Today we’re going to talk about the down and dirty of decluttering and organizing your workspace. If you space feels like an unorganized hot mess or if you feel that you could use more efficiency in your business, you’ll definitely want to read this one, friends.
Have you ever gone into your closet and said to yourself, “Okay, let's face it - These clothes do not fit anymore! Why am I hanging on to this? Or 1985 called and they want their wardrobe back! I NEED to purge.” Yeah? Me too. I probably do this at least once every season! I have clothes in my closet that I think I’m going to wear someday even though I haven’t taken them out of the closet in years.
I’ve found that the same holds true in our Modern Day Events and Floral warehouse. We recently embarked on this cleansing process. We systematically combed through everything, cleaning things up, and creating a more efficient workspace. And let me tell you, this process has been so incredibly freeing for us!
I‘m sure right now you’re saying, “Jenn, I wish I could do this, but we are just SO BUSY right now.”
I know that you’re in the trenches in your busy season. We definitely are feeling that here in Michigan as well. The past few weeks have been major for us, and I’m sure you’re feeling that too.
As we all know, the busy never lets up. Even though we’re super busy now, there's never really a slow season. In the wedding and events industry, if you’re not busy setting events, you’re busy working on new inquiries and taking care of existing clients. So, there’s never really a good time to do this, which is why I knew we had to go for it and make it happen.
Here’s what we did to declutter and organize the workspace for our wedding and events business.
First and foremost, the key to success here was to hire a professional organizer.
Now this might sound crazy to you. As a wedding and event planner and designer, why would I hire a professional organizer if that’s what I do for a living? I view myself as a professional organizer, so why can’t I do that for my own business?
This is why. We are so close to our things - vases, ribbons, candles, knick-knacks, you name it. We are SO connected to them that I needed someone to look at me and say, “When was the last time you used that item? Or, why are those things here and not over there?”
So I hired a professional organizer named Barbara, who is wonderful at what she does and an amazing accountability partner on top of it all.
She was very reasonable per hour, especially for the amazing work that she did. I’m sure your community also has great professional organizers. I found her through a referral from Two Men and a Truck, and called them because I knew I would need some muscles to move the big stuff in our warehouse. More on that a little later. :)
With Barbara, I was able to walk through our warehouse space and talk through the organizational dreams that we wanted to make a reality.
What tends to happen during this process is that it can be really overwhelming to first look at your storage space or design room critically in an effort to create more efficient space. Inertia might take over, or you might just walk away and think about something else because the project just seems too big.
Here’s how we broke down the organizational process over at Modern Day Events and Floral.
It was a 3 step process for us.
Large items first - this is where the movers come in. We took our large items we determined we no longer needed to the thrift store - tables, chairs, older or dated containers, etc. This gave us room to start looking at secondary items. These are the items that you may use infrequently, but not enough to justify their existence in your storage space.
Once you’ve identified the secondary items, research whether you have an auction house in your area. If you find one, take your secondary items that you’re no longer need to an auction house or to the thrift store. A little more on the auction later, because this part is important . . .
Now as you are going through everything that stays, decide where things need to go to set up the most efficient workspace possible.
Our first step was to start with the big things - these are the things, that just by scanning the room, stand out that you haven’t used in forever.
I've found that we end up collecting things from our events over the years. Some might even call it borderline hoarding, which can be so common in the wedding and events industry. We love our stuff, and we’re SO attached to it!
So we skimmed the warehouse, and had our strong muscle-y men move the first load of big things and take them to Salvation Army. If you would rather DIY and not hire movers, you can call Salvation Army to pick some things up for you. Just keep in mind that they sometimes schedule weeks in advance, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
I also encourage you to think about how much your time is worth when you’re determining how you want to make this happen. It was $150/hour to hire Two Men and a Truck. As long as I had my stuff organized when they came, it was super easy for them to pick it up and take it to the thrift store.
It ended up not costing me a whole lot to hire them, and it was WELL worth it. Trust me.
Now that the big items were gone, this allowed us to siphon down to the next layer and that’s when Barbara (the amazing professional organizer) entered my world.
The main thing we asked ourselves during the next purging process is, “When was the last time we used this?” If it had been years, there is a good chance we weren’t going to use it again.
My philosophy for all of this purging was to rid ourselves of some of this stuff to open up space for new things. This little psychological sleight of hand made me so happy and eager to keep going.
This secondary stuff that we purged ended up going to our local auction house, which I personally love. The auctioneer actually handles everything from taking pictures to establishing pricing, and all aspects of selling your items. They put your valuables out into the online auction world where bidders will vie for your unwanted goods. Most auctions will allow you to set a reserve, so that if your item doesn't fetch that number you can run it through again or it will come back to you. The auction will take a set percentage from each item - up to 25% in most cases. Then send you a check, and it’s a done deal. For their fee, they manage everything which is well worth the investment. This was a total dream for us as busy wedding and event planners organizing a workspace.
This is amazing because you don’t have to really deal with it after you drop it off, and it offset the costs of the organizer and any new inventory we might want to buy to replace our old stuff.
Now we had to look at what was left, and how we could be more efficient to pull things together in the space. This part wasn’t super difficult and was made much easier with Barbara’s outside perspective.
But, the key is making an organizational plan and sticking with it.
We always do such a great job when we are preparing for an event, we are so well organized when we arrive. Everything is marked and ready to go. However, when we get back to the warehouse all exhausted on Sunday at 2 AM, invariably, we dump the goods on the dock to be dealt with later. However, Monday morning rolls around rather quickly, and in the event world, there is no rest for the weary typically during busy season. So, on Monday, it can be difficult to see that everything is perfectly placed in it's appointed space, especially given the fact that we've got another week's worth of events to prep for.
But I had to stop and say: we have to slow down to speed up.
Our team looked at the efficiency and the way we were doing things in our storage space to narrow down the focus on our tablescape items - our light materials, vessels, compote containers, candles, etc. We had to start looking at the things that we use every day. Our system is now to put the things we use frequently on the shelves at eye level and below and the things we use less frequently on the top shelves, which is working great for us now!
There you have it: the three step process we used to create a more efficient workspace for ourselves. A process that overcame our inertia and eliminated that dreaded overwhelming sensation and keeps us feeling organized and in-control.
Stay tuned! On the blog next week, we'll be taking an even deeper dive into this process with more specific ways that you can stay organized in your wedding and event workspace. See you soon!
Do you need major help with efficiency and organization? We've got you, friend. Contact us here at Modern Day Creative, and let's chat about how we can work together to make your organizational dreams come true!