11/15/2016 at 7:26 am #5846
We’ve discussed it before, but I thought I’d open a conversation about inventory systems. Currently we keep items in plastic bins by “kind”. So all tools in one bin. All kitchen items in another bin. When we get enough of one kind, we stat another bin. It’s certainly not perfect and would be difficult to teach to someone, but it works for us.
When we finish our new storage building, we are thinking of creating a sku or numbering system. Each plastic bin will have it’s own number, and then we put that location number on the eBay item’s page. It wont matter is like items are grouped together this way.
I’m thinking we just label the first bin #1, then #2, etc. Is this too simple?
11/15/2016 at 9:27 am #5860
My system is still a work in progress, but I drew a line in the sand and all new listings stick to it. My current SKU is a letter and two numbers.
W – I have two Wardrobes for coats and bulky clothing items.
I have plenty more letters to expand. I can also add to the SKU eventually to put in my COGS and purchase date if I want. You gotta start somewhere!
My only wish is that the SKU would be added to the app. I can’t find it anywhere! I should be able to go to my awaiting shipment items and see the SKU plain as day. I should also be able to add the SKU to the listing in the app.
My next step in my system is to pick a listed tub a day and add the SKUs to the listings. Without SKU functionality in the app though, that becomes a pain.
06/04/2019 at 8:30 pm #62963wellspringParticipant
- Location: TN
My OCD would be: c for clothes, s for shoes, e for electronics, t for toys and m for misc! LOL
06/04/2019 at 8:54 pm #62966wellspringParticipant
- Location: TN
I just recently started listing women’s shoes and sandals. I quickly realized that storage and organization was going to be a challenge.
I’ve found a system that is working pretty good. I have a super large storage tub with a lid. I place the pair of shoes/sandals in a padded flat rate envelope for “vertical” storage. On a strip of sticky note paper, I write the brand, size and anything notable and staple it to the inside of the pull tab flap of the padded envelope. I place it where I can easily read it.
Next, I organized my padded shoe bags alphabetically by brand, vertically in the tub. The tub holds two rows, appoximately 16 or so pairs, depending on the size/heels etc. The tops of the bags are open. Because the tub is deep, the lid fits and the bags remain vertical.
I’m not necessarily using the padded envelope to ship the shoes. I remove the stapled sticky note when I pull the shoes to ship and reuse the bag. I staple it because sticky notes don’t always stick.
On really large shoes, I use a poly mailer, folded in to expose the tops of the shoes. Sometimes, the Ebay padded mailers are large enough for sandals. I feel the padding helps protect the shoes during storage.
I also purchased two inexpensive shoe racks from Walmart for $6 each. Each one holds 12 pairs. I’m using them in my staging area for photography. I got tired of the shoes being in my way and vertical storage is the way to go when working in tight spaces.
Hope this helps someone….
11/15/2016 at 10:54 am #5872adnauseamParticipant
I keep a spreadsheet with what is in every bin. I just fill as I go. I do separate shoes, clothes and “stuff”, though. And books.
My numbering has gotten wonky so I’ve started naming bins things like Annabelle, Sam, Archie, etc. I’ve finally hit over 1000 things so we built proper shelves in our barn to hold my “ideal” bin that I’d like to transfer everything to in time.
11/15/2016 at 8:53 pm #5912BwBark AtlantaParticipant
At this point everything goes in clear bins, or a shelf if it doesn’t make sense to go in a bin and some smalls and mugs go in drawers. I like clear bins because at a glance I can see if any one bin has room for an additional item as things sell and are removed from any one bin.
Larger bins are numbered B1, B2, B3 ect.
Smaller bins for smalls are SB1, SB2 SB3 ect.
Shelves are likewise S1, S2, S3 ect.
Drawers are you guessed it D1, D2, D3 ect.
I am just starting out but wanted something that was scalable for the future. It’s a work in progress so we’ll see.
As I list, I assign the item a resting spot that makes sense space wise for the item with the appropriate area and number. I also put that letter and number designation at the end of my listing so I can find it as it sells. What I have not been able to figure out and would greatly appreciate some help on is, how or where could I put this information on a listing so that when you print out an invoice it would print out on said invoice. Any ideas? Thanks
11/16/2016 at 8:57 am #5941almastyParticipant
I just have everything in file boxes and number them from #1, #2, etc,. Smaller, fragile items are in envelopes in the boxes with their own folder numbers. The numbers are indicated in the Ebay listings. #1. #2, #1. Easy.
11/28/2016 at 11:58 am #6716DnA ThriftersParticipant
We have bankers boxes with numbers on them for all of our “one off” items. We use totes for clothing and shoes. Artwork is on our walls in 3 of our 4 bedrooms until it sells. Furniture is is our garage.
We use the “custom label” field on ebay to assign a number with either “B” for bankers box or “T” for tote and then the number.
Totes are simply stacked in order, bankers boxes are on rolling metal shelving units.
Our listing process now includes inventory too, each fragile item is bubbled or wrapped before it gets placed in inventory. Each piece of clothing is clear bagged and labeled. Each pair of shoes is boxed and labeled. This has made it so much easier on how to find things when they sell.
All we do is pull, and ship!
12/01/2016 at 5:03 am #6959Anonymous
I use akro-mils attached kid totes. I use a color and code system. All inventory that is not yet listed goes in the blue totes which I can pull from to list. Once photographed and listed I place the item in the grey tote that has the corresponding code that is printed on an adhesive label and affixed to all totes. For example my codes are consist of general type of item in smaller font and then an abbreviated two letter code in larger font. After each two letter code is a dash with the bin number for that the type of item in the tote. For example “CJ-1 Coin & Jewlery Listed” would be on a grey tote. The same labels would be on the blue totes as well the difference being it would say “unlisted” Once that fills up I simply add another tote CJ-2. This system is simple however still allows room to grow easily. I keep the corresponding code at the bottom of each description in the listing so I can reference it when it’s time to ship, however the system is pretty fail safe if you ever forget to put the code in the listing as you should know by what type of item it is and will narrow your search to just those bins if it ever happens. Some of the other codes I use are CB-# collectibles, OD-# outdoors, KN-# Kitchen, TL-# Tools, TY-# toys, and more but you get the idea. I found that using codes on the unlisted blue totes allows me to easily shift between item types when I get bored of listing one type. I’ll attach a pic when I can figure out how to do it as I’m doing this from my phone. Hope this helps some.
12/01/2016 at 11:24 am #6983
I have a simple system utilizing plastic totes and plastic drawers.
Each ones gets a letter and a 2 digit number such as H45.
The letter stands for where the item is. I use my garage, 16′ X 9′ shed, underground bomb shelter and now my house.
The numbers correspond to the tote or drawer.
Right now I’m using the notes section of the listing for my item location and date of listing.
If I were starting it today, I would just use the SKU field and incorporate the location, date of listing and cogs there.
12/01/2016 at 1:15 pm #7003
I’m using the SKU section, but ebay has not made the sku field mobile friendly. You can’t add it to the listing on mobile and you also cant see it when you pull up “awaiting shipment” items. So irritating!
Does anyone know how we can submit a request to ebay to add features? The SKU function is badly needed on mobile for shipment picking.
12/09/2016 at 11:29 am #7712Vintage HappyParticipant
USE INVENTORY NUMBERS -Each item gets assigned an inventory # example A0001, A0002, A0003 etc.. the letter designates the year A=2015 B=2016 etc…
USE A DATABASE-I add the the inventory # to my data base inventory listing system (I use tap forms) Tap forms is a customizable database for Apple its comparable to Microsoft Access. I like this database because it syncs between my iPad, iPhone and iMac seamlessly using iCloud or wifi which gives me the ability to view or update on any device. Its like your own custom Garagesale or ink frog listing tool you can access of line.
ASSIGNED INVENTORY LOCATIONS-each item gets put into a box or placed in a location, that location or box is recorded in the Tap Forms database.
USE EBAY ITEM NUMBERS-when I list an item on eBay I copy and paste the 12 digit eBay item # into my database, I don’t use eBay SKU field I use eBay item # because it is easy to find, for what every reason does not put the SKU field in the shipping screen (go figure). when an item sells eBay puts the item # first thing in the shipping label screen copy and past that number into your search screen on your database and it will bring up your item and is location.
