Every business, no matter how lean, needs storage. Whether a closet or a back warehouse, files and raw materials and stationary need a home.
It’s easy to let that space fend for itself. But making sure it stays organized can prevent:
- Damaged goods from overcrowding or neglect
- Redundant goods purchased because they couldn’t be found
- Valuable internal business space taken up by goods that are sitting unsold or unused
Here are the easy ways to keep your storeroom, closets, or warehouse from becoming a money pit:
Maximize your Space
If your storeroom has goods stacked on pallets or even low shelving, you’re wasting it.
Go vertical, but go narrow. If you build vertical units that are over three feet deep, the goods at the back will be neglected, especially in the corners (like those spices in the back of your cupboard that seem to have disappeared into the ether).
Create Intuitive Zones in the warehouse and enforce them. If it’s stationary, it always goes here. If it’s safety supplies, it always goes there. Create a simple map of where the zones (not each item, which will immediately be overwhelming!), and post one at the entrance. If it’s a large area, post several throughout.
Label everything. Not with handwriting and packing tape. Buy a label maker and about six rolls of the expensive extra labels, and go to town.
No matter who walks into that storeroom, they should be confronted by a wall of plainly written labels in clear English (let’s avoid the witty descriptions).
Sort by Use
You’ll need the pens a lot more than the office Christmas decorations. So within your Intuitive Zones, have the most commonly used items within easiest reach, and the most rarely used in the back or corners.
The important caveat to that is that it’s easy for the least commonly used items to get forgotten about, which means you’ll risk forgetting about them and buying more. Every square foot must turn at some point.
When you overload a storage area, the chances of things getting lost, broken, or becoming a hazard rise exponentially.
If you don’t know what’s in your storage area, and you don’t know who to ask, there’s a much better chance that you’ll either spend way too long looking or just give up and buy more when you don’t have to (especially if it’s the boss’s money!).
Seek out the most organized person you have (who also works somewhat close to the storage area), as he/she will actively enjoy geeking-out on the organizational aspects. Make sure everyone knows who that person is so that if there’s an issue, everyone knows who to go to for answers.
Most of us have struggled with cluttered storage spaces at some point in our business’ lifetime, but when you start to view them as a money pit, the urge to organize them rises higher on the priority list. With a tidier storeroom comes less wasted time, smoother processes, and big savings. So, if you want to “clean up” this quarter, start by cleaning up where it counts!