Medical Inventory Management

How to Store Medical Supplies in a Store Room

March 13, 2024 • 6 min read

If you work in a doctor’s office, hospital, or another medical setting, you already know how challenging it can be to keep your medical supplies and equipment organized. Whether you’re organizing a medical supply room or organizing a hospital supply room, there are best practices that can help you keep your medical supplies optimally and adequately stocked. 

In this article, we’ll reveal how to organize a medical supply closet, with tips and tricks that work for practices of every shape and size. While not every suggestion or step will apply to you, we’re confident at least a few of these medical supply storage ideas can help you take control of your medical storage today.


1. Take stock of everything you have, what you need, and where

Chances are, your practice or hospital maintains quite a bit of inventory. Before you can truly get organized, you’ll need to get to the bottom of what you have and where the best place to store it might be. Start with an inventory audit. You may need to perform this while your office is closed or count inventory little by little to avoid disrupting your practice. However you decide to count your inventory physically, don’t skip this step. 

Once you have clarity about what you have on hand, consider whether these items are stored in the most convenient place. It’s possible that your current storage situation is suboptimal. From exam rooms to storage closets to off-site facilities, you want to determine exactly what your team needs in every storage area available.

How do you know exactly what you need and where? You’ll want to review past inventory records to determine consumption. If you don’t have access to that data, make estimated guesses, talk to others on your team, and do your best. Start keeping better track of consumption now so that when you revisit this process, you’ll have a clearer idea of what your medical practice or hospital truly requires. 

Remember that your inventory needs will be determined by various factors unique to your practice—and those needs may fluctuate month by month or season by season. 

Related: How to Manage Medical Inventory (Including a Medical Supply Inventory List Template)


2. Make your storage areas truly functional

While auditing, counting, and reconsidering your inventory, you may notice that your physical storage solutions are inadequate. You may want to invest in new shelving, rolling carts, bins, and other organizational equipment to make inventory organization and management more effortless. 

The best medical supply storage ideas for your business will depend on what you actually need space to do and where your physical inventory needs to be to best serve you. After all, in the next step, you’ll create a dedicated storage space for each item in your inventory. And that won’t be easy if your storage space isn’t set up for success. 

3. Create space for each item

Now that your medical supply closets and exam rooms are organized and optimized, you’ll want to begin carefully stocking your shelves according to the strategy you set forward in step one. 

Remember, nothing is set in stone—so it’s okay to get things not quite right at first. The purpose of this process, at least in the beginning, is to estimate consumption and then make adjustments until you can restock at regularly-scheduled intervals, like at the end of the day or week.

You may want to use a label maker or other tool to clarify what goes where and how much of it you need. When you decide on a location for an item, update your inventory management software or inventory spreadsheet accordingly. Creating records of how you organize will also streamline future audits and physical inventory counts. 


4. Keep track of critical dates, including expiration 

Another thing to keep in mind when organizing your medical supply room? Key dates for your medical supplies. You should note expiration dates directly on your inventory list or in your inventory management software. If you use an inventory app like Sortly, you’ll be able to set customized alerts, so you’re reminded when an item is set to expire. That way, you can always ensure your medical stock is up to date.

You should also consider the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method for stocking your medical supplies. The FIFO method requires placing the soonest-to-expire inventory at the forefront of the shelf, with duplicate items set to expire later placed behind them. That way, your team is always grabbing the expiring inventory first, reducing physical and financial waste.

Related: 10 Ways Medical Practices and Hospitals Use Sortly’s Medical Inventory Management Software


5. Develop a comprehensive medical supply storage list

You’ve already started building an inventory list using a sheet of paper, spreadsheet, or inventory app. But if you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to get as detailed as possible. If you’re using an app like Sortly, you can take pictures, attach key documents, sync barcodes and QR codes, and even set inventory minimums so you never run out of essential supplies or materials. 

The most important aspect of maintaining a medical inventory list is taking precautions with medical supplies and equipment that require special handling. With the right inventory app, you can easily keep track of important instructions, like storage specifications, hazardous materials warnings, and more. 


6. Keep valuable or controlled items under lock and key

While many of your medical supplies will simply be stashed away in a storage closet or exam room cabinet, there are other items you’ll need to secure. This goes for expensive equipment, controlled substances, and private files. You can physically secure these with a lock and key, but you also may want to secure them virtually.

Some inventory software, including Sortly, allows you to hide or restrict access to specific items. This isn’t always optional. Chances are your medical group or even federal law mandates you take specific steps to protect or secure some inventory and some information. Consult an expert about what you need to do to properly secure certain items within your medical practice. 


7. Review inventory frequently and continue to adapt storage

Remember that medical and hospital supply room organization is an ongoing process. You’ll need to continue to audit your inventory, adjust your strategy, and look for vulnerabilities in your inventory management system. Keep an eye out for red flags such as theft, shrinkage, obsolescence, and overordering. 

And if you’re using an inventory app to manage your medical supplies, review those records frequently to keep your inventory minimums accurate and more effectively forecast demand. You’ll find that if you practice perpetual inventory, it’ll be much easier to keep a close eye on your inventory daily. 

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About Sortly

Sortly medical supply storage and management

Sortly is an inventory management solution that helps you track, manage, and organize your medical inventory—from any device, in any location. We’re an easy-to-use inventory software that’s perfect for medical clinics, hospitals, and labs. Sortly builds inventory tracking seamlessly into your workday so you can save time and money, satisfy your patients, and help your business succeed.

With Sortly, you can track medcal inventory, supplies, parts, tools, assets like equipment and machinery, and anything else that matters to your clinic. It comes equipped with smart features like barcoding & QR coding, low stock alerts, customizable folders, data-rich reporting, and much more. Best of all, you can update inventory right from your smartphone, whether you’re on the job, in the stockroom, or on the go.

Whether you’re just getting started with inventory management or you’re an expert looking for a more efficient solution, we can transform how your company manages inventory—so you can focus on building your business. That’s why over 10,000 businesses globally trust us as their inventory management solution.

Start your two-week free trial of Sortly today.