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Cataloguing your collection

Inventory Sorting software

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#1 Trent

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:51 PM

I am sure there must be topics on this, but I think I'm using the wrong search terms!  

I recently bought a job lot of Lego, which came with no instructions and no indication of which sets might be in it (or how complete they may be).  I have discovered a few unique bricks whilst I've been sorting, and using those, I've been able to establish a couple of sets that must've been owned at one point.  

I've been trying to work out what the most logical way of cataloguing these pieces would be.  Currently, I have accounts on Peeron and Brickset, and I have got the, "I own this set," markers.  I know on Peeron, that enables me to see if I am able to build other sets from my collection, but I don't really use that function as all of my sets are complete and built.  

What I would like to do is catalogue the entirety of this jumble (I might be slightly mad, there's tonnes of it) so that I can see which sets I could build out of the pieces, preferably without requiring pieces from my existing complete sets.  I'm guessing this might require a new account that's separate to my own complete sets?  Or would require me to delete my complete sets from my collection?  I think it would also be handy to have a record of which bricks I have, so that when I want to build an MOC, I can check on the computer to see if I have the parts required.  

So, how do you guys do it?  Do you use a website such as Peeron, or do you have a spreadsheet, or is there a special programme that you use?

#2 davee123

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:56 PM

View PostTrent, on 18 July 2011 - 08:51 PM, said:

What I would like to do is catalogue the entirety of this jumble (I might be slightly mad, there's tonnes of it) so that I can see which sets I could build out of the pieces, preferably without requiring pieces from my existing complete sets.

Hmm... are you trying to figure out which sets you COULD build, or which ones the original owner likely had?

A long time ago, I helped work on a feature for Peeron that might be modified to help you out, but I forget the details of the interface. Basically, its purpose was to take a big list of parts, and tell you which sets you would be the MINIMUM you'd need to buy in order to get the list you entered. It was really intended for you to (say) upload a DAT file (or inventory file? I forget) of a MOC you wanted to build, and then tell you the cheapest way to get the parts using sets.

Anyway, it would certainly work in your case, assuming you could tweak the cost/year weighting down to 0. Basically, it ought to just spit out the set list that you're likely to have, and how many copies of each you've got.

... However ... I apparently have no idea where it is on Peeron. I remember testing it back in 2004 or 2005, but it was still in "beta" at the time. Maybe it never made it public? I'll see what I can dig up.

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#3 Brickdoctor

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 10:59 PM

I have a Brickset account, and I've been trying out Basebrick, but apart from that, I use the "I should have this part and it should  be in this bin/shoebox." method. :grin:

#4 Trent

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 12:16 AM

View Postdavee123, on 18 July 2011 - 10:56 PM, said:

Hmm... are you trying to figure out which sets you COULD build, or which ones the original owner likely had?

A long time ago, I helped work on a feature for Peeron that might be modified to help you out, but I forget the details of the interface. Basically, its purpose was to take a big list of parts, and tell you which sets you would be the MINIMUM you'd need to buy in order to get the list you entered. It was really intended for you to (say) upload a DAT file (or inventory file? I forget) of a MOC you wanted to build, and then tell you the cheapest way to get the parts using sets.
Either would be good - I'm intrigued to find out which sets the original owner did have, but at the same time, just knowing which ones would be possible out of the bricks he had would be amazing too.

That feature sounds excellent, and I would be indebted to you if you managed to find it.   :thumbup:

Thanks too, Brickdoctor - I hadn't seen Basebrick, so I will take a look around.   :classic:

#5 Lego Otaku

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 02:31 AM

If you have a few partial sets, try this one: http://www.bricklink...asp?viewMulti=Y

Enter in part # (up to 3), color, etc and Bricklink can try to match up the sets that had the particular combination of piece.

#6 davee123

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:22 PM

View Postdavee123, on 18 July 2011 - 10:56 PM, said:

... However ... I apparently have no idea where it is on Peeron. I remember testing it back in 2004 or 2005, but it was still in "beta" at the time. Maybe it never made it public? I'll see what I can dig up.

Well, it's still there, but it's not really usable, and isn't quite ready for "go live". I believe it's pretty CPU intensive, so it should probably get an interface that's out of the way and has some overhead in using. Also, in its current incarnation, it only accepts sets as input (which were used as a test)-- so there's no way presently to upload a custom DAT or part list.

I mentioned it to Dan-- dunno if we can work something out or not to make it visible and useful to other Peeron users, but if it looks promising, I'll post an update.

DaveE

#7 fred67

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:22 AM

View PostLego Otaku, on 19 July 2011 - 02:31 AM, said:

If you have a few partial sets, try this one: http://www.bricklink...asp?viewMulti=Y

Enter in part # (up to 3), color, etc and Bricklink can try to match up the sets that had the particular combination of piece.

Bricklink has really helped me, too.  Aside from this tool, I'd look up a part in the catalog and click on the link that shows you which sets that piece is available in.... that takes you right to sets and, if you see one that looks like you might have the other pieces, you can immediately go and look at that set's inventory.

#8 Brickdoctor

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 04:27 AM

View Postfred67, on 20 July 2011 - 04:22 AM, said:

Bricklink has really helped me, too.  Aside from this tool, I'd look up a part in the catalog and click on the link that shows you which sets that piece is available in.... that takes you right to sets and, if you see one that looks like you might have the other pieces, you can immediately go and look at that set's inventory.
I've done something similar as well. Seeing what sets the pieces are in on BL and then looking to see if I have any of the sets is a nice quick way to figure out if I should have a specific piece.

#9 Lutin

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 02:28 PM

I recently started to catalog every bricks I own with Brickstore and it's a very long process so far I have registered 2944 items within 758 lots. The software estimate it weight 6.9Kg (15lb) and it's not half of what I have.
The software allow me to add comments to each line and once all parts will be registered the plan is to define how much space is required to store each lot and label where I will be able to find it in the comments.
My ultimate goal is to be able to design model in LDD and see what parts I already have and what parts I need to order on Bricklink. Ideally I would rather have a large table to design with real bricks spread on it but space, two year old little hands and wifey's evil look  :laugh: tell me I just can't so I needed another plan.

#10 Brickdoctor

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 05:53 PM

View PostLutin, on 21 July 2011 - 02:28 PM, said:

I recently started to catalog every bricks I own with Brickstore
Ah, thanks! When reading this conversation the other day, I thought I remembered a software similar to this, but couldn't remember the name and didn't really think about it much. It looks good, and I like that it's an offline software. I'll have to try it out. :classic:

Edited by Brickdoctor, 21 July 2011 - 05:55 PM.


#11 Lego Otaku

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 08:53 PM

I can't fully catalog my own collection.  I can do some sets but that leaves some 300 pounds (around 135Kg) of mixed LEGO pieces with no manual to connect them with  *huh* 300 pounds at an average of 325 pieces per pound... that is about 97,500 pieces. No way in any of the 7 hells am I going to catalog all of those pieces!!!

#12 Trent

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:33 PM

View Postdavee123, on 19 July 2011 - 07:22 PM, said:

I mentioned it to Dan-- dunno if we can work something out or not to make it visible and useful to other Peeron users, but if it looks promising, I'll post an update.
Thank you; I really appreciate it.   :sweet:

View PostLutin, on 21 July 2011 - 02:28 PM, said:

I recently started to catalog every bricks I own with Brickstore and it's a very long process so far I have registered 2944 items within 758 lots. The software estimate it weight 6.9Kg (15lb) and it's not half of what I have.
The software allow me to add comments to each line and once all parts will be registered the plan is to define how much space is required to store each lot and label where I will be able to find it in the comments.
My ultimate goal is to be able to design model in LDD and see what parts I already have and what parts I need to order on Bricklink. Ideally I would rather have a large table to design with real bricks spread on it but space, two year old little hands and wifey's evil look  :laugh: tell me I just can't so I needed another plan.
Ah, thanks for that link - that's really helpful!  (And to the other links posted in the thread too; I've been checking them all out.)

I think I've been a bit overwhelmed of where to start with this collection of bricks.  I was really fortunate to get hold of it (although the bricks are in less than stellar condition) but aside from MOC-ing, I don't really know where to begin with it.  I figured that before I started lumping bricks into random projects, I should really make the effort to make a note of what I have got, before the bricks get accidentally mixed with all of my other stuff - and it would be handy to know which official sets I have that I'm not aware that I have!  

I can foresee this being a long project.   :laugh:

#13 Lutin

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:54 PM

View PostLego Otaku, on 21 July 2011 - 08:53 PM, said:

I can't fully catalog my own collection.  I can do some sets but that leaves some 300 pounds (around 135Kg) of mixed LEGO pieces with no manual to connect them with  *huh* 300 pounds at an average of 325 pieces per pound... that is about 97,500 pieces. No way in any of the 7 hells am I going to catalog all of those pieces!!!
But unless you have the perfect sorting system, I think a good amount of your very large collection may be kind of out reach. Granted it would be a living nightmare to catalog this for months but ultimately you could discover some hidden treasures and for sure gain great benefits on the long term.
Imagine being able to find if you have one particular piece and where in a few seconds.
So IMHO  complete catalog is more important for large collections than small and easy "catalogable" (is that a word?) collection.

#14 Hoboman

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:03 AM

View PostLutin, on 21 July 2011 - 10:54 PM, said:

Imagine being able to find if you have one particular piece and where in a few seconds.
So IMHO  complete catalog is more important for large collections than small and easy "catalogable" (is that a word?) collection.
I happen to agree 100%. With a smaller collection you have a great chance of finding things and knowing what you have. The larger the collection the more difficult it would be to keep it all in your mind. Some kind of system would be a great help with the larger collections.  :classic:

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#15 AndyC

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 12:19 AM

My collection is catelogued in my head into a few rough categories. For any given part I'll basically know it fits into one or other of:

1) Yeah, I have loads of them - not going to need to order any.
2) Have a fair few, might need to order if I'm using lots.
3) Ooh, bit rare in my collection, will have to check colours and count if I need 'em.
4) Looks vaguely familiar, I think I have one or two somewhere.
5) Probably easier to just Bricklink that right now, 'cos I'm pretty sure I haven't got any.

There's also a sort of vague sixth category of "Well might as well Bricklink some of those anyway, it's a cool piece" for things like Pirate gold coins and other random bits and bobs. Often these are the pieces I'll just throw into an order when I'm buying other bits to make it seem more worthwhile.
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#16 splatman

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 02:24 AM

View PostLutin, on 21 July 2011 - 10:54 PM, said:

"catalogable" (is that a word?)
It is now. If it's not a word, what it it?

I opened a Basebrick account today, and started cataloging my collection; got miles to go.
Now, if only it would let me sort colors by any way I would define, instead of alphabetic or last updated. I'll have to send suggestions to the site admin(s).
If I could add pieces in more than one color at a time, that would speed things up 40x.

#17 BrickHat

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 08:36 PM

I have an Excel document with separate sheets in which I have entries for all my sets, minifigures, keychains, promo bricks, and even accesories, with info such as item number, year of release, date of acquisition, and such. What about you? How do you keep track of your collection?

#18 Big Cam

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:23 PM

I file my instructions on a hanging file folder box, but I have yet to label them. Other than that, I just know what sets I have. I don't really forget buying sets.

#19 Brickdoctor

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:27 PM

I haven't done anything major yet, as my collection has yet to be fully sorted, but once it is, I'm going to use BrickStore.

#20 BrickHat

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:32 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 08 August 2011 - 09:27 PM, said:

I haven't done anything major yet, as my collection has yet to be fully sorted, but once it is, I'm going to use BrickStore.

I had heard about this program, but thought it was mainly for sellers. Is it good to keep personal inventories too?

#21 Brickdoctor

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:35 PM

View Postjohnnyvgoode, on 08 August 2011 - 09:32 PM, said:

I had heard about this program, but thought it was mainly for sellers. Is it good to keep personal inventories too?
I've played around with it a bit, and it lets you add and remove bricks from an inventory and import sets and things like that. As far as I know the personal use version doesn't link up with BL other than to download parts information, and I don't have a BL store anyways.

#22 BrickHat

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:43 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 08 August 2011 - 09:35 PM, said:

I've played around with it a bit, and it lets you add and remove bricks from an inventory and import sets and things like that. As far as I know the personal use version doesn't link up with BL other than to download parts information, and I don't have a BL store anyways.

Interesting. In my case, I have found that making an Excel sheet has a few valuable features: as much entries as you want (piece count, minifigure count, theme, set name, set number, date of acquisition, year of release, notes, etc.), ability to sort your sets by whichever criterion you want (or even several of them), ability to change the font and looks of the document, easily printed, and most importantly in my opinion, great compatibility (even if we saw Excel die someday, there should be some way to import the whole matrix into whichever program comes to replace it).

It takes a while to tab in all the info, but once it's done, it's very satisfactory.  :tongue:  I certainly recommend it!

Edited by johnnyvgoode, 08 August 2011 - 09:44 PM.


#23 Brickdoctor

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:16 PM

View Postjohnnyvgoode, on 08 August 2011 - 09:43 PM, said:

Interesting. In my case, I have found that making an Excel sheet has a few valuable features: as much entries as you want (piece count, minifigure count, theme, set name, set number, date of acquisition, year of release, notes, etc.), ability to sort your sets by whichever criterion you want (or even several of them), ability to change the font and looks of the document, easily printed, and most importantly in my opinion, great compatibility (even if we saw Excel die someday, there should be some way to import the whole matrix into whichever program comes to replace it).
The thing is, I don't keep my sets together, so I don't need ability to add extra info, just the name, ID, and color of the part and the quantity. I also don't really care what the formatting looks like so long as it works efficiently, and the list is for personal use. So I don't really need the extra freedom Excel might offer.

#24 BrickHat

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:49 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 08 August 2011 - 10:16 PM, said:

The thing is, I don't keep my sets together, so I don't need ability to add extra info, just the name, ID, and color of the part and the quantity. I also don't really care what the formatting looks like so long as it works efficiently, and the list is for personal use. So I don't really need the extra freedom Excel might offer.

I understand. In my case, I can't stand having one of my sets dissassembled, or having their parts mixed  :tongue:

#25 drdavewatford

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:52 PM

Brickset has offered the facility to track your LEGO collection for a while now; this facility recently had a major overhaul with the addition of something called the Advanced Collection Manager (ACM) which takes things to a whole different level. Now for each set you can enter how much you paid + postage, condition of the set, date of purchase, notes on each set etc. etc.. You can also export the file in various formats for safe-keeping. I believe that ACM is available to all registered users, and I can highly recommend it for keeping track of your collection.

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