How to Effectively Organize Your Lab
Researchers may need lots of lab equipment to conduct their work. However, too much lab equipment can make a lab cluttered and hazardous. If you need tips for efficient laboratory organization, look no further than the following strategies to save space and benefit the workflow of your research. Using these tips, you can conduct your research in a space that is clean, efficient, and safe.
#1: Clean Out Your Samples and Compounds
Do you have several samples lying around your lab, untouched for months? You and your fellow researchers probably do not need them anymore. Create a system where you and your lab mates can efficiently dispose of any expired or unwanted samples every month. By clearing out the samples you don’t need, you can save significant cupboard and fridge space for relevant research.
#2: Choose Equipment with a Small Lab Footprint
Whether you’re conducting protein stability analysis or you’re trying to run a qPCR assay, working with large, clunky equipment can take away valuable lab space. When you shop for new lab equipment, choose items that are small and compact. If it’s been a while since you’ve purchased new equipment, consider updating to a more efficient model with a low lab footprint. These products can make a significant difference in your workflow and productivity.
#3: Incorporate Cleaning into Your Workflow
Nothing feels less productive than a dirty, messy lab. In addition, lab spaces that are not clean can pose significant safety hazards to lab occupants. It can be easy to neglect tidying up while engaging in strenuous research – but you lose the space you need to complete your research in a productive manner to the mess cluttering your space.
Incorporate tidying up into your workflow whenever possible. Start cleaning and putting away any equipment you are not using as soon as you finish working with it. A few weeks of practicing this habit will make cleaning up your lab space feel like second nature. You will free up your lab space and keep your workspace free of hazards using this system.
#4: Organize Your Lab Bench Ergonomically
You can lose a lot of efficiency and productivity simply by not organizing your lab bench in a seamless manner. Adopt the theory of ergonomics, which prioritizes efficiency in the workplace, while organizing your lab bench:
- Place your waste bins on the side of your dominant hand so you can eject pipette tips and other equipment easily.
- Keep your lab notebooks away from your main workspace to prevent damage.
- If you have solutions that you use every day, place them on the side of your non-dominant hand. For solutions that you do not use as frequently, place them in higher places. Make sure you label all of your solutions.
- For general supplies such as scissors, calculators, wipes, and other items, designate a certain spot for all of these items at your workbench. That way, you’ll always know where to find the items you need, instead of searching for them all over the lab.
- Place your tip boxes within arm’s reach on the side of your dominant hand.
- Make sure to only keep the items you need on your workbench. Store miscellaneous or extra items elsewhere.
Whether you have a lot of lab space or you’re trying to make the most out of a small office, these tips can help you reduce your lab footprint and increase your workflow’s efficiency. With a cleaner, efficient lab, you can increase your productivity and keep your workspace free of potential hazards.