Sarah from Vancouver emailed me last week:
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.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 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.