Looking for QR code database solution

In a recent household move across the country, I used an Inventory management subscription service called Sortly to catalog all of our boxes. This turned out to be an amazing system which, along with my iphone and a Dymo label printer, allowed me to catalog our entire household very quickly. With many of our belongings in storage, this database makes finding particular items relatively easy.

Which brings me to my current problem. We are currently still in short-term housing in the new state and I still use the inventory system, but not enough to justify Shortly’s month cost of $39. What I would love to do is either build my own system using QR codes or else find some other software that can basically do the same thing but is more of a one-time fee rather than a monthly subscription.

My requirements are:

  • Be able to generate inventory database records and associate their URLs to QR codes from my phone.
  • Be able to scan a box or item’s QR code and see its contents in the database.
  • Be able to associate photos with a database record.
  • Be able to search the database from my phone or desktop.
  • Be able to print labels to a Dymo label printer (ideally from the phone, but if only from desktop, that’s fine).

I am a programmer and a scripter and am not afraid of writing code, if it’s needed. But before going full-scale custom software to do this, I thought I should check with the hive and see if there’s anyone out there who has done anything like this before.


You might want to look at this. https://upcdatabase.org/

It’s not really for your own upc-codes but it has an api for looking up upc-codes and adding to their database

Now that I’m reading your post more closely I see that my comment was way off.

But the link might be useful for others…

Very cool! Perhaps not necessary for this project, but good to know about.

I used the wrong words in my initial post. I should have said QR code – because of course I’m not looking up merchandise information, but really just these mobile codes that can associate a physical object with a URL.

And now I’ve fixed my post so it won’t be so confusing with the wrong term. :slight_smile:

Would Airtable work for this?

Your QR codes could be links to record (a box) within a table “boxes”. Then you could have a second table “items” where each item is associated with a box. Airtable is pretty flexible, so if you’re looking for “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance” you could specify who it belongs to (e.g. you, a partner, a dog, etc.), what kind of item it is (such as “Book” or “Kitchenware”), and of course descriptions, photos, etc.


I looked at Airtable for a job and decided in the end to update my copy of Filemaker. I live my life in Filemaker and FM Pro with FM Go might work for you. Hefty one-off cost, and some time required to build it, but it offers so much more usefulness in life that I reckon it’s worth it. For a relatively simple solution like this, with QR code support on your phone, might just work.

You know, I wasn’t thinking about Airtable because I know it’s a monthly charge service, which is the thing I’m trying to get away from, but after looking at their pricing I see they do have a free tier…not super familiar with Airtable, so I will definitely look into this. Thanks for the pointer!

I love Filemaker. It’s such a beautiful and fun app. I’ve never bought it, but I’ve played with trials here and there. My main issue with Filemaker is…is there a way to get URLs for individual records?

Another option that might be worth checking out is the Home Inventory app. I don’t believe the current version has this option, however I did briefly play with the v4 (‘Under My Roof’) beta and believe it does have a QR-code-based ‘Moving Boxes’ feature which sounds like it might do what you need. I’m not sure that it prints the labels but I envisage that that could be a separate solution in this case.

Obviously being beta software you may or may not want to test it out right at the moment, but I thought I’d at least pop this as a note here for anyone that might be looking for something similar in the future.

(For the non-beta version, the Mac version is included in SetApp. The iOS app is somewhat limited in functionality at the moment, but the v4 beta looks more promising.)

1 Like

I’ve seen this app before and forgot about it. I will check it out. Thanks!