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Organizing Your Workplace: Supply Closets

In busy workplaces, people are often in a hurry when they need supplies.  Make things easy to find (and to put back) in order to stay organized, safe, and efficient.  

Labels.  Shelves, cabinets, drawers and bins should have clear labels, whether your company is 2 or 2000 people. 

Upkeep.  Designate one person to be in charge of making sure your supply closet stays well-organized. That person should have a regular schedule for reviewing contents, correcting organizational and safety issues, and reordering supplies as needed.

System.  Put a process in place for people to use to communicate that something is low and should be reordered before the next review period. This could be a checklist, or a sticky note on a reorder page, or something else — as long as it’s simple and quick to do and expectations are clear.

Lighting.  If necessary, hire an electrician to ensure decent light. This will save on inventory costs since people will be able to find what’s there rather than unnecessarily ordering more.

Control. If items are being used too fast, invest in locks for particular drawers or doors.

Safety

  • In general, it’s best to put heavy items near the floor. 
  • If your shelving is free-standing, make sure it’s properly secured so that it’s not a tipping hazzard. 
  • If cleaning supplies are stored in your closet, be sure that you are complying with OSHA guidelines.  
  • Ordering supplies in bulk and transferring them to smaller containers? Pay special attention to labeling requirements.

Review. Conduct an annual review of supplies. Are there items that are never used anymore? Do reorder quantities need to be adjusted? Are tweaks (or overhauls) needed for your organizational system?

If you’re a tech start-up in the bay area reading this and you’re noticing hoodies and t-shirt’s from prior events are piling up. You can donate them to Zuckerberg General Hospital’s Clothing program for patients that need basic warm clothes in order to leave the hospital.  

Whether or not your company needs help from a professional organizer to get an efficient, manageable system in place, feel free to reach out for suggestions on where to donate excess items that your business no longer needs.   

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