Monday, April 9, 2018

I made a new Excel inventory (and you can, too).

I am far from an Excel wizard. Rather, I'm the person who constantly opens Excel by accident when she's really trying to update a PowerPoint for class, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth as I wait for the program to load so I can immediately close it again. To be fair, I've only met a couple of people I would call actual Excel wizards, and they had a lot of classes on the program so they could use it for business or accounting purposes. I've only ever used it for gradebooks and other basic record keeping, so...not as much column calculating there.

That said, Excel can create really easy to read makeup inventories for you, even if you're not that tech savvy. Heck, I've even used it to track spending. You just have to know how to fiddle with the templates a little.

To find this template, I started a new Excel file, then searched for "inventory." While there are lots of lovely options, this "Home Inventory" with green accents really appealed to me and looked like it would the easiest thing to modify. After all, normal people document what's in their house for insurance purposes. Weirdos like me document the exorbitant number of lipsticks they've collected over the past few years.

Now we have to remove the stuff we don't need. This is pretty easy, actually: you just left click at the top left corner of the columns/rows you want to remove, hold down shift, then click on the bottom right corner. You should see it highlight the area you've selected. Let go of shift, then press delete to erase the text. If you don't want that actual space taken up, you can right click on the highlighted area and choose "Delete..."; you just might have to fiddle with four "Shift" and "Move" options it gives you.

Learn to love the undo button (the arrow at the top of the Excel toolbar) and the save button, by the way, because if you're new to this, you'll do what I do and mess up frequently.

I did the same thing with any columns I didn't want, like "Purchase Price"--I thought the value bars on the "Estimated Current Value" column were cooler and more helpful. (Mostly cooler.) Just select the column, right click, choose "Delete," "Table Columns."

Quick reminder: columns are vertical, rows are horizontal. I'm not trying to be insulting by writing that. It's something I actually have to pause and think about for a second every damn time, and maybe you're the same way.

Now let's talk about inserting rows. There's apparently a super easy keyboard way to do this, but I suck at doing it, sooooo we're gonna right click. Go to the far left side of the spreadsheet and click on one of the gray number boxes; any one will do as long as it is next to a row in your inventory. Right click and select "Insert." This should create a new row above the one you had selected.

From here on out, it's just a matter of renaming things and filling out the spreadsheet. The nice thing about this template is it will create a new, easily selectable, yellow category box you put in that "Room/Area" drop down box. I ended up with just four categories because that's what works for me, but you could create as many as you wanted.

This template also calculates a "total value" if you plug everything in to that column. Mine made me die a little inside, since I can imagine what else I would get for $1500+. That said, it's also less than I thought I'd own, so...progress?

If you don't like this template, fiddle with the others! I actually tried two others before I settled on this one. And if you're one of those fantastic Excel wizards, we'd love any of your tips and tricks for optimizing our inventory-making experiences.

Even if you're one of those normal people who inventories their house instead of their beauty products. It's okay. We still like you.


  1. Whoa. Thank you for this. I am in need of an inventory but super intimidated by spreadsheets. Your taking the time to put this together is much appreciated!

    1. Excel is tough, intimidating stuff, but once you get used to poking around the templates, a basic inventory gets much easier. :)

      And I almost forgot to mention: once you have everything typed in to this particular template, you can use it to compare products in your collection much more easily. For instance, I can select the "lips" category, then have it go A-Z by brand, most expensive to least expensive, etc. You just have to use the little arrows next to each column header.

  2. This is funny timing - I just put the finishing touches on mine today. It's a lot more simple and less pretty, though! I have rows for purchase date, size, price, PPO, how much I actually paid for it... It's fun! And I fill in the shade box with the actual colour of the product (where it makes sense - I don't bother with foundation and things like that). It's taken me a long time, but I'm happy with it. I don't know if I'll actually keep up with it, though - that's a whole other story!

    1. I thought about doing the shade box, but I am both lazy and fussy. If I felt the color wasn't spot on...