Occasionally, I get questions about home organization and storage. I’m going to start answering some of my favorites here in the Get Stor-ganized blog.
Here we go…
Hey Jenny – I am interested in starting a small t-shirt business, but I am short on space…I live in a one-bedroom apartment and don’t have much extra room. Any ideas? Can I operate out of a self storage unit?
— The Future T-Shirt King of Buffalo
Congratulations on your ambition! I always thought a small-scale t-shirt business would be a lot of fun.
Anyhow — launching a new business can simultaneously be an exciting and terrifying time. Like many entrepreneurs who operate home businesses, you’ll find out quickly that there will soon be more “stuff” that you anticipated. Keeping yourself organized, including proper storage space, will help you make your business more efficient.
And when you’re in business on your own, efficiency can be the difference between making some money and blowing your momentum.
So what can you do to stay organized while keeping track of orders, invoices, client meetings, all while making crucial business decisions — oh, and designing and printing t-shirts?
“The key to staying organized is maximizing the space you have. We don’t have a lot of floor space in our warehouse, so we have begun storing things vertically, utilizing tall shelving units and stepladders,” says Joe Peluso, operations and communications manager of You & Who, a t-shirt company that supports charitable causes in cities throught the United States. “Whenever possible, we try to use folding tables and other collapsable items that can break down and be stored when not in use.”
Basic Business Storage Tips:
- Storing supplies such as t-shirts, ink, office supplies, and paperwork (older invoices, tax documents, etc.) in a self storage can keep your workspace free of clutter.
- Keep a running inventory list on Google Drive, Evernote, or the organizational software of your choice of everything in your storage rental. This will help prevent duplicate orders of t-shirts or office supplies.I’d recommend keeping the list handy on your smartphone or tablet, and updating it while you’re visiting your self storage center.
After investing money in your new business venture, you’re probably afraid to throw anything away in case you might need to use it again. Fair enough — every cent you spend needs to be in the service of your ultimate bottom line. Right?
Maybe not.”We’ve been trying to get better at simply getting rid of things we don’t need or use anymore,” Peluso said. “It can’t get messy if it’s not there, right?”
Follow these simple rules:
Ditch anything you haven’t used in six months. Your storage facility isn’t a museum to the early days of your business…or at least it shouldn’t be.
Follow a strict one in-one out rule. New product doesn’t come in until the old product goes out. You will find self storage stays a lot more organized — and cost-effective — when you’re not overloading yourself.
Can I operate my business out of my self storage facility?
No. While operating a business out of a cheap self storage unit may seem like a brilliant cost-saving measure, there are several liability issues that prevent you from doing so.
Plus, don’t you think you’d miss fresh air? It’s worth mentioning that Uncle Bob’s Self Storage actually rents office and warehouse space, if you’re interested, but that is up to you.
Good luck in the t-shirt business — and in case you feel generous, I wear a size small!
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