USE META DATA ON YOUR PHOTOS-dont bother with iPhoto albums just use meta data every photo I take gets tagged with meta data I add the inventory # title and location to all my photos When you add your photos to your listing in eBay just type the item inventory # in the search field and it will bring up the photos for that item.
This is a very scalable system that works great nothing gets lost and it is very flexible and it can be used offline.
12/11/2016 at 8:36 am #7795arrowsr5Participant
I work full time for a popular thrift store chain that has their own ecommerce selling department. We process and list approximately 40 items a day per lister. I will walk you through my day and the inventory system will explain itself. At 7:30 am I load my cart with inventory from a box that has been brought to us. I empty boxes till I have a full cart top and bottom. I take my cart to my shooting station and begin to take pictures. Under my station I have different size clear bags and a tape gun. On my station I have a spiral bound notebook, measuring tape, and magnifying glass. I shoot up to 6 pics of each item, write necessary info in my notebook. During that process I take the item over to weighed bring it back to shooting station. Item is bagged and moved to inventory shelving. Each unit is numbered in the top right, each shelf has a letter. After I inventory place item I go back to shooting station and log info on right margin of my notebook next to the brief description (example; Hull blue planter 2.5lb, 10A) . I will do my research once I’m done shooting. I also number each item in my notebook to keep up with my 40 goal per day. After I process 40 items I take my camera, and notebook back to my office and start to download my pics. Get white labels ready.
Once my pics are downloaded I do a quick edit of all the pics at once. Then I begin my first listing. When done I take the item number and title and put that on the label with the location info as well. Once I am done listing all items I take labels to inventory location and put on the items. I am told by shipping workers that it is easy to find items. In each listing I have a drop down to log information as to where the item is stored in inventory.
I hope I explained the process to where you can understand. Working full time for a company has help me learn efficiency. I hope to soon be able to go full time eBay.
12/11/2016 at 10:35 pm #7830whiskeyParticipant
We are a bit more old school. We use wire racks and the free boxes that had reams of paper with identifiers on the outside. We started with A-1 and went up to D something. We started with plastic bins and found that over time the “vintage” smells were magnified in the bins. Further, we do a lot of old tupperware and it develops that sticky feeling when it is stored in plastic. This doesn’t happen in cardboard.
We have other random places that we store things and we name them with 1 or 2 letters and a number. We put these locations “A-1” etc at the end of our description typically in a smaller font and then we track it down pretty quickly when it sells. We back fill boxes as we list.
For items we pick up that we want to track our original cost we will use charleston or blackhorse as our price codes so we know what we paid later on.
12/12/2016 at 6:39 am #7836
What does this mean?
“we will use charleston or blackhorse as our price codes”
12/12/2016 at 10:21 am #7854whiskeyParticipant
They are old codes that stores used to use so that they knew their cost by glancing at the tag?
B is 1, L is 2, A is 3, etc.
Something that cost five dollars would be coded KEE or 1.50 would be BKE. Once you memorize the codes its pretty easy to embed them in your listing in a small gray font somewhere at the very bottom. In a year when something sells you have the cost basis right there.
12/12/2016 at 12:05 pm #7857BwBark AtlantaParticipant
Arrowsr5 could you please elaborate on:
“In each listing I have a drop down to log information as to where the item is stored in inventory.”
Is this a drop down on the Ebay listing page or on a soft wear program you use? Where do your shipping people pick up the item location from to locate the item. Is it on the shipping label or an invoice?
Also I would love to hear your process for research before pricing and if you are given any “pricing guidelines”.
12/13/2016 at 1:00 pm #8023brooklyn_procurementParticipant
- Location: Brooklyn
Mines pretty simple. I have multiple shelving units. each shelving unit gets a number, each shelf on the unit gets a letter. If I have any boxes on that shelf they get a number
so if I have a box on third shelf on the 4th shelving unit it will look like this: 4C3
I am still figuring out my process of when I place where my inventory is, before or after I list. right now I have a pile of listed items. I pull a report from ebay once a week. I place the names of the listings into a inventory report and as I put the stock away I place the location next to the listing name
My one pitfall is tracking the cost per item so when I sell I know the exact COG. right now I pile a recent purchase and I amortize the cost per item so when I take the listings name into my inventory report I place the COG next to the items and make sure they sum up to the total value. Not sure if this is the right way
01/12/2017 at 3:57 pm #10175neverendingParticipant
I am fairly anal about organization because simply put, I don’t want to have to look for stuff when I go to ship. The first thing is everything gets ‘Checked in’ when we purchase it. The check in process is simple info written on an index card and secured to the item. I basically keep date purchased, cost, and the source. If I do some research on the item I go on ahead and summarize that on there too. Its placed in a unlabeled death bin until we get around to cleaning, photographing and listing. At that point a SKU is assigned. Typically alpha character followed by numbers with no particular rhyme or reason to how they are assigned. Just has to be unique among actively listed items (once an item sells and there was only on of it we reuse the SKU). Once the item is listed we place in a labeled bin in our ‘warehouse’ (spare bedroom). This info I keep recorded in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has a tab that is a list of all inventory that has been given a SKU; a separate tab that keeps actively listed items. As the items sell both tabs are marked to indicate so. Information is collected on both so I can see cost, profit, fees, item location in the warehouse, etc. At the end of each year a copy of the sheet is made and reduced to just those items that got sold.The main spreadsheet becomes the starting active inventory list for the new year. As for pictures and write up we create for each item, we keep those in separate computer folders named with the items SKU. This solution can not scale if my inventory gets real large as spreadsheets and folder collection can be a pain to work with when there is allot of data so my dream is to automate it which will make the data management much much easier. If and when I do I will make sure its is compatible with Excel and Google sheets to share with all.
01/26/2017 at 1:47 am #11192rummagerackstoreParticipant
- Location: WA
Okay so this isn’t about our inventory system – only because we are just getting started on our eBay journey. It is a comment about what everyone ELSE has shared and what we have gathered from their generosity.
Vintage Happy has the best system I have come across so far – and is likely the one we will incorporate into our eBay store. The biggest time saver and organizer tip is to use the eBay item number for each item as your “inventory control number”.
I like Jay’s idea for simplifying the storage and search for items – a bin with a unique alpha-numeric ID that identifies the location for items. I would not use #1, #2 and so on for the numbers of bins, but rather something more like what Retro Treasures WV is using. A letter to identify what kind of items are in the bin and then the bin number in that category.
combine all these things into the database that Vintage Happy suggested and you have a winning combination! Then you can search the database by bin or item number and get the other info you need. You could even add in the tracking number and shipment method to the sold listings to help with returns and disputes.
The only organization piece that is missing from this system now is how to manage the invoices and receipts for all items. This will help with verifying COGS and general accounting. Not to mention the potential piles of paperwork that tend to accumulate in every business.
01/26/2017 at 2:06 am #11193Anonymous
Just a word of advice…it’s not a good idea to use the item number as your inventory number. The reason being is that if you do that you will have to list all your items as good till canceled and you don’t want to do that as its horrible SEO and your items will eventually get buried in the searches. You want to “sell similar” every 30-60 days not just relist or good till cancel. when you use the sell similar feature you are given a new item number so this could totally screw things up with your inventory numbering system if you’re using that. I understand you’re probably excited about your store and that’s great but don’t over complicate things. If you look up above I have a post about inventory storage that works great if you want to try it and it is a simple 2 letter code followed by a bin number which allows you to identify the type of item right off hand and as you grow with more bins you just add make the bin number the next number up in succession from the last full one. Example is CB-1 (collectibles bin 1) or CB-2 (collectibles bin 2) and TL-1 (tools bin 1) and so on. I have several different two letter codes for types of items I also have in small print on the label codes the actual word written out under the number in case I ever add on enough item types that I forget what “CB” is “collectibles” this allows room to keep growing without ever having to revamp your code system and you never have to worry about eBay item numbers changing as you shouldn’t be listing good till canceled items in the first place anyhow.I also use akro mils attached lid hinged totes for storage. The grey ones are listed items and the blue ones are unlisted items but also have the same coding system just in case. Hope this helps and just FYI I love my system, I never spend more than a minute to find items that sold when it’s time to package and the blue totes allow me to say hmmm what type of items to I feel like listing today or right now and I grab it and get to work and can change it up if I want. Hope this helps. Good luck – Kyle
01/26/2017 at 1:50 pm #11221
I don’t think you should put like items in their own bin. Mix it up so long as you aren’t putting an anvil on top of crystal champagne flutes. Reason being if a bunch of like items sold and you don’t have any more to put into the bin then you’ve got a half empty bin taking up valuable space. We just bin every item as it is photographed, I jot down the bin number on my listing sheet, and the bin number goes into the Note field (along with the item cost).
