I'm so excited that it's finally here! I've been planning to do this for months and months, but never made the time to actually sit down and get it all written out.
I have always said that my husband and I live in a tiny apartment with a big art studio. And it's true. We live in a two-bedroom apartment and my sweet husband turned over the master bedroom to me and so we sleep in a tiny little room that has just enough space for a bed and a dresser. Here's a quick peek at my studio:
As you can see, I have a working studio. It's not a pretty Pottery Barn catalog studio. But I can find absolutely anything I'm looking for in under twenty seconds. Because what my studio lacks in beauty it makes up for in functionality. Throughout this week we (me and some awesome bloggers) are going to share the methods that work for us. But always, you must remember that organization starts in your brain. So nobody else's methods are going to work for you unless you both have the same brain.
I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated room for art making, but if you don't, don't fret. These organizational tips will still work for you!
Ready to get started?
Let's do it!
I ran a theatre company here in New York City for eight years. After a few years my Managing Director banned me from attending load-out (the day we remove the set, costumes, and props from the theatre). Before being banned I would run around the theatre insisting that we save every prop, costume, stick of wood, half gallon of paint, etc. After all, we had paid good money for all of it, right? Wrong. She sat me down and explained that the price it would cost to store that lumber or that prop over time was more than the item cost. And that we would be best served by throwing it away now and buying a new one if we needed to down the road. And while I saw the numbers and intellectually understood, I just couldn't get over that emotional feeling that we shouldn't throw away things we paid money for. Thusly, I was banned.
I face a similar struggle with all this "stuff" in my studio. I paid for it. I should absolutely not throw it away. And yet, I know that part of having a working studio, is regularly purging supplies. So I had to find a solution to my moral dilemma before my studio became a storage room.
In my studio there is a large cardboard box that lives on the floor. When it is full it is replaced by a new cardboard box. This is my donation box. Sometimes I put a notice on my blog that it is free to anyone who wants to pick it up. Sometimes I give it to a crafty friend. Either way it makes me happy to know that those supplies are going to a good home rather than a landfill.
Purging your supplies...
- Creates space for new supplies!
- Creates space for actually making art.
- Alleviates the guilt of not having used it.
- Allows you to make better art. (Use supplies you love and you'll always love what you make.)
- Leaves room for you to grow and change in your art making.
- Helps you hone in on the supplies you love.
- Is a version of keeping inventory. By going through your stash and deciding what to keep and what to throw, you are essentially reviewing what you have.
- Helps you to be organized.
Personally, I do a major purge once a year. I do mini purges every 3-4 months. And I have been much more productive since beginning these purges.
- The trash bags are for trash.
- One cardboard box is for donations.
- One cardboard box is for finished artwork.
- One cardboard box is for projects-in-progress (i.e. unfinished artwork)
- The remaining boxes are for stuff you're keeping and need to put away. Or you can just make piles. That's what I do.
And now this is the hard part: sort through everything in your crafty space. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Some tips to help you:
- I like to start with the surfaces. Once my desk and all the counters are clear I head into the drawers and shelves.
- If you can't stand the idea of donating some supplies because they were so expensive (like a die cut machine), create a box for sale items. But don't let it clutter your studio. You have to actually have a plan for selling it. Otherwise, donate it to a good cause and take the tax write off.
- Be ruthless. Forget about "someday." Live in the now and get it out of your space.
- If you have a large category of stuff you no longer use -- for example, suppose you used to do a ton of beading, but you no longer do it anymore -- box that stuff up, label it, put today's date on it, and stick it under your bed, in your basement, in your attic. If you haven't gone looking for it in a year or two, it's probably time to donate or sell it. In the meantime, it's out of your space.
- It will look much, much worse before it looks better. And half-way through you will wonder why you started this stupid organization project?! But trust me. Keep going.
- Don't think too hard. Follow your instincts when it comes to putting stuff in the trash, in the donate pile, and for keeping. When in doubt, put it in donations. You can always fish it out tomorrow or the next day when we start to put everything away.
- Being organized = being more productive. And like those Visa commercials say, that's priceless!
If you're not ready for a full on studio purge, why not try a desk purge? Or purging one really messy area? I promise that it will take less time and be more satisfying than you think.
Tomorrow we will begin the big picture planning for a brand new organized space!
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. All of these "Organization Week" posts will be available by clicking on the "Organization Week" image in the far right column of my blog.
P.P.S. If you'd like to see the blog tour of my studio I wrote in 2010, you can check it out here: