A few years ago I set out to asset tag everything I owned. I think it was spurred by a minimalist impulse which was spurred by an an overwhelmedness at how much stuff I owned. The file “thingadex.ods” contained mappings between the 6-digit numbers I wrote on each item and the details about that item. Fields included when I purchased the item, what items it was related to (computer to computer charger), replacement cost, etc. The system grew to encompass hundreds of items, and was revised to include the concept of “collections” or “sets”. This allowed me to asset tag a box of writing instruments rather than tagging each instrument individually. Eventually, due to low-quality methods of tagging, a clunky spreadsheet system for tracking the assets, and an internal resistance to actually throwing things away, I deferred the pursuit.

Now, I’m encountering similar problems of stuff-sprawl in managing sound equipment at my church. This time, however, I am designing a system of asset tagging that will avoid the three impediments that caused my personal system to fail. First. the quality of the asset tags will be superior. With the amount of equipment under management, we cannot afford to purchase foil tags, but durable polyester thermal labels will be a huge upgrade from my former paper sticker approach. Second, rather than a spreadsheet, I plan to deploy an OpenMaint server. This is a system specifically designed for tracking assets, not an unwieldy grid of cells. Third, I will have to reach a consensus with my teammates about what constitutes an unneeded asset. Setting an age or reliability threshold for when to archive/trash any given piece of equipment should keep our inventory lean and accessible.

I look forward to writing about the actual outcome of this plan in future posts.