If you’ve been following my posts then you know that I’ve been experimenting with polymer clay and torch fired enameling recently. I’ve also been slowly adding a few metalsmithing techniques to my skill set. This is all wonderful except…. When I set my studio up in our spare bedroom I had mega-tons of beads, but no torches, hammers, enamels, polymer clay, pasta machine etc. Well you get the picture.
As I added more things that didn’t have a designated space, my computer desk got overwhelmed with
junk tools, metal and clay. My computer got ousted to the living room, my studio floor became littered with papers, magazines and whatnot. Add this to the fact that I am not a naturally organized or orderly person and you have chaos!
It was getting so bad that I couldn’t even find space to work. I was becoming annoyed and thus began avoiding my studio. I finally had enough! So I began burrowing out of the mess. Unfortunately I didn’t take “Before” pictures right away. The pictures I do have were taken about a week after I began Operation Studio Renewal. You know how things actually get worse before they get better? These pictures attest to that.
I’m not all done yet, but I thought I’d post some mid-project pictures. Maybe it will motivate you to tackle whatever organizing your studio may need. And I know it will help me follow through to the end of the job.
I’m actually typing this post at my desk, but here’s what it looked like near the start of the project.
And this evening it looks like this.
Here’s a daytime shot from Wednesday this week. I’ve got the polymer clay pasta machine on the left side of the desk. It can stay set up there, but out of the way.
The polymer clay and tools were scattered all about, but they are now nicely corralled on shelves to the left of the desk. Here’s what the shelves looked like before I went to work on them.
The shelves were not a complete disaster, like my desk was. They were somewhat organized, but I needed to make room for the polymer clay and enamels without having to invest in new shelving or expensive storage items.
Another goal I had was to reduce visual clutter, as well as physical clutter. I think I’ve accomplished both goals here.
Let’s start with the top shelf. My before picture shows that I had the same white plastic storage drawers up there initially, but they were all stacked at varying heights. And then there were smaller purple storage boxes stacked up on the right side of the shelf. Its hard to see in the before picture, but on the left side of the top shelf was also a round plastic jar of furnace glass beads.
I removed the purple boxes and the furnace glass and I spread out the white drawers so they are all the same height. Now the eye can rest on that shelf comfortably and not be jarred by all the conflicting heights, colors and storage boxes. The only non-white item now is a wood and papier-mâché diorama from Mexico that is on top of one of the storage drawers in the corner.
The 2nd shelf down is mostly empty right now, but that’s OK. I’m not done cleaning the whole studio yet and I might still need the space. One trick to give yourself extra space for smaller items is to use hanging wire baskets that hook onto the shelf above. You can see that I’ve used one of these above the second shelf.
I’m quite pleased with the 3rd shelf. I picked up a number of these
inexpensive, white cardboard boxes at IKEA. They are a bit tedious to assemble, but
they are sturdy, come in at least 3 sizes and are white, to go with the other
things on the shelf, (though they come in colors too).
I moved all my polymer clay supplies into these boxes and used my trusty label machine to label each box. There is still extra room in the boxes for more, as I expand my stash.
I’ve also organized a shipping station for items purchased in my online shops. I used to keep padded envelopes, bubble wrap and tissue paper in baskets under my work table. Thank you cards were next to my work table. Business cards were on my antique printers cabinet, postal tape was in the kitchen. Oy vey! One of the cardinal rules of organizing is to put like with like. This is so much better!
You are probably curious about where I actually make my jewelry. I’ve just barely started organizing it, so its mostly still a wreck. But you will notice that I’ve cleared a small bit of real estate in the center of the table and even this little work space has re-sparked a creative drive in me that I welcome.
So that’s it for now. I’ll do an update when I finish the task. Do you have any handy organizing tips to share with us? I know that many creative types struggle with organization and we can all benefit from one another’s hard won tips! Do share!