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Organize Your Office Supply Cabinet
By Maria Gracia
Are you tired of that overflowing, overstuffed Office Supply Cabinet?
You know, the tall, 3-shelf one that you're literally scared to open. It's bulging with pens, labels, disks, binders, post-it notes, paper pads, paper clips and more. It's so full that you don't even know what's in there. You can't find what you need when you need it, which causes your blood to boil in frustration. Plus, you're constantly running out of supplies because there's no system to let you know when you're running low.
Get it organized and eliminate the stress. Here's a simple, 7 step system
- TOO MANY COOKS SPOIL THE POT. The first thing I'd suggest is that 1 person be in charge of the supplies, whether taking supplies out, or putting supplies back in. This person is either going to be you, or someone you delegate this responsibility to.
- DIVIDE AND CONQUER. One of the reasons that it's so difficult to find things is because everything is just stacked, one item on top of another and one item in front of another. Try dividing supplies, especially the smaller ones, into labeled organizing containers.
Covered, plastic Rubbermaid containers work well here, especially the ones you could see through. They stack nicely on top of each other, without toppling. Make sure each container is labeled; not on top -- in front so you can immediately identify the contents.
- EMPTY IT OUT. In order to truly organize that cabinet, it's going to have to be emptied out completely.
- PLAN AND DESIGNATE. If you have an even mix of supplies, you might consider designating each shelf a different category:
- Shelf A: Computer Supplies (disks, disk holders)
- Shelf B: Desk Supplies (paper clips, pens, labels)
- Shelf C: Large Pads of Paper, 3 Ring Binders and Larger Items
- TAKE AN INVENTORY. As you're putting the supplies back into the cabinet, make a running list of everything inside (do this on your computer, alphabetically within each section A, B, and C.) Also list how many of each item you currently have while you're at it. For instance:
When you're done making your list, you should have a pretty good idea of what's inside and where.
- Shelf A
Disks (3.5 HD) - 10
Disk Mailers - 50
Toner Cartridges - 4
- Shelf B
Pens - 20 boxes
Pencils - 25 boxes
Paper Clips - 15 boxes
Scotch Tape - 18 rolls
- Shelf C
Binders (1 inch) - 12
Binders (1 1/2 inch) -14
Binders (2 inch) - 9
- GIVING OUT SUPPLIES. When somebody needs supplies, they should ask you for them. You can give them what they need, while adjusting how many are now left on the list. (Example: If there were 12 - 1 inch binders and someone just took 5, then there are 7 left.) Indicate this on your list. (By the way, if you're using the computer for this list, it will be easier to update.)
- KEEPING TRACK. Once you notice that a particular office supply is running low, you can simply re-order, without having to take a physical inventory of the cabinet.
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