Originally Published in November of 2006…still makes sense today!
When my mom and I took a look at my workflow setup in my home back in 2006 we realized that it had turned into a monster! It was literally out of control! I had known this for some time and was even considering leasing office space but decided at that point to make my home work.
As you probably know, four years later I did make the move into commercial office space and boy am I glad I did!
Here is that original article. I know you will learn from this.
My mom and I first analyzed our work areas (of which you should have 5). Please analyze your own work areas and draw a floor plan.
- Staging Items to be Put on eBay
- Writing up merchandise
- Photographing area
- Storing auction and store items
- Shipping area
When I originally set up my rec room/eBay office (600 square feet) I was only handling about 200 items at a time. I did not have my eBay store going full force and our flow was just fine. As my eBay business grew and grew–(Now we handle about 4,000 items at auction and in our eBay store)–I realized that I had created a monster!
Check out the mess!
- My Staging area for new merchandise was not in one place anymore. I had 3 large racks of new items in my rec room office, 5 boxes on the floor of my dining room and another 120 boxes in the garage.
My brother was visiting and said, “It has finally happened. You have become Grandma and your family is living in the antiques store.” Yikes! My worst nightmare. I knew then that something must be done and quickly.
- My area for writing up merchandise (formerly a table in the rec room office) was now my dining room table.
- My outdoor photography studio was still just perfect! A girl has to get lucky sometimes.
- My storage area for items currently at auction or currently for sale in my eBay store was no longer in my rec room office. I still had items stored in the rec room office but also all over my golf cart garage and in an old empty freezer in the other half of my garage. Not a good thing!
- My shipping area had slowly moved from inside the rec room office to the golf cart garage. Maureen was constantly running back and forth from the rec room office (where her computer was) to the golf cart garage. Now, my house is not small and this was taking hours of valuable time.
After doing an analysis of each work area, my mom and I came up with a Great Five-Point Plan. I encourage you to do the same for your work areas.
- Staging area for new incoming merchandise would be moved out of the rec room office and out of my dining room and it will now take over the entire golf cart garage. This made perfect sense for us because when I come home from garage saling, I can just roll up the garage door and set the boxes inside on a super long table that we purchased.
- Writing up merchandise will no longer be done at my dining room table. We are not living in an antiques store anymore–Thank Goodness! Writing up of merchandise will be done in the rec room office (where it belongs). We have designated three shelves and a work table for this task.
- The Photographing station remains the same!
- All inventory (either up at auction or listed in my eBay store) will be stored in the rec room office. To accomplish this, we knew that major changes would have to take place. I had my desk and computer and my assistant’s desk and computer in this area. We realized that my desk, all my reference books, my greeting card company items, and all my paperwork did NOT have to stay.
Because of my Dralle Method of listing items, I don’t have to be anywhere near the merchandise and I could actually list from another part of the house. The reason I had purchased such a large house (4,000 square feet) was so that I could work from home and be near my kids. We have 5 bedrooms and two of them were being used as guest rooms. Guess what? One of the guest rooms was soon to become my very own QUIET and clutter free office. What a revelation!
My mom and I started searching for office furniture and went all over town. It was quite pricey. There was an ad in our local paper for a beautiful 11 piece set but it was located in Yucca Valley and they wanted $3,500. Yucca Valley is about an hour away, so we called the gal and she sent photos and measurements. It appeared that it just may work. And I kept telling my mom, “I have a feeling about the Yucca Valley set”. Anyway, we ended up getting the set for $3,000 plus $50 delivery. As you can see from the photo, it was like the set was made for my room. I am so excited to be working in a clutter free “executive” zone. Life is great!
My new office
- The shipping area had to move from the golf cart garage and we wanted it back inside in the rec room office with all the merchandise that was being shipped. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? To accomplish this, we got rid of a couch and added a long table in front of the hearth. My dad and brother were out visiting so we got them to help install our Packing Peanut Holder and a bar to hold bubble wrap. Check it out! It is an awesome improvement.
The new wrap station
(The pink stool in the photo came from my grandma and was a fixture in the shop for probably 50 years! It is dangerous–please don’t step on it!)
I encourage you to analyze your working areas and come up with your five-point plan for improvement. Saving hours every day in wasted footsteps can add up to a lot of money in your pocket. Good Luck to you!