Friday, June 27, 2008

Studio Organizing Tips

Yeah, so I'm not the best person to make this list, considering I'm always organizing, filling up, messing up, purging and then organizing my studio again. However, I've been organizing yet again and a few things have popped into my head that seem to work. Tell me your favorite tip for organizing, maybe it will help me too!

Studio Organizing Tip #1

The Pen is mightier than the sword. Keep a notepad and pen at hand so you can jot down creative ideas you think of while organizing.
I have this terrible habit. When I think of a good idea, I sweep all the piles I so neatly organized, on the floor, combine them, whatever; just so I can create the idea I came up with. Write the ideas down until a later time.

Studio Organizing Tip #2

The right music can make all the difference!
There is nothing like singing into my scissors; belting out some Def Leppard, Cher or The Beach Boys while I'm organizing. A friend on Twitter turned me on to Top 50 songs of the year of your choice. Just go here and choose your favorite year and get singing and cleaning! (I have it set to 1988 right now.)

Studio Organizing Tip #3
Items organized in clear or tinted containers are used more often. But then you knew that huh? When you see it, you remember you have it and you're more likely to use it. I have beautiful blue glass Ball jars I collect specifically for this purpose. They store all manner of things, thread spools, pompoms, clothes pins, etc... I also bought milky clear drawers & containers for storing everything else (see below.)

Studio Organizing Tip #4

Separate things down to the smallest detail.
Okay, you might be more patient than I am. But when I think of sifting through 3 big containers of mixed buttons looking for the perfect pink button, I'm gonna quit. Or the big apple basket holding all game pieces/items? I never end up searching for the bingo chips I want. My buttons are now separated into 4 clear embroidery thread holders (some shown here w/my bead & flower boxes.) The game pieces are now in 4 containers on my bookshelves.

Studio Organizing Tip #5

A place for everything and everything in its place.
All those clear containers you're now using to store your stuff? I have found if you STORE IT NEAR YOU, you'll do much better. Before I figured this out, I was storing things neat on bookshelves behind my chair where I work and I would pull out drawers and bring them to the table, and soon I'd have an avalanche of drawers, paper, stamps, and ink. My friend Krissi from Twitter says she is a failure at putting things up right away. I am too but at least now I know where everything goes and can put it up quickly. I use ink and paint the most so ink hangs right above my desk. Paint was on a lazy susan on the desk (and in 3 containers) but I've since bought the paint carousel (seen above.) I'm in love with it! Stamps and ephemera are very close seconds as to what I use the most, so ephemera is on my left, stacked high in 12x12 pull out drawers. Stamps are in the same type drawers, right in front of me above my desk on shelves. Buttons, small flowers & beads I use a lot as well and used to keep them in metal containers or baskets or stuffed in a drawer elsewhere. Didn't work. Now they're stacked right in front of me where I can reach them.

Studio Organizing Tip #6 (or 5b)

Convenience is everything.
Let me tell you, I hate taking more than a step or two to do something. I don't want to pull my heat gun out a drawer, unwind the cord, crawl under my desk to plug it in and keep it on a heat resistant tray thingie for when its hot. I now keep this handy dandy long metal cookie tin to the left where I work, plus there is a power strip (on the desk top) next to it where I can easily plug everything in. In the tin I keep essentials I hate searching for: a bucket holds all scissors, wire cutters, pliers and exacto knives. Next to it in the tin are decorative scissors. In the back of the tin is the heat gun, dremel tool, hammer and my trusty clover iron. I also keep my tall tower of jewels and sequins because there just happened to be enough room.

Studio Organizing Tip #7

Be Energy Efficient.
Ef·fi·cient. Pronunciation:\i-ˈfi-shənt\ - productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste. I'm usually doing marathon organizing. I go all day, every waking hour until I fall in bed exhausted. I don't like to piddle around doing bit by bit, seems like a waste. To be efficient with your energy; Set aside the amount of time you want to spend organizing. Only take bathroom & drink breaks (don't play around on the computer. Twitter is my downfall.) When you break for lunch/whatever meal, give yourself a 1/2 hour to rest and surf the net or watch TV. Then back to work. Don't stop and sit to do time consuming things, like tearing articles out of magazines or organizing buttons. Don't do that in the middle of your energy. When I get to the end of my day, I will gather a time consuming/sitting organizing chore and sit on the bed and do it. One night I caught up on my TV shows while I breezed through 30+ mags I've had sitting around to pull out articles and pieces to use in art. At that time, I was tired, so standing and organizing wasn't a good use of my energy. Sitting but still working was.

