As people returned to their offices in the wake of the pandemic, whether to be back full time or simply to collect their belongings, images poured in from all over the world of completely disheveled work environments. But even though it might have been a shock to see the everyday workspaces of people in total disarray, I would bet actual dollar bills that over 90% of workspaces have “that closet.” You know which one I mean—the one that holds things that you’ve likely bought again because you couldn’t find them. The one that holds historical archives that you can’t get rid of for some reason, but you also don’t have a reason to keep. The one that holds promise of the items in it and total chaos for anyone who dares approach it. So in today’s episode, I’ll give you five tips for managing that office storage area.
Tip #1: Limit the number of people involved
Do NOT make this an entire office affair. Do not, do not, do not. In fact, limit this project to no more than three people per space, when possible. When you have too many people on a decluttering project, too many things get kept without reason. And while I’m not someone who pushes clients to get rid of things that are meaningful to them—literally ever—I also know that more cooks keep clutter in the kitchen. So get those two or three people who love to chat about life and gossip to do this decluttering project. They will likely be extremely productive doing something physical while getting to spend time together if you can find a time that they can be spared.
Tip #2: Move away from cardboard containers
I hate cardboard with a fury. It decays over time, doesn’t stand up to flooding, and conceals all of its contents. It’s not pleasant to touch, and it has a smell. Yes, it’s cheaper. But for its value it’s actually deeply cost ineffective. When you decide to tackle that space, invest in some easy-to-come-by clear, plastic containers with snapping lids. They will hold up NOTABLY better over time and outlast your employee turnover, while helping those newbies to know what’s inside without having to dig through every last one.
Tip #3: Label, label, label
Speaking of helping people know what’s inside, LABEL YOUR BINS. Yes, even though they’re clear. My favorite way to label bins like this is to use a number system. If you have 40 bins and a shared drive, create a spreadsheet that everyone can access, list numbers one through forty, and label your bins one through forty. Then, as you fill container #3, you can input what is in container #3 into the spreadsheet. Not only does this provide your finance department with an inventory of all of the assets in that space (You’re welcome, Dave), but it creates a SEARCHABLE INVENTORY for everyone in the office to access. So if they’re looking for the historical archives from 1995, they can input “1995” and BOOM, they know it’s in bin #3. It’s a little more effort up front, but there are HUGE advantages to it.
Tip #4: Know your paths out
Before touching anything, define how things are exiting the office. This is a rule for all of my organizing projects: we limit ourselves to trash, recycle, or donation facility nearest the client’s space. But it might be possible that your office will need shredding or large furniture removal as well. Determine who will provide those services and how each of those decisions will be made. Again, do this BEFORE you start the organizing project.
Tip #5: Call in outside help when you need it
I’m going to not-so-subtly mention that there are literal businesses that specialize in organizing services. My organizing business, SORT Organization Services, is based in Oklahoma City, so if you’re in the 405, we’d love to help you out if your team is overwhelmed and too busy to take on this kind of office improvement project! (just click here to get your quote!) But note that there are businesses all over that can help you digitize, downsize, and declutter your office. They can work with what you’ve got, they can help you select or select organizing solutions for you and your team. They can provide the manual labor and organize those pickup and shredding services for you. If it’s overwhelming to think about, the return on your investment of hiring a team to organize and inventory a storage space for you is well worth the money you save storing things you aren’t use and are likely buying duplicates of. So don’t forget to call in outside help you need it.
So there you have it, friends. Five tips for managing THAT office storage area and getting back to what you and your team do best!
Organized YOU! host Taylor Vogel is the Owner &
Get your FREE download of Say Goodbye to Old Tech today!
Listen and Subscribe to Organized YOU!