A messy and cluttered mailroom can have a ripple effect throughout your company. Lost mail, missing packages and hard-to-find supplies can lead to delays in shipments and a slowdown in business.
As an office administrator, that messy mailroom can also mean headaches for you. Digging through packing supplies takes time, and the unsightly mess can be maddening. To tame the clutter, try these tips.
Observe and Diagnose
Before you can make a change, you first need to understand the most important uses for your mailroom. Start your cleanup by asking:
- What supplies do we need? Make a list of your most-used mailing materials, which often include boxes, filler, labels, tape and postage. Use this list to prioritize where items are stored, and keep it on hand to easily re-order items when needed.
- How should the space be used? Look to make sure you have adequate space to spread out materials when you or a team member are packing. Also make sure there is storage space, both above and below the counter, to keep mailing materials tucked away but easily accessible.
- What disposal options are required? Make sure you have disposal options that allow you to quickly and easily throw away items. The right sizes of trash and recycling bins and a shredder will help to keep things tidy and enable secure document disposal.
Make Way for Order
When you are ready to roll up your sleeves, the first step is to get rid of clutter. Without regular upkeep, many office mailrooms become a company’s de facto storage space. Old technology, office supplies and extra desks and chairs might be taking up needed space, not to mention older documents and other materials.
Start by tossing out any items that are not related to the mailroom itself. If you aren’t sure if an item can be thrown away or where it should go, put it aside and ask decision-makers later. Once you’ve narrowed everything down to what’s needed, think about what should go where. It’s a good idea to map out how the room should be organized based on how you use it. For example, consider storing boxes above the counter space so you can easily grab one when assembling a package.
Create order by grouping similar items together and labeling them so they are easy to locate. Use cupboards with doors to close off items and maintain a more streamlined look. Make sure you have a mail sorter that is big enough to store the types of envelopes and packages that regularly travel through your mailroom, and label these compartments with individual and/or department names. Have a designated bin for outgoing mail to ensure it doesn’t get mixed up or lost in the shuffle.
Establish an Ongoing Disposal Plan
Having systems in place for ongoing disposal of items you no longer need will help to keep your mailroom neat. Create a list of options for responsibly disposing of items that typically gather in mailrooms, and use these options for ongoing mess maintenance. Many items you used to have to keep — such as manuals and other books that often find their way into a mailroom — are now online and can be recycled. For electronics, Staples accepts technology, batteries and ink cartridges.
Even the most organized mailroom won’t maintain its order without regular upkeep. Set aside dedicated time each week to sort through any wayward items, and modify any systems that are not working. If it makes sense with your team structure, enlist the help of others in keeping the mailroom tidy. Your efforts will pay off across the company.