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How to Organize a Warehouse

Some of our readers have actually seen our house. Our apologies go out to them. The place is, not to put too fine a point on it, a mess. On our bottom (“basement”) floor, the mess is primarily due to the fact that it serves as the warehouse for the Sheltie Rescue Mall, our web store. We have repeatedly started to organize the mess, but it is so intimidating and time-consuming that we run out of energy before we’re done. And, as you all know, mess breeds. (In physics, there’s a phenomenon called entropy, which is roughly “the amount of disorganization in a system”; and, absent energy input, entropy always increases. That explains a lot.)

Well, we have managed to put most (not yet all, though) of our inventory into those relatively inexpensive plastic tubs you can buy at many of the “big box” stores, almost all of them transparent. That makes it somewhat easier to find what we’re looking for, especially if I’ve managed to remember to put labels in or on the tubs that indicate their contents.

The problem now is that the tubs are stacked in piles up to 5 or 6 bins high. If we want to retrieve, say, a shirt that happens to be in a tub on the bottom of that stack, we have to first find a place to temporarily move the tubs sitting atop the tub we want. And they can be pretty heavy, too. So, inspired by an advertisement for a similar product, we designed and are almost finished building a rack for those tubs. We can store one or two tubs into each “cell” of the rack, which makes the problem if getting to a particular inventory item much easier.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we designed and are almost finished building the rack :) . We decided to build it out of PVC pipe, partly for cost reasons, partly because of weight and flexibility. Well, a rack that is three cells high by five cells wide involves the use of no fewer than 92 (!) pieces of PCV connection devices (tees, crosses, and “side outlet 90s”) and about 120 pieces of PVC pipe, all cut to specific lengths. That means making roughly 120 cuts, and that is really hard!

We started off with a miter box and a box saw, but 25 or 30 cuts made my arm feel like it was going to fall off! So I spent half a day setting up a sort of pippe-cutting jig that let us use a circular saw. It went a lot faster once we started using the right tools, but we still have about 40 more cuts to make tonight before I can finish assembling the device.

As soon as it’s finished, though, I’ll upload a photograph of it all loaded with those tubs so you can admire our handiwork and see just how we’re progressing with organizing our warehouse.

P.S., Shop early and often at the Sheltie Rescue Mall so all our efforts aren’t in vain…and support Sheltie Rescue while doing so!

On this day..

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4 comments to How to Organize a Warehouse

  • I can’t wait to see the new and improved warehouse pictures! It sounds great!

  • love to see the rack! very fun to have found this blog!! keep up the good work. BTW this blog also led me to your mall.

  • kathlynn

    I have been to your house a few times over the past five years. What a relief it will be for you both to finally have some organized space for a change.
    Looking forward to seeing the pictures!!

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    I guess I got here for another reason, but I wonder why Shelties are so in need of rescuing. I know someone who has two, and gets on wonderfully with them, but they are an even bigger hit with kids. The dogs get the ultimate pleasure of herding them, while the kids just think it’s interaction. In the end, the kids are happy, but utterly wiped out.
    Maybe lots of articles profiling an optimal pet owner for these types of dogs would spread knowledge about those that make unsuitable owners, and will prevent the breeding and selling of these attractive dogs. What a perfect platform you have here to begin such worthwhile, inexpensive work.

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