Getting Organized, Making Room And Keeping Focused

Contributor post by Opal from ApronStringsOwlLady

On Monday I was cleaning out yet another closet to store my shop’s bulletin boards. I then spent the rest of my day trying to space out free time between managing listings, team commitments, and handcrafting items.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you successfully manage all these important Etsy shop agendas.

Are your items small and fit into a 5 drawer cabinet? Or have you moved everything in your dining room to one side and made it your physical shop?
However you’re choosing to organize here’s your chance to tell the world (literally

Please share your organizational tips and tricks and don’t forget to include a photo of a shop item.

Helpful idea’s from Pam Maggio of PamsPawsJewelry:

Oh boy, this is a loaded thread and info. and opinions or advice can be very helpful to some of us struggling with storage and space issues!

Not to mention someone like me who is not organized because of my work schedule and that I have a hard time with it

I have always lived in small apartments and clutter can be a way of life, LOL!

I have found that with my Etsy business I HAVE to try to do some organization and I still have trouble finding items that sell….

I started with my handmade jewelry which is small and I mostly have it inside these plastic storage containers on wheels with 3 or 4 draws.

I mark them on the outside with a Sharpie marker and have separate draws for earrings, pins, bracelets, and necklaces, etc.

The harder part was finding places for my vintage items and so I have decided to stick with smaller items which are easier to store and also to wrap and ship.

I purchased 5 more plastic things on wheels and put various vintage items also in certain draws like mugs, trinket dishes, small plates, etc. and marked the draws.

Everything is wrapped in plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc. to keep it clean, safe, and for the jewelry, helps to keep the sterling silver mostly tarnish free.

I also use some draws for my shipping supplies such as tape, labels, small thank you cards, business cards, and jewelry bags, etc.

I still have to get some shipping boxes, etc. and put them downstairs so I can get my back bedroom looking much neater again!

I wish I had the room to have a studio and equipment to make ceramics or do silver smithing, etc. but that is not likely to happen any time soon, LOL!

I do not smoke or have friends that smoke so my home is free of those smells which can really not be good when making or sending out products to customers.

I have 2 cats and always make sure items are clean and wrapped up, even if I photo them with the cats, then they are cleaned and put away so everything is good to go when a customer orders!

They like the jewelry but must be supervised when around and then the jewelry is safely put away where the kitties cannot get into my products!

I will be making some items for cats and will have photos with Moses and Mirri in them with their own items I made for them so that the ones for sale will be fresh, clean, and wrapped for customers because animals do not like strange odors on their items, etc. but will prefer to have their own family and home scents on them which is comforting to them.!

Here is my Moses with some of my handmade earrings:

Tan Cat Earrings Handmade Carved Bone Cat Earrings With Red Garnets and Gold Pearls Cat Lovers Christmas Stocking Gift Feline Cat Jewelry

Handmade Tan Cat Earrings

Helpful idea’s from Linda of LazyYVintage:

I use empty copier paper boxes for storing my vintage items. I then list them in categories on an Excel spreadsheet with their location, and cost of the item. When it sells I cut it off the list and paste to another spreadsheet that then figures out my profit (sold price-cost-etsy fees-printing, etc).

I wash everything before I take pictures of them, so then I just wrap them up (using newspapers, bubble wrap, whatever I have available) and put them in the paper boxes, number the box when it is full and store it….well that’s changing a bit.

I started putting everything in a bedroom closet and under the extra bed. Then slowly into the garage. I just bought an industrial strength shelving unit to redo the garage for better visual and additional storage. It will also have a better storage system for Jimmy’s boxes and bubble wrap, etc. We are hoping to work on that over the Labor Day weekend (it will be painful for Jim to finally part ways with all of the stuff he keeps in case he’ll need it some day, maybe I’ll find some vintage items?).

I do have a small bin that I keep smaller items in my work/office room (which is also the guest bedroom). The bed makes a great place to put my washed and pictured items to write the descriptions and then weigh them out when I post.

When an item sells, I look up the box number and have it ready to go quickly. I then add to that box, remembering to change the spreadsheet as I go (learned the hard way on that piece of it!).

As far as organizing my day, I use an app called Cozi for a planner for my whole life. I have it on my phone and on the computer. All my personal reminders as well as my business reminders are set up there. You can send yourself alerts as well as other members in your household (which now is just Jimmy, and he makes fun of my Cozi alerts). So, my life in one large electronic filo fax. It has a calendar, shopping lists, to do lists, recipes, dinner planner, etc. The lists can be customized so some of mine are; Gifts, Holidays, Remodeling, Projects (like the picnic table I’m painting, or the coffee table I plan to refinish) volunteer projects as well as a schedule for social media for the shops.

