As we delve into the world of estate inventory management, it is always helpful to see an example of a practical application in the home. This inventory project I helped to complete for a client was a great success and was less about the organization and more about the long-term implementation of a system that I created that was easy for the staff to follow. In this particular case, the butler pantry had several drawers for flat linen storage, and along with the owner, we worked together to create a system that she and the staff could maintain. Each drawer was sorted into sets, each set was counted to ensure each set was complete, and each piece was checked for stains, tears, and damage. These notations along with any missing items were tallied onto an inventory sheet, and then along with the owner, we determined which sets were to be used most often for daily use and which were only for special occasions. Of course, this is where each household's preferences come into play, just because a linen set is simple does not mean that it is not special, expensive, or sentimental. It is essential to communicate to domestic staff which sets can be used, and with which china or dishes patterns and for what occasions.
After determining all the factors, the drawers were labeled for each set, and items were washed, pressed and put into their proper place. Now that the system has been put into place, the list was left in the butler's pantry for easy reference for staff to use when setting up tea trays, luncheons, and dinner parties. With a proper inventory system is is much easier to remember how many of each piece is available per set, and which sets go with which dishes.
Staff was also instructed on how to rotate the linens after use. This is extremely important as each item after it is used and washed will begin to fade ever so slightly or show signs of wear, so it is important to use the set evenly so that when the full set is laid out on a table the set looks the same and all the pieces are uniform. You can imagine if out of a set of 12 red cloth napkins, only the top two were used daily and put back on the top of the pile, the remaining 10 would look new and the top two would become faded. So by rotating each item that is used and cleaned to the bottom of the stack when it is returned to the drawers the full set is cared for evenly.
Rotation is an essential concept in luxury home management and should be done with any "consumables" from linens, to dishes, to pantry items and drugstore sundries. Using the set evenly is important as previously mentioned, but so is rotation for the freshness of food items and cosmetics & medications for obvious reasons. Even things from the hardware store should be rotated such as household chemicals. These actions should be second nature to household staff and should look for areas and ways throughout the home to rotate items appropriately.
For more ways to set up inventories for your household or to instruct your staff on how to maintain items in a proper inventory or rotation schedule, please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics for personalized inventory management consulting.