without rooting around for stuff.
I agree (in principle) :p

We have opted for fabric "tool roles". An electrical tool role (yellow) will have all the bits likely to be needed to fix an electrical problem. A deck roll (blue) has the bits likely to be used on deck for a range of jobs. And so on. Each role has been "customised" and lovingly sewn by my wife and is in a different colour so identity is easy. And the emphasis is on "likely to be needed", avoid having every possible combination because that negates the principle.;) The rolls also stow easier than toolboxes.

The bulk of the tools still have a common home but nothing irritates more than scratching through a large toolbox looking for a pair of long-nose pliers. It and every other piece of kit you want now, is always at the bottom of the box.:mad:

And just for the record, my mechanical tools are stored in "customised" drawers in foam cut-outs like this:



My main tool locker comprises 7 drawers like this. The principle behind this is a) they don't rattle but far more important b) they don't touch each other and thus no electrolisis and much less corrosion. It's also easy to "dust" them with a fine layer of WD40. The spanners above I have had since I was an apprentice (40 years ago!!!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,491 Posts
Wow, I love those drawers! What is the foam made from and who spent hours cutting it to shape? Please excuse me for wanting to steal these ideas!

I don't see that these drawers are lockable (unless they need to be lifted and then pulled). Do you drop a retaining bar in the front to keep them from opening on certain tacks?
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top