Home Staging Inventory Management Or How To Organize All That Stuff!

Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

Home Staging Inventory Management or How To Organize All That Stuff!

I am often contacted by other home stagers and asked how I organize my inventory. My system has been developed through much trial and error and what works for me, may not work for you.

When I first started staging and was inexperienced, I organized my inventory by item type and color - for example, all green vases in one bin, all red pillows in another bin, etc. This worked OK up to a point, when I didn't have all that much inventory. It basically meant that I had to bring every bin to every staging to pick and choose what I wanted to work with. My company basically consisted of me, and, well, me, and whichever of my friends wasn't working that day and I could guilt into helping me.

Now that I have much more inventory, and many more staging projects under my belt, I have figured out how to organize the inventory to work smarter, faster and more efficiently on staging days.

Here is what I came up with:

  Pasadena home staging warehouse

 Pasadena home staging warehouse


"Smalls" are orgainized on open shelves to be selected as needed for each project. Bungee cords keep everything safe on the shelves in case of an accidental bump or an earthquake.

Sets of items, such as towels or bedding sets are arranged in tubs of two different sizes depending upon the volume of the items.

These (left) are some of the towel bins. The blue tags indicate how many towels of each size are contained in each bin. Some of the sets are incomplete because the rest of the set is currently being used in a staging project.

By marking each bin, we know exactly how many towels of each set are still available.


In addition, in each (well that is my goal) towel bin we have added a basket arrangement of towels and some, if not all, of the accessories that we would probably use with that towel set. We use foam packing bags and everything breakable in a bin gets put in one of those. They are a great time saver and protect fragile items really well.


The bin on the left is a full set up for a bathroom. The bin on the right is the same set-up including some silk orchids.

I use the same techniques for bedrooms, including all the bedding, throw pillows, night stand accessories, etc. The lamps are the only things that travel separately. By using down time to arrange the bins this way, it makes the staging days a lot less hectic and it takes less time to stage. I assign a bin to each bedroom or bathroom, and I can assign an assistant to set it up without a lot of supervision.

Any items that are not used are returned to inventory to be used with a different set or to wait for their companions to return. Since there is a constant in-flow and out-flow of inventory the contents of each bin are frequently changed so the designs don't get stale. Additionally, when we are staging, we bring a few bins of extras to add if the contents of a bin are not sufficient for a particular home.

Every item in my inventory (more that 10,000 items!) is marked with an inventory control number. When we stage we make note of each item used.

Here's a couple more photos of my warehouse:

 Pasadena home staging warehouse


 Pasadena home staging warehouse

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Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged hundreds of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

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Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Melissa: I forgot to answer your bins question. I buy the largest clear plastic Sterilite bins, usually at Target when they're on sale. I know Cindy Lin bought them wholesale direct from Sterilite so you might ask her about that. I bought them as I need them which was better for my cash flow as I was growing my company. If a bedroom set doesn't fit in one bin, I use 2. I'd rather have the bins be size I can carry easily rather than struggling with something oversized.

Janice: Spare time? What's that:o))?

Mannie: Organizing by room makes staging on site go much faster.

May 13, 2010 12:54 PM #26
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Michelle - I agree, many newer stagers would find this information helpful - I certainly wasn't saying it wasn't relevant!  We just moved into a larger space and I'm always looking for ideas. 

I'll ask Cindy Lin about the bins then... thanks!

May 13, 2010 01:23 PM #27
Diana Young
Staging Seattle, King & Snohomish Counties - Edmonds, WA

Thank you for sharing your inventory organization system with us, Michelle!  So neat and tidy...wish my closets at home looked like that!  We have  warehouse space, too, compared to storage units.  It makes it much easier to set up the racking systems like the ones you have.  The table in one of the photos - I'll bet you use that a lot!  We have a table where we "stage" the items to be packed into tote bins for transport to a staging job. 

May 13, 2010 01:46 PM #28
Lori Kim Polk
Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services - Roseville, CA
Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento

MM... we still do the tubs, but have morphed into a little different way of storage. All towels are back out on shelves as well as the bathroom accessories and kitchen. Bedding is still packed though. All dining set ups are tubbed, as well as, kitchen counter sets per color. The reason we put the others out is because we were mixing and matching so much that we realized that the pick and pull was better. We have about 20 small tubs for pick and pull that we stack near the packing station. We pick the items and then transfer to the packing tables which have paper and bubble wrap.

Another thing that we have done recently was to line all the shelves with carpet that have sensitive items such as artwork, lampshades, some ceramic items, etc.  It just seems like a work in progress all the time. Thank you for sharing this.

May 13, 2010 06:11 PM #29
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Melissa: No worries!

Diana: I usually do the pulling and my assistant(s) do the packing:o) Getting the warehouse was the best thing I ever did. I love being able to back the truck right up to the roll up door - no dodging doorways, elevators or having to close the unit each time you take a load to the truck.

