Are you finding it hard to locate the items you need? Are you always losing and running out of office supplies? Is everything out in the open, making a mess?
If you answer yes to all these, then you need some serious overhaul of your organization system.
Having a disorganized space impedes the work process of your employees. They also create clutter, which can affect their focus and productivity.
You have to set up a system for storing office supplies. Read on for some tips on how you can create an organized workplace.
1. Declutter First
Before you organize your supplies, take out everything first. Decluttering is the first step to organizing; and it might be the most daunting task, as well.
Doing this, you can take note of everything you have. You might also discover some things that none of you ever uses or those that aren’t usable anymore. You can throw these out as they’ll only take up space.
Your employees might be able to help you in identifying the things you don’t need. After all, they’re the ones who are using most of the supplies you have.
Only after you declutter can you think about moving them into their places. At this point, you’ll see how much space you’ll need for them all. Don’t forget to account for the stocks that might be on their way, as well.
2. Make an Inventory
While you’re assessing everything you have, take this chance to make an inventory. List down every item you have and then count how many is each one.
Again, don’t forget to list down the incoming supplies. You may have to make a separate column for them so you won’t get confused when they don’t arrive. Update your list once you have them.
Having a list allows you to keep track of your office supplies, which can alert you of theft or lost items.
It’s also useful when ordering more stocks. It can serve as a checklist of what you need to order.
Use the list for marking things that are low in stock, as well. You may want to make a separate list that you can put in a visible space. That way, everyone can mark it when they notice the low stocks.
3. Find a Permanent Place for Everything
If you want an organized space, you have to wipe out the clutter. You also have to anticipate the clutter that will result from the natural usage of the space.
One way to reduce it and prevent it from coming back is finding a place for everything. It should be their permanent place, not something temporary until you have a suitable space for it. If there aren’t any suitable spaces, then you’ll have to create it.
When you have a place for everything, you ensure that no item will be out of place. It will be easier for you and your employees to find what they’re looking for. They’ll also know where to put them away.
You can keep track of the inventory and stick to your system better.
4. Sort the Office Supplies
Place similar types of office supplies together. For instance, group pens, markers, and other writing instruments together. They should still have separate containers, but it’s better if you put them side by side.
On a similar note, put all kinds of papers together; have the pins near the staplers and staples. Also, electronics, batteries, and chargers are better grouped. Near the printer, place the papers, ink cartridges, and other stuff your employees might need after printing.
You should also consider which items get used the most. Your staff will likely need immediate access to pens, notepads, paper clips, and the likes. Put them in an easy-to-reach place; eye-level works best.
Having all your office supplies organized in such a manner will make it easier for everyone. This will save everybody time and effort.
5. Make a Label for Everything
The best way to remove confusion is to label everything. Your employees won’t have to open every single drawer or cabinet to find what they’re looking for.
This is also beneficial when you’re storing some things in boxes, cardboard pallets, and such. The storage places are better for things you don’t use that much often (read more on the benefits of cardboard pallets) or when you’re moving out soon and you want to get ahead of things.
However, you may eventually forget where you put what. Having labels make it easier to see what box you need to open to get what you need. Don’t forget our tip about putting together like with like.
6. Invest in Cabinets and Closets for Storing Office Supplies
To have ample space for organizing all your supplies, invest in cabinets and closets. Get them in varying sizes so you have the right space for all types of office supplies. Pens and such don’t need much space, but you’ll need tall or wide spaces for many reams of paper.
Having enough space for everything will reduce clutter. Each one will get their own space so nothing should be lying around in visible places.
Look for storage solutions that are specific for office settings. No matter how much room you have in your office, you’ll find a solution that will be able to house all the supplies you need to store – even if you think you don’t have any space left.
7. Use Bins, Cups, and Containers for Smaller Items
In many situations, businesses make the mistake of putting items in larger spaces. Pens get a whole drawer, for example, which might waste some vertical space.
To save space, buy bins and containers for smaller items. You can put pens in a cup, for example, and the paper clips in a small basket. Choose containers you can put aside each other and on top of each other.
Some shelves might also be too far apart when only a few office supplies need that much space. This is where stackable containers come in handy.
If budget permits, you can also have extra shelves installed. Some temporary solutions are available, too, that will allow you to put that extra vertical space to use.
8. Provide Alternative Storage
You can store your stocks of papers away, but if space allows, you may want to have more visible storage space for those that will be in immediate use. Place a ream or two near the printer, fax machine, and photocopier.
This way, your staff will have easy access whenever they need paper. When it goes low, you can then replenish it using your other stock of papers. Make sure to look out for the inventory of papers in both storage places.
You can also do this for cleaning supplies and other items. For example, you can keep soap, bleach, or such near the sink while having more of them in a more hidden place.
9. Keep Track of Free Space
Once you put everything in a place of their own, check if you have free space. You may have to get exact measurements to get a better idea of how much space you have for each item. Then, keep that in mind when you decide to order something.
That way, you won’t make a mistake by ordering 10 reams of printer paper when you only have room for five. The extra reams will only create clutter, throwing off your whole organization system.
If you find yourself lacking space (i.e. you need those extra reams of paper), go back to our previous tips. Find other free spaces, move things around, or buy more storage space.
10. Make It Someone’s Responsibility
If you won’t do it, appoint someone to handle the office supplies. How is this more efficient than making it everyone’s responsibility, you ask?
Well, if you rely on everyone to keep storing office supplies in order, no one will do it. They will rely on everyone else.
They’ll keep thinking somebody else will do it until your storage becomes a mess again. It’s something like the bystander effect.
Let’s say you have diligent employees that like putting away office supplies. Will you be sure that all of them will follow the system you set up to the T?
You only need one employee to mess up for everything to go wrong.
For these reasons, it’s better to have only one person to do it. It will force them to act since they know it’s their responsibility. Let them keep track of the inventory and mark the items on the checklist that are running low.
It will also ensure consistency. You can even give them the freedom to make an organization system of their own.
Stay on Top of Office Organization
The office supplies are for everyone, so it makes more sense if you get everyone to take part in your organization system. Ask them the things they use often and the supplies they would want to have. This way, they’ll also know what system you have in storing office supplies.
Don’t stop here! There are more ways to keep your business organized for higher production and a streamlined office experience. To discover these tips, check out our other blog posts today.