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Keeping Inventory in Your Home

What to do when your city restricts the use of your home for inventory storage

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This story appears in the July 2002 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Q: I am a seamstress, and eventually I will also offer custom-designed photo transfers for T-shirts and other items. The problem is, I was told that while I can sew from my home, I cannot keep any inventory. I would be mailing everything from the post office up the street from where I live. Also, do you recommend I set up a Web site?

A: Apparently your community's residential zoning allows you to operate at home but restricts keeping inventory in a home. If you probe deeper, you may find some wiggle room to allow you to do what you want. Inventory is not an exact term, though it's usually thought of as being merchandise, stock-in-trade or commodities. It can also be defined to cover materials and supplies. But creating custom-designed items arguably puts you in the category of an artist. Most artists create their works at home. They have materials and create original products as you plan to do. Artists are often favored as a home occupation in zoning ordinances and, even when not, are generally allowed to do their thing.

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