How Do You Keep Your Crafty Biz Organised?

Re-organized Craft SpaceToday, I’m not talking about organising your ‘stuff’ (though I had to share this photo – how insanely organised is that?!) – I’m talking about organising your time and your orders.

When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to remember all you have to do. Maybe you get an order or two a week – no way you’re going to forget those!

But once business picks up, the orders are rolling in – you seriously need to get organised (P.S. I’m an Aussie, remember? Yep, that’s how we spell ‘organized’ :).

I’ve gone through a few permutations of organisation:

The try-to-remember-everything phase (yep, no…)

The use-sticky-notes-plastered-everywhere phase (umm, what if I lose one?)

The trying-to-find-a-computer-program-to-use phase (but my computer’s in the house, not out in my workshop!)

However, I think I have now reached some sort of organisational equilibrium – that works!

Here’s How I Stay Organised

1. For my Epheriell orders, I have a simple lined exercise book (the kind kids use at school – it’ll cost you less than a dollar, hopefully!)

I rule each page into four columns. They are:

  • Order Date
  • Name and Address
  • Order Details
  • Shipping Date

So, an order might look like this (and with my dates, remember I’m in Australia, we write day/month/year):

29/9 Alison Wonderful

18 Awesome St, Somewhere, State, Postcode, Country

Inverse Earrings

Tri-metal square stackers (size 7)


Originally I just ticked the ‘shipped’ column – then I had one person inquire as to when their order was shipped (it took a bit longer than normal to arrive) and I realised I didn’t know the exact day. Now I always do.

The beauty of this method is that I always have all the details of all my orders in one place. It makes my life a lot easier.

2. For the rest of my biz, I have just – finally – hit upon what might work for me.

I bought a diary. Just a plain, page-to-a-day, boring old diary. The woman at the newsagent looked at me like I was a crazy person when I asked (on the 29th of September) if they still had any 2010 diaries. They did, and I got it for just five bucks, too.

You see, I have lot of ideas – all the time (can you relate?). And if I don’t write these ideas down, they swim around in my head and make me a little stressed. But once I write them out, it’s like my brain knows they’ll be dealt with, so it quietens down.

I’ve stared writing down every task I know I need to do. And I don’t just write them on today – I spread them out over the next week, prioritising things that need to get done NOW, right down to things that would be really nice to do, but that aren’t essential.

So far (yes, I know, only a day in, who knows what will happen?) I feel a lot more relaxed and in control. Everything I need to do is in that book, and I can just work my way through it as needs be.

But what about organising all of the business income and expenses?

Stay tuned – I plan to write all about how I keep track of that next week.

Till then – I’d love it if you’d share your organisational tips in the comments!

  22 comments for “How Do You Keep Your Crafty Biz Organised?

  1. September 30, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    These are great suggestions! I am just starting out, but I’d definitely like to have a great organizational system in place before the orders (hopefully) pick up. I’m also working on organizing my supplies, though they’ll never look as organized as the supplies in that picture! I’d be content with all gemstones in one bin, crystal in another, brass in another, etc. Now I’ll work on keeping track of orders and ideas as well. Thanks!

    • Jess
      September 30, 2010 at 9:47 pm

      You’re welcome Melissa!! I agree – now is definitely the time to work it all out, so that when biz picks up you’re ready to go! Good luck!

  2. October 1, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I’m coming over from TCE, and boy am I glad I did! The lined exercise book is flat out genius – so simple and easy to do!

  3. Jess
    October 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Aww, thanks Brandi! It is – and *cheap* ;D

  4. October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I’m not flooded with orders yet but I definitely keep it all on my computer in a spreadsheet like you do in a notebook (and my computer is right on my desk since I live in a teeny apartment). I will certainly invest in a day planner though because I’ve felt lost all year without one. That’s what happens when you graduate, start working freelance, and think, “I have no appointments, what do I need a planner for?”

  5. October 1, 2010 at 2:10 am

    I do something very similar to your lined notebook, but I do it on a spreadsheet. I find I don’t update it all the time though, so maybe a notebook is a better idea. It’s so hard to think outside the computer box sometimes and use a pen and paper! Haha! Another thing I do to keep me organized for the week is write to-do lists… 3 of them: life, day job, and biz. Lookng forward to the financial organization tips. I really struggle with that!

  6. October 1, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Thank you for sharing your organizational ideas. I am only just starting out, but it always helps to know what the more experienced people do to stay organized.

  7. October 1, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Great post Jess 🙂
    I write everything down too, and I use exactly the same exercise books.
    I always buy a few extra for my girls to ‘create’ in.

    Now if only I could organise my other things like that gorgeous photo 😉

  8. October 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Love the idea of getting those ideas down in a diary. How organised is that room pictured!

  9. Jess
    October 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

    @StudioMME – Haha, that’s *exactly* why I didn’t have one!

    @Mich – great minds think alike, eh?

    @Lakshmi – you’re so welcome!

    @Erin, I like the idea of the 3 to-do lists! Sometimes all of those things get muddled up in my life.

    @Christine – I know! I thought I’d finally organised my workspace to some extent – that puts me to shame, though.

  10. Nita Morgan Kilpatrick
    October 1, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I always write on paper, similar to your system jess, paper doesn’t crash like a computer can!
    One additional tip I would like to share, use a (australian) financial year diary, it makes tax time so much easier as all the years info is in the one book.

  11. October 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I still love writing and logging things down in notebooks compared to in the PC. Like you, I have a small travel size notebook (about 10x7cm) that says ‘Draw Your Mind’ on the cover with blank pages inside, I like to doodle/jot down ideas I have and random notes I decided to take down.

    Thanks for the tips though! I have a few blank notebooks and diaries that I have yet to find a use for yet, perhaps I can use it to log orders as well.

    Additional tip, I ship my products via registered mail so we stick this sticker with a tracking number onto the envelope. I get to keep the remaining end (like a receipt) with the recepient’s name and a date stamp by the post office. So my woes of forgetting when I ship what to who is solved there. However, I still keep my sticker ends in monthly order with paper clips to keep them organized. 🙂

  12. Jess
    October 1, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Nita – that’s a great suggestion!

    Alex – you’re in the US, right? You guys are lucky you have registered mail – over here it costs a *lot* more than regular mail to do that!

    I forgot to mention – I also have an A4 blank sketchbook, which is where all my design ideas, measurements etc live. I’d be *so* lost if anything ever happened to it!

  13. October 6, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Great tips!Since I opened my Etsy shop I’ve turned into a spreadsheet-holic (does the word exist?). It’s so easy to keep track of everything – inventory, accounts, sales…- I don’t know how I could live without them!
    Paper is nice and cheap, but I tend to lose notebooks, so I feel more comfortable using the computer only. Of course, never forget to backup…

  14. October 6, 2010 at 6:38 am

    This is so great! I’m so happy I found you rblog today…I can relate so much with how you get feeling overwhelmed with ideas and things to be completed etc etc. I am also a bit of an organizational freak..infact I can’t get enough!!! I love it!! My blog has a new before and after on it that I just did in the past wek to get my life more organized…if you check it out you may have to scroll down a bit because I’ve written a few stories since.
    It was great to meet you and I look forward to reading more!!!

  15. Jess
    October 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Olele – I am a spreadsheet-a-holic too! 😀

    Thanks for visiting Lisa – off to have a read!

  16. October 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Jess,
    I am an irregular reader, I like my info in one big dose 😉 and there have been some cracking ideas in the last fortnight or so! Where oh where is that photo from? Who does it belong to!? I am telling myself they cleaned it up for the photo and it’s a disaster site like our office all over again…

    Thanks for sharing your info!


  17. Jess
    October 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for visiting, Kathryn, glad you found some useful info! To find out about the photo – just click on it, and you’ll go straight to the flickr page of the photographer! 🙂

  18. October 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Oh. How embarrassing… Thanks though! 😉

  19. December 1, 2010 at 3:13 am

    I’m less of a “handwritten” person and more electronic. I keep all of my orders, both etsy and custom, in an excel document with both date sent and or date due. That way, I can cut and paste the address info into an an already made label and receipt document (that I made in word and they’re both in one document). Print, cut tape or paste to the box (super 77 is my friend) and viola. It saves time, which I ALWAYS need more of.

    I love the “idea” book idea though. I carry around a mini ledger pad at the moment and the pages get all mucked up from me carrying it so much. And because I’m such a perfectionist I find myself re-writing pages from time-to-time. Your journal book is a great suggestion.

  20. April 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Great suggestions Jess. YES I have been writing down in my diary every time I send an order. The next step is to take my ‘order’ book and columnise it the same! Once it’s on paper it is sooo much easier to put in a spreadsheet later. Rather than hunting for ‘oh what was that order’. I was thinking about playing catch up this weekend 🙁

    Also – that image… oh god. it looks like a lolly shop! I want to run in there and mess it up!! 🙂

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