How to Organize Reselling Inventory (The Best Labelling Systems)
How to Organize Reselling Inventory (The Best Labelling Systems)
Learning how to organize your reselling inventory with the best labeling systems, will help you manage and operate your resale business much more effectively, but before we jump into labels, have you read our article “How to Organize & Keep Track of Reselling Inventory (Easy Storage Ideas)?” (it covers the storage methods and containers). Now, regardless of the way you decide to store your items, it’s crucial that you label them, timely and accurately. Accurately labeling saves time and will ensure you can locate your items quickly and easily after they sell. Trust us, tearing up your closet and taking everything out of each of your bins is chaotic, stressful, and is not fun!
Whether you sell on Poshmark, eBay, Mercari, Depop, Grailed, Goat, StockX, or even on your own website, there’s no question, you need an effective way of labeling your inventory storage, one that will work for you long-term. If it’s too complicated, time-consuming, or worse – inaccurate, you may as well not organize your stuff at all. Disorganized is worse than not organized. But don’t fret, read on as we’ll share the very best ways to label your reselling inventory.
The Four Best Labeling Systems
1. The “Label List” Method
The “Label List” is probably the easiest and quickest way to organize and store your reselling inventory. At Resell Genius we find that this is a fan favorite because it’s easy, quick, and doesn’t require special tools.
- We use a lined “to-do” memo pad that has checkboxes printed at the beginning of each line on each piece of paper.
- We stick a blank piece of that paper on our choice of storage container with some clear tape, and write one item per line, adding an item each time we list and put it away.
- When we sell an item, we mark the checkbox off with an “X”, or just cross out the entire line when we remove it from storage, using a pen or sharpie.
- When we’ve sold several things and don’t have any more room left on the first label, we stick another piece of the memo-pad paper (label) next to the first one and keep doing that over and over forever. Once everything is sold on the first label, we just remove it from the bin and toss, and so on.
- If you write the inventory on each line neatly and use the checkbox’s, the labels look quite nice and they’re easy to read.
We use this on our bins that are stacked 5-high, as well as on our garment bags since we store 1-8 items per garment bag on our garment racks. Typically we hang items that are delicate, wrinkle easy, or are expensive. The rest goes in the bins.
- You can use any type of paper: a memo-pad, post-it, printer paper, notebook, index cards – literally anything
- If you stack your bins, the labels on the bins on top can be hard to read, and you may need a ladder.
- You have to scan or read every single label and every line until you find your item.
THE “LABEL LIST” SYSTEM + BIN METHOD
“TO-DO” NOTE PAD AS A LABEL
2. The “Numbering System” + Manifest Labels
With the Numbering System, you simply number each of your inventory storage bins (or wherever you store your items). Each numbered bin has a corresponding document, which we call a “Manifest” that lists the individual items inside the bins. Look at the first image below – you put a range of numbers on your bin, and each number corresponds to a single item inside that bin. The item number and bin is then written in your manifest, and when you want to find something you simply look through your manifest instead of having to search and read every label on every bin, like in the “label list” above. Alternatively, you can use an “Alphabet System” A, B, C, AA, BB, CC, etc instead of letters, but it works the same way.
Your coordinating Manifest could be a spreadsheet, word doc, a physical notebook, journal, or a binder. Just make sure you keep your entries in a single manifest, keep your entries consistent, and don’t lose it!
What information should you record on your manifest? It’s up to you! At the very least you should include what bin (or location) the item is stored in, along with enough information to help you remember what that item is. You could include the name, color & brand, or a shortened version of the item’s listing title. You could also include additional details such as how much you paid for the item, the listing date, listing price, size, measurements, etc. The Manifest shown below is just an idea and yours may look totally different!
If you use an electronic spreadsheet like Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Excel, you can do even more with the information on your Manifest. For example, you can do a “word search” to find which bin your item is in very quickly, you could do calculations and data analysis on your inventory (unsold and sold), and you could even add cool visuals like graphs and charts which might reveal some interesting trends.
