Week 2 – Space Planning: Effective Storage (Originally Published in GetConnected.com)


Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Office Space – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - September 17, 2010

By Clare Kumar

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

Personal preferences affect storage choices. For example, you may prefer to file papers in folders while others prefer binders. You may like to use a notebook to capture ideas while others will write them down on a whiteboard. Let your preferences be your guide, for if you choose a system that doesn’t suit how you like to work you will be less likely to use it.

Considering ergonomics means that heavy items will be placed at waist height and lighter items in harder to reach places to avoid back strain and possible injury.

If office space is in short supply, consider customizing the space and using specific organizing tools to fit your needs. It will certainly make the most of the space you have.

3. Know your company policies, insurance requirements, and legal obligations

Privacy regulations, insurance policies, and often internal corporate policies provide strict guidelines regarding the storage and disposal of business information, particularly if your business involves gathering a client’s personal or business information.

It may mean having lockable cabinets in your office to restrict access to sensitive information. You may require an easily accessible shredder to destroy documents. Metal cabinets may be required to help prevent loss in a fire. Detailed information and strict guidance regarding the storage of business data can be found at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website. Investigate what applies to you.

Coming up next in the series: Space Planning – The Office Layout

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Source: http://www.getconnectedmedia.com/blog/author/Clare%20Kumar

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