I put things in a paper box. This is good for saving spaces and moving. But that makes it difficult to find things. NFC stickers would have been perfect if it worked within 1 meter range, but that technology seems to work only within a few centimeters, so I cannot scan it outside a box.

Is there any other technology? If there is no such thing, what would be an efficient method in this digital age? Of course, the simplest way is to write down the names of things in a box on the box itself, but when there are many things and lots of boxes, writing/finding would take long.

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    Lifehack style: Number each box. Take a picture of the contents of each box. Associate the numbers and pictures in whatever way is most convenient.. – user3757614 Jul 17 '15 at 19:00
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    A high tech solution isn't necessarily going to make it more convenient to find things -- when you're looking for a box of paperclips, do you want to take out your phone, search your database for paperclips then scan each box until you find them and dig them out of the box, or are you going to just pull out the box that says "Office supplies" and dig out the paperclips. – Johnny Jul 17 '15 at 20:39
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    Voting to close as this seems to be asking for a way to identify Xmas presents. – Mazura Jul 17 '15 at 22:44
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    @user3757614 a variation on your idea, spread contents onto a table neatly before packing, Take photo. pack box then stick photo onto outside of box! – Hightower Jul 20 '15 at 13:19

I kind of like the lifehack comment. So, you could always try a toluene-infused object identification instrument:

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Then put numbers on the boxes, and on the backs of photos of what's in the boxes (so you'd also use a good old-fashioned camera, or a new fangled digital one, whichever):

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And if you wanted to go a step further, you could probably even find a free or cheap little stuff-tracking database program on the Web that would let you attach digital photos of the contents of the boxes to the numbers that you write on the boxes, or get a copy of something like Access or Filemaker Pro and create your own:

enter image description here

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    @bummi Probably true, although I couldn't resist my toluene-infused object identification instrument comment... ;-) – Craig Jul 17 '15 at 22:01
  • @craig -- have you read the msds for toluene? And don't even get me started on dihydrogen monoxide. 😉 – User95050 Jul 17 '15 at 22:09
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    @User95050 I actually wrote an app once for tracking MSDS documents. I also just looked up the ingredients in Sharpies, and it looks like maybe they don't actually have toluene (although plenty of other permanent markers definitely have used toluene, historically). Looks like the Sharpie contains: dyes, propyl alchohol (N-Propanol, 200-250ppm), Butyl alcohol (N-Butanol, 50-100ppm), Diacetone alcohol (4-Hydroxy-4-Methyl-2-Pentanone, 50ppm). I'm pretty sure I've eaten pre-packaged meals less healthy than that. I might have to revise my answer in fairness to Sharpie. ;-) – Craig Jul 17 '15 at 22:36
  • @User95050 You do know that dihydrogen monoxide is quite an effective, nearly universal solvent. Powerful stuff... ;-) – Craig Jul 17 '15 at 23:10

How about a transparent plastic box?

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    That's not bad... – Craig Jul 17 '15 at 23:11

Instead of printing images to go on the boxes, take a picture, make a QR code with either that image or a list of box contents here, and tape that on the box. It'll cost you less printer ink, and if you put all of them in a uniform place that is accessable when the boxes are stacked (on the side?) you can use your phone and a qr code reader app to "look" through all the boxes very quickly... and you wouldn't need to find that pesky list of "what number has which set things"

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I'm not sure if there is prebuilt hardware to accomplish your task but take a look at RFID (the father of NFC) solutions. RFID usually can work up to a few feet at least.

  • You could sprinkle RFID "dust" on the stuff in each box. Then you'd even know which box to put it back into after taking it out and using it... thefutureofthings.com/… – Craig Jul 17 '15 at 23:23

For paper / cardboard boxes, take a picture of the contents (either with a smartphone or camera). If you used a smartphone, print the picture in color (if possible).

You can also write the names of what you stored in each box (i.e. Sharpies, pens). Or number the boxes like the above comments. Then list each number in a notepad or electronic list (i.e. on a tablet, computer).

Listing each box by number would be the most efficient way to go about this.

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