The Photographic (Wool) Inventory List

This post has been long overdue!
Life kind of happened, and before I knew it, there was only one week of February left! But better late than never.. Enjoy! :)

In this post, the example used is wool, but creating a photographic inventory list works for other supplies as well. 

Does the size of your yarn stash create problems in finding a specific ball of wool? Is finding the right weight and amount next to impossible? Or do you simply have way too many boxes in your craft room that you want to move, and you are worried that you have to climb into the attic just to check which wool has been stored there?

Then you are in the right place! Whether your problems are fabric, or other large quantity craft items, carry on as well, as this method can be applied to many items.

The basic idea, is to create an inventory of your boxes, before they are stored somewhere out of the way. But instead of taking hours to make lists (which can now be done later if you so wish) the method is photography!
This works well for supplies that you do not need often, and are too bulky to keep in the craft room.

The steps are fairly easy. All you need are your boxes, or totes, or other storage containers, your supply of wool or other materials, a few labels and your camera. Some empty space on a table or floor is recommended, as well as some good lighting. It may be a good idea to do this while you have some decent sunlight, so colors are captured as lifelike as possible. So here we go!


How to organize your craft supplies by

Step 1:
label your boxes. I personally just label them A, B, C etc. If you have more than 26, you can continue with AA, AB and so forth. Numbering is also possible. Make sure the labels are large enough so that you can easily see them at a glance, even if more boxes are stacked. You may want to stick labels to two or more sides of a box, just in case. For my boxes, I simply printed two letters per sheet of A4 paper and cut them in half.
On the pictures they are still on top of the lid, but I later put them inside, on the sides. (the boxes are translucent, and the letters show through) You can also tape them on, of course. :) Whatever works for you!


The box, with the label clearly in view.
The box, with the label clearly in view.

Step 2:
Prepare for taking pictures. Make sure you have plenty of space on your camera storage. You may want to set your image settings to a smaller size, so the images are not too large in MB.
Set up 1 box that you want to take the inventory of, and empty it. Now sort the contents (in this case wool), into piles of the same brand/type/color.

Step 3:
Take pictures; First, take a picture of the label of the box!
Then, take pictures of the wool. First, take a picture where you can see the total amount of the specific type in one photo. Then take an additional photo of one of the labels. (You may need to take more than one photo if it doesn’t fit into one picture). Continue this for the other balls of wool.

The total amount. You can easily count the number available per type.
The total amount. You can easily count the number available per type.

You can see the contents of 'box D' in the slideshow below.
If there were any labels with important information (like weight, or material) these were photographed. You can find all information in the pictures, without having to grab the box.

Step 4:
Continue this for the other boxes. So first; photograph the label, then photograph the various types of wool per lot. (If you are working with other things, like fabric, you may need to take measurements and write these on a note, which you can then photograph along with the fabric)

Step 5: Create a folder on your pc or laptop, and name it ‘Wool Catalogue’ or similar. Copy all files from your camera into your folder. Do not rename them! The camera automatically numbers the pictures in the order in which you took them, and you need them to remain that way!

Lots and lots of Wool!
Lots and lots of Wool!

Optional Step 6:
Create a zip file from the folder and save it somewhere in the cloud. So if anything happens to your hard drive, you still have the files!

Step 7:
Enjoy your wool catalogue! Open the pictures in a photo viewer that allows easy browsing back and forward by using the arrow keys. Now you can flip through your wool photos until you find the one you need. Then you flip backwards until you find the label, and you’ll know in which box it is.

The photographic wool catalogue works well if you need to know which wool you have, but don’t have it that accessible. One of the downsides is, that you need to maintain the catalogue; every time you remove a few balls, you’ll have to either update the photos (edit them in paint and cross out a few balls) or retake pictures, and number them such that they fit into the right sequence. (Or redo the whole box and paste the pictures in at the end). For this reason, it's a good method for stashes that are not used very often, or that just need to be stalled somewhere for a time.
(If you're like my mom, and have boxes up to P and more, it may be time for some nice stash-busting projects! ;D)

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Pinterest or other social media! Thank you!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, or send me an email. :)

How to organize your craft supplies by