Sunday, April 14, 2013

Clearing the Decks

Taking a week-long blogging break gave me time to re-consider both creative time and space.  When it comes to space, the conclusion was undeniable:  my studio was just too messy to accomplish the things that I wanted to do.  I dug in and cleared the decks last night, and I am thrilled with the results.
The worst offender was my art table, along with the floor surrounding it.  The piles had gotten so out of hand that I had little space in which to work, little floor to walk without trampling supplies, and too many chances of misplacing small items that I might want to use.
The first thing I did was buy two three-drawer organizers from Target.  Though I am trying to reduce the amount of  plastic that I bring into my home, I just couldn't find a substitute for the convenience of these little drawers.  I labeled them for the following contents:  notepads, stamps and inks (the few that I find myself using again and again in my mail art and art journaling; the rest are housed in my larger closet storage area), glue and tape, Sharpies (I have so many of that single brand in three different sizes that they fill their own drawer), black and white pens (many purchased while taking Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love class; I love having such a variety), and colored pens (all the rest).  I have known for awhile that I should be storing my pens and markers on their sides instead of up and down in cups on my table, but haven't bothered to make the change.  I was watching a video on Saturday of Diana Trout packing up a travel art kit, and this time when I heard her emphasize storing pens on their sides to preserve the ink, I decided to heed the call!
I love having art from my blogging friends on display in my studio.  In addition to my art wall, I hung a new print from Aimee right above my work table.  Along with the gorgeous doodled-dressed woman, the text reads:  "Here comes the creative fire, that elusive gypsy who arrives so unexpectedly with her vivid imagination, exotic ideas, and lavish notions.  I wonder how long she'll stay."  A good reminder to seize the creative moment!
I continue to use my inspiration board above my table to display little doodads--some little art pieces my daughter has made; artwork by Aimee, Caatje, Viv, Gini, Alexandra, and Pamela; a favorite photo of myself when I was two-years-old; the first dollar my crafts ever earned me (thanks, Heather!); a little set of prayer flags; and some little crafted items I have made in the past, like felt flowers, a fabric strawberry, and a fabric and button flower.
Over my bookcase is another display that includes blogging friends' artwork:  a postcard from Lee, am ATC from Janet, a journal page from my mother, a wreath from April, and another print from Aimee.  The shelf also has my studio saint, one of the first pieces of artwork I had published (in Somerset Studio many years ago), a pin cushion, my button collection, and an hourglass.
This view of my bookcase is not particularly attractive in terms of photography, but gorgeous to me in the tidiness of the floor!  This space used to be absolutely covered in piles of papers, books, and just general STUFF.  It's too bad that I did not think to take "before" photos of the floor and my table, so that you could get the full effect.  Trust me, the transformation is pretty miraculous!
One things that helped was to bring in an extra set of shelves to tuck behind my door.  My girls got their "big girl" twin beds this weekend, so we had to move a dresser out of their room.  It turned into a game of "musical furniture."  My husband put the dresser into his office and moved out a bookcase.  I nabbed the bookcase and put it in my studio for extra storage space.  Some of the things that had crowded my table and floor can now be stored here, out of sight but not out of mind.

Now, if only my daughters will catch the tidying bug, and clean up their art-making space inside my studio!
Finally, I leave you with one of my top organizing tips.  Whenever you are trying to declutter and organize a space, the best thing you can do is to remove everything completely and put it somewhere else to go through.    If you are decluttering a drawer, take everything out, wipe out the drawer, and put back just the things that you want to store there.  Don't just open the drawer and try to take out the things that you think you should get rid of; it's too hard to decide when they are sitting there in their usual territory.  If you are decluttering a desk (as I did), take everything off the surface, wipe it down, and put back just the things that you want to keep there.  When I try to declutter by picking things out to put somewhere else, I am much less effective than when I clear it all off, see all of its tidy potential, and then make a conscious decision about what is worth putting back into the space.  Make sense?

I feel much more empowered now to tackle my unfinished projects and embark on some new pursuits!

If you didn't read my last post about Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, please go back and take a look at it; everyone should know about this truly magical place!


I'm now on Pinterest!  Yes, I finally gave in, and am thoroughly enjoying the process of building up my boards with things I have had bookmarked on my computer, or that I am finding on other people's boards.  Come by for a visit, and check out what I've pinned!


Art and Sand said...

I am in the process of creating a new creative space for me. I originally used an armoire, but when all the stuff was in it, there was no space to work. My husband gave me a corner of his art studio, but again not enough room on the table and my stuff was in 3 different locations. I am setting up on the garage work bench and it will be great. I am finding a place for everything instead of 3 locations and my back likes the height of the work bench. I am creating while I organize so I can follow your quote's message and create when I get an idea. I am so excited to have a total "me" space.

millicent said...

Great post!! I need to "spring clean" my art space too- it's a terrible mess. It's amzing how hard it is to let the creaive in...when there is no darn room for her. Enjoy your new SPACE.

froebelsternchen said...

all looks fantastic now... and it´s always an inspirational clean up too if artists do it...!


Unknown said...

I feel your pain. I have "cleared the decks" twice since my move to another city. Your blog inspires me to do it again. How does this happen? I am normally an organized person, but you cannot tell it by my "creative space"!

Karen Isaacson said...

I completely agree with your de-cluttering tip. Plus once I've pulled everything out of the space I'm committed to completing the job. Your studio looks great!

scrapwordsmom said...

GREAT job of decluttering!! I have to do this often as I am a very messy creative type:) Your worktable is awesome!! I really need something bigger for my table. I think that's my main problem!!!!

Patty said...

I didn't know about storing the markers on their sides. I enjoyed reading about your creative space. That's one of my most favorite reads!

Anonymous said...

Nice post with awesome pictures....i fully read your post and I loved it....thanks for sharing
 Deck flooring

Parabolic Muse said...

This is a good story to read. I love that card!! I had completely covered my work table and only had about 9 inches square to work in. I've since cleared it off, but I'm afraid I've lost track of my favorite collage materials. I should have taken a photo. No one would believe it.

Congrats on organization! It's a long process so don't stress!

Carin Winkelman said...

You put in a lot of work indeed! I'm in a decluttering and housecleaning frenzy myself, not so much my studio (although some things are being taken from there too), but more in general. It feels good to do this after having done nothing but taking in more and more stuff over the last years. Enjoy your decluttered workspace!

Naomi said...

I am inspired by your efforts too... I need to tackle my supply closet because every time I open the door, things fall out. It's a bit scary. :) Now you are all set for more of your fun creations!