The Junk Parlor

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.

This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.

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.

12 thoughts on “Inventory Organization for Antique Dealers”

  1. Why is this labeled a story about antiques when there aren’t any in your photographs? Have you ever seen an antique?? You are misleading people.

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to comment! The post is about organizing inventory. Antique dealers sell old stuff and often have a lot of inventory to organize. The term antiques in today’s world is used loosely as I’m sure you know by visiting antique malls and shops! Here is one definition…”A true antique is an item perceived as having value because of its aesthetic or historical significance, and often defined as at least 100 years old, although the term is often used loosely to describe any object that is old. So, even if we use the part that says at least 100 years old, things from 1920 would be defined as antique.” Looking at the pictures I used in this post, many of them date to the 20’s. Have a wonderful day!

  2. I think Lisa is rude and kind of a jerk, thanks for sharing your great advice. What about clear totes so stuff doesn’t fall off the shelves when you move them?

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your great insight into storing inventory for your antiques. After going through my clear totes, I was surprised to see how many duplicate items i have! Keeping like items together on the shelf is more helpful. Seeing actual available inventory makes things so much easier. love your photos too!

    1. Brooke Johnson

      My name is Brooke, but thank you! I’m glad those tips helped! Organization is so important in what we do!

  4. Dear Brooke,
    I’m so impressed with your professional answers it shows what an incredible person you are! Antiques are defined differently in the different states I’ve lived in haha! When I live in the west an item that’s around 50 yrs old could be considered an antique and the further east I go it has to be closer to 200 yrs old. I love getting to know the different cultures and everyone isn’t an expert….I’m certainly not! I love your style, please keep up your social media posting!
    Happy antiquing! K.B.

    1. He, he! It really just depends on where you are and who you talk to! Loosely used term that maybe will eventually mean something like durable and long lasting lol! I’m not sure how today’s stuff will last as long. It will be fun in another 40 years to see what people are collecting!! Spreadable butter tubs? Cardboard granola boxes? 😂😂

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