I've always liked the idea of this sort of thing, but the benefits of using something like this almost never outweigh the costs as compared to just eyeballing the pantry and winging the meal planning on short timescales. The system starts to become the point of the effort rather than just a tool to better achieve household goals.
Unless you're dealing with a substantial household or some sort of communal living environment (lots of roommates, half-way house, dorm) or doing a lot of entertaining, the benefits vs. the effort just leave these things as interesting experiments.
And I do see value in experimenting this way. I am an implementation consultant for actual ERP systems and data entry compliance is a real problem in the corporate world, too. There tends to be benefits to the data entry problem there, but the benefits tend to accrue a few degrees of separation from where the entry work takes place... so those that do the work often don't understand the need or importance. So if you solve some of the data capture problem in a small, low risk household environment, you may be able to apply the lessons learned to larger business systems. For example the more you could capture the data "in flight", like cameras capturing the information as you're putting recently bought groceries away or pulling them out to cook, do that well enough and now the benefits start to be larger in the home... but maybe you can see avenues to reduce the data entry burden in the warehouse, or the data entry processing desks, etc.
But on it's own, using the same old data acquisition patterns as boring old corporate ERP, you're better bet is probably just pen and paper.
Sounds a bit like GTD and other systems :/.
- Frequent use
- Infrequent use & stock needed
- Infrequent use & stock not needed
The first category I wouldn't worry about: you know how much you have stocked due to frequently using it, so just jot it down on a simple shopping list as you feel more stock is needed. Both short and long shelf life items can be placed here, you know when you need more sugar or toilet paper, or when something you use frequently might go bad soon.
The second category would be very good to put in a system like this, complete with expiration dates. These might be emergency supplies and medications, things that are easily forgotten about but shouldn't be lacking at any time. Keeping track and being notified of expiration dates would be pretty important.
The final category is personal choice. Since you don't need a stock of it, then it's non-essential. You could place it in a system like the second category, or you could just throw it on a shopping list when it's running out like the first.
Edit: I noticed a few people have signed up and are kicking the tires. Please let me know what you’d like to see built for this thing and give feedback in this thread. At the top of my list is: (1) a phone app, (2) better onboarding (3) more fields for quantity, units, custom, etc. (4) attach photos to items, (5) messaging/chat/threads for each item so people can coordinate better on inventory, (6) one-click to “create a posting to sell an item on Craigslist/etc” for getting rid of a thing and, (7) a way of loaning items to friends and showing them what’s available for loan.
In brief; with thingybase you create an account, invite family members or co-workers, then add containers and put items in them you’d like to track. You can print labels and stick them on boxes or items that you scan via QR code with your phone.
If you’re using an iPhone, make sure it has AirPrint so you can easily print labels from your phone.
To scan labels, I just use my iPhone camera, tap on the link, and the webpage for the item opens.
Meats and vegetables would still be a challenge though, but perhaps object recognition could help with that.
Fridges are already overpriced for what even the fancy ones can offer, I imagine we're not there yet to incorporate multi-camera vision systems with beefy AI processors at commodity prices yet.
Other features could be useful though - The list of batteries could be nice. House tasks as well.
I wrote something very similar to this a couple years ago for our household. It runs on a raspberry pi and uses a barcode scanner and when we go shopping we scan everything in and then scan things out as we use them. We live far away from town and shopping trips are rare, big all day events. It's easy to forget to scan things out and then things that don't have barcodes like vegetables are hard to track so we don't bother. Manually entering it all in and then remembering to remove it while cooking is too much trouble (we tried).