Making the most of existing storage space, keeping things tidy, and using other storage options effectively is becoming an increasing priority as more people work in smaller workspaces – whether a small office, business unit or from home.
The march of digital technology means more people work at least some of the time from home and it also means more micro businesses are being set up. The cost of commercial property causes some businesses to try and avoid moving to larger premises by making the most of existing space.
Fortunately, this need is being matched by some innovative storage methods and external services; here are some useful ways to achieve effective small workspace storage.
Declutter and stay decluttered
Starting from a tidy workspace is key in order to create more space and establish where or if you may need to find more storage room.
If you’re ruthless and can throw away old paperwork and maybe equipment that is no longer needed, you may find the space you’ve liberated is enough to avoid having to consider moving premises.
Once you’ve undertaken the decluttering process, then resolve to keep on top of it with a monthly or even weekly reminder to dispose of, or at least properly file, any new paperwork that’s arrived.
Wall surfaces are an ideal way to get items off your desk and away from low level surfaces such as the tops of filing cabinets or tables.
Shelves can solve many storage issues, and there are various options including the handy adjustable type that can adapt to changing storage requirements.
There are various types of shelf or cubby hole style shelving units available to suit various requirements and spaces. For example, if your home office is in a loft conversion with one wall following the pitched roof angle, a storage unit that neatly fits is likely available.
Different designs are possible so your space can provide effective storage and be stylish at the same time. This can be especially desirable in work locations that double up for other purposes. For example, some home offices situated in a shared or recreational space such as a sitting room or den can be hidden from view during non-working hours.
External storage solutions
Perhaps you have to keep some items for a while that you don’t need to access regularly such as past paperwork for tax purposes. Or you’re preparing for an office move and wish to ‘get a start’ by storing bulky, lesser used items pending the switch of premises.
Maybe you need to store stock for a short while?
If so, specialist external storage companies can be a great help in offering as much or as little storage as is required for varying amounts of time whether short or longer term.
How external storage can help:
Receiving and dispatching
Waiting for deliveries to arrive can be inconvenient if you’re in and out of the office or simply wish to work without distraction, so some external storage specialists can receive deliveries and store them for you.
If you require the items at your base as opposed to leaving them in external storage, the company can store the delivery until you are able to collect. Alternatively, you can organise a courier to fetch it.
Shorter term security
If you’re concerned about valuable items and equipment being safe while you’re away, then secure external storage can help. This can be particularly helpful if you run a business involving the storage of valuable tools and equipment in company vehicles.
If a vehicle is going to be parked up while you’re on holiday, then it’s better to ensure the valuables within are stored elsewhere.
This is an ideal way to store more stock for a growing business without having to rent more space. It’s especially helpful if stock levels fluctuate through the year such as with seasonal trades; you can have storage on an ‘as needed’ basis rather than committing to renting a permanent location.
Some external storage companies can help if your storage involves warehousing, including full racking and shelving; again saving considerably on renting or purchasing permanent space.
While the paperless office is perhaps not entirely achievable yet, less paper could be generated thanks to easy copying and cheaper digital storage such as cloud-based services like Google Drive and Dropbox.
Rather than routinely printing off emails, can some be filed and kept in digital form only?
Can paperwork that is received be scanned (easier now with scanning apps on smartphones) and filed digitally?
Having the printer permanently on standby and positioned at or near your work area makes it too easy to hit ‘print’ for all documents. Switching it on only when required and positioning it away from your immediate space can give you pause to ask yourself “does this document really need to be printed?” before doing so.
Digital storage and archiving
Instead of paperwork taking up space, can documents be digitised and stored? Considerable physical space can be saved, and it also makes specific documents easier to access. Costs are also low or maybe even free, depending on whether you consider paid for cloud storage services, or those with a free initial storage allowance such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud.
Small business storage needs being met
It’s definitely worth tackling storage issues, especially if it’s clear you’re short on space or soon will be. As illustrated above, the need for good space utilisation is being met by storage service providers, digital storage tech and versatile physical storage solutions.