Organizing an art studio

*note.  this post contains my thoughts about organizing my art studio.  For obvious and sundry reasons– NO PHOTOS!!  I don’t want anyone fainting from having to view the mess that is my studio.  And practically, I don’t want my DH to see how much stuff I actually have crammed in there!  Dear Reader, I apologize for the text-0nly post.  I have truly have your best interests at heart.  Ok, ok, and a little bit of my own best interest, too….

I have a love-hate relationship with the tv show “Clean House”.  I love the sparkling organization of everything, but I hate that they force you to get rid of so much stuff!  (However, in the case of the tv show, most of those people have way too much stuff!)

I don’t really think a show like Clean House would be appropriate for an art studio;  I don’t think I’d want anyone else to dictate what I had to get rid of.  I am not going to make a choice between keeping my cheapo acrylic paint or my Lumiere paint.  Nor am I going to get rid of the box of weirdo- sparkly fabric any time soon.

I do, however, try to go with the organizational fairy, when and if she ever decides to invade my body.  I am currently busting a lot of fabric out of my stash.  Long time readers know that I refer to my fabric stash as “the warehouse”– I’ve been quilting/collecting fabric for over 20 years, and I am a very dedicated collector!

I am finally seeing a dent being made– I have been selling some of the fabric online, and donating a lot of it to our elementary school.  What thrilled me yesterday?… when I could pull out all the blue fabric, pile it neatly, and have room on the shelf for the turquoise fabric pile!  (get your hands off my green fabrics, tho, you bad organizer fairy….)

Likewise, I got rid of 2 huge tubs full of clothes I kept from my own closet or my aunt’s (a prodigious and impressive clothing shopper….)  Those clothes had been waiting for artistic altering, and frankly, for much of the clothing it ain’t gonna happen.  My car trunk is full of bags for the local thrift shop tomorrow!  I kept a tub full of clothes that I probably will use, and I’m happier with the extra space than I was with the tub of clothes.

I’ve learned a lot from the show about pulling everything you have OUT, measuring the size of the space, looking at your product, and figuring out how to store it appropriately.  I’ve also learned a lot from a very organized friend, who encouraged me to always store like with like, so that all my weird fabric is together, all my painting supplies are together.  I’m thinking about organizing my desk area (currently under siege by our patio furniture pillows) and I have all the desk stuff piled into a tub– like with like.

I suppose what I’d like Clean House to do for me is pull out all my stuff and put like with like together on top of tarps.  Then, I’d like them to re-build the corresponding storage spots with better organizational inserts, pull-outs, and shelves.  I don’t need pretty, just functional.  And closed, so that I don’t have to look at it all.

My mantra for years, courtesy of Teri W.’s grandmother, has been “don’t put it down, put it away.”  I mutter this constantly.  It helps, except for my work table. So, I’d also like the show to figure out why most everything ends up in piles on top of my work table.

Help me, Clean House!

edited to add a great new (to me) blog link (click here)!  Connie writes a blog dealing with organizing art studios.  Great ideas, beautiful photos, artist user -friendly tips!  Thank you for your comment, Connie.  I’m going to take a break in the organizing to read thru your blog, start to finish!



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2 responses to “Organizing an art studio

  1. Don’t you think some of that stuff multiplies at night when you aren’t looking? Sometimes I look at my beads and ask “where did you all come from”? It sounds like your fabric is going to good use. I used to work in a product design department and was exposed to so many different mediums, I just wanted to try them all. I finally got a grip and decided to focus on what I really enjoyed and made a decision let the rest go. I agree with you that I don’t want anyone else telling me what to let go of either! Enjoyed your post. Connie

  2. The greatest article that I ever read in my whole life was one that said creative people tend to have to leave everything out where they can see it. Can we needlepoint that on a plaque that hangs on our front doors. Fair warning and all, for those entering!

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