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Today, we’re going to look at the best way to organize office supply closet.
Working from home comes with lots of perks, including more flexibility and staying in your PJs (if you’re so inclined). But, if you don’t have a dedicated workspace and a way to keep your office essentials organized, it can be a disaster.
Setting up your home office properly can make you more productive and save you time and money.
When you work in an office, a replacement is likely a quick stroll away to the supply closet when you run out of supplies. But what happens when you run out of sticky notes at home? Do you have a backup? If you do, can you get your hands on them quickly, or does it take you an hour to find them?
Organizing an office supply closet is a great way to ensure you always have what you need within arm’s reach. You won’t need to put the brakes on mid-project because you ran out of rubber bands or paper clips.
Common Office Supplies
First, use this printable checklist to gather the office essentials so you can always maintain an even mix of supplies. It’s also helpful to keep a list of what you have to track inventory.
So when certain items run low, you can restock before you run out last minute.
- Printer Paper
- Printer Ink (or use a refill service like HP Instant Ink)
- Paper Clips (never underestimate the importance of paper clips)
- Binder Clips
- Tape and Tape Dispenser
- Extra File Folders
- Rubber Bands
- Sticky Notes
- Pens and Pencils
- Pencil Sharpener
- Push Pins or Magnets
- A Cork Board or Magnetic Board
- Hole Puncher
- Paper Cutter
- 3 Ring Binders
- Dry erase markers
- Dry erase work board
In addition to these basic supplies, it helps to have things like labels or a label maker and a proper filing system. Your file system should make sense to you and make things easy to locate.
Everyone thinks differently, so don’t force yourself to follow someone else’s filing methods.
It’s a good idea to find what works for you — that’s the system you’re more likely to maintain and keep using effectively.
Ways for Organizing Home Office Supply Closet
The first step to a good office supply closet is to do an inventory check.
Knowing the type of supply you already have, and the right supplies to keep is essential to organizing your storage closet.
Here are some easy ways to get started on creating an organized storage space – whether in a corporate office space or home office.
1. Sort Small Items Into Bins
Using small plastic bins to corral smaller items is a great way to organize various office supplies.
Labeling the contents of your storage bins ensures you know exactly what’s inside. Plus, if you opt for clear containers, you can see the contents at a glance.
Small bins are excellent for small items, like paper clips, extra staples, binder clips, pens, and rubber bands. You can also have containers for surplus push pins, erasers, and other small things.
2. Label Shelves
If you have larger items that won’t fit or don’t need containers, place them on a shelf.
Label shelves accordingly so everything has a place. You can use a label maker or purchase adhesive labels and write on them.
This trick comes in extra handy when it’s time to restock. You can see what’s running low or missing with one quick peek into the closet.
3. Use Space Wisely
Even the smallest closet can become the epitome of office organization.
Using stackable bins helps maximize your vertical space.
Hanging hooks on the back or side walls of the closet enables you to hang items like scissors and rulers. You can also mount extra bins and shelves where you have excess negative space.
4. Color-Code Supplies
If you want to get uber-organized, get even more detailed with color-coding.
You can use different colored labels for specific categories of supplies. For example, all blue labels for cleaning items, red for paper supplies, etc.
5. Keep a Running Inventory of Office Supplies
Whether you do it the old-fashioned way on paper or create a fancy spreadsheet, track your supplies. If you color-code your containers, use these same colors in your inventory list.
Your list can tell you what you have, where, and how much you have. Make a habit of routinely checking and updating your inventory; it will help a lot with your restocking process.
Maintaining a system similar to this will save you multiple trips to the office supply store.
6. Stay on the Same Page as Other Office Users
Are you sharing your home office with others? Do you and your spouse both work from home? Do your kids use the home office for their homework? No matter what your situation, if multiple people use the office, then everyone needs to be familiar with the system.
For example, what if you check the inventory and see you have 30 binder clips left. You figure, okay, that’s enough for a couple of weeks. But then your husband comes in and needs 30 binder clips to organize packets for his employees.
He doesn’t have access to the inventory and forgets to tell you. You go in the next day to make bundles for your students, go to get 20 binder clips, and find it empty. Guess who will be the one to make a last-minute frantic run to the office supply store?
In other words, if you and your spouse both use the office, you both need access to the inventory.
Storage Solutions for a Home Office
Of course, even a wonderfully appointed and organized office supply closet doesn’t do you much good if your home office is a wreck.
Do you have a whole room dedicated to your home office, or do you work out of a home office closet or “cloffice?”
Perhaps your home office is tucked away in the corner of a larger shared space, like your dining room or living area. You might find yourself creating a portable home office on the end of your kitchen table. Even a hideaway under the stairs becomes valuable real estate when you need to squeeze in a work zone.
However, proper planning is essential no matter where you locate your home office.
1. Maximize Your Vertical Space
When planning your home office, don’t forget about your vertical space.
Using wall space and tall shelving can help you keep surfaces clutter-free. It’s also one of the best ways to maximize your available storage area.
You can even utilize a wall-mounted desk if you’re really limited on space.
2. Develop a Paper Sorting System
Just as critical as a clear and easy filing system is a way to sort incoming and outcoming paperwork.
If you’d rather not have papers piled high and scattered about, you need a way to contain them. But you also want them easily accessible until you’re ready to file them away.
Magazine holders or paper tray systems work well for this. You can dedicate one for action items — things you need to address ASAP. Another one can be for items you want to read or study. Then, you’ll need one for items that you’re done with but need to file.
3. Have a Dedicated Command Center
Designate one area of your home office as the hub. This area would be the perfect place for your wall calendar, posted to-do list, incoming and outgoing mail, and perhaps your printer.
A simple command center is your go-to area that helps keep you on task and tells you what needs to happen next. Placing some inspiration in this area is also a great idea, like your favorite inspiring quote or a picture of someone you love.
4. Organize What You Can’t See
Don’t just organize the things that are out in the open. If everything is in its place and looks beautiful, what happens when you look inside a cabinet or a drawer?
Do you really want to open the desk drawers only to be greeted with a weird jumbled mess of rubber bands, paper clips, and…is that ticky tacky?? Eww.
Get drawer dividers, shelf dividers, bins, and other containers so you can organize the tucked-away items, too.
When every aspect of your home office is organized, it will boost productivity and reduce your stress.
A Final Look at Organizing an Office Supply Closet
Maintaining an office supply closet is an excellent way to make your home office more productive and less stressful.
It doesn’t need to be massive — you might only have a few shelves in a hall closet to work with. This limited space is even more reason to maximize your storage potential.
Using appropriate-sized bins for what you’re storing is essential, as is labeling bins and shelves. Using a color-coding system and keeping a running inventory can also go a long way in helping you stay organized.
Combining an organized office supply closet with a streamlined home office area will save lots of time and money. You’ll get more work done in less time and with fewer headaches.
So go ahead, you can scratch that surplus of aspirin off your office inventory list.
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