Sorted: How to get your cake space organised, and keep it that way!
Organisation. Natural to some, hard won by others.
There's no denying that an organised space is easier to work in, and it most definitely looks more professional to customers.
So just how do you achieve order, especially if chaos is your speciality? Bit by bit. Let's break it down.
When it comes to organising your ingredients, the most important thing is keeping them air tight, and pest free. No cake was ever made better by adding critters! You may also have some regulations to follow if you are a home based Cake Decorator, so be sure to check with your local governing body.
When choosing your method of storage, keep in mind how MUCH of something you'll be storing. There's no point in buying a huge tub for your flour, if it spoils before you get a chance to use it all.
Also very important, but you'd be surprised how often people forget, is LABEL everything. Not just with what's in there, but also when it expires, or is best before. Expiry dates are one of those details that can get by you, but they can not only cost you money, but also business if you forget.
Make a date
Write it down! Whether you use a planner, an app, or an old school calendar, you NEED to keep track of yourself. Not just orders, but every detail (f you want to see how Bullet Journaling works, check out my post on getting started with a Bullet Journal)
Some people say keep personal and business separate, but if you run a business, especially if you are your own employee, you need to mark down your personal appointments in your business diary. How else will you know that your Sisters graduation is the same weekend that you have agreed to make a 10 tier Wedding cake? Write it down.
Same thing goes for receipts. If you bought it to use on your business, or think you might, keep the receipt. Your accountant can work out if you can claim it. And yes, bookkeeping and accounting is definitely something you should outsource if you don't have bookkeeping experience.
A place for everything
The trick to keeping your tools tidy, is have a place for them, BEFORE you buy them. Know what you are going to put your paintbrushes in, where your stencils will go, are they oversize? Do they need a longer drawer? All important questions.
Its also helpful (killjoy moment coming), to not buy EVERY cake tool you see. I know, I'm a spoilsport, but seriously, there are some super cool tools out there, and there are some super wastes of money, and its not always easy to tell which is which. Try to buy tools that can meet more than one purpose, like Sugar Shapers (perfect for fondant, gumpaste, modelling chocolate AND Buttercream), and avoid buying expensive tools that can only be used for one cake order. Try to make do, or better yet, make it by hand. Saves you money, and satisfies the artist within.
Some things need to be done close to the bell, but there are so many things that you can prepare well ahead of time, which not only saves you time, but last minute stress too.
You can bake and freeze your cakes, make sugar flowers, pipe and freeze Buttercream flowers, make modelling chocolate, organise any paperwork or logistics, check your ingredients, check sundries like cake boards and boxes the list goes on. While we make plenty of jokes about getting things done at 'the last minute', its not a good way to run a business, and it puts unnecessary stress on you too. Save the stress for Sudoku.
Make it your own
Its much easier to keep something orderly, if you love it. Make your cake space your own, add your personal touches, just like you would any workspace. I like candles, lots of them, and I have a thing about collecting glass bottles (maybe I was a Milkman in another life?)
Organisation doesn't come naturally to everyone. I have 'issues' with order and tidiness, so its no great struggle for me, but the trick really is to start small, and be consistent.
My tops tips are:
- Have a place for everything, and don't buy anything new until you know where it will go. If you can, try to think of multiple uses for it, is it worth the money, or do you just 'want' it?
- Write EVERYTHING down. Appointments, ideas, to-do lists, everything. If you have kids, you no longer have a memory.
- Outsource jobs you can't manage yourself, like Bookkeeping or graphic design. Be able to say you did it all with no help will sound kinda hollowed if you get audited!
- Food storage has to be a priority. No one will get sick if you are out of post its.
I hope this helps you on the path to order! If you need any help, drop me a line! (and make sure to write it down ?)
Viva La Buttercream xx