I had a choice of how to spend my time today …

I could either clean … or I could wander around and look at things – this is a process of discovering the items you have, how many of them you have, and where they are … This process can usefully be called ‘taking stock’, and we have to do it from time to time, because, even though you wouldn’t think it’s possible, we forget what we have, where it is, and whether we need to re-order it …

Ziggy was happy and exercised, having done the circular route around Carloway this morning, having to shelter behind a large strainer only once, as the heavens opened, but it only lasted three or our minutes, and we went on our way again …

Influencing my choice was the time of the Year – close to the autumn equinox, sometimes called Madron, when we throw out the old and take on the new, and release all our figurative ‘prisoners’, so I chose, in the light of Christmas being uncomfortably close, in business terms, to Take Stock, especially of packaging items …

I am lucky to have a large house, and approximately half of it is used to hold stock, mostly packaging items, as they are the largest …
You need a good collection of different-sized boxes, just to start with, and plenty of what is called, in business-speak ‘Void-fill’, which equates to plastic peanuts … They are very light and very voluminous in area, and they take up a whole half of my store-room …

Whilst you’re ‘Taking stock’, you inevitably get drawn into re-arranging similar stock together, opening up new cartons of boxes, and disposing of the old empty packaging …

Also you see you’re coming to the end of an item, and then begins a mad mental scramble to remember where you purchased it from before, and either a joyful successful re-order, or, if it’s no longer available there, the heavy-hearted placement of one of those mental notes that reminds you that you must find a substitute …

I now have one of those mental notes for cardboard boxes which are 250mm x 200mm x 110mm, of which I only have 40 left, which are no longer available … That’s a perfect size for most of my orders, be it liquid, gift sets, or bars …
Any deviation in any of the measurements means that a) certain items won’t fit, or b) that it will need more plastic peanuts to fill the box, (which angers the ‘efficiency’ harpy in my head) …

Also, whilst Taking stock, you have the happy experience of finding something you have that you’ve forgotten about – this happens fairly often, as I don’t take stock very often … I discovered a whole box of paper carriers which I sort of knew I had, but had never been able to put my finger on before … Moved it next to the replacements I’d bought when I couldn’t find the original …!

Then there’s the process of ‘which of these empty boxes I’ve cleared shall I keep. …?’.
I am a bit of a packaging ‘squirrel’, and tend to keep serviceable boxes, and re-use them, because it gives me a satisfied feeling …

My staff laugh at me sometimes when I ask them to put aside the boxes that the solid oils come in, because they’re useful for carrying Trade orders of bars, but they do it anyway … and we never have any left at the end of the season … also, it’s a good advertisement that we do, in fact, use sustainable oils, because it’s printed on the boxes … 🙂

Full-on to Christmas now …!