Best Organizing Tip
Two heads are better than one.
Or three or four, including their hands. To finish off my art room so its ready for consumption, I invited my closest friends over (aka: the friends who won't fault me for my less than perfect house) for a 'Ribbon Organizing Party'. Personally, my ribbon is one of my biggest headaches. I love ribbons, trims and laces of all kinds but I have amassed so much its now shoved into a big garbage bag and another big blanket bag. Can't really use it that way. I promised my friends free lunch/drinks, a looksie through my art room (some had warned me they would be stuffing their bras with stuff they wanted to steal), and plenty of freebies from the stuff I'm getting rid of. This was a great ending to my organizing endeavor (or is a great way to start it if you need help with the whole process.) Plan a party, invite people over. Make it a big deal to finally be done. And give it all the way, the stuff you no longer need. There are others out there who haven't conquered their clutter bugs yet and will gladly take stuff off your hands!

(I only took one pic while they were here, they were sorting through my giveaway boxes. The rest of the pics are: 1-friends, 2-sorting aftermath, 3-some progress made from hours of work, 4-work still left for me to do, 5-some of what I finished last night watching Numb3rs first season on DVD.)

Extra Little Tips:

1 - Keep a bin or box nearby to throw in items that you're tired of. Give or throw away. Or,
address several padded or priority mail envelopes to people you know might like the extras you have to get rid of, or someone who might need a little 'pick me up' this week. Fill with your extras & mail.
2 -Pop on a top. I tend to put big Rubbermaid bins under my desks to hold things like mat board, packing envelopes for order shipping, etc... But I find that having them in large OPEN boxes is bad. When I'm looking for a quick place to shove something, it invariably ends up under the table in the top of one of those open boxes.
3 - Keep a Rolling Cart. I have my most used items in mine:
pens laid flat, paint brushes and adhesives. glitter pens & staples, alcohol inks/rubons, dymo labler, large punches, small xyron & refills, batteries (for camera), wheel stamps & rolling handle. I can wheel it to wherever I'm working at the moment.
4 - (this is still on my list of to-dos.) Make a detailed list of everything you own, feathers, metal stripping, chipboard, fluid acrylics, etc... Alphabetize it and put locations for the items (especially if you have lots of drawers.) This saves you lots of time looking AND reminds you in a glance of what you have to use.

Tips shared with me by Twitterpals:
CollageArtist (Claudine Hellmuth) - "
I organize all my papers in the 2 gallon ziploc bags, divide them up by color and then throw all the bags into a giant bin!"
Tsoniki - "Use what you have! Use baskets, containers, shelving units. Group like with like of course."
Little Pies -
"My 'studio' is a kitchen. I vacuum my kitchen counters frequently.. because I have a constant haze of flour everywhere." ** Vacuuming sounds like a good idea to me! **
brendapinnick - "I keep my paints organized by color in galvanized steel, long oval planters from IKEA."

More info:
100 Thing Challenge - can you do it?
Organization blog: Cool Organizing
Art Room Organization
Organizing Your Artist Space Book


claudine hellmuth said...

i'll def need these tips now that I am moving to a tiny apartment in DC!!

mystele said...

great post. thank you!

trisha too said...

CC's studio is a fantastic work area!

The thing that has been working for me (ever since I about killed myself cleaning our art room), is actually taking the few seconds to PUT THINGS AWAY between projects, or phases of a project. Having a place for everything/everything in its place actually WORKS! Who knew?? Not I. Never tried it before . . . ;)

trisha too said...

And thanks for the tips, CC--you have some great ones!

(That's your new nickname. CC.)

and I love Claudine Hellmuth even more for leaving a comment on my favorite arty blog.

saffron said...

Great organizing list! I especially need to listen #7!

I love your creations and your blog!

Krissi said...

WOW! Great job on this one -- it's too good NOT to repost, so expect some linky love from my blog. Soon.

e.beck.artist said...

WOW ... love this post ... you rock ....
i went right to idea 2s website and book marked it so i can listen next time i'm in the studio .. thanks!

R.P. said...

I used to have a problem organizing ribbons too. Now I wrap them around a cardboard paper towel roll and secure them with a pin. All my ribbon is easily seen and I can tell how much of each I have.

Thanks for the tips!