Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where, Oh Where Has That Sold Item Gone?

Oh where, oh where can it be??

Sarah from Vancouver emailed me last week:
With your hundreds of items, how do you find it again after you listed it and it has been sitting around for a while?
I am very fortunate to have an entire bedroom devoted to my eBay inventory. I don't have to store any of my inventory in bins. It's all right out in the open, where I can see it.

I am also pretty lucky to have an obsessive memory. I just plain remember where I put stuff. And because it's all out in the open, I see all of it every day. It's always fresh in my mind where things are.

But to give you more details, I'll describe how I have everything stored. (No pictures, because I use certain storage items in ways that they are not intended, and I don't want to post pictures and get caught for doing that and get in trouble ...)

Shoes: I have open-ended shoe boxes stacked floor to ceiling along one whole wall. Each box is numbered. When I list a pair of shoes, I put them in one of the boxes and write the shoe box number in a note on my listing. When a pair sells, I can easily see what box number they are in, and it takes me 2 seconds to find them.

Clothing: I have 2 hanging clothing racks set up in the center of my room. I have all my clothing hung there. They aren't sorted very well - just by basic category (tops, skirts, pants) I need to get them sorted by size or something, because it usually takes me about 10-15 seconds to find the right garment. Time is money, people! Gotta get faster than that! :)

I also have shelving units on 2 of my walls. I have all of my denim skirts, jeans, pants, and shorts stacked on one of the shelves. I'd love to have them all hanging up, but those racks only hold so much.

I have a shelving unit full of open-ended boxes that was originally for shoes, but I've moved all of those to my original shoe wall and am now using this unit for sweaters. I roll the sweaters up and slide them into a box. I'd rather have them hanging, but they are very bulky and take up a lot of hanging space. Also, rolling them prevents those goofy hanger marks in the shoulders.

Any longer garments (dresses, coats, jackets) are hanging in the closet.

Plush: I have a smaller floor-to-ceiling wall of open-ended boxes that I had originally built for shoes, but now that my shoe inventory is declining, that whole wall is empty. I use it for my plush. I don't have to dig through bins to find what I need. They're all plainly visible. Of course, that means they are plainlyg visible to my kids, so from time to time, I have to chase some of my plush down from other rooms in the house, but for the most part, it works well.

Books: I desperately need a better system for my books. I just pile them on a shelf as I list them. Again, in no order whatsoever.

Housewares (mugs, casseroles, coffee carafes, etc): They are all on the bottom shelf of one of my shelving units. They only take up one shelf, so it's really easy to find what I'm looking for there.

Microwave Turntables: When I list a turntable, I write on a post-it the number that's on the turntable. I stick that to the turntable (sticking out from the side like a tab) and add it to the stack on my (very heavy-duty) shelf. That way, when I sell a turntable, I don't have to move and sort through 30 turntables. I can just glance over the post-it notes that are sticking out and find the right one.

Board Games: They're just stacked on the very top of my shelving unit. Easy to see and find the one I need.

Toys: I sell very few toys. They're all just on one shelf.

Odds 'n' Ends: They go wherever I can fit them. I do occasionally forget where some of these things are, because it's not a real category, so they don't really have assigned places. But usually I'm able to remember.

That's pretty much it. You can see that my 2 best tips for finding inventory is to store like inventory together (have a section for mugs, or a section for jeans, or whatever...) and keep as much out in the open as possible so it's always right there. If you've got the space, get that stuff OUT of the bins! It's so much easier to find stuff when it's not tucked away in bins.


  1. I think I know what opened ended boxes you're talking about and that is brilliant! :) Thanks for sharing these tips. I am just starting up on ebay again after a 9 year break (3 kids) and it is so much fun that there are all these re-selling blogs! So much better than trolling through the ebay message boards. :) I've been blogging for over 5 years and am quite addicted so this is great to merge blogging + ebay together. I'm a new subscriber!

    1. Welcome! Yep - the boxes work perfectly for this. I assembled them, taped the bottoms shut, and folded the top flaps down. Then I taped the boxes together at the front edge. That gives them more stability. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do floor to ceiling. When they are full, the boxes are really heavy and the boxes on the bottom get crushed.

  2. Thanks for that - a few good points for me there.

    I do know about books though (started off as a book-dealer)

    Try to use narrow bookcases.
    Number each shelf starting from the top
    If more than one bookcase, give each bookcase a letter
    So, a book on the 2nd shelf on the 1st bookcase would be book A2
    You can pencil the book number inside the cover as a double check
    You can put the reference on the bottom of the listing (I also put in the actual weight, and then the postage weight)

    Easy as you only have one shelf to scan, and if you know the colour of the book from looking at the listing, the eye narrows the choice down very quickly.


  3. Question: how do you decide what microwave turntables to buy? I saw two yesterday at GW but one was huge and I wondered if it was from a really old one.

    1. I buy all sizes! I don't buy the square ones, and I ALWAYS check carefully for any nicks around the edges. The last one I sold was a huge one (16") for $29.99 + shipping. The microwave in my kitchen is only about 2 or 3 years old, and I think it has a 14" turntable, so they aren't necessarily old if they are big.

  4. How do you keep track of your purchases and sales for taxes? Do you use paper or a software program? Also how do you keep receipts organized?