Organize Your Art Studio Once and for All

22 Aug 2011

cate prato

krawczyk art studio
Lynn's studio as seen in Studios magazine.
When it comes to organizing her art studio, Lynn Krawcyzk has the right idea. She knows it's going to get messy, but she has it arranged in such a way that she can restore order in half an hour.

How does she do this? By acknowledging her priorities and arranging her studio and her supplies accordingly.

Lynn revealed the secrets to her organizational style on her blog after a reader who had seen Lynn's studio in the fall issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Studios asked her, "How do you keep your studio so clean and organized?"

After falling off her chair laughing, Lynn revealed a photo of the current state of her studio, then shared her tips for maintaining her "organized chaos."

1. Little-used items are stored off-site. As a fiber and mixed-media artist, Lynn needs space to spread out. That means items she doesn't use regularly get stored somewhere else in her house until needed.

2. Everything has a home. All the supplies and fabrics are welcome to come out to play, but they go back to their assigned place when clean-up time comes.

krawczyk art studio reality
Lynn's studio as it is most days.
3. Clean-up time is wheneveror never. Art is messy and it isn't always finished at the end of the day.

Lynn says that last point is the one that helped her put studio organization in perspective. "I make artwork in this studio. I write here, I create projects for magazine articles, I dream, I plotnone of these are neat. And I don't expect them to be. They have a life of their own and I am simply their medium, so they need to have free rein, which often translates to tossing fabric and paint about."

Your priorities may be different from Lynn's. But I think what's useful about her approach is that she figured out what was best for her and her art, and she embraced it.

You can see more of Lynn's studio, plus get tons of organization and storage tips, inspiration, and eye candy, in the Fall issue of Studios, available now.

P.S. Do you prefer working in a neat-and-tidy studio or a messy one?

Related Posts
+ Add a comment


maidmarion wrote
on 22 Aug 2011 6:47 AM


I felt so good after seeing Lyn's studio as it is most days. I now live in a villa on my own, 3 bedrooms and an internal garage, when I get into a project my workroom extends into my dining room and I don't feel guilty about because it is my space.

Just love creating,

Marion from Australia

emmybean wrote
on 22 Aug 2011 7:54 AM

For me, there's a tipping point.  Having works-in-process out and ready to be attacked at a moment's notice is great but when I walk into my space and want to walk back out I know it's time to tidy up.

rlphilbr13 wrote
on 22 Aug 2011 8:14 AM

Hi Cate!  This is Law of Attraction in the works...because I just read an article about "What Your Mess Says About You" this weekend blogged about it:

It's very spot on...oh boy...enjoy!

{hugs} Roberta

on 22 Aug 2011 9:54 AM

I agree with the concept of a "tipping point" and I don't like the feeling of coming in to the studio and then turning around.  I know I have reached the tipping point if I choose to leave the studio to fold laundry.  Sometimes the mess sneaks up on me and then I feel overwhelmed.  Until I can restore some order I cannot be creative.  I do however often get inspired during the cleaning process.  As an assemblage artist, picking up the little bits that need to get put away, can remind me of what attracted me to the piece.  Balancing order with chaos, especially in the studio will always be a challenge for me.

on 22 Aug 2011 9:59 AM

I got off on a tangent in my previous post, but I wanted to let others know that one of my best organizing solutions that didn't come from a container store --I have collected and used clementine cardboard boxes as drawers in open shelving in my studio.  I have 32 of them beside each other in an 8 by 4 array.  Because they are the same, it is not too visually distracting and it helps me maintain order, with notations like "doll body parts, bits of driftwood, computer parts, and door pins", on each one.  (okay I am done now)

on 22 Aug 2011 10:05 AM

A messy or tidy studio has to do with each individual artist's manner of working and being.  I cannot create in chaos as my concentration is scattered and I cannot focus, but nor do I like my studio neat as a pin and then fear disturbing the orderliness in order to create.  As with all things in life...balance.

CSNYfan wrote
on 22 Aug 2011 8:05 PM

I would prefer a neater area, but I accept the fact that neat isn't in the cards!

soipaint wrote
on 23 Aug 2011 1:20 AM

art IS messy and juicy and a creative spirit doesn't let the neat police in until they surrender all weapons of judgement.  really, a loose array of art materials about , sometimes leads to a joining up of unimagined  possibilites and i  will work no other way.beside it makes the muse so much more availabe  and happy to play. leave neat for other fokls like draftsmen and doctors.

on 23 Aug 2011 2:22 AM

Hi Lynn,   I am sooooo pleased to see the 2nd picture here,  I have converted my bedroom into a workroom (as I live alone) and I just cannot for the love of anything keep it tidy.......I start tidying one end but the other end just never gets sorted,   no matter how much I want to get it sorted, I just cant seem to get it done,   maybe because I have just accumalated too much stuff.  Not easy to part with it, ....just in case.....

I think money plays a big part in properly organised workrooms, anyway, I shall probably live on in this frustrated state, wallowing in my wonderful quagmire of craft "stuff"    have a great day out there all you crafters,


amtrudell wrote
on 23 Aug 2011 5:40 AM

My studio is also the guest room and while a lot of the time it looks a bit chaotic, I can put it in order in about 30 minutes -- I only wish I had a wood floor instead of carpet to make cleaning up collage trimming scraps (picture size of a fingernail timming) easier!

janevanevera wrote
on 23 Aug 2011 12:54 PM

Creative. Distraction. It's all a part of my process. For me the messes are often statements about the possibilities of art works and projects. Or about the potential for creative use of objects in a vision for a piece of artwork. Like emmybean and others I, too, have a "tipping" point - usually when all surfaces are deeply covered with no space left to actually work with my materials. The tidying and re-organizing can become the inspiration and vision for yet a new piece/s of work as I handle threads and papers and mediums deciding which to keep or toss.

Art is my life. I live in the fullness of it.

on 26 Aug 2011 2:37 PM

I finally reached my tipping point, but past failures organizing my studio made me realize I needed to be accountable to someone. I started a blog about cleaning the mess ( I've been posting for over a year and I'm still creating in a bear pit.