Save on overhead by operating your interior design business from your home or from a small office. You can solve the storage solution by using a low-cost storage unit rental as your base for keeping project materials. Before renting a unit, learn the basics so you get the right unit and set it up properly.
Find a Central Storage Solution
You need a storage unit that is easily accessible from each of your job sites. If you tend to work most in a certain area, you can select a unit near that area. If your clients range over a larger area, such as multiple cities or in a large metro area, you may need to find a centrally located unit. For exceptionally large areas, it may be worth it to rent several smaller units in each area you work in most.
Determine Your Space Needs
Size matters. Before renting a unit, get a good idea of how many items you plan to store. Use the basic size guidelines below to help you determine your needs:
- 5-by-10-foot units hold enough furniture for a small mid-size bedroom or dining room. These are only suitable for single, small jobs.
- 10-by-10-foot and 10-by-15-foot units can hold an entire living room or two to three bedrooms worth of furniture. These work well for single larger jobs, or multiple small projects.
- 10-by-20 and 10-by-30-foot units can hold the contents of an entire house, up to seven bedrooms. These are the best units if you have multiple projects going on at all times.
Set Up Your Space
As a designer, you know that organization from the beginning is important. Before moving into your new storage space, decide how you want to keep it organized. Here's two options to get you started.
1. The Zone Method. Divide the storage unit into zones, using masking tape on the floor to delineate each zone. Number each zone with the tape or with a hanging sign. Don't forget to leave space for walkways between the zones.
As jobs come in, you assign it a zone in your storage unit. All materials for that job are kept in its zone until you are ready to deliver everything to the client site. If you depend upon employees to bring in materials, the zone method works well to ensure everyone is placing things in the right area.
2. The Inventory Method. This method is more time-consuming to implement. It works best if you collect items for eventual use in design projects, as opposed to ordering specific items for specific clients. Designers that use vintage, thrifted and repurposed items in their designs can benefit most from the method.
Set the storage unit up like a warehouse, with shelves and tables for holding your materials inventory. You will need to keep a spreadsheet detailing what items are stored, how many you have, and where they are located. Numbering the shelves and aisles in the unit makes this easier.
Before moving into your storage unit, make sure you have shelves in place or pallets on the floor for larger items. You don't want to set anything directly on a damp concrete floor. Use a secured facility, preferably with climate-controlled units, to ensure your business supplies stay safe and dry when they are in storage. For more tips and suggestions, contact local experts such as Total Storage Ltd.