Since we use clear bins it is easy to see which have space available in them. That way we only start a new bin when more room is actually needed.
Also, we just use sequential numbers for the bins. No need for H1B6, A1C2 and all that.
01/26/2017 at 2:17 pm #11224
Same here Pythonesk. Think we discussed some of this a while back and is probably searchable on the new forum format.
* Clear bins so we can see how full and which bins to put new stuff in.
* Consecutively number the bins and the bin number then gets added to our sku number in the custom note field in Ebay and also our Spread sheet as a back-up
* Each item is assigned it’s own custome sku number that includes the item no., price paid fot it, buy date and final bin where placed.
* Agree, like items create space voids in the over all space management. Amazon has a Star Wars toy in a bin right along with a chocolate mold and a neck tie. Doesn’t matter as long as the items custom sku number is associated with that bin number. [How we did it in our large printing company which we also did fullfilment for our major customers].
* If you want to put “some” similar things together then just look up where you put your last two sweaters and go put your new purchase in that bin.
* We strongly suggest some type of written log, ledger book or especially a spread sheet. Very quick and easy to use.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
01/26/2017 at 2:19 pm #11225Anonymous
Of course you should keep like items together. Why wouldn’t you ???? Because you’re worried about a bin only being half full ?? I would rather have the organization and the back of knowing where to look if for someone reason the item got put on the wrong bin number or labeled wrong on the listing.
01/26/2017 at 3:29 pm #11228
to 1sourcesales: “Why wouldn’t you”:
Couple of reasons
* Weight. If you have heavy items like we do the boxes get heavy. We have a few bins already clocking in at 40 plus pounds. If we put all “like kind items” that were also heavy in one bin, it might grow too heavy. I have a pair of Men’s Shoes Dr. Martens on my table right now and they weigh 2.6 lbs. Now multiply that times 25 pair in a bin and it will weigh 65 lbs. Our shelves are 7 feet high and we put bins on top, so we would have a 65 lb. bin to pull down and put back up at 7 plus feet over our heads?? Or have to just leave them down low close to the floor and again, if we had a lot of heavy bins we would only using the lower areas we would be wasting a lot of over head space. But this all depends on the type of inventory people have. Lrg. Mfg. [like we used to be], always utilize overhead space as high up as they can. Just like Jay’s second story on there building.
* to conserve storage space. You mention “a” bin. Our numerical bins are up to number 536. If we had them all just partially full do you have any idea how much space that would take up. Example, steak knives sets, we have about 4 or 6 sets, they would only take up about half a bin. But they are gently laying elsewhere on top of some jeans, or shirts, etc.
536 boxes “half” full would mean over a thousand bins which would mean we would have to go “rent” outside storage at $75 per month.
* Putting things in the wrong box can happen to anybody at any time for any reason. I could see a like kind seller accidently putting a pair of brown men’s shoe’s into the black box just as easily.
* If you hire someone or you are away on a trip and have another person pull something for you it is easy to say, on your phone or text, go to bin 423 and take out item 3853. They don’t have to know what it is, what it looks like. Just execute two manuevers based on a numerical system. And yes, mistakes can happen with any system, garbage in = garbage out.
So, barring human error for a moment, we think, in our opinion that there is just more benefits to using the numerical placement system. There are some benefits also to the “like Kind” but we personally [ioho] think the number system far outweighs them.
Many MBA programs and LEAN Mfg. programs advocate, the numerical systems over like kind systems and there is a lot that can be searched on Google about the benefits of numerical computerized control systems, perpetual inventory systems, year end inventory control by way of numerical date control for calculating cost of goods sold, and things along those lines.
But if space / storage is no issue, weight is no issue, and no long range plans to grow ones business to a larger size by using helpers, no plans for computerization, then other systems that work for a personal preference is fine.
But if we had mixed our customer’s [Walmart, Home Depot, Stanley Tools, General Electric Co., Michelain Tires, etc., etc.] items all together because the hangers, hooks, headers, end cap displays, printed banners were all like kinds we would have been in a world of hurt both from an inventory cost point and also from a FIFO / FILO Re-order, Purchasing and stocking point. We just use the same inventory control logic we did in our large business on a very small scale now we are retired and doing this as our full time living. Spent 40 years tracking stuff before so why scrap a perfectly good system we work out years ago, just because we are smaller now.
BTW, we have about 3,000 items in a 20 x 20 space and it is only about half full. We think we will be able to fit approx. 6,000 items in that 20×20 space eventually. BTW we sell mostly vintage ceramic, glass, metal, hard goods, some small furniture & mirrors, artwork. The paper goods, stamps and jewelry we keep in metal file cabinets in our admin. office which is approx. 15′ x 22′.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by MDC Galleries & Fine Art.
01/26/2017 at 3:42 pm #11234
Mike you are exactly right. If we bin something heavy like a pile of dishes we are sure to fill the rest of the bin with something light like baseball caps. We even will deliberately put like items AWAY from other like items since it would be too easy to pick & pack the wrong one. This happened to us when we had two camo hoods listed and put them in the same bin. The wrong one got sent and then we had the whole nightmare of getting it back and sending the correct one. Luckily the buyer was super cool about it.
01/26/2017 at 4:13 pm #11240
Speaking of dishes, and I knew better and could kick myself in the butt for just the reason you mention. We had a stack of 12 Limoges Made in France dinner plates in one bin and my wife said go ahead and put the salad plates and saucers in the one bin. I knew that was going to be too heavy for the structure of the bin and also for my arm that high up. So I split the set up. Dinner plates in this bin, found a partially empty second bin for the salad plates and again same thing for the cups and saucers.
We also use a metal rolling cart that we pull in between the rows and down the aisles when we pull bins so we don’t have to lower them all the way to the floor when pulling. So, I had to use our 3 step small ladder to put it up there and did OK. But we went to pull it one day to take them all out to our antique booths and BAM! While I was lifting the bin with the dinner plates down, the top [it was latched-we only use snap over latches on our bins. Pop on lids without latches just don’t cut it] and latch snapped off due to the weight and it fell off my right hand, hit the cart and dumped all the plates out and they all broke as they hit the concrete floor.
What I should have done is only put 4 in a bin, spread them around, then just put 4 bin numbers on my spread sheet for the location. But nope, and all was lost on the plates. Just had to sweep them up and dump.
But point is many like kind items can weigh a ton and a numerical system allows you to pace any where for any reason. I will admit most of our items are one of a kind [I dislike plates due to weight and length of time to pack and protect. But we have wine goblets, Asian vases, ash trays, many drinkware sets and they are all spread around in various bins.
We have only had 3 breakages since 2002 [one just the other day] and only 2 items not located in 14 years, so think the system works fairly well.
01/26/2017 at 4:23 pm #11242Pam in IndianapolisParticipant
I once stored a ton of hats in one bin. When one sold, I had to look at almost every hat to find the right one. Now, I put listed hats in different totes to avoid the issue!
01/26/2017 at 5:57 pm #11248
I do that with hats and shoes too…. Makes finding things go alot quicker.
01/26/2017 at 4:40 pm #11244
Mike – lately with dishes we put that thin foam between each plate and then wrap the whole thing with cling wrap. It holds it all together very tightly and it is almost ready to ship. Got a big roll of wrap from Sam’s and wouldn’t want to be without it. And since it is clear you can still tell which dishes they are.