3. DIY QR Code Labels
Check out our article on Digital Inventory & Apps for a more in-depth look at how you can use technology to assist with your inventory storage and labeling needs. In that article, we discuss several ready-made QR code label solutions that you can purchase (among a host of other digital organization tools) but, did you know you can make QR Codes for free, yourself?
QR codes are easy to set up and you can print the codes yourself using regular printer paper that you then tape onto your bins (or other storage methods), individual items, storage locations (or all the above). For even greater ease, you can also print them on adhesive/sticker paper – no tape required.
There are tons of “free QR code generators” on the web (but keep in mind that not all of them are actually free)
We’ll discuss two totally free QR code generators and how to use them to label your reselling inventory. You can attach these free QR codes “virtually” to an online inventory list – for free! It’s kind of like creating a free version of ToteScan!
Method #1: DIY QR Code Method (Google Slides)
Here are the things that you need to make this work.
- A Google Slides presentation
- A laptop
- A printer
If you have the official Google Slides mobile app on your phone, you will need to create a google slide presentation deck for each QR code/bin. (not ideal)
Why? Because the mobile app does not let you link to a specific individual slide, it will always open to the very first slide and that defeats the purpose of the QR Code.
Weird, yes, but that’s just how it works. If you want your entire inventory and all your various QR codes on one single deck, with a slide within that deck for each QR Code, just make sure to delete the Google Slides Mobile App from your phone. From now on we will assume you don’t have the mobile app.
STEP 1: First, create a Google Slide Presentation. Title the first slide with the name of your BIN and any additional details that will help you easily know which bin goes with this slide; you can also add things like location, date, photos, and even add a spreadsheet or columns inside the slide for things like item name, size, color, brand, the price paid, the listing price, etc. You can put as little or as much detail as you want. You can even add a small map of your basement or garage, showing you where you put that bin.
STEP 2: With the same Google slide up on the screen, you copy the entire URL (from the website URL from the top bar of your browser) and go to this free QR Code Generator. Select the option for URL and paste it in. you can see your changes on the right of the page. Click “save” so you can then print that image, cut it out and tape it to the coordinating bin.
STEP 3: Going forward you just create a Google slide for every storage bin, create QR codes for the slide URL links, and then fill in each slide as you add inventory to the box, by updating your slide and saving (you don’t need to update the QR code, as it will always be linked to that slide, and the slide is where you make your changes). Make sure you also go in and delete items as you sell them.
STEP 4: Once set up, you can scan the QR code on the front of any bin to see what’s inside it
STEP 5: When you sell something, just open your Google Presentation Deck on your phone or computer (reminder: the Google Slides mobile app cannot be on your phone), press ctrl+f (⌘+f mac) to search for your item, and it will automatically direct you to the bin where that item is located (now you can understand why, the more detail you put in the slides, the better).
From now on, you can find all your items in seconds without having to dig through bins, and without even having to scan every bin!
How to scan a QR code: Turn on your camera app (iPhone) like you’re about to take a photo of the QR, but don’t press the shutter button. Point towards the QR code on your BIN until the QR code is in focus on your screen (you may need to hold your hand steady and move it slowly closer or further away). Once in focus, you will see a notification that drops down from the top of your screen, click it, and you will be taken to your slide so you can see all the contents.
Method #2: DIY QR Code Method (ME QR)
This method is very similar to the above, but instead of Google Files, you will use a QR generator called ME-QR.
To see an example of what this will look like, scan the QR code on the screen below with your phone. It will take you to a sample inventory list that we have created and set up, using the QR Code process we outline in the steps below.
To create a free QR code, you’ll first need to choose what you will link to the QR code (there are a ton of options so feel free to play around). We are going to select to link it to “TEXT,” as this enables you to create your inventory list inside the QR creator, no Google Slide Deck or anything else required!
Select “TEXT.” This will generate a blank text box below, and that’s where you will type your Title, Location (any other details you want), and your actual list of inventory
Right before the text box, you will see the “Select QR Category” drop-down. I usually pick “Style & Fashion,” but this is optional and is only helpful if you had a ton of various QR codes and wanted to organize them.
