Creating a diagram on paper of how and where your items are stored will make them easier to find—and easier to put away.

So, you’ve bought your storage unit, and you’re ready to put everything away, right? Not so fast! Take a moment for one more step that can help keep things organized: create a storage map.

A storage map is a diagram of the shelves, drawers, and other spaces in your office, along with what is stored in each space. Creating this storage map before you put everything away can help prevent what I call the “stuff shuffle”—where you put things on one shelf, and they don’t quite fit, so you put them on another shelf, shift them around again, and before you know it, everything is disorganized again. With a storage map, you’ll know exactly where everything should go, before you actually put things away.

On a piece of paper, make a drawing of your storage units, where one inch on the paper equals one foot of your storage unit. Since you’ve previously measured the things you need to store, you know just how much space they’ll take up. Assign each of the items to a space on your drawing.

When you’re deciding where to store things, arrange them in a way that makes sense for how you’ll be using them. Keep frequently used items at eye level, while infrequently used items can move to lower and upper shelves.

Some items may be small, awkward, or may just not make sense to be stored with other items. For these things, it’s best to put them in a container or series of clearly labeled containers. You’ll still have your items handy, but you won’t necessarily need to “see” them. Note any containers, and their contents, on your storage map.

Once you’ve created your storage map, don’t toss it out after you’ve put your stuff away; keep it handy as a reference. You’ll be able to use it as a guide while you’re learning your new storage system. As other people come into your business, they can use it to help them find the supplies that they need.

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Author's Bio: 

Joshua Zerkel, CPO® is the founder of Custom Living Solutions, a San Francisco-based productivity and organizing consulting firm. Joshua specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs save time, be more productive and make more money by getting organized at home and at work. for your FREE copy of “The Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid when Getting Organized”.