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Darby! How do I love thee? Let me count the way!

Home Stager with Home Matters


As many of you know we use the Darby Inventory Management system here at Home Matters to Manage and Track our inventory.  When we started using Darby several years ago we had around 8,000 items of accessories in our inventory and another 400 furniture items. Linda and I discussed it and decided that we wanted to track everything by the individual item.   I knew it would be quite a task to get everything entered individually so I set about diligently creating my items in Darby along with uploading photos and attaching bar codes to every item. 8,000 items seemed like one heck of a bunch of stuff and I just thought to myself, “If I can just get them all entered into Darby, then It would be a snap to keep up as we added more” I mean how much more could we possibly be adding, Right?  So it took me about 6 weeks, but with the guidance of Tammie O’Brien (Darby’s mom) I got it all done.  Well as the months and years clicked by, we did add more inventory, Much, Much more inventory.  Shortly after we started using Darby, Home Matters business really exploded.  Just this last October I reviewed our inventory again and realized that our item count had swollen to around 16,000 items.  Our inventory had doubled in just a short few years.  Looking back, the increase in inventory closely followed the increase in our volume, DUH!  I’m thinking I should have seen that coming! The simple task of managing additions to our inventory was not so simple any more.  We had also learned over the last few years that every item may seem like a good candidate to affix a bar code too, but time being the best judge of that had proven us wrong.  Some materials just don’t hold the labels very well, for a long period of time and when you have this many items, it is impossible to find that item in the system that is missing a bar code so you can simply reprint it and replace it on the item.  I would find myself with a vase for example, that was missing a label and because we have somewhere around 600 vases in inventory I would pull up and look at photos for what seemed like forever trying to find this item so I could get the right number back on it. 

It did not take long for us to figure out that we could continue to track our furniture items individually but we desperately needed to establish tracking and labeling our accessory items by category, rather than by individual item.  Well, that’s great, but how the heck do I pull that off?  Building new item numbers, killing the old item numbers, relabeling every item.  All I could vision was months of work with little hope of it ever being right again!  Once again, Tammie O’Brien (Darby’s mom) to the rescue. 

I created a new “Accessory Items” category with 63 new sub-categories, ie.  “Art Pieces Small, Art Pieces Medium, Books, Bowls, Candle Holders, Finials, Vases” etc.  I then entered the inventory counts for each item and printed new labels.  When I was complete, Tammie was able to remove the inventory counts for the old individual item numbers and then deactivate all of those items.  Tammie’s then deactivated and removed the old item numbers and inventory from the system.  In total it took about 3 days to make the switch, all because of Tammie’s help. 

I already loved using the Darby system before the big change.  Everything about the speed, accuracy and ability to track items has always been just great.  But needless to say, now I just can’t imagine life without it.

Thank you Tammie for being such a big help to the end users of your system and thank you for creating such a great system to work with.  Anyone going to the RESA convention, be sure and look Tammie up and see the system for yourself.


Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

I love Darby too! I need to just penny up a buy the gun already. I keep putting my inventory on the waist side but at least it's all in the system, no if only I can figure out which picture goes with which description!


Jan 05, 2012 04:49 AM
Tammie OBrien
Darby Inventory and Pineapple Interiors - Centennial, CO

Gary, thanks as always for your kind words. You've definitely had a few growing pains and it's always a good idea to think about the big picture in your business and your inventory management! I will say we have many users that track every single item; into the thousands, and many users that track like items like you changed to.  The biggest key is to get tracking regardless of how you do it. We love that we can talk to our customers about what works best for them and certainly help them along the way.

Tori, thank you as well! We appreciate every single customer and love hearing your stories!

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the conference. I will have 'the gun' with me of course so stop by our booth and we can show you how it works. 


Many, many thanks!

~tammie o'brien

Jan 05, 2012 05:13 AM
Margaret Oscilia
Creative Concepts-Home Staging and Contracting, Salem Oregon - Salem, OR
Home Stager, Salem Oregon

We haven't taken the plunge yet . . . but am so glad to hear your endorsement Gary.  It's something we need to do in 2012!

Jan 08, 2012 02:00 AM
Gregory Henry
Center Stage Design - Indianapolis, IN
Senior Designer/ Home Stager

I completely agree with Gary. I work for Home Matters as well and I believe Darby is the best way to control inventory. It is very easy to use and is a very well thought out program. We use it on a daily basis and quite frankly, couldn't imagine not having it. It is very easy to track the number of times an item has been rented out, or even which house specificly that item is in. 

Thanks Tammie, for developing such an incredible program. It has made our lives much easier here at Home Matters.


Gregg Henry

Jan 09, 2012 11:45 PM
Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

i need to get my damn gun already and set aside some time to create a system in place. The good thing it's all logged into darby, just have to attach the pictures to them.

Jan 21, 2012 05:05 AM
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Gary we're just about to jump in - after having made the decision last year in Vegas! Thanks for your pointers as starting from scratch is always a bit overwhelming. Hope you have a gerat time at the Convention this year - we won't be able to make it.

Jan 30, 2012 10:56 AM