Tips and Tricks to Organize your Lab Bench Space
Marie Kondo has taken over our space—the television, office, house, and digital space, decluttering and organizing everywhere she goes, with the goal to help people tidy their areas by choosing joy using the simplest tools to help people get there. You might have binge watched her Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo or you might have read one of her 3 books, or simply saw the overflowing number of things donated to your local Goodwill. Marie Kondo’s philosophies seem to be spreading everywhere, and now it is time to apply it to your lab bench space!
As a scientist, you spend hours at your lab bench every day. Keeping it organized and uncluttered, with tools easily accessible, will help to increase your efficiency in the lab.
Below are some helpful tips our own scientists use to make sure they are working in the best space possible that sparks joy for them.
General Supplies: Keep your own scissors, labeling tape, wipes, and a marker (or any other frequently used item) in your space. This eliminates frequent walks around the lab and encourages good labeling habits at the bench as well. Want to protect your items from wondering lab thieves? Don’t be afraid to label them with your name!
Notebooks and Journals: You will want to make sure that all your notebooks and journals are kept and stored away from your central work-space to avoid damage in case of spills. Imagine your notes with a dollar value of the data inside of it—you want to protect these!
Pipettes: Keep them on your dominant hand side on the bench.
Tip Boxes: It is ideal to keep a minimal set of stands and tip boxes at the center or towards the side of your dominant hand in the back area of your lab bench to maintain a centralized empty space. You will also want to keep them within an arm’s reach. Make sure to store extra boxes elsewhere and only keep what you need on the working surface.
Waste Bins: Place all trash bins to the same side, preferably on your dominant hand side for easy tip ejection.
Solutions: Store commonly used solutions on the opposite side of your lab bench that your pipettes are on, so on your non-dominant side. Then store your less frequently used solutions and items on the upper shelves. To further your organization, make sure to label all your solutions, no matter how often they are used.
Miscellaneous Items: Items that you don’t use daily but are still needed, should be kept to the periphery of your central workspace or the shelves. It is best to group these items by experiment type so that you can access them all at once when you do need them.
And don’t forget to remove redundant or obsolete items from your lab bench space! If it doesn’t spark joy for you, then it’s time to say goodbye to it.