01/26/2017 at 5:01 pm #11246
Yep.. We do the same now. We got the foam plate tip from Linda Shields. Great tip. We also use stretch wrap to hold several associated pieces all together [with bubble wrap padding of coarse]. Also we use the stretch wrap in our packing process also. On almost every item we ship. Holds everything tightly together. We buy it in 5″ wide rolls and it comes with a small hand holder. we just wrap it around and around. It is also good for bridging spaces between even even areas of an irregular shaped object. Great stuff. A main stay in our packing area.
01/26/2017 at 6:26 pm #11251Anonymous
To MDC – I don’t think you read all of my post. I have plenty of room to grow, when one bin is full I make a label and number it up one and stick on a new empty tote. Simple. As far as weight goes I use akro mils 39120 attached lid hinged totes. The 39120 is the model number for a specific size and there are different sizes to choose all of mine hold a good amount of items yet still not to large to get too heavy. In fact I have two of them that both hold books only, I simply pull it off the shelving rack set on the table and grab my item. I respect anyone’s choice to store how you want but not storing like items together is going to cause you problem the first time you make a mistake on all that extra paper you’re creating for yourself with inventory sheets and item numbers etc. Again…I’ve never spent over a muinute at the most locating an item when it’s time to ship. Typical with that size tote, I open it, look down, grab the item and in seconds in ready to pack it. I read up there earlier where someone is storing steak knives in with their clothing ?? No thanks I don’t need to be slicing up inventory because I’m mixing items. Also there’s one important thing here I see a lot of people over looking and maybe it’s inexperience or just a lack of education on the eBay system, but using a eBay item number for a inventory locator is a horrible idea. If you do this you are forced to either use good till canceled listing or 30 day listing that you have to use the “relist” option instead of the “sell similar”, the sell similar option will keep all the description, pictures, title, price and everything from your own listing you clicked on and give it a new item number which will in turn get your listing back in a good SEO position. If you are using good till canceled or just simply hitting the relist button every 30-60 days then you are LOSING SALES because your old inventory that hasn’t sold is going to be buried deep deep in the search due to it having the same old item number. I’m sorry to break it to some of you, I’m sure it’s not something you want to hear if you’ve already based a storage system around eBay item numbers but the fact is you’re costing yourself money that way by never being able to rejuvenate the same item/listing with a different item number. I see this in a lot of new excited business people, they think that the more work and complicated system they have is somehow the most efficient way to do things, sometimes it’s ego, sometimes just inexperience but it’s not good business practice. Keep it simple, keep like items together, keep your code to a two letter and number system and NEVER USE eBay item numbers as your inventory locators for the very reasons I stated above. The end result will be people will read this and resent me for it because they have put a lot of work into their system with their idea of the item number and will never change it because in their mind they could never make a mistake or see it for the problems it causes. Not a good business attitude. Success is teached recognizing failures and flaws then problem solving. I can say this because I can admit that I’ve tried many different things in life that didn’t work and luckily had the attitude to recognize it, own and fix it. To each their own though, but I though we were all here to optimize our sales and lives.
01/26/2017 at 6:55 pm #11253
We always bag our items before storing together. If I’m putting knives with clothing they are already bagged so no issues. So you use smaller bins. Cool. To each his own.
01/26/2017 at 8:15 pm #11257
We’ve had this discussion many times around here: GTC vs Re-List every 30 days.
Just curious: where are you getting that info that says a new inventory number boosts your listing?
Don’t ever be sorry for breaking it to us. Just nice to know what the facts that info is based on.
We list all our items GTC and have steady sales, old and new stuff. We did an experiment in the summer where we ended all out 4000 items and re-listed as new. Crickets. No boost in sales at all. It was just a lot of time wasted ending and relistng.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Jay.
01/26/2017 at 8:14 pm #11256
Yes me too pythonesk. We use bubble mailers at times to keep items in either sharp or delicate items separated. With the knives I mentioned, those are all boxed sets. But we do have hand tools and such, again use some padded envelopes.
Wonder what it’s like to dig through a bin or box full of 25 all red trucker hats, all snapbacks, all used with some slight wear and only the logo to identify each one. Fun, o Fun. I remember something Jay saying that is funny about how he sent two left shoes to a customer. Digging through a full box of all brown men’s shoes. Rumbling through the box trying to find the matching right shoe and the correct brand and size. Funny. LOL
01/26/2017 at 11:56 pm #11272Anonymous
In reply to your comment, you’re saying you guys did the experiment “relisting”thousands of items and the result crisckets, again I will say and please excuse my frustration as I have Stated in several posts now to NOT use the the relist button, on your unsold items that you lost for 30 days use the “sell similar” button that is right by the “relist” button. You’re saying you spent all that time “relisting” and didn’t see a difference, that’s because the “relist”‘button gives you the same item number that ebay a search engine has pushed further down the the searches the longer it sits there. If you would have used the “sell similar” on your own ended items you would have been given a new item number without having to change a thing or redo any of your original listing. Okay now hopefully that is cleared up. This is why eBay will suggest you only do your listings for 30 days or 30 days with an auto relist which will make it 60 and then the item will end, this is when you hit sell similar and get a whole new item number kicked in to their search engine. I didn’t need any more proof than when I learned the information watching an eBay conference video and then also took the same suggestion from an eBay rep (American call center) and decided to try it. I started converting all my listing from GTC to the 30 day with auto renewal and then would “sell similar” when they ended and the result was my sales dramatically improved. I was seeing things sell that had sat for two years. My overall sales improved greatly. Believe me or not it’s totally up to you which why we work for ourselves right, but if you need more proof than that I don’t know what else I can tell you. As far as the other comment about finding a red trucker hat among 25 red trucker hats I would first say thats a bit weird that you have all red trucker hats but none the less ONCE AGAIN with the size totes I use I pull out the akro mills 39120 tote open the hinged lids, look down grab the hats out and pick the one I need. A matter of seconds the tote is back on the shelf. As for sending two left shoes, I plastic bag each pair shoes that go in the bin so not much chance of that happening unless Ronnie Milsap is doing my shipping for me and emptying all the bags out in the tote first. If I can post some photos or a video I would gladly do it if your site allows it and I can figure out how. It might make things a little clearer. Anyhow, I’m happy to clear things up or answer any questions I can (even if I’ve already covered it in the other posts multiple times now lol)
Love you all keep up the good work, happy sales – Crabby Kyle
01/27/2017 at 5:35 am #11279
Hey Crabby Kyle. Great name. I must have misspoke and you misunderstood me.
We relisted all our items as new, getting a new inventory number. Just as you’re promoting. Didnt do anything for us. But it sounds like it works for you. Cool.
I know you’re new around here. We’re all friendly and share info with each other. We can hold different opinions without getting upset the other person doesn’t hold the same opinion. People have different ways of doing things that work for them.
02/17/2017 at 5:52 pm #12795thrifty2Participant
1. Use the custom sku on the description with the tote #
2. Use my word program on my Mac to list each item with the same tote # as on the custom sku
3. Every other week or so, I copy my inventory list onto an external hard drive and I also email it to myself in case of computer frying or accidental deletion
4. Pray they match up when an item sells
5. Because I couldn’t take it anymore after selling an item last week and discovering my mislabeling on both the custom sku and the inventory list, hubs lugged 50+ totes into our living room and I took each tote apart item by item, hand writing in a notebook, one sheet per tote
This gave me the chance to refresh my memory on items listed a long long time ago, plus I found some items that weren’t listed. I think those happened when ebay defaulted to 30 day listings instead of my usual GTC-I thought I’d caught all of them.
It’s been a lot of work and carpel tunnel, but the peace of mind I have is priceless. I tore out all the notebook pages and put them in a binder in tote numerical order. Old school but mind-relieving.
I feel like I’ve already said this on here? Sorry if so!
02/17/2017 at 8:07 pm #12797
It has been fun to read through all the different methods of doing inventory. So many great ideas! I love that we can take a little of this and a little of that and make it work individually.
My problem is that I have severe ADHD, and anything that is too complicated/repetitive tends to become ‘lost in translation’ and I’ll end up falling behind. I speak from rueful experience!
I was using a rack and bin identification system that worked fairly well… until I got two pairs of jeans with the same brand and color! Also, it was a pain because I actually had to store each item to see where it went before writing down the location ID for my notes. (My listing station is separate from my storage, so I would do all the listings and then go to the storage area to get the bin number and then pull up each listing individually again to add that number. Double work doesn’t sit well with an ADHD person.) Aaaaaaand then I realized I have been listing and storing with no inventory trail. Wait… wha…? Oh shucks! (No spreadsheets or anything. Such bliss. Now it’s tax time. Such hell!) LOL
So, as I have to do the entire thing from scratch, literally, I figured I’d redo my system as well to make it more ADHD friendly, easier and faster to list, while creating an inventory system. I guess I’m really really lucky that I’m still in the beginner phase!
I was thinking I would print a bunch of numbered labels that will stay at my listing station. After I’ve done my photos, measurements, etc. of an item and am ready to pop it in a bin, I’ll peel off a label and stick it on the plastic bag. (Every item is stored in a plastic bag to keep it free from dirt, dust, and other items. Also, pairs of shoes stay in pairs.) Then it will get dropped into a bin. As the labels are already printed, it’s just a consecutive numbering system, and I don’t have to worry to remember the last number because it’s right there on the sheet of labels.
I figured this was the fastest and easiest way for me to process my listings, as I can just do a whole batch of them, adding the number immediately as I process the listing, then chucking them into a bin without having to worry about making sure I have the correct bin code. I was planning to fill a bin and just label it with the numbers it has. So, start with A0001 and keep adding until the bin is full. The last number added into the bin (say A0021) is the bin label, so I would mark the Bin A0001-A0021. The next bin would be marked A0022-A… Masking tape and a sharpie are my favorite tools!
However, reading this series of posts has already revealed a flaw: half-empty bins as I remove sold items. I guess I could just do an annual consolidation exercise to solve that? It would be a day of labor with no corresponding paperwork to update. Score! Or is it more complicated than that?
Do any of you more experienced Elves see any other issues? Have any suggestions? I’m aware that any system tends to evolve, but I’d love to “start right” as far as possible. Remember, keep it simple! 🙂
P.S. Mike is my hero of the hour with his EAT suggestion. Great place to start the inventory sheet!
02/17/2017 at 8:56 pm #12800thrifty2Participant
I like your idea of labeling each individual plastic bag, I’m assuming this works great for similar items. I don’t have many items that are the same, but this would be a good idea for me for say a bin full of tees so I wouldn’t have to take each item out of the plastic bag.
I have also used your idea before of staying put at my listing table, and putting things in plastic bags and taping a piece of paper with what tote it’s going to go into, then grabbing a bunch and go to those totes. My listing area is my dining room table and my ebay totes are in a different room.
As far as half empty totes, just stick a flagging tape or a post-it on each tote as you sell items out of it so you know which ones have room to fill up with new inventory. I haven’t had to buy any new totes in probably a year.
02/17/2017 at 10:17 pm #12806
I agree with flagging the bins when they are about 1/2 full. You don’t even really need to check, you just do it when you pull out an item and see the room inside.
I wouldn’t bother consolidating (too much time). But if you really wanted to, you would combine two and keep the same numbers to eliminate the computer work. In other words, if you consolidated A14 with B12, the new bin would be labeled A14/B12. That way you wouldn’t have to do any computer work.
My bins are in a constant level of flux. The ones closest to my packing area remain full the most. It just seems to work out that way.
02/19/2017 at 3:55 pm #12870
Thrifty2: thanks. Great idea for the flagging. Maybe I can have some fun with washi tape or something. I bought 9×12 and 12×15 poly bags from Uline that I use. Each item goes into a bag before it’s stored. I clean my items before listing, so the bags help to keep them clean, dust free, and separate. I remembered hearing about folks who send two similar shoes that are not a pair (2 left shoes, perhaps?) and so I like the fact that my shoes stay in pairs. Also, they’re easily scuffed by other shoes, so it helps there too.
So Cal Joe: that’s a great idea! I love it! Then I would only have to worry about doing a new consolidation when my bin started to look like nuclear launch codes! 😉
02/23/2017 at 11:35 am #13164dwb3648Participant
Here is what I do which is mostly clothing.
• Use shelves – place them about a foot away from a wall, then push your bins until they hit the wall. You can now double the amount on each shelf. They will hang out the back side but will not fall down because they are wedged against the wall, or buy larger shelves.
• Use plastic bins or boxes the same size
• Number bins 1 to ….
• Place items mixed in bins –soft items with soft for clothing, shoes I keep together.
• Place bin numbers on the shelves
• Place a name or number on the shelves –
• When pulling items to ship, place a marker on or write down if it is half empty
• Make a map of locations of bins by shelf–
• *After purchases, make a spreadsheet and enter items, keep an empty column open called location.
• *when listing, place location number in the Custom Label (SKU) area (on the top below sub title on the page) then update the spreadsheet.
• *Print out the spreadsheet and place in a binder, also back it up on thumb drive or other media.
02/23/2017 at 1:19 pm #13176
This is pretty much what we do, only with a slight modification / customization. But basically the same. Since we use WonderLister [a database instead of a spread sheet] we keep everything within that database. All our current listings, all of our sales, every bit of data Ebay has to offer is saved on our own hard drive for as far back as we want to keep and their new inventory module has allowed us to do what we used to do in Excel only now within WonderLister and have abandoned the spread sheet totaly. No more duplicate data entry. Everything comes from just one form that is used to do our listings.
Just printed out all of our unsold items still in our warehouse inventory for Cost of Goods purchased and handed to our CPA.
But the inventory system is about the same as dwb states above. Best system we have found so far and have tried many.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
02/26/2017 at 3:05 pm #13364AtticPupParticipant
Hi All! First time to the forums, but been listening since almost the beginning & not bored yet! 🙂 Jay & Ryanne make podcasting seem easy. And they’re brilliant on trouble shooting customer service. Invaluable!
My DIL & I have what we find to be a very easy system that I’ll pass along. She gets most of the credit, btw.
Our inventory numbers (sku’s) are:
the date processed/the assigned 2 digit item#/Location.
Example: 170224-01-bA (YYMMDD-item#-Bin A)
What makes it easy:
> no lists of available/unused inventory #’s to manage
> no need to keep track of last # used on a previous day
> human error aside, no duplicate numbers
> location of item is within the inventory number
> not necessary to keep like items together
> should be (hopefully!) easily tweaked to fit most ppl’s needs
> putting the inventory # in the ebay listing description is brilliant, if I may say so myself.
> since a date is used, you have a good idea how long the item has been in your inventory.
Here’s the details:
-Have storage organized with some kind of location identifier.
We have bins labled A-Z & some shelving units also A-Z. Well, A-H so far. For the inventory number (sku), if item is located in bin R I’ll show it as bR, or sD for shelf-unit D. This could be refined by numerically labeling each shelf of each unit (or a stack of bins) Ex: sD3 (shelf-unit D, 3rd shelf)
The SKU YYMMDD-item#-location
-The date used depends on your own way of doing things. I like using the date processed rather than date listed because I want to be done with physically handling an item asap and assign the SKU. “Processed” being the point the item is ready to be stored in its place, pics taken, item info recorded & waiting to be listed and/or sold.
The order of “YYMMDD”/item#/location may be important to you. When inventory numbers are used at the beginning of your personal file names, your computer will automatically keep everything in order I think this will make Ryanne happy 🙂 Hence, Jay will be happy 😀
The date could be shortened to month/day or year/month but you could run into problems with duplicating numbers or have to keep track of where you left off on the item #’s. In the long run, using YYMMDD is the most efficient.
-Now, about those item numbers. I always use 2 digits and number the items 01-??, where ?? = how many items I processed that day. Then tomorrow I’ll start over again using item # 01.
Over a 2 day period where on day one I process 3 items and on day two I process 2 items and things are to be stored in bin A or on shelf-unit D, I will have generated these inventory numbers:
The last steps in this system are:
-Labeling the inventory # on the item.
