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Inventory Organization for Antique Dealers

Are you constantly struggling with how to stay organized?  Is inventory taking over your life? How to keep inventory organized is a question I get asked often.  I normally reply by letting people know that is something I cover in my Staging Your Antique Shop group.  I feel a little weird saying that, but it’s true!

So to help those of you that aren’t in my group…yet!  I thought I would narrow it down to my best two pieces of advice for storing inventory.

But before I do that, I want you to take into consideration…are you making money when you store your inventory?  Is it beneficial to have inventory that your customers aren’t seeing?

I know as an antique dealer it is very hard to control our urge to buy.  But, one of the best skills I’ve learned the longer I’ve been in this business is to be more selective with buying my merchandise, so that I don’t have multiple spaces filled with overflow.

Yes, it is nice to have inventory cleaned, priced, and ready to go to replenish sold items, but how much more inventory do you really need?

Now that you understand I am against filling building after building with extra junk I will share my top two tips to stay organized.  They are actually very simple!

First, invest in metal shelving on wheels!  Wheels are key. It never fails that I get everything organized only to decided that I need to move something.  And that something was never on wheels.  

I used to store smalls on extra furniture…mistake.  I’d be ready to work on that piece of furniture only to have to spend time cleaning it off and finding those items new homes.  Make the investment and by rolling shelving that you only use to store smalls and mediums on.

My second tip is to store like items together.  You can do this in totes if you want or, just lay the items out on the shelf grouped together.  I tend to put my holiday decor together. Things that I do not have out year round like Valentine’s candy boxes and cards, Christmas trees and bulbs, and seasonal florals.  I label the totes and I group like items in the totes.

For everything else, I don’t store it in totes.  I want to be able to see what I have. So, I stack like items on the shelves.  This is great for assessing inventory. If I have 6 watering cans on the shelf and more in my booth or shop, then I know I don’t need to buy anymore.  If my area that holds pulleyes is empty, then I know they’ve been a good seller and I need to be on the hunt for them!

Now for tiny items like scrabble tiles, keys, small things that I have multiples of I will put them in smaller containers if I don’t just keep adding them to my booth or shop.

So, my two biggest tips for keeping inventory organized?  One, invest in metal shelving with wheels and store like items together.  And number two, maybe the most important tip of all is to realize that you are not getting paid to store extra inventory, so sell what you have!

What storage tips do you have for storing extra inventory?

Interested in more about organization? Click HERE & HERE.

Here is one video tutorial from my Staging Your Antique Shop group, talking about everything inventory.

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