Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where Do I Start?

Maybe you are setting up your first studio, moving into a new space or revamping your current studio. I hope with these next few posts to help walk you through the process. Where do you begin? There are a couple of approaches for reorganizing an arts and crafts studio.

The first approach is to begin with an empty room to allow yourself to begin with a clean slate. You better have either (a) a place to stash everything out of the way while you get the room ready or take a nap because you are exhausted, and/or (b) a few days that you can devote to completing your project. As you can see by these photographs I chose this option. I did have my son's part of the building where I could house all of my 'stuff' while I prepped the room. OK, my stuff did kind of get in the way. It's like Murphy's Law. The space rarely gets used...until you want to 'borrow' it for a couple of days. Then all of a sudden somebody needs something you have totally blocked off or needs to work on something right where you dumped everything.

We are talking 'helter-skelter' here! As you can see, no thought went into this.

Back on subject, at this point my studio is empty except for a couple of large furniture pieces that it was not practical to try to move out. What I did is haul everything out of the room and stack it randomly. In doing that I had a much larger pile than necessary and I could not assess clearly how much room or the type of storage I would need for each area or category/medium. A much wiser approach I now in hind sight realize would have been to sort through the items as I removed them from the room.

Sort items into piles or boxes as items to donate, items to sell, items to toss, items to definitely keep, and items to think about. In the keep pile, separate items into what makes sense to you. I would have kept all of my painting supplies together separating the brushes, various solvents and paint types; my stained glass tools would have been placed in a box together, and my beading tools and supplies would have had their own separate box. This will not only keep you from having to store and maybe trip over items you are going to get rid of, but you will also know at a glance how much of an area to allow for each grouping. When I stacked everything randomly, I couldn't really tell what I had and storing everything takes up more space.

Since the studio is pretty well cleared out now it is the perfect time to seal holes, scrub, prep and paint walls, set off bug bombs, put up shelving and install lights, flooring and whatever else you choose to do in the room to prepare it. While you are doing that I will tell you about the other option.

The other approach is a much less overwhelming option. This method is to take care of one section, problem or area at a time. Break it down into bite size pieces. Don't think about ALL the areas that need help or that the whole room is a disaster. That can be daunting. Maybe you decide your work surface is too cluttered and you feel shelves, risers of some sort, drawers or baskets might help alleviate the problem. Just focus on that particular area. Perhaps you get frustrated trying to find the right item in your bins. If this happens often or if once is too many times for you, focus on that problem and consider your options. It is very easy to manage one area at a time rather than thinking it's all or nothing. If you feel you just need to take the time to clean up, start by doing just one thing or cleaning one spot. As you do this, think about why it is such a chore for you to do this between project.

Don't convince yourself that you are just messy and can't keep all the supplies put away. Although this may be true in some instances, I feel the bigger problem is just that it is not convenient to put things back where they belong. As an example, let's say you just finished a scrapbooking project and have a few little embellishments left over, the glue is out, scissors, scrap papers are laying around and your tools are scattered. Do you have specific dedicated areas these items can go? If so, are the containers easily accessible and do you know exactly where they go? If you answered yes to both of these I would guess you pretty well clean up quickly intermittently.

If you answered no, think about how you can resolve this. What would be the most convenient container to store my items in? Where would the most accessible, yet out of the way place to keep the container? Tip: Keep items you use most often the closest and those you rarely use can be stored in a less convenient spot. In my beading I sometimes have just a few beads left or a little section of chain. I have a small jar just for stray beads and one for 'bits' of chain. As a scrapbooker you may want to create a space for small paper scraps, possibly sorted by color range. Make it something fairly close at hand so that you can just throw those scraps into the container without giving it much thought. Have a container on or near your work surface, a nearby drawer or tote you throw your tools into. Maybe some sort of divided tray such as a muffin tin or glass jars set inside a box could be used to store your embellishments in whatever manner makes sense to you. How about a shallow shelf onto which you have placed a set of short drinking glasses or small bowls in front of your work surface. Look through magazines, catalogs, thrift stores, kitchen supply stores or whatever works best for you and try to find something you are attracted to and that will accommodate whatever you need storage for.
For my next post I will discuss putting your room back together. I hope this post was helpful. I would really appreciate your feedback or questions! Is this making sense to you? Has it helped? What has worked best for you? Is there a specific storage solution you would like discussed or need help with?


Annesphamily said...

I need to come re read this a few more times! You seem to have a plan and I would like to see your studio now!

Your other blog is in the pink today! Hugs Anne

Emakesart said...

Hi Connie, thank you for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you like my collage tag idea for organizing! And I'm so glad you told me about this here blog, because I need as much help as I can get with the whole organizing process! I've already taken down some good notes from here to help me get rid of stuff. Fantastic! I'll be back to read more!