I use painter’s tape because it’s least likely to leave a residue & tape (vs tag) is least likely to fall off. You may be able to skip this step, but it’s a godsend for clothes folded in a polybag or anything boxed up.
-Keeping a record of the item with it’s inventory number.
I put the number at the bottom of my ebay listing in my description. When it sells, it’s right there, no hunting in files & I can go straight to the location & grab it.
Putting it in ebay note is good too but it adds a step at the time of listing & I’m more likely to miss doing this than putting it at the bottom of the description (red font) at the time of listing. However, the note saves the step of clicking & scrolling down the listing at time of sale.
If you work from computer files, the inventory # can be a part of the file name or included in a spread sheet and if set up right, make finding it in your records fairly easy.
I hope this is helpful. I’ll be glad to follow up if there’s any questions.
02/26/2017 at 3:13 pm #13365AtticPupParticipant
Oops! In my post just above when I say sku I didn’t mean the ebay sku. I call the inventory numbers I create my sku’s. Sorry for the confusion.
02/27/2017 at 12:04 pm #13434
Here is the system I am working on putting in practice right now. My space is a 12×20 barn style storage building with lofts.
I have 3 large metal storage racks. There are 5 shelves, and I can fit 4 tubs on each shelf. Each rack get a letter – A, B, & C. Each shelf gets a row number, 1-5. Each tub get a number 1-4. The top shelf will be for large or awkward items that don’t work well for tubs. I have room for 1-2 more of the metal racks once I get everything very organized.
So when I sell an item that is in tube B34, I know it is on rack B, shelf 3, and on the far right in the 4th spot.
I also have some wooden shelves I built but for now I am only putting unlisted inventory on them. Once I get caught up they will become racks D-F. For hanging clothes I have two wardrobes labeled W1 and W2. I built a shelf above each wardrobe that will be W1T and W2T. Each over wardrobe shelf holds 4 tubs so an actual SKU will be something like W1T3.
I currently have room with this system for 68 tubs if I put tubs on the top shelf of metal racks. At an average of 15-20 items per tub, that will get to about 1000-1200 listed items at capacity. The wooden shelves can hold about 48-50 tubs, so I still have plenty of room.
Lastly, I have two large loft areas that are currently very unorganized. I want to get all my unlisted inventory moved up into the lofts. I already got all my unlisted stuff organized into tubs so this will be fairly easy.
05/06/2017 at 12:29 am #17527WhyknotParticipant
I’ve been selling for 18 years and within the last 4 months I have just gotten “serious” about making a living from it. I am curious. No one seems to mention keeping listed inventory in a packed and ready to ship state. I have racks with numbered locations. Such as s23. And every box on the shelf has a number s231, s232, s233 etc. I use this number when listing as a SKU to indicate the exact location and box to pick when it sells. The key here is that when I list I have the item in front of me and when I Get to the shipping info, I box it, weigh it, and assign it a shelf and SKU. Then enter that into the custom label field on eBay. When it sells, all I have to do is grab the box off the shelf and slap a label on it. No searching, no packing, no hassle. The only complaint I’ve heard about this method is that items have to be unpacked to answer questions or send more pics, but if it was listed and pictured well in the first place, this should not be an issue. I bett less than 1% of my items have ever had to be unboxed.
05/06/2017 at 9:25 am #17533
We’ve discussed this before. It’s a great idea in theory.
We tried this method when we first started selling on eBay, but it got out of control after we had about 200 items. We also don’t selling small items, so storing big boxes becomes problematic. At 5000 items in our inventory, we need to keep items loose in plastic tubs. Shipping really isnt the bottleneck in our process.
Let’s talk about your numbers.
–How may items do you have in your inventory in this “ready to ship” state?
–What kind of items do you sell?
–Is everything in small, neat poly mailers?
05/06/2017 at 10:00 am #17537WhyknotParticipant
I have about 150 items in inventory ready to ship. So I admit I have not reached that threshold of 200. Most of my inventory is shoes and electronics and shirts. Shirts reside on a hangar with a sticker wrapped around the neck with a location sku on it. When I list the shirt. It goes in a poly mailer and in a grocery bag and then hung back on the same hangar to make it easy to find later. My shoes and electronics are in their shipping boxes and on one of 3 large shelving units. I would say that the average box size is probably about shoe box size. I have a large basement that I use for the business and I am currently only using about 10% of the space available. I can see where 5000 items would become problematic. However, I have a 30% sell through rate over the last few months so I may not need that much inventory if I can keep that up. Thanks so much for your reply. You guys are an inspiration for me and have helped open my eyes to a lot of new opportunities and ideas in this amazing business we are part of.
05/06/2017 at 2:35 pm #17540
Got it. With 150 items, you really have the freedom to do what you want. Easy to store and process. Those items probably all fit on one shelf!
Your process will be successful with three factors:
–a consistent 30% sell through rate
–low cost of inventory
We’ve just found that if we want to make the money we need to pay our bills, we must have a larger inventory.
05/06/2017 at 3:13 pm #17543
You bet Jay. Here is the long version.
With 5,000 items even at 15 min. per item “pre-boxing up” that is tons of work up-front and you have no idea how many of those 5,000 will sell. I know that some would say, will if you pre-box you don’t have to do it later, but if items don’t sell and you purge your system yearly and you donate hundreds of junk items, then that was wasted time and supplies for nothing.
As you know we have been transitioning from 6 antique booths to our online efforts over the past year. We thought we would have over 2,000 items by now. Well we just made our last donation back to Goodwill and to date have donated back approx. 600 ++ items. Just think if we had pre-boxed all of those. Then we would also have had to unbox them to save the interior packaging.
Now to “inventory space”. A cubic inch may not seem like much but think of this. So for every item we have, just for giggles, if we put 1″ of dead space all around for protection and let’s say we take an average box size of approx. of 8x8x8 “box size” for each of our items, we will have used up about 384 cubic inches per box. Take this negative dead space used to protect our glass, crystal, ceramic, pottery, china items which 80% of our inventory is, then multiply this times 825 items and we would have consumed approx. 316,800 cubic inches or 183 “cubic” feet of space. Enough to stack 183 one foot square boxes. That is sveral shelves worth of “precious space” not to mention all of the pre-used up supplies to pad-protect and tape up those 183 boxes.
In your case, that would be about 1,000 +/- extra cubic square feet. Think how much room in your new storage unit 1,000 extra boxes would take up?
Just sometimes things may seem simple but when you project it out, it may not be a “best practice”, so why start down that road in the first place.
mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
05/09/2017 at 2:53 pm #17673
I prepacked when I maintained 80-100 items in inventory and had a very high sell through rate. Once I started Amassing “slow dime” inventory, prepacking went out the window.
For instance, I currently have 332 active shoe listings. It hurts my brain to envision how much space that many shoes would take up prepackaged considering how much room they take up in totes. It would be at least double the space and be a nightmare to located the item I need.
The only things I am considering pre-packing are large awkward items that require specialty boxes and packing supplies. I very rarely buy larger items now, but I still unfortunately have quite a death pile of large items I bought in the past I never bring myself around to listing – mainly because of the difficult packing.
05/09/2017 at 3:04 pm #17675
I have had similar thoughts in the past of prepackaging, but I ended up agreeing with MDC in our process. The only items that are somewhat prepackaged are shirts and ties. They are easier to store when already folded in clear polybags, and shipping is simple by putting in a tuff mailer / Priority packing and out.
We found that other non-clothing items are more efficient to store outside of packaging, are easier to pick and ship, and easier to get more data when customers ask (measurements, quality, photos, etc.)
Your specialty items MAY be worth it, since you would know your dimensions already…but you will not be happy taking it all apart to answer a question. Buyers always come up with something we had not thought of!
06/25/2018 at 6:22 pm #43503simplicioParticipant
Storage is one thing I’ve been working on lately. I’ve been putting smalls into clear plastic tote bins (the kind with the interlocking lid) labelled 1, 2, 3, etc. Then I record the bin # in my spreadsheet. They’re just going in in chronological order, basically, so I have to look up the item to know which bin it’s in, which is fine. It works pretty well… for smalls.
