Smart Reselling-Part 2: Organizing Your Inventory

While few of us relish organizing our inventory, it is an important part of the reselling business.

Organizing your inventory effectively has many benefits:

1) It allows you to find your items easily, thus cutting down on the amount of time “searching” for a sold piece.

2) It helps improve your sales as you are able to see what you have so that you can sell it at the best times of the year or when they suddenly become in demand.

3) It can help cut down on costs because the more accessible your items are to you, the easier it is focus and list….thus cutting down the “need” to shop for more items. Which, of course, is a desire that never seems to go away.

4) It helps streamline your business by allowing you to easily see the items that have been sitting a while and collecting fees.

5) It helps cut down on the frustration that hits us all.  The”what am I going to do with all this STUFF?”  cry can become less of a mantra in the day-to-day operations of this business.

So here are some thoughts that can help you organize your items for the coming year.

1) Think permanently.  As in…”What PERMANENT solution can be used to organize this inventory?”.  Often we spend a great deal of time putting things into spots that we’ll come back to later, only to see that they’ve managed to stay in that temporary spot for weeks. And then the “temporary spots” begin to add up.  When starting your plan to organize, think about your area in terms of months/a year…not days or weeks.  This may take some heavy duty planning or rearranging, but the time spent in 1-2 days doing some permanent storage solutions will drastically cut down the time spent cleaning up various piles of inventory every so often because “there was not place to put them”. I spent a good few days carving out a permanent spot in a small “out section” of my kitchen. That is now my “inventory spot” and I have no excuse why any merchandise should be in any other part of my house.

2) Think Kindergarten. As in….make it easy on yourself to find things. Try a color inventory system, a number inventory system or even a picture inventory system. Are files easy for you? A notebook with item location?  Whatever is going to be easiest for YOU to find your items easily is what you should use.  Don’t worry that it doesn’t look like the magazines.  Your goal is to make a system that fits your lifestyle and way of thinking.  Inventory can easily take over a home, so your goal is now to make sure that doesn’t happen. Making an organizing system that’s too hard or frustrating is much like a diet that doesn’t match your lifestyle. I use a number system. On items I have several of, I put a tiny, tiny number on the listing at the bottom that matches the one I have temporarily attached to the item….or the box that it is in. Works for me!

3) Think rotation.  Unless you are selling expensive jewelry,antiques, or other rarities…think like the stores. First in….first out.  Meaning…after an item has sat a while, you’ve tried various ways to sell it, you’ve lowered the price….consider moving it out of your house….as in “bye-bye!”.  Inventory areas need periodic “freshening” or you will soon run out of space because of  these non-moving items. It’s okay to cut your losses. The trick is to buy smart…but don’t worry… we all have had plenty of “duds”.  Start a donation box and when that gets filled….VOILA!…instant Karma and instant tax deduction! Plus, you now have freed up more room for  more items that COULD sell. I usually have a box to take to a local thrift store every couple of months.  I’m getting better…it used to be almost every month.

4) Think fast. Place your inventory in the order that makes most sense to list it through the year.  The last thing you want to do is find that beautiful Easter centerpiece in a box that you open in November.  This will help speed up the process of listing as you will be able to think through when items need to be listed based on the time of year/season/holiday. It helps with goal setting. I stack my boxes in the order of the year.  It just helps with the visual, plus it’s great for when I come back from shopping with a specific seasonal item….I can just place it in the box that fits that time of year!

5) Think small. As in a small, manageable inventory. Again, items that aren’t getting listed are costing you and your business money.  Reward yourself with shopping with daily/weekly goals of listing.   I am constantly having to discipline myself to list but I always feel less guilty shopping when I’ve done the “harder work” beforehand.

Bottom line, organize the way that is going to help YOU the most based on the way you think, the space you have, and the kind of inventory you carry. Hopefully some of these tips will help in the coming year!

Do you have some great inventory organizing tips?

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4 Responses to Smart Reselling-Part 2: Organizing Your Inventory

  1. Gretchen says:

    Thanks a bunch. I’ve had to “organize” my “business” effective 1/1. So everything is fresh. Need to get sales tax number, keep books, yada, besides which I always lose my inventory, somewhere. Very timely article, I will think long term, not right now.

  2. John says:

    This is a great article. No matter how long you have been selling, it is always nice every couple of months to review your inventory management.

    Here is another idea for #4. As it is great to donate your items to GW, SA or other non-profit store (and get a tax deduction), depending on what you sell consider consigning it to your local auction house. We do this 4x a year, and it brings money back into our coffers.

    Again great article, and hope the suggestion I give helps!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The best thing I did was open two online stores for my vintage clothing. When I noticed that a large majority of my business was coming from Australia and I live in the United States where we have conflicting seasons, I ordered another store that meets the seasonal needs of those in Australia. It allows me to never have to sort and list by season. If I find a fur coat in the summer here in the U.S. I list it in my other store and sell it to the mates that are in the dead of winter. Works for me. I also have a storage room as I have two very large online stores.

  4. Pingback: Smart Reselling-Part 5: Working Smarter…Not Harder in this Business | Late Night Coffee

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