The responsibility of keeping your office neat, organized, and functional can quickly become a stressful burden for just about anyone. After all, the purpose of having an office is to be able to have quick, reliable access to the documents and tools you need to do your job right. If your office lacks storage, and you struggle with organization, then your best answer may be to add office shelving units into your design plan.
There are several ways to begin this process, and we have a few helpful tips below that should help you decide what would be best for you and your office space.
Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
Before you determine the size of the filing system you’ll want to put into place, you’ll need to figure out exactly how much space you need. In some professions you’ll need to keep hundreds―if not thousands―of files, folders, and spec books within an arm’s reach. However, along with the necessary items, you’re also bound to discover out-of-date materials or documents that you don’t really need anymore.
Once you’ve eliminated everything that’s unnecessary, you can begin to plan how many shelving units or storage containers, or filing cabinets you’ll need to effectively organize and store your necessary documents.
Make an assessment of how many files you have and take a best guess as to their average thickness. It’s always good to factor in room for growth, say about 20%. If you have 200 files that are roughly 1/2” thick, you will need 120 linear filing inches to store them. That would equate to four 30” shelves, or about a single shelving unit.
Establish a “Reference Zone”
Although your desk may come with a certain amount of storage, some professions require so much current and archived storage that it simply makes sense to organize it all into its own ‘back room’ storage section. By using tall storage shelving in the room you can effectively separate current, active material in one area and archived material further back in the same room.
Don’t Be Afraid of Organization Accessories
Although some professionals―lawyers, for example―may be afraid to add a little bit of color to their organization system, there are plenty of options when it comes to keeping your office organized. Regardless of if you decide to color-code your filing system and color code your files themselves ―and human science says that it will help your brain to do so a shelf labeler will come in handy when categorizing your materials. If you have multiple rows of filing shelving you can label each end panel with large format aisle labels to quickly see what is being stored where.
Even simply sectioning off different types of documents into different organization accessories―keeping reference materials in binders, while keeping tax information in a folder, for example―can help you intuitively understand where everything should go.
Establish an Area for Things That Can’t Be Filed
Even if everything in your office has a designated space, you’ll occasionally find that some things don’t exactly fit into one of your established categories. For this reason, it’s important to designate space in your shelving or filing system for these items to ensure that they don’t end up staying on your desk for a prolonged period of time. This way the 3-D direct mail piece your boss is considering, or the sales sample you need to eventually return, or the widget you just can’t part with can be put neatly way until there’s no further use for it.
As we said before, keeping your office organized requires a lot of predetermined effort. By investing in filing and shelving units, you can easily solve any special problems you may face when moving in your boxes, books, files, and other necessary reference materials.