Your Digital Collection Inventory System


A digital collection inventory system is the way of the future.

An digital collection inventory system can bring you piece of mind. Taking the time to get to know each of your collectibles helps you appreciate them and make you more aware of what you own. Tracking what Peanuts collectibles you own can stop you from re-purchasing what you already have. When the time comes to sell, you can share your records to help expedite the sale. More importantly, if tragedy strikes, you’ll have records to help you rebuild your life.

What’s Important in a Digital Collection Inventory System

How you want to organize your collection is up to you. Below are the factors I think are important to consider when choosing the right Inventory System.

Ease of Use

The easier the program is to use, the more likely you are to use it! If you haven’t cataloged for a while, are you going to need a refresher course? Are there features you just can’t figure out how to use? How long does it take to fill out an entry? Can you customize the interface for just the fields you need? The more items you need to catalog, the more you’ll appreciate an easy-to-use system.

Mobility

An inventory system is no use to you when you can’t access it where you need it most! When out at a flea market or antique store, it’s handy to whip out your smart phone and bring up your collection. When your collection is automatically in the cloud, you’ll always have the data you need to make a decision.


Consult your collection inventory anywhere you go.

Sharing

It’s fun to share our collections! If you have a partner who needs to help catalog or look up entries, make sure your solution supports multiple users. Plus, if you want your collection displayed to the world, then look for a more open solution.

Price

The more you spend on inventory is less you can spend on your collection. However, web hosting isn’t free. The more fully featured your inventory system, the more you may need to invest. Sometimes the free solution isn’t the best solution.

Longevity

Your collection is going to be around for a long time, and so should your inventory system! If you’re purchasing software or buying a monthly subscription, make sure it’s with a reputable and financially secure company. Make sure they’re actively upgrading their software to be compatible with the latest technology and security updates.

Data Portability

From spreadsheet, to database, and back again. Some software can load spreadsheets, and also export them. Get a head start on your inventory by loading in your old spreadsheet. In the event the software is no longer supported, exporting to a spreadsheet can help you save your data.


When diving into your collection, be sure you can find what you’re looking for.

Easy to Search

Once you have all this data in your inventory system, you need to find what you want quickly. Either good organization or an advanced search functionality is key to finding what you need.

Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words. Photos help distinguish easy-to-confuse descriptions and highlight condition issues. They also take up space and can be harder to manage than your collection. The right software solution should make it easy to deal with and provide quality images that will give you the information you need.

Backup

If you’re doing all this work, make sure your work is safe. Having your data in the cloud is a step in the right direction. Offsite backups are key in case of a catastrophe at your home. Being able to save an offline version can also be helpful, in case something happens to a web server or the online service goes offline. Either way, make sure it’s easy or automatic to save a backup!


Explore your options for keeping your collection organized.

Inventory System Solution Suggestions

Spreadsheets

Both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets have a web app for easy use and cloud storage. Google sheets is free and easy to use. A low-tech option for cataloging your collection, but better than nothing. With customizable fields and search, you’ll have the info you need when you need it. However, photos may not be worth adding since they’ll be small or make the file size too large. A better solution is to link to an image on a cloud-based image server. Finally, on mobile devices, it may have a lot of side-scrolling.

Online Image Server

Another low-tech option is to have an image server with photos of all your items. I use Amazon photos (affiliate link) to automatically backup all my Peanuts photos. Amazon photos comes with an Amazon Prime membership and includes unlimited space for photos. Couple this with your spreadsheet for a basic inventory management system. Being saved in the cloud, all the images are available in a mobile app. They are searchable and can be organized into albums. However, there isn’t any lengthy text data that can be saved with the image.

Your Own Website

CollectPeanuts.com runs on a content mangement system called WordPress. It wasn’t made for inventorying a collection. While there are probably better solutions out there now, there wasn’t much when I started this site. WordPress also gives me the option to share it with the world. The site is available anywhere, mobile ready and fully customized to my needs. I have total control. However, I have total control and need to do all the technical and maintenance work. Unless you want to share everything with the world like I am, then there are other options out there.


There are lots of options to help you get the right system for you.

Purpose-built Software

I haven’t used any of these solutions, but they are the ones I would explore more if I was looking for inventory management software. I’ve included a variety because what works for one person, may not be the best for another person. If you have any suggestions based on personal experience, feel free to email me.

Next Steps

If you’re here, you realize you probably need some form of a digital collection inventory system. Give a few free apps a try and see what you like. Put in a couple of records and play around. Decide what you really want an inventory system for. Finally, talk to your insurance agent about coverage of your collection. Once you’ve narrowed down what you feel comfortable with, get yourself started! Be sure to let me know how it goes at info@collectpeanuts.com.

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