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Proper storage consists of more than simply paper into a box. For tax purposes and possibly even law (depending upon your business), you need to be able to find your documents when they are needed.
If you have a lot of different types of paper to store and it's not as simple as a date or numerical system, you may want to create a database or simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of your files. Effective use of office storage boxes can make finding and organizing office supplies a very efficient tool. Here are some ideas to help you stay organized:
Storage cabinets are used for storing office supplies, files, and media. They are typically made of either metal or wood, the latter being the more expensive choice.
Metal storage cabinets are more affordable than wood-based cabinets, but can be noisy to open and often don't blend in well with office furniture. They are often lighter than wood and therefore more portable as well.
Storage cabinets made of wood can blend in very well with office furniture and can be custom designed. Most wood cabinets do not make a lot of noise when opening or closing. The disadvantage of wood-based cabinets is that they can cost significantly more than cabinets made of metal.
Whatever you choose for storage or filing, have the ability to lock the cabinets and ensure that they have safety features such as only opening on top if the bottom is already open to prevent toppling. Most cabinets allow you to store hanging folders as well as insert stackable items.
Packing tape should never be confused with shipping, masking or duct tape. When sealing items like office supplies during a relocation, the last thing you want to worry about is the bottom falling out on storage boxes.
Here are some tips:
Most companies are required by law keep documents on file for a certain amount of time. As a result, some companies find themselves overrun with paper. A good alternative for many organizations is electronic storage. Depending upon the type of business you are in, you may be able to scan and save your documents in electronic copy instead of holding onto the paper document. In fact, you may be able to eliminate the need for paper in most cases if you are doing business online or electronically with your customers. Having a backed up copy of electronic documents saves paper and can make your storage very accessible saving information on CD, DVD or tape cartridge instead of paper files.
The electronic devices available today save offices paper and clutter. With electronic fax delivery, online pricebooks and the ability to store documents on disk, we are on our way toward the paperless office.
Outside of being a secure way to store supplies and keep dust out, storage cabinets reflect simplicity, professionalism and order in any environment.
Set a policy for filing in a centralized area if possible so that files are always found easily. If you leave individual filing to your employees, items likely won't be kept in a central location, different employees may choose different filing systems (alphabetical, date or numerical) and you run the risk of filing being procrastinated and not kept up.
If you buy all your goods online, take into account that you will likely need to pay shipping or freight fees. You should also be aware of what your supplier's return policy is. It can be difficult to ascertain if something has all your prerequisites (such as a storage cabinet) by looking at it. Seeing the item in person may be the best way to shop for some of your items.
Shipping costs are calculated by both weight and package size, so ordering a stack of storage boxes online may not be as cost-effective as simply driving down to the retail store.
The Internet is a great tool for ordering all types of office supplies, but if you plan to purchase large or bulky products, you may be able to save money by avoiding adding boxes or packing peanuts to your order.
Familiarize yourself with the policies of your online supplier so that there are no surprises with shipping fees or nonreturnable goods and restocking fees.
One storage box at a retail store could cost up to $5, depending on size and durability factors. By purchasing storage containers through a wholesale office supply store, consumers can buy a volume of boxes at half the cost of purchasing by unit.
Buying in bulk can save you considerably. If buying in bulk, be aware of the stock return policy of your wholesaler. Many companies will offer an upfront discount based on an planned purchase.
Depending on your budget, there are a variety of office storage solutions available to help organize any room. Installed wall cabinets with wood or glass doors may be the most effective solution, since they can span from floor to ceiling. However, this solution can be very expensive and climbing a ladder to get top shelf supplies may become a hassle and safety concern.
Standard office cabinets are another solution and much more affordable then custom installations. Delivery and assembly are the only real drawbacks. These cabinets typically come in metal, wood, or particleboard and can be found in office supply stores and online. Companies can offer storage at each employees workstation or a common central filing room to reduce clutter and ensure all documents are stored in one place.
Boxes and containers are another solution for short-term storage needs. However, visitors and customers may find them to appear less professional and a could make a poor first impression if seen by an important client.
Whatever your choice is, aim for a clutter free and organized office for ease of doing business and a professional image.
If you have a lockable storage cabinet, this is likely the best way to store your office supplies. Organize office supplies by supply type on the shelves and provide a "take out" list so that individuals can list what supplies they've removed from the cabinet. This will give the person responsible for keeping the supplies stocked a quick idea of what needs to be ordered.
If you do not have a cabinet to house your supplies, storage containers are a popular alternative, making the supply convenient and portable. There are many choices for supply containers ranging from cardboard boxes to large plastic containers.
The advantage of using paper boxes is that they are inexpensive, easy to write on and can be stacked to the ceiling. However, they can be flimsy and aren't suggested for holding heavy media such as books or computers and are not waterproof. Plastic containers typically cost more than paper boxes, but can handle more weight. Many plastic office containers come with handles for better portability.
A lockable cabinet or a place to lock up your storage boxes is preferred in order to ensure you're not supplying employees with free supplies for their home office or for the fact of ease of management of the supplies.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|