If you are an ecommerce entrepreneur working from home you may find yourself overwhelmed with clutter, especially if you have a small home or a lack of storage facilities. If someone is only running a small online store they will quite often compromise by storing their stock in a home garage or loft instead of renting out storage facilities. This may be a necessity in the early stages of a business but if you begin to grow more successful then your increasing amount of stock may cause a problem in your home.
The problem with storing stock at home
If you are storing a large amount of stock or valuable stock in your home a variety of issues can arise. First of all is the obvious problem of clutter and the issue of your house feeling more like a workplace than home. Having large amounts of storage in a loft or a garage can help you overcome the problem of clutter but if you begin storing items in your general living rooms then problems can arise. Having work based items in your living rooms can cause a blurring between your work and home life. Such a situation can cause a loss of routine and a built up of stress, leading to issues such as burnout and depression. Not only can stock clutter cause these mental issues but there is also the physical problems of tripping, fire, and the buildup of pathogens. The build up of disease causing pathogens is caused by inadequate storage. If your storage is exposed to the air and not temperature controlled not only can it be a health issue but it can also cause a build up of mould or mildew which could render your stock worthless.
Other problems with practicality
Other problems with having a cluttered amount of stock in your home include security. If you store your stock at home then it may be on show to passersby increasing the probability of theft. It is also worth noting that such a theft may not be covered by your insurance provider, you should always check beforehand to make sure. Your security system itself may be inadequate if you have stock on show, for example, if you haven’t got an alarm system in place then you really shouldn’t be storing any large amounts or expensive amounts of stock. Another problem with storing stock at home is the issue of receiving new stock, as homes don’t have a goods in area it might be difficult for the deliverer to get close to your home. This means you might have to manhandle a greater amount of stock, increasing the chance of injury and increasing the chances of storing your stock somewhere in the way instead of the place where you initially wanted to store it.
As an ecommerce entrepreneur working from home hoarding stock is a major issue, especially if you have a slight hoarding problem in the first place. If your business begins to become more successful and you start to store larger amounts of stock you may find that you hit a wall when it comes to storing your stock at home. Nowadays, many small businesses are choosing to use flexible self storage facilities with office spaces over working from home. The benefits of such facilities compared against working from home are detailed in the following infographic.
Often I’ve been called in to help people with what I consider very sacred organizing work which is to help a client move on after the death of a loved one. This often involves releasing the things that are no longer relevant to them that might have been relevant to their loved one. The client does not need to keep these things in their life because it makes them sad. When organizing a loved one’s belongings after their transition, it’s all about energetics; getting rid of the things that make them feel sad and keeping only the things that have good memories attached to them. It’s very precious sacred work and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help my clients move on and get back into life full tilt as single individuals with joy. You can’t really move on into a new single life if you don’t release a lot of the old stuff from your loved one. I do this work often and I consider it a privilege and an honor to help my clients do this.
Here is an example of an area that needed to be purged of a loved one’s belongings so my client could use the space productively:
Here is the space after the organization process:
Working from a home office can have many conveniences. Being at home means that anything you need is just a few steps away. It also means that the space which other family members need may encroach on the office. Many people have the problem of having to work in a cramped home office. Here are a few ways to help create more space in the home office.
1. Clean and Organize
Cleaning the home office is the first step towards creating more space. This will not only clear some space to work with, but will also help to get an idea of the entire space and what can and cannot be moved.
Start by organizing papers, moving them into piles or placing them where they belong. Do not worry about throwing away the papers at this point, just make sure they are manageable and in some order.
Next, take time to gather wires and other electronic clutter. Use twist ties or tape, but try and make sure that there is no large tangle of wires behind the furniture. This will help if you have to move the furniture later and also just makes the room look nicer.
2. Assess Furniture
Once the home office is clean, it is now time to look at the furniture in the room. If there is a lack of space, this is the place to start making changes. Remove furniture that is not being used. Because it is a home office, furniture from other rooms in the home may have migrated into the space.
Now look at the furniture that is actually being used. Make sure that there is not a better configuration. See if printers can be placed underneath of a desk or on a shelf. See if things that are taking up desk space can be placed somewhere else.
Finally, if no helpful changes can be made, consider purchasing new furniture. Look for modular multi-purpose furniture. This refers to desks that have special cabinets for computers or surfaces that roll out. Wheeled storage containers can also help because they can be moved around as needed.
3. Use the Walls
Above the regular furniture there is usually a large area of wall that can be utilized. There may be pictures there or other decorations, but they can easily be turned into a massive amount of useful storage space.
The most obvious way is to install long shelving units. This is especially handy if there are a lot of reference books or other bound papers. The walls can also be used for specialized shelving units like a grid of small cubbies to hold sorted materials.
There are also narrow bookshelf-like installments that can be mounted to the wall to provide a sturdy surface for equipment or electronics.
4. Throw away unwanted things
Once the space in the home office starts to clear up, it is time to look at what to get rid of. First, consider throwing away unneeded documents. If there are simply too many documents that cannot be disposed of then it may be time to try scanning documents and storing them digitally and then shredding the originals.
Also look at getting rid of items that may be in the office because of indecision. This can include items such as computer accessories which do not really work but look too valuable to throw away. It is time to decide what to do. Either get it repaired or dispose of it.
