Some products will help you get and stay organized while others can have the opposite effect. Here are seven ways to help you decide what you need:
- Always use a list when you go to the store. A list reminds you of what you need and keeps you from buying what you don't.
- Don't buy too little. To reduce the amount of time you spend shopping, buy enough office supplies to last at least two months. When you first start working at home, you won't know exactly how much to buy, but after a while, you'll develop a pattern and you'll know how long supplies will last.
- Don't buy too much. Buying large quantities of office supplies can be cost-effective, but don't buy more than you can efficiently store. Extra supplies won't save you money if they get ruined in the basement, you forget you have them or you can't find them when you need them.
- Save time and money by buying from discount office-supply stores and online companies.
- Buy quality. Sometimes when you buy what seems like a bargain, you end up getting what you pay for.
- Replenish your supplies before you run out. Buying ahead of time gives you a chance to comparison shop and take advantage of sales. Also, having to run out at the last minute to buy an essential item wastes time.
- Squeeze all the life you can out of your supplies. For example, laser-printer cartridges can usually be cleaned and refilled a few times before you need to buy a new cartridge.
Brother home office expert Lisa Kanarek advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and writes the blog Working Naked. She is the author of several books, including Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life.