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Never having had to manage a stockroom, it's perhaps difficult for me to fully empathise with DIY Week readers when it comes to the trials and tribulations of your back rooms. Don't get me wrong, I'm always very impressed with stores that have ordered systems for stockholding areas (whether that's computer aided or not), with racking that's as tidy and neatly filled as the shelves on the shopfloor.

However, I'm equally impressed by the seemingly innate ability many have to remember the exact location of certain items 'out the back' even though, to a less highly-trained eye, the system appears more ad hoc than alphabetised, more chaos than catalogued.

In fact, the system required to keep track of stock, whether you're of the spreadsheet or 'spread it around' school of organisation, has been the subject of much personal debate in the past few weeks.

I should say here that I'm a sucker for a system. I like nothing more than a checklist; or rather I like nothing more than ticking things off a checklist. I make long lists of thing to do (and things I've already done so I can tick them off straight away) and have a spreadsheet for every occasion. I fight my natural inclination towards hoarding and 'de-clutter' on a regular basis and I tidy my desk every night before I leave the office. In short, I like to be organised, efficient and prepared - the ideal qualities, in my mind, for a well-ordered stockroom.

Or so I thought until now...because, the DIY Week office is currently floor to ceiling with product waiting to be judged for Product of the Year Awards.

The process started promisingly (for which I can take no credit). Product samples were logged on a spreadsheet as they were received and each was stickered to show it had been processed in this way before being married up with the relevant entry form.

Once sample and corresponding form were matched, the product was moved into the relevant corner of the office to await either the first judging panel, or removal to storage until the second.

Easy peasy, he says smugly - efficient and simple, what's all the fuss about? Until someone needed access to a product at the back, or at the bottom of the pile (but this would never happen to a retailer...a customer has asked for one you say? But don't they know I've only just finished reorganising the stockroom?).

Or, until the realisation that the boxes you stacked so neatly don't have any information on them as to what they contain, because the sticker you lined up neatly with edge of the box, is on the top, under four other identical brown cardboard outers. So, you decide that, instead of moving them carefully one by one, you'll try and pull it out enough to read the label, only to tear the box, which promptly collapses under the weight of what's on top, after only a glimpse of what it contained.

It's at this point that the system (and the pile) falls down bringing with it all my preconceptions about order and organisation. So, I've decided, next year we're ditching the spreadsheet and dispensing with the lists, and if anyone asks, I'm out the back.
View User Profile for Will Parsons Blog entries from Will Parsons, former editor of DIY Week and

Posted by Will Parsons | 24 February 2011 | 11:00 | More from: Will Parsons' blog


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