1. We rented a storage unit.
One of the nice things about having a normal job is that you can leave work at work. When home is your workplace, it's reeeaally difficult not to bring your work home with you. Separating our home life from eBay as much as possible has given us the real freedom we were looking for in a small business. We originally rented a 10'x15' storage unit but outgrew it within a matter of months. We now rent a 10'x30' unit which can easily support a 1,000 item store. (Obviously this depends greatly on the size of your items....but that's a good general guesstimate). We pay $130 a month for our unit but it has repaid us many times over with peace of mind and a home we can relax in.
**Addition: Since we've received the question so many times, no, our unit is not climate controlled. We have -30 winters and 100+ degree summers and have never had any temperature issues with our inventory. However, if you carry items that are temperature sensitive (i.e. wax, some types of film and vintage media, etc.), keep that in mind when looking for a storage unit.
2. We organize inventory as it comes into the house
So here's what we do. When we bring items home, everything goes into one of 4 totes.
- Clothing for the male mannequin
- Clothing for the female mannequin
- Other (including clothing items that will look better not on a mannequin)
3. We pre-pack items and keep an inventory list
Every smallish softish clothing item that we buy is packed long before it's ever sold. As soon as it's photographed and measured, it goes into another, larger bin. Every few days we pack all of the items from that bin into poly mailers, assign them an inventory number, and take them to our storage unit.
Just a note here on poly mailers, it you're not using them....you're missing out big time. They are, by far, the fastest, cheapest way to ship clothing or other small items. We generally use two different sizes: 12"x15.5" (designated "J" in our inventory), and 10"x13" (designated TS). Check out the ones we use here!
Here is our method:
4. We organize items by type
The more accountable you can keep yourself, the better off your business will be!