What season is it? No, not winter. It’s Girl Scout Cookie season! And along with that comes the challenge of how to organize Girl Scout cookies.
If you’re like me, you volunteered to be Cookie Mom, and now you entered the initial orders, you get to pick up the cookies. You suddenly realized that this can be a little daunting. Wait, forget the selling, figuring out how to organize Girl Scout cookies is the real challenge! On the plus side, the organization doesn’t have to be that complicated. Getting yourself prepped before the cookies come and ensuring you have adequate space makes the process much easier.
I picked up the cookies from my daughter’s troop today – all 1,260 boxes – this morning and within an hour and a half, I had them back to my house and sorted into boxes sold by girl, donated boxes that we drop at the local food pantry, and boxes we have reserved for our cookie booths. The 150 boxes my daughter sold? Those she sorts when she gets home from school (because this is HER project, not mine), but the same philosophy holds when you need to figure out how to organize Girl Scout cookies for the troop or for your daughter.
Cookie Moms: How To Organize Girl Scout Cookies
Before you get your cookies:
Updated for 2017 cookies: I created a how to organize Girl Scout Cookies free printable for cookie moms years ago that works beautifully whether you’re the only one sorting the cookies as they come into your home or whether you have someone helping you. Print this out and fill out the sales for each girl as your first step. Cut the full sheet into the squares for each girl and write in each girl’s name and the total cookies sold from your online system. Do this before you have any cookies in your possession. Download this version for Little Brownie Bakers cookies, and download this version for ABC Bakers cookies.
Make picking up your cookies easier
When you pick up the cookies, we write our troop numbers on a slip of paper and to place that in our windshield to ensure the right troop gets the right cookies. This is easy enough to do on a piece of scratch paper with a marker. I also note how many total cases we should receive by type of cookie. That way, I don’t have to print out another piece of paper to track, and I know exactly what we should be getting. Yes, one year, we did have a discrepancy and only because I had my own tally did we straighten it out quickly. Once you leave the pickup spot, you generally don’t have recourse for any missing boxes.
Easily sort your troop’s cookies
Once you get home, sort the boxes by type of cookie. Ensure you have plenty of space both for the cases that you have to start and to organize the boxes by girl. Place all the Thin Mints together, all the Tagalongs together, etc. I find it easiest to do this with the cases in a line in the order they come on the order form – Savannah Smiles first, then Trefoils, etc., which makes it easy for me to take boxes as I go and not accidentally miss a type of cookie for a girl.
Take the slips of paper you wrote out for each girl and pick the cookies one girl at a time. If I’m not sure I’ll have enough space, I will actually tape the paper to my wall. That ensures I have enough space for each girl’s boxes. I then refer to the slip to quickly see exactly how many cookies I need for each girl without worrying that I am reading off a row and giving the wrong number of cookies.
Once I have all the cookies sorted by girl, I send an email to the troop letting them know the cookies are ready. I give them a deadline to arrange pick up. I keep the stacks of cases for each girl organized by the girls’ first names. This lets me quickly and easily pass along the cookies when they and their moms come to pick them up. With so many girls in our troop, this is one of those sneaky tips when you think about how to organize Girl Scout cookies.
For the Girls: How To Organize Girl Scout Cookies (Updated for 2017)
The same philosophy for how to organize Girl Scout cookies for the troops applies to individual girls, as well. The main difference: I ask my daughter to do her part since this is her business experience, not mine. Yes, I start out by printing out my printable for organizing her individual Girl Scout cookie orders. However, she fills it out with the order information for each girl. Use this printable for Little Brownie Bakers cookie councils, while this printable works for ABC Bakers cookie councils.
I ensure there is a thank you. Plus, this includes a reminder that if customers “need” more cookies, my daughter can supply them. I also note on the sheet whether the customer has paid or not, which saves time when we deliver. While payment is not required until the cookies are delivered, some customers like to pay ahead of time.
Organizing your daughter’s cookie sales
The only other material we need aside from the printable is rubber bands and tape. I’ve found using rubber bands to keep customer orders together is the easiest method. I save them up all year, and only rarely to I have to buy more. I have Little Miss pick the boxes for each order and immediately tape the thank you/order confirmation printable to a box. Then she rubber bands the boxes together.
From there, it’s a matter of separating the orders by delivery location. Our chiropractor (where all the employees tend to generously support her every year) goes into one pile. Cookies sold door to door in our neighborhood go in another. Orders from relatives are another pile. This strategy continues to ensure that we don’t forget any orders when we do our deliveries. This makes deliveries go faster and ensures customers receive cookies in a timely manner.
Maximizing delivery of her cookies
When Little Miss does her deliveries, she hands her customers the orders and ensures she thanks them. She also immediately gives a verbal reminder that if they need more cookies, she is their solution. And in the neighborhood, a wagon to carry all the orders plus some “extra” cookies for impulse purchases makes it quick and easy.
Next up? Getting your booth sales running smoothly.