Self-storage doubles as convenient warehouse space for small businesses

Open sign on a store's door

Working in a home or business office can be chaotic without smart organization. Papers tend to pile up for days – sometimes weeks -- before being scanned, filed or shredded. And as many small business owners can attest, inventory has a way of taking over every flat surface.

New businesses are especially vulnerable to clutter and inventory creep. Starting a new venture often means working in a small space at the beginning. That means cramped quarters at best, and misplaced, forgotten or lost inventory at worst.

Access to inventory and the ability to quickly get it to customers is at the heart of successful logistics. So how do you make space for what you need the most while maintaining a working warehouse for inventory and supplies?   

Our two best tips from Storage Post experts:

  1. Go paperless, if possible. Invest in a scanner to keep paperwork to a minimum. For many small businesses, orders, invoices and even payments all can be managed electronically, and many customers prefer email receipts. If you collect business cards from customers, scan them into your computer system quickly, making use of them in marketing communications instead of letting them pile up in a fish bowl on the front counter.
  2. Store inventory close by. If you have inventory, you need a place to keep it that allows you and your team daily access to products without paying premium retail-space rent. Small business owners frequently use Storage Post units to give them just-in-time inventory control at prices far below their actual place of business. 

Inventory Management Tips

As a small business owner, how can you best use a storage unit or other small office setting to manage your inventory and supplies? Among our experts’ recommendations:

  • Store rarely used business items, such as old financial records and seasonal equipment, in the back or behind items you use more frequently
  • Keep best-selling products within reach and up front
  • Create single-depth rows of inventory, leaving plenty of space to walk between them for easy access to inventory or supplies you need most often
  • Put like items with like items, first by type, then by size, color, brand, etc. 
  • Label every box with SKU, picture, description – whatever is easiest.
  • Take steps to keep your inventory secure
  • Update your inventory electronically to ensure you always have what you need on hand
  • Some small business owners set up their storage unit like a store, displaying products on shelving to see when they’re running low on products
  • Maintain your ad hoc warehouse by sweeping and tidying up before leaving (break down boxes, toss the trash, organize merchandise)
  • Create a shipping station in one area of the storage unit, and keep it stocked with bubble wrap, packing paper, tape and other shipping supplies so you can pick and pack in one place
  • Bonus: Have inventory directly shipped to your preferred Storage Post location, if deliveries are accepted
  • Don’t forget: You can write off your monthly rent and as a business expense