Keeping track of household items is a chore that not many of us enjoy. But we enjoy it even less when said item breaks down or gets broken or, worse, stolen, and the mad scramble for receipts, warranties and all the associated paperwork we need to make an insurance claim begins. If you’re lucky, you’ve got some kind of filing system which will save the day. Otherwise, you may have to rely on your natural charm.
For those of us who are blessed with neither, however, there is hope. Compartments for the Mac is an inexpensive home inventory system that’s as simple as you could wish for, nicely turned out and includes all the features you’ll need to keep track of all manner of household – and office – items across different geographical locations (whether they have different addresses or are just rooms in a house).
Start by setting up where an item is usually kept, then add details such as when it was bought, whether it’s under warranty (and for how long), make and model, serial numbers and so on. You can add a photo for each item – for small ones like books or jewellery, you can use the Mac’s built-in iSight camera – then tag it to make searching easier; and you can attach a file, for example the original receipt. You can add lots of quick items in seconds from a single convenient dialogue box and then flesh out the details later on.
Search is simple but effective and covers named items, tags and kinds of items – such as Electronics, Instrument and Furniture – and search results can then be saved as Smart Collections, allowing you to arrange the data in all sorts of interesting ways; for example, items that are tagged as ‘valuable’ or ‘birthday gifts’.
The warranty feature’s nice, too, and lets you display items which are coming up for renewal, though it’d be more effective to have an alarm feature here that popped up to warn you. Compartments also generates simple, attractive reports for insurance purposes, which can be printed out or saved as PDFs.
Let’s not kid ourselves: this is essentially a database and a simple one at that, so the skill here is in making it pleasant to use, so that adding new purchases becomes second nature and so that, imperceptibly over time, all your worldly goods (or at least the ones you care about) find their way into Compartments. We love it. Compartments is a perfect example of a program that does one thing really well and that’s all you can ask for. Right, now where did we put that double bass?
Company: LittleFin Software