Where I have more difficulty is bigger boxes. Because I tend to rearrange their placement a lot when more room comes up on the shelves, they move around everywhere. And they’re pretty nondescript.
I think the solution is to move them within 1 shelf only – i.e., up and down but not between shelves (or change the spreadsheet when I do. And I’ll have to number all my shelves too… weekend project I guess.
06/26/2018 at 7:45 am #43571
Absolutely number your shelves.
By big boxes, do you mean pre-packaged ready to ship items or just boxes of listed items?
If pre-packaged, you can stick a label to the side so you can read what is in the box without pulling it out.
07/09/2018 at 5:37 pm #44949Marshal_GParticipant
- Location: Bellingham, WA
Not sure I can add anything useful at this point, but here’s my system:
Clear totes from Walmart. You can order 8-packs online and pay with PayPal, with free delivery (as a seller we all know it’s not free but whatev…)
Bins get labeled consecutively starting with AA, AB, AC, etc. I started out with A, B, C, but quickly ran out because I didn’t plan ahead. If you’re serious at least do 2 digits. I’m thinking now I should have had 3 or 4 but I honestly didn’t know if this eBay thing would work out or not.
I created a google sheet with columns of AA (cells AA01 through AA40), then AB(cells AB01 – AB40), etc (need to re-think the 40 though since we started out with lightweight women’s tops and moved on to heavier items. More on that later)
As I list I cut off a label and tape it to the clear bag that my item is folded in. That way I don’t accidentally re-use the same sku/location code (I run into trouble when I run into a problem with an item that needs spot cleaning so I set it aside but forget to erase the sku, then accidentally use that same sku because the bin label is still sitting unused. I’ve gotten better at it though). FYI it’s halfway to pre-packing since it’s folded in the perfect size to slip into a poly mailer or padded flat rate. I tried pre-packaging but then had to open it up to check something for a customer which wastes the packaging. Also if I delete a non-seller I’ve also just wasted a package. I use clear lay-flat bags with a piece of tape which is cheaper than zip locks or self-sealing.
When my bin is full I tape the remaining unused labels from that bin’s column to the front of the tote. When I can see the tote is about half full it is worth my time to pull it out and use those labels again (before I had my storage unit I’d Jenga in 1 or 2 items into a nearly full tote to keep from having to start a new tote since space is so limited). When the bin is less than half full and it no longer has labels taped to it, I can tell it’s time to combine, I write both bin names on the sheet taped to the front. I can keep combining until there’s too many bin names, at which point I’ve got to figure out an efficient system for re-labeling everything with a fresh single bin stickers.
When I’m out of labels on a my sku spreadsheet I make a copy and then use “find and replace” to change all the AA’s to Ai, AB to AJ, and so on. It’s quite an efficient way of creating new labels with not much typing. My girlfriend and I both have stores so we both use the same system. She’s way ahead of me so I keep copies rather than overwrite so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
My big issue now is does it make sense to make all 40 sku’s for a bin, knowing I won’t fill it up immediately? Is it better to just go to 20 and combine bins faster? Or would it also make sense to create more labels and keep adding to each bin as I go? I created a 41-80 spreadsheet but haven’t used it yet. I feel like it depends on your space for storage. If you’re cramped like I was just combine and start a fresh bin. If you’ve got lots of storage, maybe you already have room for fresh bins and can keep on trucking with the bin name you have and just add as you go.
I have thought about keeping everything on a spreadsheet but it seemed like a lot of extra work. In the times that we haven’t had access to the customer label field due to eBay glitch I was able to download a spreadsheet of sold items using file exchange. Now that I’m getting bulk buys my inventory comes with a spreadsheet, so i have added a column for sku/location. I am too lazy to combine multiple spreadsheets and manually add in the thrifted items but it might be worth looking at for tax purposes.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Marshal_G.
10/08/2018 at 9:16 pm #49805bcfol440Participant
This is a very worthy thread, so I will refresh with mine! 900 items mixed inventory:
For clothes and shoes: I have metal shelving from ALDI + clear totes with NO lids. I have each tote labeled with a number. The number goes into the Custom SKU field. I do not label each item within tote, just the tote. So, yes, there is some digging, but with only 15 items per tote, it’s fine. I don’t pre-pack either.
For my hardgoods, I need some help. right now, the smalls are in mini totes and the chunky stuff is “open air” on more metal shelves. No SKU for these.
If you are a newbie reading this – START NOW. Losing an item on ebay is not worth an account defect or the stress looking.
10/10/2018 at 1:20 pm #49948
“If you are a newbie reading this – START NOW. Losing an item on ebay is not worth an account defect or the stress looking.”
The above comment is worth repeating. You can also put the location at the end of the listing. It will still be found by a search of your items.
Also, setting up business policies (for shipping) is easiest to do, when you are still small.
10/11/2018 at 12:09 pm #50035
I will second what So Cal Joe says. Start when you are small. Keep it simple, but START.
10/10/2018 at 10:59 pm #49988
Ours has gradually evolved, but works well for us.
We have three rolling racks for clothes (will add more as needed), a number of shelves in various sizes, some boxes, and a closet.
Sounds haphazard, but here’s the system:
A clothing item gets listed and in the item description, we’ll add “C1” “C2” or “C3” (originally closets 1-3 in our last home) to denote which rack the item is hung on.
Most items end up being shelved. These are noted as “S1” through “S30” (again with room to grow). Any given shelf could have a variety of items on it. Coffee mugs, hub caps, toner cartridges, collectibles, etc.
We’ve got boxes that are numbered 1-16 that hold hats.
The closet is noted as DC1-DC4 (downstairs closet shelves 1-4).
We add the appropriate letter/number combination the the item description, and when an item sells, the description tells us where to find it.
We should probably be using the custom sku field instead, but so far, this is working. Not one lost item in three years, and only an extra five seconds or so to look up a location.
10/11/2018 at 12:12 pm #50037
As a secondary issue, make sure each listing has a unique SKU number on it. This is ESPECIALLY important with similar looking items, like shoes, jeans, shirts, etc. We ran into this yesterday, when we grabbed the wrong pair of shoes during shipping (we thought we know which pair it was before we checked the SKU). We double checked before we shipped, but it could have gone out incorrectly.
Before we started putting the SKU on the item, we shipped the wrong shirt twice…
10/11/2018 at 2:48 pm #50058
I have a photo of the actual tag of every clothing/shoe I sell in the listing. When I pull a pair of shoes or shirt, I compare the actual tag to the tag photo to verify it is indeed the right item.
A mistake led me to this practice.
Don’t get down when you make a mistake. Mistakes are golden opportunities to improve and refine best practices. Now if you make a mistake and refuse to identify the root cause and adjust so it doesn’t happen again…then shame on you!
10/30/2018 at 10:31 pm #50987bcfol440Participant
Inventory for hard goods is tricker for me. Clothing I have the tubs/number system down using custom SKU field. I don’t have a back-up for this, however. Wonder how concerning this is.
Ok, back to hard goods inventory – I have open shelving with random “bins” of hardgoods. I just kinda know where they are mostly b/c I do move things around often as I acquire new items/make a grouping or lot of items/etc. I keep antique paper ephemera in my dining room buffet due to basement moisture and worry about wear /tear in the “dungeon.”
05/22/2019 at 3:46 pm #62273Curious CuratorParticipant
- Location: Illinois
For me, storage was kind of a conundrum at first. Then I came up with this system and I must say, it works great for me.
first tote: clear with a gray lid. I mark CG (for obvious reasons). Then I add the number 1. So the first tote is “CG1”, next one, “CG2” and down the line. In the tote, I will put lets say a puzzle, a pair of shoes, a couple of ceramic bowls/cups, a toy, a book, fabric, maybe a radio. In the fabric items, I wrap the ceramic or glass items, this way, they don’t touch each other and less chance of breakage. When the tote is full, I move on to the next one. For me this works great because in the past, I have shipped the wrong item because it looked like another item with small variances-so I switched to this system and it has not failed me yet!
I don’t like to keep say, all books together, all clothes together, etc. The exception to that is when I sell swimsuits. I do try to keep those all in the same tote, only because it seems that when 1 sells, they seem to sell in waves of 3 or 4. So, I will keep that tote closer to reach so that I don’t have to keep digging for it.
