Coffee Mugs – More Organization

Before I moved from the valley I had five milk crates of various coffee mugs listed on eBay. I stored them on a shelf in my garage and it was not big deal to pull one to ship. When I moved to the mountains and stored them in the eBay room in the Quonset Hut, it was a pain! When one would sell I dreaded having to search through the crates to try to find the right mug. I also had to wash them because they were covered in dust and just didn’t look very good. Not a big deal unless you’re on a tight schedule and trying to get your shipping done before the postal carrier arrives. I realized that my ‘crate system’ was not working!

As with most dilemmas like this, I spend some time thinking about the process. What could I do to make things faster? Better? Easier? Then one day it hit me….the simplest thing! Store the mugs upside down. I was like DUH! I kept thinking about this and pondering ways to streamline the entire process of finding, pulling and shipping a mug. If they are stored upside down, how am I going to be able to easily find what I need and pull it from the two-layers in each create? And then it hit me!

With the help of my fabulous minions, we pulled five crates of mugs from the Quonset Hut and brought them to the porch. We wiped every one down and then took them to the kitchen to be washed. I decided that washing them all at once was going to speed up the shipping process when one sold. We washed them and sat them out to dry. Then we sorted like mugs together, first all the Starbucks, then Disney, then we grouped similar themes together.

When they were all lined up on the counter, I took a dry erase pen and I numbered the bottom of each mug! Simple and genius, right!? I did do a test to make sure the dry erase would easily come off and it does. I packed the mugs safely back in the crates, stacking them two high and carefully noted which crate each mug was in. I transferred this date to the Custom Field of my listing (#05 Green 1, #89 Green 2, #34 Gray) and each time a mug sells all I have to think about is how much profit I made on that sale. Pulling my inventory to pack and ship now just takes minutes.

So the moral of the story is store your mugs upside down and number the bottoms with a dry erase pen. You’re welcome America!

Organizing and Reorganizing Inventory

Organizing and Reorganizing Inventory

Over a year ago I purchased a lot of ties from another eBay seller who was moving cross country and didn’t want to deal with them. I purchased close to 200 ties for about $125 including shipping. My Valley Minions liked listing ties because I had mostly novelty ties with lots of fun pictures and cartoons and therefore easy keywords. This batch of ties were mostly business and office ties, not much fun in those for the 11-year-old and 15-year-old minions.

But they did it. They stuck to a schedule and got almost two hundred ties photographed and listed during their winter break. I now had 6 boxes of ties and my inventory labeling system only consisted of their location: Box 1, Box 2, Box 3, etc. I had to pull a few ties last weekend to ship and I quickly discovered that having one box with roughly 30 ties and one box crammed full with 100+ ties was not a great inventory solution.


I needed to figure out a better way to organize and store over 400 ties that were listed so pulling them when they sold would be a quick and easy process. I needed a plan and I had an idea. I decided to fold the ties in fourths and package them. In my old system, the ties were folded in half and sort of stacked together in a plastic box. It was an OK system when I had 200 ties to flip through, but it wasn’t working for me when I had to sort through over 400 ties. I knew this was a task that would take some time; time that I didn’t want to dedicate to doing something as mundane as packaging and labeling. I decided this would be a great project to introduce my 10-year-old and 13-year-old neighbors down the road to eBay.

Meet Kai and Sydnee. They managed to get close to 300 ties packaged and labeled in about 1.5 hours. I ran out of bags so we didn’t get them all done the first day. I ordered more bags and they came back and finished up the job, numbering all the ties and then editing the custom field on each listing with that number. They were awesome, efficient, and got the job done so quickly I had them move on to two other projects before it was time for them to head home.

We sorted the ties to group them together as best as we could by type; Looney tunes, Disney, sports, food, animals, etc. and then we grouped all the boring business/professional ties. We labeled them Tie #1-450 and put them back into boxes, #1-5. (Side Note: I thought ahead enough to label ties 01, 02, 03, etc. so they sorted correctly, but I didn’t think far ahead enough to do the same for double digits. If you have more than 100 ties, be sure to label them 010, 011, 012, etc. so they WILL sort in numeric order.) It took a bit of time to get the inventory tags in eBay fixed, but we all worked together, (including 4-year-old Pearce who tagged along one snow day and was just as helpful as her sisters), got into a groove and finished the task! Everything is organized and looks so pretty. I can’t wait to sell a few ties and see if my new numbered system really works and makes pulling inventory to ship a breeze!

I’ve got 400+ ties to sell if anyone is looking. I think I’ll create a promotion and see if I can move them faster.