5 space-saving tips for a home business

Running a home small business can be a tight squeeze. Regardless of what systems (if any) you have in place to keep your space as organised as possible, a home office can often evolve into a chaotic, clustered mess where everything takes twice as long.

With advances in technology and furniture, there are a number of quick fixes you may be able to implement to maximise your home office space, especially if it doubles as a guest or play room.

Here are five ways you can utilise your space when running a business from home:

1. Go paperless

A paperless office can make a world of difference when you’re stuck for space, and there’s a number of platforms and applications that can help your paperless transition. Google Drive and Google Calendar are good places to start. Both platforms make it easy for you and your team to create, store and access documents on the fly. They also give great visibility to other team members, assisting with planning in advance. If you traditionally deal with large amounts of paperwork, Scan&Store provides another solution for converting physical documents into searchable electronic files. Be sure you don’t just start scanning without a planned filing system in mind, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Going paperless might be a big task, so be sure you have a plan of attack on how to organise everything systematically online. Other electronic storage systems such as Dropbox, Hightail, Evernote and Box offer file syncing, storage and sharing capabilities that can also help with a paperless transition. It also doesn’t hurt to invest in a hard drive or USB solely dedicated to saving routine backups of everything.

2. Allocate inventory to a separate space

Not all home small businesses immediately realise the spaces they can occupy to separate office space from store inventory space. Separating the two spaces into designated areas can help declutter a home office dramatically. As a starter, identify if your office or inventory space requires more room. Can you condense your office space to make more room for storing your stock, or vice versa? Think about finding a space outside of your office area to use as storage for your inventory – the back wall of your garage, a shed, attic, or a cleaned out cabinet in the hallway, or reorganised space in a wardrobe. Can your office fit into a cupboard, or in a space under a staircase? If you’re lacking inspiration, check out the Houzz gallery of home office spaces. When you do identify a space for your inventory, measure it up and devise a layout plan that compliments the measurements of your stock. This includes shelves that are the right height and boxes and that fit into those shelves. Where possible, use flat packaging or look into whether you can be using parcel bags as an alternative to bulkier boxes. Make sure your store inventory is organised electronically as a Google Spreadsheet or Excel document to make it easy to quickly find, send, or even answer customer questions in real-time.

3. Invest in multipurpose furniture

Don’t be afraid to spend a little more for furniture that can serve two or three different purposes in your home office. A fold-out wall bed can double as a desk with shelf space, a chalk board cabinet can double as a to-do list or inspiration board, or an open book library chair can be used to store catalogues or books. If you can’t quite find the multipurpose piece of furniture you’re looking for, why not make it yourself? Try this DIY Ikea command centre, flick through these 21 ingenious ways to hide mess, or organise your office space. The best ways to utilise space in your home office can often come down to some nifty DIY hacks.

4. Spend more time on social media

No, we don’t mean posting more selfies or Snapchats, we mean utilising social media as a way to better organise your space. Social media is more than just a marketing tool for your business. It can also be used internally to house your inspiration, ideas, and follow relevant industry trends. For example, Pinterest boards can be used as a place to store inspiration or useful links. They can have multiple admins so team members can also add in their inspiration and can be created in secret if you don’t want to give intel away. Twitter lists can also be a great way to follow a group of inspiring thought leaders or influencers relevant to your business to keep updated on their activity. Platforms such as Pocket, Flipboard or List.ly are great tools for bookmarking an interesting piece of content you spot on the go to read later or share. These are a great way to stay on top of industry trends. To keep your business social media channels secure, check out Passpack – a password management system where you can store all important links and passwords to easily share with whoever needs access.

5. Have declutter check-ups

This one might sound obvious, but we bet many home based small businesses don’t hold regular tidy-ups. Make a point to check your workspace fortnightly as routine checks to declutter your space. Make them consistent and follow a checklist to help you reorganise and keep everything in line. The more frequently you have these checks, the less you will have to declutter.

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