According to the United States Small Business Administration, there are approximately 28 million small businesses throughout America. For many of these small business owners, finding ways to save money is a top priority. If your business is expanding but cannot justify moving your operation to accommodate all that inventory, you might be looking for a place to store your overflow. Renting a storage unit is a great option, but it's important to get the most out of your space. Here are a few tips to help you organize your inventory in a storage unit:
Learn What You Can and Cannot Store in Your Unit
Depending on the nature of your small business, it is important to understand what you can and cannot keep in a typical storage unit. For example, clothing, toys, furniture, household appliances, and registered vehicles can all be kept in a storage facility.
However, there are a list of other items that are not allowed in most storage units, including:
- Perishable items
- Firearms and ammunition
- Hazardous materials
Additionally, you should never store scented items in a storage facility. For example, if you sell scented candles, you should never store them in your unit. The scent can attract insects, which will wreak havoc on your stock.
If you are planning to store electronics, such as your inventory or unwanted computers, ask the facility about renting a climate controlled unit. The safest environment for electronics is a cool, dry facility that maintains a consistent temperature.
Create a Detailed Inventory
Before you begin hauling any inventory, files, furniture, or anything else that is cluttering your space, it is important to determine what is a necessity and what you can live without on a day-to-day basis. The best way to accomplish this is to create a detailed inventory of everything in your current space.
Once you have a detailed list, it is time to place all your extraneous inventory and supplies into groups. For example, if you have holiday decorations that you only require seasonally, place these into one group. Your excess inventory or extra office furniture could be two additional groups.
Now that you have the groups created, draw a simple map of the storage space. When you decide where to place everything, make sure to keep the items' usefulness in mind. You may want to place items that you won't need often, such as those holiday decorations, near the back of the unit. The excess inventory or files should be placed near the front.
In addition to keeping your items organized, this list is also critical for insurance purposes. Creating a detailed list of your inventory, office supplies, and electronics will prove valuable when you are determining how much insurance coverage to purchase.
Packing Your Inventory
Packing your inventory, files, and other supplies correctly will keep them safe while helping you maximize your storage space. For example, if you own a clothing store, consider purchasing garments racks, which will allow you to access the inventory easily.
In addition to purchasing traditional packaging supplies, including cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, and labels, also consider purchasing several shelving units. The shelving will help keep your inventory clean, organized, and easily-accessible.
Finally, if you are storing files, such as tax information, deposit receipts, bank statements, or utility bills, it is important to avoid storing them for an unnecessarily long time, which will take up valuable space. For example, according to Bank of America, the only files you should keep permanently are your tax returns and other critical financial records, such as property deeds. Your bank statements and pay stubs should only be kept for one year, and you can toss out your utility bills after you have paid them unless you need them to file your taxes.
Utilizing storage units is an economical way to store your excess items. Before renting the storage space, speak with the facility to help you determine the best size unit for your needs and budget.