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The horrors of filing

There are three reasons why I keep a GoogleDoc spreadsheet of my perfume acquisitions:

1. So that I don’t duplicate something I already have.

2. So that I can keep track of what I spend.

3. Because keeping track of all the data is such a #*##&&!! hassle, it encourages me to get less.

The first one is already a lifesaver. If you buy most of your samples, as I do, it’s a killer to buy something you already bought. You can’t have money trickling out the door that way! That way lies madness. And if someone mentions something and you think “Mmm, that sounds good!”, you want to be able to check and see if you can go try it right now, without a trip to a store or another outlay.

The second one is the old diet theory, that you have to journal what you’re splurging on. This never worked for me with food but definitely works with perfume. Every time I total up what I’ve spent in a month, or a quarter (to participate in the quarterly polls at Now Smell This), I’m appalled with myself. Also, I can’t pretend I don’t know where all my pocket money goes. Whenever I’m on a binge, entering the acquisitions in the ol’ spreadsheet – and totalling up the damage – tends to slow me down.

The third is simply reality. I tend to buy samples, decants, bottles from eBay, plus the occasional swap… I have a hard time keeping track of it all. When I go back through and make a note of it, I have to pull all those records together. It’s not the same as when I come home from a Sniffapalooza and immediately catalog my haul; I have to figure out where everything is and what I paid for it and enter the data. This also gives me a rough idea of where to FIND something in my house or office – not an inconsiderable feat, especially with all those damn samples. I try to make notes as I acquire things, and periodically I go through a specific storage area and catalog the contents of that.

I have two counts, the whole database, and the quarterly expenditures. Keeping the two lists cross-checked is a hassle and a half, but that’s where the accuracy comes from. Sometimes I enter something I bought in the quarterly damage, but not the whole spreadsheet; and vice versa, too. Goddammit.

How do you keep track of your holdings?


Image is “Miles of Files” by drpritch, via Flikr; CC licensed, some rights reserved.

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4 comments to The horrors of filing

  • I am weak.
    I have not kept my spreadsheet up to date.
    I am shamed.

  • Judith

    Are you kidding? That’s what I’m sayin’ – IT’S TOUGH!

    I do like the feeling when it’s done. And knowing I can just look in there to see what I have.

    I’m trying to compile a list of things to swap for the Swapmania over at the Perfume Posse in Feb. I think I have a bottle of Violette Precieuse and a partial of Montale Jasmin Full, but I’m trying to see what else I’m not using/don’t want.

  • I use a database I created in Access to store information about my perfumes – and it’s still hard to be accurate with the data entry, I can only imagine how hard it should be in a spreadsheet. But I have a question: why do you need two separate documents, why not to have it in the same spreadsheet and then do filtering by date when tou need to run your calculations?

    • Judith

      Of course you’re right, Undina, and that’s what I should do. But I’m a poor data entry person at best, and I still haven’t settled on a method of entering stuff in the overall list; so I keep the “just purchased” list separately. But you’re right, I could do that.

      I like having the “just purchased” list always at my fingertips so I can remind myself that I haven’t paid some kind person for a split, or that I’m still waiting for something, or what samples I JUST GOT so I should go find those and try them rather than buying more…

      I’m also a Mac person so I never got the hang of Access. And I like having it in a GoogleDoc so I can access it from any device, anywhere.

What do you think?