Office Storage Tips

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How can I get the best use out of office storage boxes?

Managing Excessive Paper in Office Storage and Archiving

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:

  1. Load Label Names: Enter or import the names to be used to help identify file folders. You can make the names basic or advanced depending on your business needs.
  2. Setup Your Document Types: Enter the types of documents to be stored in file folders, along with how long they must be stored.
  3. Create File Folders: Combine label names and document types to create file folders. Print labels to put on you file folders in a wide variety of Avery style formats automatically as you create the file folders
  4. Make Storage Boxes: Now you are ready to assign folders to storage boxes. Select the folders that got placed in the same box. The Store Until date can be automatically calculated based on the type of documents you place in the box based upon a formula that you write into the spreadsheet. Assign a location to each storage box to help find the box when you need a folder in it.
  5. Search for File Folders: Now that you have assigned folders to storage boxes you can use the search option to locate those folders again. The search results will include the folder name, the storage box, and the location of the storage box. Tracking paper files has never been easier!
  6. Reporting: Search for reports to help you manage your hard copy document storage, such as...
  • a Box Contents Report which prints all of the file folders stored in the selected storage boxes.
  • a Box Destruction Report which prints all of the storage boxes whose Store Until date falls in the selected date range. You can also include the contents of each box in the report.
  • a Box Location Report which prints all of the storage boxes assigned to the selected locations
This may sound like a cumbersome process but if you file a lot of different types of records, the initial time it takes to set up your database and organize your files will pay off in the near future. It will improve the automation of archiving and destroying information as well as the ease with which you can locate a file.

Should one choose metal or wood storage cabinets?

Choosing Storage Cabinets

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.

What type of packing tape should I use for sealing heavy boxes?

How to Choose the Right Packing Tape

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:

  • Masking tape is used for general purposes such as painting and light packaging box tape. Use a heavier tape like duct tape for securing heavy boxes.
  • Duct tape is a strong, fabric-based, multipurpose adhesive tape, usually silver or black in color. Duct tape uses a rubber-based adhesive to help the tape resist water and a fabric backing to facilitate ripping.
  • Packaging tape should be labeled as such and be extremely strong and adhesive.
Your office supply dealer can help you determine which shipping supplies like tape and boxes are most suited to your specific shipping needs.

Can I store my documents on disk instead of in a cabinet?

Electronic Storage

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.

Can office storage add more simplicity to the work environment?

Lack of Clutter and Professionalism

Outside of being a secure way to store supplies and keep dust out, storage cabinets reflect simplicity, professionalism and order in any environment.

Imagine wrapped Holiday gifts under a tree. Then image those same gifts unwrapped and scattered all over the floor. Having office storage closed can make a substantial difference in the work environment. To maximize on simplicity, organization, and cleanliness, keep office storage cabinets and boxes closed.

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.

What should I be aware of before buying office supplies online

Can All My Supplies Be Bought Online?

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.

What is the advantage of using a wholesale office supply company?

The Advantage of Wholesale Office Supply

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.

What types of office storage solutions are available?

Office Storage Solutions for All Budgets

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.

Choosing Storage Office Supply Products

Storing Office Supply Items

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.

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer