As your Etsy shop grows how do you keep track of SO MANY items? When shop orders start coming in how do you find items quickly to package and ship?
Inventory control is not fun and sexy but when done right, organizing your items it can be a piece of cake.
As your inventory grows, and trust me it will, your storage needs will have to grow with you. With years of experience we have discovered some great tips and tricks to keep all your items in order. Let’s get right to it and get you ready for all those incoming sales.
Boxes vs Bins for Etsy Storage? Choosing The Right Kind of Storage Boxes for Inventory
The debate is on: Plastic bins or cardboard boxes?
One Pile Method: The Early Days of My Etsy Journey
As a long-time Etsy seller I can tell you I have used both plastic tote boxes and cardboard boxes to store my inventory. Each inventory method have their advantages.
I started my selling journey with a large pile of items placed onto one shelf. The one shelf method worked for about a month until my inventory grew. I needed more space as an Etsy seller for my shop.
Plastic Tote Box Method: A Very Popular Way To Store Etsy Inventory
There is high value in using plastic tote boxes.
Most commonly made of polypropylene and polyethylene these large plastic boxes usually come with a detachable lid. When comparing the cardboard boxes to bins plastic definitely wins in the durability division. You can easily number your bins or keep “like-items” in each bin. For example, I used to keep all my vintage hats in one bin and all my vintage dolls in a different bin.
The biggest disadvantage I have found when using tote boxes was the waste of space. The boxes were always too tall and too wide for my items. As most of us, the typical Etsy seller is working from their home and space is an issue. As an Etsy Seller it was time to move over to long cardboard boxes, and it immediately kept inventory more organized and easy to find once sold.
I am here to tell you the cardboard boxes I have used are now two years old. My cardboard inventory boxes have held up! The cardboard boxes are much lighter to move around than the plastic tote boxes, but ultimately the choice is up to you.
Long Cardboard Box Method: The Best Way To Inventory Your Etsy Items
This box system is the system I currently use for my shop.
I highly recommend this inventory method. Whether you have 4 items or 400 items, this system works well. It has enabled me to find my sold items in seconds. I feel the sweet sauce to the success of this method is that fact that every item is numbered with a SKU number and fits uniformly in bags within the boxes. Made famous by eBay seller Christopher Lin of Daily Refinement, this is my go-to way of storing inventory.
With the use of sturdy, long boxes, labels for SKU number management, and clear poly bags, I have found that I have never lost a sold item to date. This system has saved me time and stress when shipping my sold items weekly.
There are three basic items you need for this inventory system: the boxes, the labels and the bags.
Numbering Your Etsy Items ( SKU) for Easy Retrieval Upon Sale
What is an SKU anyway? Well, an SKU is a Stock Keeping Unit code that you assign for each item in your inventory. A great way to track and code your massive pile of items in your shop to find them quickly and easily.
Below is a brief summary of how I use Etsy’s SKU code.
The SKU code can be created for each listing you create. I found it helpful to purchase a list of pre-numbered stickers that start from number 1 and go all the way to 5,000. The stickers are fairly inexpensive on Amazon. After I photograph each item and bag it, the item is then given a new SKU number/sticker.
If you enter the SKU sticker code into the listing under the SKU number field in Etsy that number will appear in the sold listing. A simple way to find your item once it is sold.
PRO TIP: A Last Photo of record To Post Faster
When it’s time to list my items I needed a way to list them quickly without having to take them out of inventory to get the SKU number and weight of the item.
Solution: Take a photo just for your records. When my product photos are complete at the very end of the photography process I will take one last photo just for my records. This photo will clearly show the product weight on my scale as well as the SKU product number for the SKU field of the listing.
Protecting Your Etsy Item In Storage
To keep the items separated in a long cardboard inventory box each item goes into a plastic bag. For my inventory I use fairly inexpensive bags size 10×13. You can find these bags easily on Amazon. These clear bag not only help separate your items but also helps keep the item protected and organized.
Keeping all your stock neat,tity, and ready to ship does not have to be difficult. With the help of a solid SKU system, a few cleared shelves and the right boxes pulling sold items is a quick easy process.