Hope this helps someone!
07/19/2019 at 8:34 am #65139
Just re-read most of this thread, and wanted to update: We’re still using the same system, but now use the custom sku field for tracking. Makes it MUCH faster/easier to find sold items.
Currently at 32 shelves, five clothing racks, and sixteen boxes of trucker hats.
07/19/2019 at 9:11 am #65143
With this new move, did you go through every single item to add the SKU number into the custom field on the eBay listing? How long did that take?
07/19/2019 at 9:56 am #65148
We actually did that back when we moved from Edmonton to Calgary. Can’t recall how many items we had at that point, but it was likely at least 1000-1500. It was pretty quick, surprisingly. Two of us working on different shelves, and we got through all of them in two or three sessions of 1-2hr or so (if memory serves correctly).
It forced us to double check shelved items to confirm that they were listed too. I recall finding two or three that weren’t.
07/19/2019 at 11:05 am #65156
With existing inventory, it’s best to do it one bin (container) at a time. Once the bin is changed on the computer, you can label it and forget about it.
This method makes it easy to do it in stages. It also can be busy work for your helper, when things get slow. You can just pull a bin, give it a location and have your helper do the computer work.
Once it’s all inventoried, you can use the bin location on the computer to do reverse searches, to see how much is in each storage bin etc.
Sounds like fun to me…
10/02/2019 at 10:15 pm #68536
My store is small, but I’ll give you my 0.02 here anyway.
Just FYI, My real job involves running a chemistry storeroom, which I have been doing in bins for a very long time. I’ve stored glassware in bins with no padding (just piled on top of each other) and very little if any breakage over the years. With that, I have huge space and lots of unique items – so I store items based on type/size, a different bin for each one. Take a lot of room. Many of my bins are half empty (or more), and so that’s a total waste of space, but it works for that system.
With eBay, we have limited space and so I feel you just need to keep it simple – label a bunch of bins in a good way and then fill those bins with whatever. My shoes don’t all have to party together – I just have to know where each pair is located. I use the custom label field, which I too wish would work on the mobile app as that would help tremendously. But, when something sells, it tells me where the item is located – so I just have to go pull that bin and get the item out. Not too bad.
The biggest thing I have noticed playing with this is to make sure you use a number system that you can retrieve by the search function in your eBay app of choice. I just think every now and then it’s nice to pull a bin and check the contents, and so I like to be able to search my current sales and find everything located in bin H1 (for example). I don’t want to see H10, or BH1, or any other bin that has similar names. I just want to see H1. If you use more than one word (Box A1), and you do a search where you have the custom label contain a value, if you type in Box A1 as I have it above, you will get all of those, but you will get anything else that has Box, A1, A, ….. (I can’t totally figure it out – but you get a lot of things). If you do equal to, then of course you get only that box. But if you forget what all your box numbers are, it can be problematic.
I wrote a program for a barcode inventory system that I use for storing chemicals (I have over 5000 unique chemicals, and for the most part I can tell you where they all are right now). I was thinking of using that for my eBay store, but then realized I hate just copying data to excel and manipulating that data – why would I think I’d want to add a step to the data storage issue.
So I’m just trying to work within the limits of eBay and use the fields they give us in a way that makes finding items easier in the end. I keep it as simple as possible, basically storing items based on size/weight and bin availability. I try to fill every single bin as full as possible. I use clothes around fragile items at times just to help keep things from breaking. I’ve really expanded how much I can store this way – which is helping me remove my death piles as storage was becoming an issue. I’m just growing my store now (only 450 items or so), and so I’m trying to do this now and get ahead of it instead of wishing I did it later when I have a lot of things.
Everybody has great ideas and it’s cool to hear what others are doing. Thanks for sharing, it’s appreciated. Enjoy and take care.
10/03/2019 at 8:10 am #68546
So what’s your labeling system for eBay? I see you have A1, B1, etc. What do the letters and numbers correspond to?
10/03/2019 at 8:26 am #68547
I actually have W1, W2, ….., and H1, H2, ….. The W stands for Work, the H stands for home. I have things in 2 locations, as I sell for myself (H) and for work and a local thrift shop (all stored at work). So the letters let me know the major location. So if you have different storage buildings, I’d use letters to say that.
For my chemical inventory system, I use a pure number system to tell me location, but it’s based on room number. We have 45 rooms in our building. Within each room I label the shelves. So for example, in room 350 I number my shelves from 01 – 99. So in the inventory system I put them in as 35001, 35002, etc… up to 35099. So I know its in room 350, shelf whatever. I didn’t do that for eBay as it’s all in my basement, so I just designated by home or work as that seemed easiest. You could use a shelf/bin number if that was something that worked for you, but again, I’d keep it simple and unique. Every bin just needs to have a unique number in the end.
One thing I did find out. Just use a simple label (like W1, A1, …..), not a label with a space (I started using box H1 etc…). When you add the space, it gets harder to find things in a specific box using the search criteria. I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem to do contain searches as well as I hoped (I wrote a better search algorithm for my system). So I just removed box/bin and gave it just the label, works well now. And, it matters if you capitalize or not as it should (so w1 is different than W1). Just saying.
10/03/2019 at 11:07 am #68553
I’ve been wondering how difficult it would be to create a barcode system. I was given a barcode reader and have been trying to work out if it would create more work/take more time than just doing it manually. The biggest take-away would be that I could very quickly and easily do a stocktake.
10/03/2019 at 11:55 am #68555
So I had a barcode reader, and then just realized that your phone is probably the best one around, and there are lots of free apps out there that will use your phone camera to read a barcode – so you might just want to sell that barcode reader if you can. I use my phone to inventory all of my chemicals with no issues. I use an app called Bar-code (simple enough) – works well on my iPhone. And I made an excel spreadsheet that will make barcode labels for me that I just print out with an inkjet printer. So you could stick those either on your bins or on individual items. I’m not sure what all it will do for you though – unless you use that custom field in eBay to put the barcode number. That might work. And in excel you store where that barcode is stored?
I feel that it would be tedious and maybe even just plain difficult to go to the item level using the eBay system. I like the idea of location/bin or shelf/bin level inventory management. I can find things as long as I know what drawer to look in. That seems to make the most sense to me, and the easiest. But again, I’m small, so maybe I’m not thinking big picture. Why would you want to go to the item level for this? Are shoes stored in boxes? You could think of boxes as bins, and do a shelf/bin or shelf/box level inventory.
10/10/2019 at 9:03 pm #68873Curious CuratorParticipant
- Location: Illinois
So far, my inventory system has not failed me. When I list an item, I throw it in a tote. I give the tote a number, something like “BL-20″ BL=Blue tote, 20=1 of 20. Simple. Then I try to put different items in that tote. I will combine a dress, a book, a swimsuit, a cookie cutter, a piece of art, a ceramic piggy bank, etc. I try not to mix like with like only because I find it much easier to find said item when there are different items in one box. So far, this has worked great for me. The only exception to this, is ceramic trivets or square tiles (typically 6″x 6”) These, I put in small boxes for easy access. So far so good!
10/21/2019 at 10:34 am #69363
10/21/2019 at 12:32 pm #69376
Thanks gfd_622. Good points there. Will look at selling it.
07/24/2020 at 9:36 pm #79930LaurenParticipant
- Location: Central Illinois
So I’m very lucky that with getting this new office space I can redesign my shelving and totes system. I have muscle racks and clear totes. I canabalized 12 sets of muscle rack rivet shelfing to make 9 units so that I have 6-7 shelves per unit. top 4 shelves are smaller for glasswear and single items, then a row of totes, a row of medium sized items, and another row of totes. The totes are clear and everything that goes in them goes in a clear polymailer first for storage ( I LOVE these. they were 200 for 20 bucks for like a 13×15 i think, so they fit everything I need for stuff that goes in totes). Right now we are in the dreded organizing and labeling phase, so I only have 1 shelf full and organized, but it’s so nice to see something with a shelf or bin number in the listing that sold and I know right away where it is coming from
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