Other items include any distracting decorations, broken furniture or storage containers that are unused and sitting empty.
5. Store things elsewhere
One advantage of a home office is that it is located in the home. This means that items which cannot be thrown away and are taking up too much space in the office can be stored somewhere else in the home. An attic or basement can be very useful for this purpose. Just make sure that the space where the items will be stored is safe from flooding, leaks or other conditions that could cause damage.
Once more space has been found in the home office the final step is to maintain the space. Do not let documents or mail build up into unmanageable piles. Keep them organized and throw away things that are not needed right away.
If after trying everything there still is not enough space, it may be time to consider buying smaller office equipment. Computers and printers have decreased dramatically in size in the last years. Monitors are also smaller and flatter than ever.
There are also instances where the scope of what is being done in a home office exceeds the capacity of the space. In a case such as this a second room in the home may need to be claimed as an office extension or, more likely, it may be time to look for a commercial office space to rent outside of the home.
Ready to get your home office organized? Click here to get a jump start!
Please note~ My guest author for this article is George Baker. George works with vacuum bags, so if you ever need to know anything about Numatic vacuum bags then he is the guy to ask.
A client recently contacted me because she was unclear about what paperwork she needed to keep and what she could shred. She had papers spread throughout her office. With information pertaining to numerous investment properties and multiple (more…)
Some of my readers feel that they don’t have the proper office set-up to become super organized and efficient. They are over their head in papers and muck and want moreinformation to determine the best way to set up their office space. This is what I recommend for all office set-ups in an excerpt from my upcoming book How To Master Your Muck:
Your desk can be a large table (think dining size)
The ultimate desk for most businesses will have an
An ergonomically designed desk chair is worth more
Situation: A watercolor artist and instructor needed to get his art supplies organized. He is planning to move to a retirement community in about 5 years and doesn’t want to be overloaded with extra stuff he doesn’t need or won’t be able to fit in his new home. He decided to seize the moment and take advantage of the free time he has now so he won’t have to worry about it when it comes time to move. He knew he could benefit from hiring a professional organizer to help downsize because he found it hard to make decisions on his own about what to let go of.
Challenge: This artist had supplies scattered all around his studio, on his work bench, easel, and shelves. The supplies were not grouped together or organized. Because his work area was so cluttered, he had trouble thinking clearly and staying on task. His easel was so overloaded that he was using a second portable easel in front of his main easel so that he could actually paint. His workbench was completely covered and did not have the recommended 60% of his work surface open. He also had a shelf off to one side that was full of miscellaneous supplies.
Solution: We pulled out all of his art supplies and grouped like items together. We found that he had multiples of things- 10 packs of watercolor paint, extra brushes, palettes, etc. He kept what he wanted and then filled 3 bags of extra supplies that he will donate to his students.
The supplies he decided to keep were containerized and given new homes. He has a great cabinet for art supplies and his easel has shelves and drawers built in that were not being utilized. We organized his paperwork and painting examples for his classes and stored them in one of these drawers so he can easily find what he needs when he is preparing his lessons. The drawers are also used for paints, tools, paintbrushes, and palettes.
While we sorted through his art supplies, we found his wife’s gift wrapping supplies mixed in. She organized her gift supplies and separated them from his art supplies while we worked.
We also separated completed and incomplete artwork and set aside some of the completed work to be displayed in an art show. We are working on setting up a local art show at a bakery, which is something he has always dreamed of.
He is a retired dentist who then became an artist and then an art instructor. One of my specializations is working with artists (and I find many of them used to be dentists, which is interesting!) Artistic, creative, talented people are one of my favorite kinds of clients to work with.
When we were finished, the client said that organizing goes way beyond just the items being organized. It’s more about having open space to feel clear and have room to find inspiration and be more creative. He feels like he is going to be a better instructor, be able to make better paintings, and he will definitely feel more inspired with this newfound space.
Situation: A scientist and entrepreneur has a home-based business and multiple investments. She and her husband have too much paperwork and need a system for paper flow and organization.
Challenge: The client has kept pay stubs and other paperwork for the last twelve years saved by her husband who is reluctant to get rid of it. They are also not sure what paperwork they need to keep for their investments.
Solution: We separated and organized all of their paperwork and filed it using the the Freedom Filer file system. We taught the client’s wife how to use the system so she can keep their paperwork in control. If the client decides to keep the old pay stubs and paperwork, they will be stored in separate boxes and not incorporated into the Freedom Filer system.
This room needed to function as a laundry room, crafts and storage area as well as the production area for a home-based business. Although the home is beautiful, it is small craftsman built back when closets and all rooms were very small.
My client has a popular line of gorgeous baby accessories including burp towels and bibs but does not have a lot of room to create and sew as the orders come in.
We divided and conquered this room by first determining which activities were most important within this space. After deciding that the home-based business needed as much space as possible, we re-contained and moved every unrelated item up and off the counter and into the side cabinets. We decided which shelves should hold which craft based on the frequency they were needed. The more frequent gift wrapping and card-making supplies were stored in the shelves at eye level.
Once the counter was clear, we were able to sort and organize all fabrics and place them within the sewing zone to the right and under the counter.
As you can see in the photo below, we still have an area for miscellaneous projects and tools in the side cabinet.
The one thing I love about craftsman cottages is that once you can organize and look beyond their small size, they often have exceptional built-in storage areas!