I don’t make resolutions. That way I avoid the depression that can come with not accomplishing (or not even starting) them. But I have been bitten by the reorganization bug. Julie Fei-Fan Balzer did a week of blogs about organizing your studio. She defines studio as anything from the corner of the dining room to a full, separate room. She and her guest bloggers taught me a lot. I strongly suggest you read her blogs because they can apply to anything. I’ll put the link at the end of this report.
The best thing I learned was that your studio space is not a storage space. The things you keep in your studio space are the things you need every time you work. She talks about identifying 10 things you must have within reach and then organizing so they are kept where you use them. If you have multiple work spaces—sewing, beading, painting, knitting—this means that you can use some of your walking space to organize and display partial projects, because you are planning to basically sit in one place once you start. No getting up to get things every several minutes. Also no moving big bins of stuff to find the thing you need when you use it often. This extra bit of space in the walkways can be a great place to keep inspiration pieces or pieces that you don’t know what to do with. Seeing them often may set off an aha.
Next I reflected on the idea of keeping things visible. I’m ADHD and for me, out of sight is totally non-existent. I hang things on hooks and doorknobs so I will remember what I am supposed to do with them later. Julie talked about keeping supplies in smaller containers, not big storage bins; using transparent or open topped containers; and labeling the containers for easy reference. She explained that the container system you choose should be easy for you to use or you will never ever put things away. Putting away what you aren’t using leaves more room to work.
I have lots of transparent containers, but I hadn’t thought much about open top things. Not only can I see the papers in this box – it came free with the beer I bought—but I can easily pull out and replace whatever I am considering using. I am following Julie’s advice about the cheapness of the container being more important that it’s beauty. She uses the heck out of USPS boxes.
In keeping with open tops, I bought this small laundry-like basket at The Dollar Store. Yep, it cost a dollar, and it has really been handy for ferrying stuff up and down the stairs. I found some small, open plastic bins at the clearance section at the entrance to Target. Those will go to the tools in the garage.
I have a bunch of home dec fabric and batiks that I want to use to make stuff. Of course, even when working from your stash you have to buy some things—thread to match or a contrasting embellishment. To make my trips to Mary Jo’s Cloth Shop in Gastonia easier, I made a swatch book of the fabric. I used old white fabic and some ancient interfacing. I didn’t sew the pages together, just used a clamp, so I could edit what I would take with me. This was useful and I felt so proud of myself for being so super organized. Wish I could get the gumption up to make one of my yarn.
The final idea from Julie that I am thrilled to be using is to label what comes next. One of her guest bloggers puts the unfinished projects away in containers with all the supplies needed to finish AND with a note that says what the next step is. I usually have a cutting table full of things that need to be done, but have to spend a half hour figuring out what I was going to do next. Now I never have that problem with my knitting. I have trained myself to always leave a note on the pattern or on a sticky note. I like to knit, not think, when I knit.
Julie does mixed media work. She has a free stenciling class online that I used. She is filled with ideas, and like Alissa Burke, understands that messy isn’t always a bad thing. Check out the organization week ideas here.
Another link I’d like to share is about the SOPA and PIPA legislation before Congress which is another effort to censor the internet. As a trained Media Specialist (school librarian), the mere thought of censorship raises my hackles. I do believe in obeying the copyright laws of the land and in the justice system taking to task–or to jail–those who steal the intellectual property of others. However, that is not what this law is about. If you are unaware of these acts and wish to know a bit more, you might want to watch this brief talk from TED Talks. If you, like me a few weeks ago, do not know what TED Talks are, click on this link and then look around. It is an amazing site.
Filed under: Personal thoughts