As a professional organiser, helping individuals get organised in their homes and teaching them how to declutter is definitely the part of my job that I love the most. When a client recently contacted me for help organising their entire work-space, I was super excited to be able to help a group of people with these things. Working in a messy, disorganised environment has proven negative effects on work productivity. Having a clean and clutter-free work space is just as important as having an organised home, in order to keep you focused and using your time more effectively.
My client had recently moved his company into a fantastic new office space, which was shared with another business. For this job, we were just focusing on decluttering and organising this business' storage systems (which was hard for me because I wanted the whole space organised!). Recent changes to my client's business meant there was a massive amount of 'stuff' that they no longer needed, so a huge clear-out was in order.
The office was a very large space, and already filled with some great storage pieces, which needed to be set up in a way that was more conducive to work productivity. There were several Ikea Kallax units (you know I love these!) - one that was used by both companies but divided their work spaces; a smaller one in the kitchen area; and one in the middle of the office to divide the lounge area from the work area.
The shared unit next to the communal work desk was the biggest problem area. Visually, the space looked cluttered, and the decorative pieces displayed on the top shelf were lost amongst the office clutter. The two black filing cabinets on either side of the unit were taking up valuable space, and were also not being utilised effectively.
The paperwork kept in the storage unit itself was causing problems because there were no systems set up for dealing with incoming and outgoing. Most of it actually didn't need to be kept right near the work space, and could be stored away in the filing cabinets.
The office supplies were not easily accessible- some was stored in desktop storage containers (like the one pictured above), a lot was kept in large storage cupboards, and some was in the cupboards and drawers. This meant the employees had to go searching through each compartment/cupboard to find what they needed.
This was the view from the other side of the office where the other company worked.
Two great big storage cupboards at one end of the office were holding lots of supplies that were used in the company's previous business but were no longer needed. Everything in here needed to be sorted, decluttered and labelled!
The empty storage unit pictured below was used in the previous business, and was now sitting in the middle of the office. It needed to be moved into the storage room in order to store items that didn't need to be accessed regularly.
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After my initial tour of the space, I created an organisational plan with product recommendations. My main suggestions were as follows:
- Attach doors and drawers on all the compartments of the main Kallax unit, except the top and bottom row.
- Use the top of the unit for displaying decorative items
- Use the bottom of the unit for individual 'cubbies' for each employee to keep current paperwork and personal items. This would mean the less visually appealing items could be hidden away.
- Create drawers in the whole second row to hold stationery and bits and pieces.
- Label everything so everyone is on the same page as to what is kept where.
- Sort the paperwork and file in the filing cabinets
- Move filing cabinets into the storage room.
We decided to tackle the entire organising process in 2 stages, as it was such a big project! The first stage involved:
- clearing out the storage room
- clearing out the storage cupboards
- sorting through the paperwork
- sorting through the stationery
The second [more fun!] stage involved:
- attaching the cupboard doors to the storage unit
- categorising the stationery and filling the drawers
- final paperwork organisation
A few helping hands during the first stage helped with the massive job of going through every tub, every cupboard and every piece of paper to see what needed to be kept and what could be thrown out. It was an enormous decluttering process, so I'm definitely glad we split this session into 2 stages. Time for taking photos during this process was limited, so I'm excited to just show off the final result!
The end storage cupboards were completely decluttered and the items remaining were categorised, put in storage tubs that were already on hand, or in easy-to-access systems, and labelled.
The other storage cupboard was basically left empty after the big clear-out and was just holding a vacuum cleaner and some cleaning supplies. Great to have extra storage space if/when necessary down the track.
The Kallax unit had all new doors attached, and everything was sorted into categories. The cubbies on the bottom were for each employee to label and fill as they wished.
The top row was cleared to show off the display pieces, and create a more clean and bright feel to the space.
I was initially going to label each compartment with clear label tape, but was unsure how the tape would hold up during the warmer weather, as they can sometimes peel. I decided to layer them onto a piece of washi tape to increase their durability, and the colour of the tape blended nicely with the colour scheme of the office.
I love that everything now had a home - the different stationary categories ended up filing all 10 drawers!
Such a great, clean and clutter-free feel for this work space now.
Another great before and after shot to remind us what we started with... If only we could've organised the other company's side as well! My client was extremely happy with the end result and the organised systems that his employees can now easily follow and maintain.