You Can Find Anything, Anytime

A remarkable thing has happened since I reorganized and moved my studio space (documented in the Summer 2010 issue of Studios): whenever I need something, I know right where it is.

This phenomenon has come in very handy over the last month as I created decorations for my daughter's high school graduation party. When I was looking for double bias tape to make a fabric banner, I did not have to stop and wonder, "Where did I put that stash of bias tape?" I went right to the armoire/workstation, looked in the basket that holds packaged trims, and started pinning my pennants. And wouldn't you know, the pins–all my pins–were right there in the armoire, too, together with my motley thread stash, right next to the sewing machine. Wonder of wonders!

When I needed paper to assemble the school memories collage I had planned, did I have to ponder where I might have last left my cardstock and scrapbook papers? No way! I marched directly to the craft closet across the room from the armoire, reached into the shallow plastic bin of papers, found what I needed, and commenced gluing with the glue stick that was right where I knew it would be, in a small cup in the armoire beside the glue gun sticks.

Knowing where these things were not only saved me time, they saved me a boatload of stress. And, because my supplies all have a permanent home, it's easy for me to put them back when I'm finished using them, therefore making the next crafting session more fun and less stressful. 

You have no idea how much easier this reorganization has made my life. Or maybe you do? Or maybe, you wish you did. Here are my tips for organizing your studio to save you time and stress.

5 Simple Steps for Stress-free Organization

1. Start by getting rid of what you don't use or don't need. Be realistic with yourself: if you bought paper-making supplies in 1996 and still haven't used them, maybe you don't really want to make paper. Donate or sell the goods to someone who can't wait to use them.

2. Organize according to your style. In the Summer 2010 issue of Studios, professional organizer Barbara Tako explains that it's easier to work with your particular organizing style than to impose someone else's structure on your studio.

3. Work with what you have. Let's face it, you have been producing some pretty good art without a "perfect" studio, so don't let the lack of specialty furniture or a big, open loft space hold you back from reorganizing your studio more efficiently. Get creative by looking at the furniture you have in a new way, such as attaching a larger top to an existing table for more work space. And be sure to look carefully at the spaces in Studios to see how other artists use every inch of space they have.

4. Get what you need. On the other hand, there are many stores and businesses that cater to the needs of artists and crafters, with specialty furnishings and containers that can make your studio more comfortable and efficient. Check out the new Resources section of Studios and, if you have the means, go shopping to get exactly what you need to make your space work for you.

5. Use the buddy system. Afraid you can't part with that stack of wrinkled wrapping paper saved from birthdays dating back to 1983? Just too overwhelmed by the mess to motivate yourself to get organized? Phone a friend like Sharon Tomlinson did when she wanted to expand one very cluttered, outdated studio into two well-functioning spaces. In the Summer 2010 issue of Studios, Sharon details how her friend kept her on task and led her to two-studio success.

These are just some of the tips I've used to revamp my creative space; you'll find more in the Summer 2010 issue of Studios.

What are your tried-and-true organizing tips? Leave a comment below!

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