Let me give you some background. When I first started on this jewelry endeavor back in 2012 (when I decided to start selling pieces online), I wanted to be serious about it. My idea of being serious was to have an actual inventory list. Lots of times, I'd forget about beads that I had, or think that I was out of findings when I really wasn't. I figured that a spreadsheet would help me sort through my actual inventory of components and help me keep track of what I do and do not have. My husband, luckily, does this sort of thing for a living, so he helped me set up a really fantastic spreadsheet where I can list out my components - their descriptions, amounts, and prices (as a whole and individually). There's another sheet for my finished inventory, then a few more for record-keeping and such. While I was filling it out, I found that it did really help me get organized.
Fast forward to this week. I sat down and designed a necklace the other day, and decided to make it. I started pulling out the parts that I'd need, only to discover that I was out of antiqued copper chain (which was going to play a very big role in the piece). After a fruitless and very time-consuming search, I looked on the spreadsheet, and sure enough - I'm out of chain. D'oh! I'd have saved myself lots of time and hassle if only I had remembered that I had set up the spreadsheet specifically so that I wouldn't have to search through my inventory to see what I have. But Carly, I hear you asking, if you're so organized like you just said you were, why was it so difficult to search? I'll tell you why - because most of my beads are still in a large, green storage tub right now so the kiddo can't get into them. They're individually sorted, making it really easy to pull out what I need when I find it, but that's the thing: with all the little bead boxes stacked on top of one another ten deep inside the larger storage tub, it takes a while to check.
Learn from my fail, folks - if you're going to spend a lot of time and energy to set something up that'll save you even more time and energy later, remember to use the darn thing! :)