And now, before your very eyes…

I’m going to show you how I keep everything organized.

I wasn’t going to because half the time I don’t know what I’m doing – you’ll see that when I get to my feeble attempt at bookkeeping – but what I’m about to show you works very well for me and so for anyone who doesn’t want to take the six years that I did coming up with an efficient way of keeping their jewelry straight, this is for you…

First up – Storing each piece of jewelry so that it’s easy to find.

I separate my pieces into categories as such.









Use as many, or as few, categories as you want to. You might not want any and just clump all of your pieces under one umbrella, however, I tend to have a lot of pieces hanging around and find breaking them down this way works well for me.

Then I make each category a chart.

This makes me feel very efficient.

Each category uses the same chart and I just switch out the heading when I’m printing it. The Silver items don’t have stones I know, but if I use beads (I don’t usually) I can list them there.

I made this chart initially as I was interested to see how much it was costing me to make each piece and how much in fees I was paying. Especially as I’d been hearing a lot about how much Etsy was charging. I wasn’t really paying attention at that time, but started to wonder how much I was actually making on each piece I sold. Now I often see beautiful pieces on Instagram and Etsy which I doubt are making anything much at all for the artist.

I don’t have a column for Time here as I can see under the Net column if the amount I’ve made after Cost and Fees is worth my time. This really is a chart to keep everything straight.

Here you can see the chart in action.

This is just an example as I just pen mine in.

It’s pretty straightforward. Each item gets a SKU number (the SKU for the Kazakhstan Necklace therefore is NC3) and a brief description.

Under Gross I put what I’m going to charge for the piece.

Next is the silver column. I weigh the piece on a small scale I bought from RioGrande – HERE – and times it by the cost of the silver – which is $26.67 per troy ounce right now. You’ll find the market cost for silver on the RioGrande home page top left. This gets a bit tricky I suppose as the cost of silver moves and if I kept track correctly I would know which piece of silver cost what when I bought it and when I used it. Not happening. So I tend to just times the troy ounce by $25 right now and keep an eye on the market. If it dips or rises in price significantly I alter my calculations. The silver used in a piece is negligible at this point I think. In this column I also include the cost of the chain and clasp which tends to add up to $15 for the ones I typically use. So the amount of silver I used for the Kazakhstan Necklace after the chain and clasp was $7. I round these amounts up or down accordingly to keep it simple. – O.K. and also because my dad laughed at me when I showed him how I used to calculate this part down to the last cent.

Next I fill in the Stone column and then the Cost column is the Silver and Stone added together.

I don’t put the Fees in the sub total here because Peter says he just needs the actual material cost.

Yes. Peter does my taxes for me because – I don’t.

When I tell you that I can put three sets of numbers into the same calculator and get three separate results three times in a row you’ll understand why…

Don’t judge me.

I could lump the silver and stone together in one column to begin with but I like to know how much I spent on the stone as sometimes they can be expensive and later, when I come to see the price I’ve charged, I get worried that I’ve messed up my silver calculations (read the paragraph above) and reduce the piece out of embarrassment and then only realize once I’ve sold the piece that I’ve lost money because the stone cost an arm and a leg and I forgot etc., etc..

Then I put in a rough round up of the Fees charged for using PayPal, Stripe, etc..

I have a sheet which I refer to at the front of my folder which tells me how much PayPal, or Stripe, or Etsy (if I still used them) is for the amount I charged (Gross) for the piece. And so by adding the Cost and Fee column together the final Net column is what I will have made after all of that. Now I can see what I will actually get for a piece and depending on how much time it has taken me and how involved it has been to make I can decide then if that’s a good price for me and alter it accordingly if needs be.

Now all of my pieces have their SKU number and I’ve a rough idea of their cost they get their own box.

But, to make it more exciting, they also get bags.

Yep. Sometimes it’s even too exciting for me…

Now. This may look a bit anal, but I have a tendency to make a lot of jewelry so…

The bags you see below are the Mother Bags. (I’ve just watched an Alien movie so work with me here as I try to get the lingo out of my brain). Each Bag represents a category (again you might not need this) and each Mother Bag has smaller individually numbered bags in them ready to be filled with a piece of jewelry that corresponds to their SKU number on the chart.

