As spring rolls on, it may be natural to look around your house and spot areas that could use some attention. One place that can easily be overlooked, however, is a space where you probably already spend quite a few hours: your home-based business.
“Spring-cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions,” said Julie Stobbe, founder of Mind Over Clutter, a professional organizing service in Ontario, Canada. In addition to going through papers that have accumulated, you’ll want to look at your inventory levels, storage areas and tech systems.
Follow these five strategies to get your home business clean, organized, and ready for the coming months.
1. Tackle Paper.
Go through your company’s files, and evaluate the papers and forms in them. As you sort, you may find many documents simply can be thrown out. For instance, you don’t need to hang on to expired insurance forms, said Marcey Rader, a productivity coach and author of “Hack the Mobile Lifestyle: 6 Steps to Work Well and Play More!”
Files that you frequently use, such as those with customer information, should be put in an easy-to-reach place. Documents you want to keep for tax or legal purposes, but don’t use during the workday, can be stored in another room, Stobbe said.
If you’re overwhelmed by spring cleaning, hire help, Marcey Rader says.
2. Take a Hard Look at Inventory.
If your company’s products and supplies are starting to crowd your home, it may be time to move inventory somewhere else, such as a self-storage unit.
That’s the step Tilit Chef Goods, a workwear brand for chefs and home cooks, recently took. The small business had been based in owner Alex McCrery’s loft in New York. As it grew, the work studio started taking over the loft.
The company now keeps supplies such as fabrics for aprons and unused equipment in its storage unit. “The rent is much lower than if we were to take the leap to a commercial office or retail space, keeping our overhead low and allowing us to focus on creating great new products,” McCrery said.
The storage space has given McCrery more room to work at home. When buying materials in bulk, the majority of the goods can be kept in the storage unit. At the loft, McCrery keeps only those items he needs on hand.
3. Replace Clutter With Inspiration.
Look around your office for lingering clutter that should be organized.
“Make art a part of your office,” Vannessa Wade suggests.
In addition to decluttering, look for ways to brighten up your working area. This might include adding a fresh coat of paint, installing new light fixtures or drawing back curtains on windows.
“Make art a part of your office,” Wade said.
Look for framed pieces, vacation pictures that can be hung, motivational quotes, or even a vision board to help you stay focused.
4. Organize Your Storage Areas.
If you have a stash of company goods in a garage or storage unit, now is the time to get them in order. “Generally speaking, you’ll need to re-sort it,” Stobbe said. Group similar items together and check that inventory is up to date.
You may find products that can be sold at a discounted price, as well as items that can be donated to local charities.
During the process, make sure you have a system in place to track products and supplies. “We do inventory once a month,” McCrery said.
5. Update Technology.
On your computer, go through all your applications and get rid of what you don’t need, Rader said. Also, check your email subscriptions. Unsubscribe from email newsletters that were perhaps beneficial at one point but you no longer read.
Take some time to look over your current filing system. Consider whether the setup is working well for your business’ needs or whether it’s time to move some items to digital format. Also, look at your company’s equipment and evaluate what items should be replaced.
If the process of spring-cleaning your technology or any other aspect of your business feels overwhelming, bring in help. “Hire a professional, and then you’ll be able to maintain it yourself,” Rader said.