Next, you will see “Advanced Functions” with a little “+” symbol. Click this as it will bring up the formatting menu. This is how you can change the font type, style, size, add colors, line breaks, bullets, and even embed a basic spreadsheet. We suggest playing around with all the formatting buttons to figure out what they do (most are self-explanatory and use standard icons).
Click Save. This will bring you to the next step where you can customize the look of the QR code by selecting the design, changing the shape, and you can even upload a logo or image into the center
Next, download the QR code and save it, then print it and attach it to your storage BIN. After downloading you will be taken to the summary and here you can edit additional settings, such as adding a password to your QR Code, changing what it is linked to, and more.
When you sell something, log back into your ME-QR account, edit your original QR code, and in the original text box just cross off or delete the item you sold, and add any new items.
ME-QR also has tutorial videos and FAQs that you can view on their website if you want to learn more. That’s it!
4. The SKU Method
With the SKU Method, you create a self-generated SKU number that could be, for example, 3 or 4 digits long (like “1000, 1001, 1002, or 333, 334, 335…) but it can really be as long or short as you want. Whatever number you start with, the next item you list will have the same SKU plus + 1, and they should remain in order. You can write these yourself, print them on stickers, or you can buy pre-printed SKU label stickers. Whichever type you choose, you place the SKU sticker on your item, or on its storage bag, bin, or all three (you could put one on the item tag, one on the storage bag that holds the item, and one on the bin you’re using to hold the item and its storage bag).
The next important step is to place the exact same SKU number on the listing of the coordinating item, in the dedicated “SKU field.” Most resale and selling apps have a space for the SKU which is private and doesn’t show up to buyers. For example, on Poshmark, you can find the SKU field in the “other details” section of your listing edit, and if you fill it out, this number will also print when you download your sales or inventory report. eBay has a SKU field too. It doesn’t even have to say “SKU”, it can be any blank field on your listing, that you can fill out, that does not display on the public listing. What if your preferred reselling app doesn’t have such a field? A workaround is to add your SKU to the end of your listing’s title. Just be aware that this takes up valuable real estate that is better used to optimize your listing title for SEO, and it will be seen by buyers.
If you decide to buy a set of numbered SKU stickers instead of creating your own, look for a pack of pre-printed stickers that are sequentially numbered. You can find rolls or sheets of tiny, numbered stickers, each with a unique 3- or 4-digit SKU on them. Some come in sets of 2,000 which will last you a long time. You’ll stick one on each bag, then add that same number to your listing. You can then store your bags using the bin method of bagging method in sections 1 and 4, respectively.
Which Labels Should You Use?
Short answer- whichever one works best for you. Regardless of which labeling system you decide to use, we strongly advise that you label as you put each item away, rather than later. Doing it as you go ensures you don’t forget to add any items, because forgetting an item is one step closer to chaos!
Accurately labeling saves time in the long run and will ensure you can locate your items quickly and easily after they sell.
But, your choice of labeling needs to work for you for the long term. If it’s too complicated, or time-consuming, you will likely not maintain it and this can lead you another step closer to chaos. Let’s choose organized over chaos to help your resale business (and your mind) thrive!
THE BEST INVENTORY STORAGE LABELS
About Our Expert Guest Author
” elleNess “
ElleNess is an Online and Mobile Thrift Store that delivers (quite literally) an engaging personal shopping experience with a special touch, designed to make shopping joyful again, like it was in the “good old days.”
Our expert guest author elleNess, is a wife-and-husband-owned resale business that offers a truly special experience with a personal touch; something the couple opened together after many years of selling on platforms like Mercari and Poshmark. Their online thrift store elleNess has some incredible finds, and you can check what they have by clicking the link to the elleNess website above. What we also love is that they also offer a transformative and engaging unique service called the “Ruck Truck”- it’s a mobile thrift store that comes to you! It’s available for parties, events, and more, and you can book it directly from their website. Now that’s what I call excellent service!