I need help storing hundreds of clothing items in a manner that I can quickly access them.
September 17, 2009 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Please help me manage my clothing inventory in a smallish office! I am not just limited to closet organizers and have an entire room to get this together.

I own a small on-line business that sells clothing among other things. I have approximately 1,000 hanging items (shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc) at any given time and need an efficient way to store them in a smallish office. I have tried garment holders such as: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11072970
and also large plastic bins.

The bins work nice, but it is a huge hassle to get to the right bin and to find the correct size when processing orders. The garment holders are nice also, but they take up too much space and all but the most expensive ones seem to fall apart after a month or two.

My ideal solution would have the following characteristics:

1. Each size in each item is separate, or at least very easy to locate.
2. Easy to get in and out of each storage device.
3. CLEAN. Items must be protected from dust.

Thank you for your help!!
posted by 2legit2quit to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Each size in each item is separate, or at least very easy to locate.

Use Size Dividers so you know that all the shirts to the left of the divider are small, or size 34.

Or you could copy Target and have different colored hangers for each size. They have tabs at the top of each, Yellow for small, Blue for Large, Pink for XXL, etc.
posted by soelo at 7:46 AM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: Soelo,

Thank you for the reply. I have tried the hanger exercise and it works if I am going to hang items, but I am close to convinced that hanging each item takes up too much space, because I don't have an easy way hang things on top of the garment holder.
posted by 2legit2quit at 7:59 AM on September 17, 2009

Could you put everything in boxes and have a picture of the item on top of the box and a binder on a desk that would have the location of the box in the room?

You could also keep a list on the box top with the number of each size of the item so it would be easy to know when to re-order.
posted by parmanparman at 8:18 AM on September 17, 2009

I used to run a clothing biz. I found hanging stuff takes up too much space as well. I know you said you have an aversion to plastic bins, but really it's the most economical way to store clothing, and, if you organize correctly, can be gotten to quickly and easily.
The way I had my biz set up, I would keep things organized by size/clothing type in smallish totes (ones that hold 10-30 pieces) and then use a commercial steamer to iron out any wrinkles from storage. (You certainly don't have to use these particular brands, they're just the ones I used. In fact, Rowenta steamers, if you use them as much as I did, tend to break. But they're cheap).
In my experience, hanging clothes just take up waaaaaay too much space. Easier just to stay organized and steam anything that goes out.
posted by joechip at 8:24 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I agree that the freestanding wardrobe racks are just waiting to fall apart.

If keeping the clothes hanging is not the priority, maybe what you need are a series of easily-labeled drawers so you're not always stacking and unstacking bins.

Ikea's Malm line is simple and relatively sturdy for its $80 price tag. I was trying to find sturdy drawers with clear fronts, but I don't think that the Rubbermaid or Sterilite varieties would hold up long.

Alternatively, you could stick with the bins and invest in a few rows of sturdy shelving to help access them. These plastic ones are great- lightweight and super easy to assemble. And these metal ones have optional wheels so you can rearrange.

Good luck!
posted by alight at 8:44 AM on September 17, 2009

Have you tried bins placed on shelves? That way you don't have to take all the bins off the top of the bottom bin to get at it, and if your bin height and shelf height are close to the same, you don't lose a lot of space to the shelves.

If you look for shelving meant for garages and basements -- wire framed or unfinished pine from a hardware store rather than a decor store -- it'll be cheaper and usually sturdier.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:06 AM on September 17, 2009

If it was me, I would go the closet organizer route, specifically to get a double hung closet rod. I'm picturing something like this covering an entire wall or two in your office. While hanging might take up a bit more space, it will make retrieval much faster.

Assuming you don't go the hanging route (many sweaters should not be hung up), you could cover an entire wall with shelving that is customized to fit your bins. If you are stacking multiple sizes in one , use cardboard to separate them. Another option would be to assign one size but multiple styles to each box. It's much easier to pick out the right one at a glance then.
posted by soelo at 9:06 AM on September 17, 2009

Response by poster: soelo,

I'd never even considered multiple items grouped by size. I don't know if it is the way I will go, but kudos for a new idea! (for me at least)
posted by 2legit2quit at 9:20 AM on September 17, 2009

« Older Personal financial software recommendations   |   Name that forgotten novel (scifi) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.