The work life balance never gets any easier, and as houses get smaller the need for effective storage grows. Living in perpetual clutter is miserable, but with a little savvy organisation both work and home productivity can be transformed.
1. Less is More
Effective storage gives you mental space as well as physical space: Prime objectives include:
- Streamlined living areas – hide away all the clutter but keep it handy.
- Zoning to split room functions – this helps with organisation by creating psychological barriers and can be really simple. For instance, if you have hardwood floors, putting a large rug under a dining table instantly transforms that area into dining room, even though no walls exist.
- Only keep at home what you use – put little used but needed items into self-storage. For instance, heirloom furniture that’s too big but you love it, spare beds that are only used twice a year, winter sports equipment that lies dormant for months at a time.
2. Combine Working and Living Areas
Homes work hard these days, with most rooms having more than one purpose.
The living room might also be the dining room; the spare room doubles as an office and the kitchen is catch–all for entertaining and supervising homework as well as cooking.
Room dividers are a handy way of hiding those “alternative” room functions. Nothing fancy is needed; turn a bookcase perpendicular to the wall to create a visual barrier between leisure and working areas in the living room, for instance.
Constantly hunting down TV remotes, game consoles and phone chargers is frustrating, so tuck them away in storage furniture such as lift top coffee tables or end tables with drawers.
A small footprint workstation for the computer is more practical than a full desk. It also provides a dedicated work area where pens, paper and associated bits and bobs are kept together and to hand. No more clearing space or tracking down a yellow highlighter when it’s needed.
3. Technology Tricks
Get rid of endless box files (and the need to store them) by making the most of cloud storage. Readily available either free (look at Google Drive or Dropbox to get started), or on a paid subscription for more space, you can safely back up all kinds of documents in the cloud. From Insurance certificates and bank statements to business accounts or tax records, they can be printed on demand when needed.
For those paper documents we do need to keep but don’t need constant access to, such as tax records going back five years if you’re self employed or run a company, self storage is a handy, secure, alternative to home storage.
4. Stock Storage for Home Based Retail Operations
Many a home based business revolves around physical sales, with somewhere to keep stock being the main storage issue.
You can get on a more professionally organised footing by moving business storage out of the home. Self storage is a viable option here too. Many business owners rely on the versatility and easy access provided by such facilities. In fact, it’s now such a popular option that some self storage companies won’t raise an eyebrow if you want a room for business storage purposes. You’ll get easier access for deliveries, and some companies will also accept deliveries on your behalf if you can’t be there.
5. Common mistakes to avoid
When you’re figuring out improved storage, consider these potential problems and their solutions:
- Reliance on technology – as mentioned, cloud storage is great, but what happens if the cloud provider goes out of business? Keep your own backups of important documents on external hard drives.
- Business records on site – Fires and floods can wipe out carefully organised and stored paper documents. Store these away from home in a secure location.
- Mixing home and business storage – Keep personal documents separate from business documents, and if you do need to mix the two in a storage area, label everything clearly and logically.
6. Little Things With Big Impact
Don’t overlook the small storage helpers that are readily available everywhere:
Desk caddies – purpose made or home made from jars or tins, they help keep a clear surface so you can get on with important stuff straight away. You wouldn’t leave kitchen utensils all over the kitchen worktop, so why do it with work utensils on the desk?
Storage boxes – choose transparent ones that let you see what’s inside. Handy if you’re no good with labels, or if you put them on then ignore them.
Kids rooms – try to separate play and sleep. Captain or cabin beds are great for this because if you have game consoles etc. in the area under the mattress, they’re out of sight (and temptation) when kids are supposed to be sleeping.
Devising a storage system is a personal matter – what works for one won’t work for another. Hopefully these ideas will give you a starting place so you can figure out your personal needs to make your storage systems work.
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