Welcome to Day Two of Organization Week! Links to all of the "Organization Week" posts are available by clicking on the "Organization Week" image in the far right column of my blog.
Have you ever been to a woodworking studio? Maybe you have one in your garage? Woodworking studios are very functional places. Rarely "cute." And all the tools are out and ready to use: lots of open storage, maybe a peg board on the wall, and labeled bins.
How about your kitchen? It's super functional too. I'll bet all of the forks are together in one drawer and you know exactly where that drawer is. Can you imagine if you had to search every cabinet and drawer in your kitchen to find a fork? That would be silly. In a kitchen everything has its place.
I want you to start thinking of your crafty space (be it an enormous room or a corner of the living room) as a functional space. Your tools and supplies need to be out and accessible and everything needs to have a home.
I have two guests today who are going to share how they figured out systems that worked for them.
- Kim's studio went from looking neat and clean to looking like a tornado had gone through the room. But as she explains, she is more organized and gets more done in the messier looking room. The key here is remembering that there are two kinds of messes: organized messes and disorganized messes. An organized mess is one in which you know exactly what is in each of those piles. A disorganized mess is one that is a great mystery and oppresses you.
- Nan has everything organized using her like-with-like philosophy. This is the forks analogy I used above. Nan knows exactly where to go to find her Distress Ink or her Sharpies. And since time is an issue for all of us, wouldn't it be nice to spend your creative time creating instead of hunting for supplies?
You'll notice that both of these women talk about the fact that their studios are continually evolving (because, of course, we continually evolve in the way we work) and about the importance of creating a system that functions for how you create. Two very important things to keep in mind as you create your master plan for your creative space.
Kim Faucher is going to talk about organizing around the way you create :
My studio is continually evolving.
When we remodeled our kitchen we decided to turn our 3-season screened-in porch into a small mud room/art studio. The studio looked very clean, organized and neat. But once I started using the space I discovered that I wasn’t able to sit and create because stuff was spread out and hidden. So I reorganized the studio to make sense to ME and the way that I create.
I create one thing at a time. My process of creating is to stand or sit in one place and use whatever is around me. That thought was the basis of the new plan for my studio: I decided to create “areas” within the room. You can get an idea of the size of the room and layout in this sketch:
For example, when I am sewing, I can sit in the sewing corner (above), grab fabrics, use my machine (in the photo it's covered with plastic), find a stick pin, scissors, etc. in my baskets -- everything to do with sewing is contained in that little area.
My main work space is usually a clutter of random scraps of paper, embellishments and kits. Ribbons, alphabet letters, writing tools...
Most importantly, by organizing in the system of how I create, I can still operate functionally, even when my studio is a mess. This system allows me to stay focused on the particular task I am doing, rather than hunting for supplies.
Happy organizing and celebrating the way you create!
Nan Robkin has some great advice on organizing based on how/when you use stuff:
First off, I have to confess that I am (constantly) in the process of sorting and revising and planning my art-making spaces, so what I say now may be different a year, or even a week, from now. Art Requires Inventory, and I have a lot of inventory to deal with.
Like with Like is the organizing principle (the corollary is: Put It Back). I determine what goes into each category by choosing the most useful (to me) characteristic. For instance, I could put all my pens under the rubric “PENS,” but I have all kinds of pens, and if I put them all together I would be rooting though a mountain to find the one I want. So I have a drawer for alcohol-based pens like Sharpies and Bic and Tūl (but not Copic—they are a class unto themselves).
I have another drawer for drawing pens, like Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell and Copic technical pens. I have a drawer for gel pens, and I put my Spica pens in with them as I would use them for the same purpose.
And the same rules hold true for every supply I own. I have special cases for my Ranger Adirondack Paint Daubers, a plastic box for my Ranger Crackle Paint, a plastic tackle box for my Distress Ink Pads...
...and another for Ranger Distress Daubers. I keep a couple of Perfect Pearl misters in the color wash box (spray with spray), some small containers of Glossy Accents and Claudine Helmuth’s Matte Medium, and a couple of empty spray bottles. Because I use them all together. Like with like.
Paper is always a problem. I make books, so I need lots of different kinds of paper, in lots of sizes. Parent sheets and half sheets are grouped on skirt hangers, the plastic kind with two clips, and hang over a door.
There is a whole room of racks that hold 8-1/2 x 11 paper, ream upon ream in the basement.