I’m definitely a list maker!

Additional comments from Linda – When I first started, I had a box for each item that I listed. But as my inventory has grown storage was the problem.

For my crochet shop, I keep my yarn stash in clear (very large) bins so I can see what I have in them. My hats and scarves are kept in those plastic bags that you can suck the air out of and put under the bed. Since we are pet free, it works well as a way to store them and you can see what is in them. Then I have bags of crochet projects in almost every room. I’m determined to go through each one and complete the projects, but I haven’t given myself a deadline, and since I am deadline oriented, I’ll probably just keep adding more bags…….lol

Well, all my crochet projects are in one place now, and I’ve thinned them out into the categories of 1. add to pile to finish 2. add to pile of what was I thinking? 3. Add to pile of not sure yet, and to pile 4. put into the pipeline to start. I have my old baby crib in the “art” room, so I have all the bags there. Jim thought the living room looked bigger, lol.

I plan to breakdown the projects that I know now I will not be doing, and that should narrow it down and bit (and increase my yarn stash).

Getting there. And, Opal the suction bags really work well for finished pieces. Not sure I’d put supplies in them. And, your finish pieces are not as suckdownable (new word)!

I’ll have to check out Ravelry, I have a good friend (who is a true fiber artist) who loves it.

Cotillion Dinnerware by Sango Yellow Roses Salad Plates 1950s Set of Four (4)

Sango Yellow Cotillion Dinnerware

Helpful Idea’s from Lisajoy Sachs of saxdsign:

Clutter is a constant challenge for me. As a lapidary (stone cutter) I am always picking up cool stones and rocks here and there, they end up piling up in all corners of my house. Being Self Made and having a home business can be a struggle for any artist or crafter.

Laguna Agate Cabochon Large Free Form Pseudomorph Designer Handcut Handmade Lapidary Lavender Purple Lisajoy Sachs Rare One of a Kind Unique

Laguna Agate Cabochon Stone

My Etsy shop is dedicated to mostly supplies for other artists/crafters so I have over 3000 items for people to choose from. Organizing them had to be a priority for me, because there is NOTHING worse than getting an order and not being able to find the items. Which, in the past, I have to say has actually happened on more than one occasion. I have been close to pulling out my hair looking through every box, under boxes, and through all the bins I used to have my stuff in.

Then came the label maker and clear plastic cube drawers! I use a label maker with a QUERTY keyboard it really makes it faster.

There are quite a few discount stores nearby like Ollies, Big Lots, the Dollar Store, where I found these adorable desk organizers. It’s like a cube of three little drawers about 6″ x 6″ x 2″ for a bargain – less than $70 for 24 of them. They are also stackable, and fit perfectly into my packaging area. I labeled each drawer with the type of stone and organized them alphabetically so there is no hunt any more. I know exactly where every stone, rock crystal, and cabochon is.

As for my continued collection of rocks, I keep most of them in clear shoe boxes so I can see what is in each box. These are also labeled clearly so that I know what is in each box, they are stacked neatly on a shelf in an extra closet, and are easy to get to.

Last week at the EtsyUp Conference in NYC we had the great pleasure of listening to one of the keynote speakers Fay Wolf. who just wrote the book NEW ORDER. She had many tid bits of information she shared to help us Etsians declutter. I have started reading her book and already have cleared out a few more shelves of books (going to Savers) that I am sure I will never read again. Her book is specially designed for Creative folks to help De-clutter their spaces so that we can strive and create in a more productive and less distracting space. I can’t wait to finish the book and get myself even more organized so I can start making jewelry again, something I have put off because I ran out of room.

If you are interested in Fay’s book you can get one here:…

It is totally worth it – a fast read and there are even some pages in the middle of places where you can donate stuff you have been holding on to for a while because it may have some value to someone.

Helpful idea’s from willowvalleyvintage of WillowValleyVintage:

I am tired of “wasting time” hunting around for an item when it sells!

I saw another Shop that wrote a cryptic message at the bottom of the Listing description, telling where the item was–great idea!

So, now I’m doing that, along with putting the bigger items in the boxes that they’ll ship in and writing the contents on notes taped to the outside. It certainly looks a lot neater and hopefully saves time when the busy season begins!

This is one of our favorite listings:

Viewmaster Storage Box Display Case View-Master Reels Vintage Divided Wood Container Divided Shelf Tray Primitive Home Decor Cool Gift

Vintage View Master Box

Helpful idea’s from Marie-Antoinknit of 9ElizabethStreet:

I have not visited the team threads much for the past year due to work commitments and time constraints, but when I saw this topic I had to check it out! So glad I’m not alone – this is exactly what I’m supposed to be working on right now. I’m in the processing of trying to control the chaos in my business center: shipping, storage, photo studio & office all in one tiny back room. The tips so far are right on target: corral it, contain it, and make sure you can FIND it.

