Do you feel completely overwhelmed by your ebay inventory? This is one the most common problems for resellers, newbies and experts. Sourcing new inventory is the easy part. What we do with it after we buy it is what determines how successful we will be. That may sound a little extreme, but it’s true. How to organize your ebay inventory is a topic that’s not talked about enough, in my opinion.
What happens when you have inventory everywhere and it’s not organized:
- it drives your spouse and/or family members crazy
- you can’t find items when they sell (which leads to lots of other problems)
- items get damaged
- parts go missing
- seasonal items aren’t sold in the correct season
- your accounting system is not updated accurately
Organization is the key to your reselling success!
What does successful ebay inventory storage look like?
For your business to be profitable, you have to be able to find both listed and unlisted inventory. This means that you start organizing as soon as you buy it. It immediately goes into ikea bag or some sort of plastic bins in the back of your car. You can sort by item type or platform (eBay, Amazon, Mercari, antique booth, etc). This allows you to batch your listing much quicker.
Any items that need to be tested, cleaned, or repairs need to go in a separate pile. Take some time during the week to address them. If you find that you’re buying too many of these types of items, you’ll want to re-access whether you should still buy them or not. Wasting time is not profitable unless the time you put into them is worth it.
After your items are listed, it should be really easy to find them once they sell. It should take you 30-60 seconds. Most resellers are busy people with a family to care for or even a full-time job. You don’t have time to waste thirty minutes looking for an item, especially if you only have a couple of hours a day to work on your business.
How to get started with ebay inventory organization:
There are a few things that you need to put in place from the beginning to successfully store your reselling inventory:
- labeled boxes/bins
- designated areas for unlisted inventory & listed inventory
- a specific workflow (plan) of what happens with your inventory at each stage of the game
- an inventory management system
Tips for Success in Organizing Your Ebay Inventory
Being successful with organization starts from the moment you purchase the items. There needs to be a set workflow in your reselling space. Unlisted inventory needs to have a specific place to go. Separate out anything that needs to be cleaned, repaired or tested.
After items are listed, add them to a bin or set of plastic drawers, etc. These containers should be labeled with a number/ letter system that makes sense to you. Use clear poly bags to protect clothing or to keep small parts/ toys together.
As you put your items away, take note of the location and add it to the SKU field on eBay or a spreadsheet. I prefer to add it directly to eBay. This can be done right on the active listings page. You won’t have to go back to the actual listing to add it.
It’s also a great idea to do a quarterly inventory just to make sure you still have all the items that are listed. You’ll also need to make sure some of your listings have not fallen off eBay. There is no logical explanation for it but some items that are listed will just disappear from ebay.
Common Questions/FAQ About Organizing Ebay Inventory
What’s the best way to store ebay clothing inventory?
For clothing, there are several ways to store it. Here are a few examples:
- hang clothing on clothing racks and label the hanger with an inventory number
- bag clothing in clear poly bags, add a label with an inventory number & store in a plastic bin
- prepackage the clothing into labeled polymailers & store in a plastic bin
There is no right or wrong way to do this. It all depends on what you have space for. I would suggest that if you’re planning to put them in polymailers, don’t seal them. This way your polymailers are not waisted if you inventory becomes stale and you decided to sell it another way or liquidate it.
How do you keep track of ebay inventory?
This varies by accounting method. I use the average costing method, so I don’t track every piece of inventory on its entire journey from souring to shipping. If that is your style, you can track your inventory on a spreadsheet. That is a bit too tedious for me, and the average costing method is approved by the IRS. **This is not tax advice. Please speak to a CPA for official tax and accounting advice.
How can I keep from being overwhelmed by my ebay inventory?
The best way to not be overwhelemed by it is to source smart. Don’t just buying things to have osmething to sell. Research the items if you don’t know about them, and only buy items with a decent sell through rate. Don’t except friends and family’s cast offs unless you know you can sell them. Immediately donate anything you can’t sell.
If you are in a season of overwhelm, I encourage you to just take a trash bag and fill it up with trash. This would be clothing with stains that you can get out, broken toys, and anything else that past its life expectancy.
After you’ve filled a trash bag, grab another one or a box and fill it with donations. This could be stale inventory that is just not moving, the low dollar stuff from the bottom of a box lot, leftovers from a storage unit, etc.
Do this quickly! Take the trash bag out, and put the donation box in your car. Write DONATIONS a sticky note and put it on your dash. Stop by the thrift store next time you are out running errands.
What is the best way to organize small items?
Remember that small items with get lost in small bins. You may need to purchase plastic shoe boxes or something smaller than your typical large bins. This may mean stacking several together on a shelf. You can also use rolling drawer units or something similar.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Organizing Your Ebay Inventory
You can do this! It all starts with creating routines when you purchase your very first inventory. If you get behind, it can take longer to get to where you need to be.
Remember, this is a business. Run your inventory storage like a store would, because it is a store. Your inventory system should be easy enough to navigate than an employee or your spouse could find items. That’s when you know you’ve reached a good place. There may come a day when someone else has to ship for you, and they’ll need to be able to find what sold.