My husband made the racks from pegboard and dowels, and they sort of manage to do the job of holding boxes of paper. I try to keep each kind of paper labeled. So “Like with Like” doesn’t always work, what with cardstock and text weight and glossy and different colors. So I make sure the labels, at least, are visible.
Rubber stamps, both wood mounted and unmounted, are right now kept in cardboard boxes, sorted by manufacturer - like with like (there are, however, several boxes menacingly labeled “To Sort”). Acrylic stamps are in binders and boxes.
In planning, take stock of what you have, put and keep things that have a similar use together. When I started out to get things under control, I wrote out a Master Plan: I made a list of categories and then listed what I would keep in each category, and then decided where each category would go. It wasn’t engraved in stone, and I do keep revising it, but at least it gave me a good place to begin.
I could go on and on—but I won’t. I will say that putting Like with Like won’t work for very long if you don’t Put it Back. That’s my biggest downfall—I gather things into a bag to do a particular project at ArtWorks, for instance, and when I bring the bag home I just set it down and procrastinate putting things back. Don’t follow that example, please—it means you can’t find something when you want to use it. And being able to use it is the whole idea!
Visit Nan's blog for more detailed information on the organization of her studio.
- Organize in stations based on how you create.
- Put like with like.
So how do we put these concepts into play? Well, you need to figure out how your brain works. Take my little quiz:
Q: When you need a piece of paper do you think of it...
- by brand name (manufacturer)
- by color
- by purpose/use
- by theme (ex. trees, animals, flowers)
Don't think too hard. What's your first impulse answer?
Q: If you were trapped in your studio and could only use ten supplies, what would they be?
Note: You can use general large categories like stamps, pens, paint. You don't have to name an actual specific supply.
Q: What are the restraints of your space?
Ex: I have to be able to hide everything when company comes.
Q: What kinds of activities do you do in your studio?
Ex. I have a lot of computer work that needs to get done, I need a space to cut fabric, I have a typewriter that needs to be out, etc.
Write the answers down. This is going to form the basis of your plan.
If you watch the video below you'll see how I used my answers to these questions to create a plan for my studio space.
Grab a piece of paper and start figuring out the basic overview of your creative space!
Don't have a room all to yourself? You can still do the same kind of planning. Let's say you have to keep everything in a rolling tote and work on your kitchen table. No worries. Divide the tote into stations. All the paint supplies are in one section. All the paper is in another. And so forth. Whatever the limitations of your space, you can still put "like with like" and organize the way your brain works. Unless you have too much stuff. If you have too much stuff, it becomes very difficult to organize. So go back to day one and purge, purge, purge! And repeat this mantra to yourself: This is a studio, not a storage room.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Back in 2007 I wrote an "Organization Manifesto." The principles are still very sound and I continue to live by them today:
- Organize The Way Your Brain Works
- Create A Situation Where You Can See What You Have
- Make It Easy To Put Away
P.P.S. A little bit of fun news here.
P.P.P.S. What an amazing response to the Sakura giveaway! More than 300 comments. I wish I had enough pens to give away to each of you. Sadly, there can be only one winner...and the winner of the Sakura giveaway from Thursday is...
About the Contributors:
Hi everyone. My name is Kim Faucher. Many know me as kimosabescraps online. I have been scrapbooking, stamping and crafting for over 10 years. I am married, a mother of two kids and one puppy, two fish and a snail. Recently I enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design to get a certificate in drawing and painting. I love exploring all types of art, crafts and photography. I have served on several design teams and currently design for Donna Salazar Designs. I have been fortunate to have been published in Cards, Scrapbook Trends and appear regularly in ScrapStreet ezine. I love spending time in my studio, drinking coffee, mingling with friends on Facebook, listening to music and being outside in nature.
I always look forward to sharing tips and techniques with online friends and talking about art with others. Thanks for letting me share my studio organization tips with you.
I studied architecture for a year at UC Berkeley, but couldn’t keep up with the math involved. However, one of my watercolors was deemed worthy of keeping in the school’s archives. In another attempt at higher education, I studied Drama and Language Arts at San Francisco State University, and earned a general secondary teaching credential and a Master of Arts degree. At SF State I worked many shows as a stage lighting designer, which gave me a good understanding of how color works—especially the CYMK process colors that behave similarly to colors of light.