LKP: Thanks for your in-depth description. I usually take a couple of tubs of towels for contrast. We mix it up too, when we get the opportunity. I like the idea of lining some of the shelves with carpet. I'm going to have to break down and do that with my artwork.

BTW, everyone, Lori Kim was the one that got me started on the bin packing system. Our systems are very different now, but it has its origins in LKPs brain:o)

May 13, 2010 06:49 PM #30
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

WoW Michelle...You are super organized!!! I am forever working on improving my warehouse organization...it is definately an ongoing process for me. Thanks for sharing...you have inspired me to take it a step further and be super organized as well!!!

May 14, 2010 07:07 AM #31
Wanda Richards
Shows Great Home Staging and Web Solutions - Roanoke, VA
Shows Great Home Staging

Michelle - thanks for the great information.  I have real issues with keeping my warehouse organized.  I really need a better system and your system is great...THanks!

May 14, 2010 10:04 AM #33
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

Michelle, this could not have come at a better time!  We are in the process of moving our accessories from a storage unit to a storage room at my house and are deciding just how everything's going to be organized.  Our inventory is relatively small in comparison but if we can develop a good system now, we're ready to grow.  Thanks for the inspiration!

May 14, 2010 10:10 AM #34
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Valerie: Being well organized will make you more efficient.

Kathleen: Since I worked in the movie industry before becoming a stager, I used the Hollywood prop houses as a model for organizing my inventory. This gave me a little head start:o)) Its better to start out organized when you are small than to try and organize when you get big.

Wanda: I hope it works for you as well as it does for me.

Michele: I agree. Good luck with your move!


May 14, 2010 12:48 PM #35
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Michelle, I always like to see how other stagers organize their inventory. I liked the idea posted here about placing carpet on the shelves to avoid things slipping.Great idea. I place like things in each bin. Still like to mix and match  a different story for each home I stage. Probably would save time doing it your way. I have found that removing the shades from the lamps and storing in cardboard boxes an excellent way to keep them from harm and clean in transit. thanks for the post. You are always a wealth of information.

May 14, 2010 01:45 PM #36
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Michelle: I do my mixing and matching in the warehouse before we load up. That way I'm not hauling a lot of stuff I won't use. But that's what works for me. You have found a system that works for you. I'm like you...I like to see how other stagers do things.

May 14, 2010 03:25 PM #37
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Oh Michelle, how I envy you. My warehouse is my basement and garage and they are both filled to overflowing. 

May 14, 2010 09:09 PM #38
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Hi Michelle!  Great ideas you've shared here.  We've just moved to a bigger warehouse and already need to do much reorganizing after we've had many stagings hit at one time. 

I've got a question about artwork....how do you store it?  I've set mine up on several large shelves sideways and added dividers so they don't slide but I'm finding that isn't working so well.  

May 15, 2010 07:16 AM #39
Elizabeth Chauncey
Nashville, TN

Just joining the thread here. After 4 years of staging part time in Nashville I'm getting really busy right now. Struggling with all of these issues even more so now that the pace is a bit hectic and I'm still working alone. Thanks for sharing. Anyone have any great ideas for storing PILLOWS? I have tons of them and can't seem to figure out a good way to keep them out of the way, clean, visible and accessible. Elizabeth  - See more at: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1641503/home-staging-inventory-management-or-how-to-organize-all-that-stuff-#17184703

Oct 29, 2013 07:48 AM #41
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Elizabeth: Most stagers store their throw pillows by color in open shelving. It makes it easy to grab what you need when packing for staging.

Oct 29, 2013 12:08 PM #42
Carolyn Rush
CR Interior Designs - Poolesville, MD

I just found this thread and wanted to comment on how helpful it is.  I wish I had seen this in the beginning!  I have started getting really busy after a year and a half in business and have acquired a growing inventory.  I have been using space bags for pillows but find that they are only good for one or two uses before developing a leak.  They take up so much space, but maybe I'll try placing them on open shelving.


Apr 28, 2015 01:58 AM #43
Lars Thurfjell
Declutter Dude - San Francisco, CA
Declutter/Reorganization Expert in San Francisco

Hi Michelle,

What a great article, I've shared it with a home staging colleage of mine. Am very curious how you organize big stuff like sofas and mattresses?

Oct 07, 2015 11:27 AM #44
mark grogan
Supercheap Storage Wollongong - Sydney, AU

What you need when you're trying to declutter or clean up your house is a lot of those storage bins! And I second the use of exactly the sort that are shown here - the clear type boxes are perfect for putting things away without having to worry that you'll forget what exactly it is that you've packed off!

Mar 13, 2017 08:06 PM #45

Hi,I have a clients that ask about the linens being cleaned between uses and how they are stored. Do you clean them before they are stored and then again before you stage a new house?Thank you,Debbie

Dec 13, 2017 05:39 PM #46

This is a great article! Thank you! What do you use for inventory control? Just numbers and an excel spreadsheet or perhaps an app?

Mar 18, 2018 06:22 PM #47
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Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA
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