Sample management software can definitively organize your current and archived samples. Assist with retro-studies, identify expired samples, and enable organization by research objective rather than researcher.
You will gain extra points if you enter your samples on a searchable database. There are several companies who have programs, so hopefully you can find one that works well for your lab. An Excel graph would also work fine as well.
Here is an example table of how you may inventory your samples. A value of 10 is very valuable and a value of 1 is least valuable.
|Sample Descriptions||Value 1-10|
|Common Sample Date Unknown||1|
|Researcher Gone, Sample Unknown||1|
|Results Published, No Further Study Likely||1|
|Researcher gone, More then 3 years||1|
|Just In Case Samples, Saved As Backup But No Longer Needed||2|
|Short Term Samples||2|
|Researcher Gone, Valuable DNA Sample||2|
|Analysis Complete, Store Until Published||3|
|Researcher Gone, Still in Contact||3|
|Researcher Gone, Unprocessed Sample||3|
|Most Samples converted to RTSS||3|
|Raw Sample, Analysis Likely||4|
|Researcher Gone, Valuable Sample With Documentation Pending||6|
|Valuable Series of Samples, Potential for Retro Studies||6|
|Results Published, Likely Further Study||7|
|Irreplaceable or Moderatly Precious Sample||8|
|Irreplaceable And Extremely Precious For Ecological Work||9|
|Irreplaceable And Extremely Precious For Disease Control||10|