I currently have my knit goods sorted by type and stored with like items: round berets stored flat, ruffle scarves in clear hanging shoe storage bags, scarves in a long box, etc. All knit goods are washed after the photos are taken, then put in clear plastic storage bins. Earrings are put in plastic bags before I put them in their box because, like Pam, I found it helps keep them from oxidizing.

Yarn, of course, owns the downstairs storage area. All of it is kept in clear plastic bins, and sometimes plastic bags within the bins as well. I have 3 large shelving units so I can keep the bins more accessible, but I could use 2 more. I knit with many different fibers and the chunky & bulky weights fill up a lot more space. I try to keep track of the yarns themselves on Ravelry, because it was built for that. For me it’s important to be able to find what you want when you need it, remember what you have that you put away for “something special,” and keep all the fiber in top condition, free of odors as well as pests. Many people are deathly afraid of spiders: I’m deathly afraid of moths!

Here’s one reason why:

Black Rolled Brim Hat- Twenties Style Woman's Cloche, Retro Bucket Hat, Chunky Knit Winter Fashion Hat, Handmade in the USA, Ready to Ship

Twenties Style Brim Hat

Additional comments from Marie-Antoinknit : Looking for some more good ideas here. I need motivation & inspiration! Especially for maximizing minimal space when you are NOT handy at all with most DIY ideas…or even kits. Any more contributors to keep the thread going?

Helpful Idea’s from Leila Blakely of LasLovelies:

I feel so overwhelmed at times and I know it’s good to be organized and to have a plan.

After I hit my first year I started changing all my listings so that on the bottom of the description I would have my location of the item. It’s better than not knowing! Which happened to me once. I lost that sale.

Example: (section) & AB1 or AB2. AB stands for Aqua Blue, or CT Clear Tote
I can have bunches of AB1’s but I put my section name on top of label 1st. I’ve only got 2 sizes of totes so they can all stack.
It’s working. Ha!

Opal – I use to change out my decor for the seasons. Now everything is a ‘dust’ blend. Ha! I don’t have room for anything. The only thing organized is what I’ve already photographed and listed and put in totes.

Drip ware Pottery Bean Pot, Vintage Bean Pot, Kitchen Decor, Brandied Fruit Crock, Made in Taiwan Brown Drip Pottery, laslovelies

Pottery Bean Pot

Helpful Idea’s from Opal  of ApronStringsOwlLady:

I have some new tips that worked for me!

I have taken over an empty room haha and it has two closets, filled with shelves, shelving units against all the wall, a work space with places for my paints, brushes etc, new fluorescent lighting – the works (my desk and computer are also in the space.)

My tip is everything being in one space – I feel more organized than I ever have! I have everything in bins, labeled, big plastic jars (recycled from our almond, pistachio and cashew purchases) and for the first time in my crafting history – I feel organized and can find things.

Today I started a large journal – not loose pieces of paper but a binder with pages that can’t fall out to write down my team responsibilities and orders, what dates to follow-up etc. This made me feel very organized and I’ll keep you updated on how my new system works.

The physical aspects of storage in this shop include wood, floral and large bulky items such as bulletin boards and wreaths, not mentioning all the silk flowers, wreaths, fabric and other materials I need on a daily basis.

A linen closet is now filled with bulletin boards and wreaths – and I like them in there – big roomy shelves with height for the wreaths not to get crushed. I need to organize my fabric for the owl shop and I have a ton of it so this week I am getting large totes, marking with fabric types and stacking them someplace out of my workplace.

These very large, tall birdhouses need to be cared for as not to get dusty or damaged – they are now in a hall closet that I fitted with a sturdy shelving unit.

Green Home Decor, Decorative Birdhouse, Beautiful Green Birdhouse, Wooden Birdhouse, Housewarming Gift, Gift for Her, Handcrafted Gifts

Hunter Green Birdhouse Decor

Additional comments from Opal:

Hi everyone – I can almost laugh at all the ups and downs I go through trying to get organized! Yet not real funny as I sit here in my “craft cave” surrounded by items in all the wrong containers.

I started to organize and change things around and what a mess! I can’t find my chair, the floor or the sewing machine today, but now my fabric is neatly folded in the closet (on shelves!) where all this other stuff used to be – oh my!

Thank you all for contributing to the blog – it’s been fun! – Opal


2 thoughts on “Getting Organized, Making Room And Keeping Focused

  1. Great ideas! Thank you for putting this together Opal. I really like how open and honest these shop owners are. Sometimes it’s difficult getting and staying organized. Especially those that have a lot of different sized larger items.


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