Managing Your Stockroom

As if merchandising your store wasn’t keeping you busy enough, the reality is you should be maintaining your stockroom, as well. By keeping your stockroom neatly organized, your store will be more productive in replenishing merchandise, locating products in the back while customers are waiting and keeping products from getting misplaced or damaged. The goal should be to have a clear, visible home for all categories of merchandise as well as store accessories that include hangers, holiday decor, receipt rolls and much more.

There are a few key things you can do that will impact the efficiency of your inventory and overall stockroom organization. These include:

1. Bins & Bin Labels – Using bins to identify various things is  a clean, organized way of keeping your stockroom from getting cluttered. By identifying these bins with labels, you help control the chaos of inventory just piling up without a place to go. For example, you could have a bin labeled “returns” for items that need to be re-stocked or put back onto the floor. Other bin suggestions include “damaged items”, “return to vendor”, “store decor”, “promotional giveaways” and “hangers”. The list is endless based on your store’s unique needs.

2. Shelving – Take advantage of the height your stockroom offers and have shelves available for use. These shelves should be neatly organized with categories of product that are easily recognized by signs and clear, clutter free organization. Identify the category areas with visible signage that all associates can easily read.

3. Desk Space– Even if you primarily work in the front of your store, there is bound to be a time when you or an associate need to sit down in your stockroom area. This may be to complete some work details or to have a lunch break. Either way, make an area designated to support these types of situations so that areas not meant for this are kept tidy. Include drawers or shelving to hold excess paper, pens and other office  supplies that your store needs.

4. Mini Fridge– A miniature refrigerator is a great addition to any retail stockroom. You may choose to stock it with drinks for your customers and employees or simply use it to hold employees lunches and leftovers. Either way, it’s a nice addition to have. The catch is to make sure it stays clean and food does not rot away inside of it. Have a 2 day rule to keep it clean and smelling fresh.

5. Work Table – If you have the space, include a work table that can be  used for organizing inventory. It will be great to use when new deliveries come in as well as to prep product that is ready for the sales floor, such as for folding or ticketing. Keep this work table clean and clear of anything after each project is complete so that it’s ready for the next project without having to push things aside and create the start of a mess.

6. Bulletin Board– Store annoucements, schedules and pictures need to go somewhere. A bulletin board is a great solution for this. You may need more than one to support your store needs, but at least one is suggested. Having these by the desk are suggested since this is where most people will sit down for a bit and have the time to look at what is on the bulletin board. It also may be beneficial to have a large bulletin board towards the stockroom exit that announce daily sales goals and other important store news.

7. Hanging Racks – Not everything will be suited for shelves or bins. Having hanging racks in the stockroom area can allow you to prep product accordingly. In addition, it can offer a designated space for employee coats.

8. Shipping Area – There will be a time when you need to send something to a vendor, customer or just because. Have a specific area with all your shipping supplies in one place so that you save time looking for everything and the process can be as quick and efficient as possible. Have packing tape, boxes, envelopes and packaging materials neatly organized in bins or drawers that are clearly labeled.

9. Employee Lockers – So maybe lockers aren’t your thing, but giving employees their own personal space is suggested. This is ideal for their purses, gym bags and everything else they bring to work. By identifying where their space is, they can be held responsible when they have loose things around the stockroom that contribute to it being a mess. Lockers are also ideal since there is some security involved here.

10. Character – That’s right, character. Add some life to your stockroom with paint and color. Color coordinate bins or use different labels for different things. You will spend a lot of time in the stockroom, so make it a place you want to be. This will also help everyone keep it organized and  clean.


  • Sherrie Ness
    March 10, 2010

    One of things I think is really important is to have the employee mark the shelves as to when they stocked the items with their initials and the date. This can be on a sticky note, tape or piece of paper. When you have multiple employees it keeps them from repeating the same stocking and its a way for me to see that things are getting stocked. As we all know, merchandise does not sell sitting in the stockroom. I try to get the employees to stock each item weekly during the fall and 2 times a month during the off season. This also gets the employee to know where to find merchandise and keeps things organized. The other advantage is that you don’t have employees wasting time doing what someone else did the day before.

    • Nicole Reyhle
      March 11, 2010

      Great advice, Sherrie. Thanks!

  • Laynie
    August 9, 2010

    Another helpful hint when marking plastic bins- use dry erase markers! they wipe right off when it is time to re- mark the bin!

  • Ron R.
    May 25, 2012

    I am looking for some ideas on how to put pillow overstock in the stockroom. The boxes they come in are not marked and are very bulky. It is hard to replenish when the boxes are bunched together and space is a factor

  • Donald Rodgers
    March 31, 2017

    any ideas on how to store large plastic window signage, plastic easel signage and plastic ceiling banners… they can be rolled but not too tightly (as they will crack if rolled tightly),,, i would like to hear some ideas to give me inspiration for my work.

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