I like to know where various bits and pieces that I use come from so a few years ago now I started to this record system. Swaps gifts and purchases are recorded in my visual journal. In the case of gifts like this I take a photo and keep a 1 inch sample swatch in to my visual journal. I also do this with braids, lace, and threads. The only time I don’t so it is if the piece sent is less than 6 inches long in the case of lace, ribbon and braids and less than a yard/meter if it is a thread.
I use double sided sticky tape to attach the samples, glue the photo in and (not seen to protect Lynn’s privacy as it has her address on it) on the other page I have the letter Lynn wrote. Notes are often added although not in this case. Obviously it does not keep track of every button or bead but it does record the bulk of what I receive.
Using a visual journal as in part a swatch book is one way of recording not only where things come from but what influences you. All sorts of things end up in my journal as it is all part of the process and I constantly encourage people to keep them.