Cascade Alliance

Technique Tuesday: Organizing Those Piles

Stuff comes in. Stuff goes out. That’s the essence of managing materials, whether it’s thrift stores, mattress recycling, or online books. But when we fail to manage the flow, things back up, piles get created and pretty soon the stuff that makes money is hidden behind the stuff that doesn’t. Production stalls, revenue drops and staff get frustrated because they can’t efficiently do their jobs. It’s especially painful when warehouse and processing areas are small to begin with. It’s easy for this bad practice to creep into the workplace and we aren’t immune here at St. Vincent de Paul. Items pile up in front of walkways and boxes of products that we need access to get hidden causing double handling and time wasted shuffling things around.

Three tips to keep the ominous pile from forming in the first place:

 Home Sweet Home

Everything needs a designated space.  Tidying expert Marie Kondo is right!  Designate a place in your work area and store for each category of items.  Perhaps label these spaces with items that should go there.

Deal With It

If you don’t have an efficient system for processing items, it will still turn into a pile.  Ensure that you have a clear strategy for getting stuff where it needs to be, that tasks are clear and defined. Our staff have production quotas that help ensure things keep moving in an orderly way.

Let it Go

Once you’ve finished sorting and placing usable materials, you’ll also have discards.  Ensure these discards go through the proper channels to be disposed of, whether they’re being sold off to commodities buyers or other recyclers.  Don’t save it for later.

By using these tips and tailoring them to fit your organization’s needs, everything should have a proper home and you won’t have to stress about potential messes