My husband likes to joke that I moved my business into a storefront because he wanted his laundry room back…and his dining room back…and all the kitchen cupboards plus the fridge back too. When I worked from home, keeping everything under control was a constant battle. I often felt like I spent more time LOOKING for stuff than actually using it! Then there were the issues of forgetting what I even owned (because it was buried in/around/under other stuff) and the pain of having to drag everything out every time I wanted to use it. Some people based at home are fortunate enough to have dedicated work spaces while others are making it work around all their normal household goods.
Either way you do it, here are some top tips to get your home based business stuff more under control:
- Invest in dedicated storage that can move with you no matter where you’re working. Drawer sets on wheels (similar to the ones hairdressers use), speed racks, tool chest with drawers (the kind used in the building industry). By having all the small stuff in one movable space it means you’re not having to drag it all out then put it all back, it’s right there with you.
- Here’s an example from Amazon:
- Don’t get pedantic about it! You should have everything in it’s dedicated space, but once you start alphabetizing cookie cutters or storing petal dusts in rainbow order, you’ve just created more work for yourself. We want things organised to make us more efficient, not less.
- Label, label, label. It’s no good to have a bunch of drawers you need to open and shut loads of times to remember what’s in there. Here’s some cool labels I like.
- Store things you use often at eye height or slightly below. Anything above your head or below your waist are where you store things which don’t get used often. We want to save your back here!
- It does not all have to be in a drawer or on a shelf – there are creative ways to use wall or door space too. For example, a clear over the door shoe organiser makes a GREAT place to store cookie cutters.
- Here’s one I like as it looks very durable:
- If you’ve got the space and funds for it, a Workbox seems very, very cool – but note, it has ten jillion drawers so you still need to label and not get pedantic – don’t get stuck in the rainbow vortex. Also, they’ve got LOADS of smaller versions, so even if you can’t fit the big one in, a smaller one might suit you. (FYI, You can get Workbox in Australia as well as other countries.)
- If you’re on a budget and low on space, you don’t need super fancy things – dollar store or IKEA plastic tubs, large Ziploc bags, second-hand locker units, Tupperware containers…there are plenty of ways to create and use storage without having to run out and spend loads. Plate storage racks, folder dividers and the like are great for storing cake pans upright too. Keep an eye out at local dollar stores, school supply stores and homewares stores for NON-cake storage things which you can re-purpose to store your decorating toys.
- The hardest thing for me was storing bigger things like unfolded cake boxes and styrofoam dummies. For these things, look for underutilized or odd spaces in your home – under the bed is a good place for flat things like the boxes, the rarely used guest shower makes a good space for styros (although be sure it’s dry first!), the very top shelf of your kitchen (where crappy wedding gifts go to die) is also a good place for things you don’t use often.
Here is a GREAT example of well organised home based business: Behind the scenes at The Bekery. Notice she’s got nearly all the things I mentioned above, and added in some personal touches and things like peg boards to maximise space.
The key here is to make working from home a pleasure, not a pain. A bit of organisation goes a LONG way to improving your efficiency, your patience, and feeling like your home is a home and not a place a cake show exploded. Got any other clever ideas? Share them in the comments so we can all benefit (and, we’ll think you’re awesome.)