Necklace/Cabochons are NC1, NC2 etc.. Necklace/Silver are NS1, NS2 etc.. Earrings/Cabochons are EC1, EC2 etc.. You get the idea.

You can decided what you need.

Then, as I fill them with finished pieces of jewelry, I put them into larger bags of ten. This means that I know exactly which box and then which bag a piece of jewelry is in when I need it. Of course you have to put the SKU number in the item description in your shop otherwise this method will do you absolutely no good whatsoever.

Yes. I’ve done that…

Here are the cabochon bracelets in their box ready to go.

I keep all of the charts in a folder so that I can enter a piece as soon as I’ve made it, give it its number and put it in its bag.

If I sell a piece I run a highlighter over it to know it’s gone. A different colour for each year… just for jollies.

And then behind that I have monthly records where I can enter pieces I’ve sold and also items I’ve bought. I can also keep receipts, etc here.

At this point you might be wondering – why.

And it does seem a lot as I write it here, but actually it’s not and it really helps me keep everything in order. The monthly Sales page (below) also helps me keep a record for the tax man as I have been known to spend hours and hours at the end of a year trying to find out how much I’ve sold throughout the year, and then, how much tax I’ve collected and how much ‘I think” I’ve spent on materials. Etsy and PayPal keep records for that I know, but well, I find this so much easier and it keeps my pieces organized at the same time.

So again this is pretty self explanatory and is again just an example.

This is where I write in how much the customer has been charged, by me, in total – including shipping and tax if any. The date it sold, the SKU number, how much it cost me to make (found on the first chart), the invoice number, the exact amount I’ve been charged in fees by PayPal etc. The exact amount it cost me to ship, and I also have a column where I can indicate which payment of a layaway it is if that’s relevant. (Layaways have a different baggie, but that’s for another time…)

I make two sheets for each month. The one above and this one.

On this one I just write the date, what it is I’ve bought, whether I paid via PayPal, or another way and finally the amount I paid. I really only use it for supplies but you could put equipment, etc., here also.

And at the end of each month I can calculate each column and put their totals on here.

The Supreme Commander Chart.

And at the end of the year I can add up all the columns and be able to tell the tax man exactly how much I sold and how much it cost me in materials without having to resort to drinking.

You’ll have to ask Peter how to do all of the other tax stuff because, frankly – not my thing. Sorry. As long as it’s all done I will just thank him nicely and make him an extra cup of tea.

And that’s how I organize. It sounds involved, but it really isn’t. It works well for me. If you’re like me and make a lot and are absent minded and can’t find something when it’s sold, this might work for you also. There are a lot of systems out there and I know many are much better than this one so use at your own risk…

If you happen to find that none of this is clear nor makes sense you’re probably not the only one.

I made my charts using Pages on my computer. You can use my examples if you wish or make up something that makes more sense to you.

Stay well


11 thoughts on “And now, before your very eyes…

  1. Julia Kovach

    Oh my goodness! Look at you – so organized and efficient! So very proud of you. I know this part is not your favorite but in review you can be proud of all your hard work and visually “see” your accomplishments! Your work speaks for itself – just beautiful. ??

  2. Jean Watkins

    You are so organized! I wish I was!! Could you please let me know the scale you purchased from Rio? There are so many and I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for one. Thank you! Always love getting a post from you to see what you’re working on!

  3. such a great system. I manage with the accounts easily (all those years processing benefit claims had to come in handy for something!), but I’m failing with the inventory. I think that might be the ‘bib thing’ I should attempt this year.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      I have so much stuff I simply can’t get my head around it.

  4. Heidi English

    This is brilliant and so timely for me as I’m just about to open an Etsy shop. It all makes perfect sense to me and I realize I would never have thought of some of these things until my tax man asked me for the info.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Hi Heidi, I’ve just seen this reply. Thank you! Good luck with your Etsy store ? Deborah.

  5. Anonymous

    I love this. It all makes great sense and is not too complicated.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Thank you!

  6. Cynthia Hendrickson

    You are clever, my friend. Such an organized and easy-to-use system. Thanks for sharing!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Cindi, I didn’t see this reply. Just needed some system to be able to find stuff as I’m usually all over the place ?

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