Reorganizing Your Studio

5 large-scale reorganization tips for that studio clean-up you’ve been avoiding!

OK, I know that is a SCARY topic, but…

Have you ever decided to do one small studio clean-up task only to have it morph into a full-blown room make-over? You probably have. Cleaning out the one closet of supplies leads to swapping out the bookshelf which leads to new storage bins which leads to…well, you get the picture!

My weekend project was to reorganize my desk (my DESK only!) to accommodate a “permanent” video conferencing set-up. Simple enough – one desk clean-up! Nope! That task led to moving the desk which led to a whole studio reorganization to try and make better use of the space; a place to paint, collage, and let it dry; a place for surface pattern design (computer, Wacom tablet, dual monitor); a place that stays set up for video conferencing and filming my online course (you know…proper lighting, clean background, and presentable for the “public.” ACCKKK!)

I confess I have been slacking in some areas because it was just too hard to set up for one thing, tear down so I could go to another, and then set back up again.

You can stop laughing now. I’m sure you’ve experienced this.

To “clean up” I ended up making a bigger mess! A MUCH bigger mess! Yep! That’s where I’ve been all weekend but it’s finally coming together. I reorganized the furniture, swapped a few things out, and downsized…a lot!

Note to self…if I don’t reorganize occasionally, I never realize how many doubles I have, how many repeat supplies I have, and how much extra junk I’ve accumulated that I may never use! LOL You almost have to pretend you’re moving!

I’m a collage artist so I never throw anything out! Ya never know when it might come in handy! And therein lies the problem!

Now that I’m almost finished, I recognized a few large-scale tips that were helpful in finding a place for all the “important” stuff!

I’ll share them with you. I hope they inspire you to take on that studio reorg…ya know, that one colossal thing you’ve been avoiding…

Once I realized this was going to be a bigger task than I had originally planned, I pulled back and did a little pre-planning:

  • I made a scale drawing of my studio space before I moved anything. I measured the room, the furniture, the shelving, the chairs, everything. That allowed me to place things around the space before moving anything. In general, I knew before I started where everything would go. You can use a computer or graph paper. This pre-planning activity has saved my back several times. I know in advance what could stay and what needed to go. When it was all done, only minor adjustments where necessary.
  • It’s important to be OK with the initial “bigger mess” so I planned for it. Acceptance is the name of the game! I opened space in the dining room and spare bedrooms to spread out, sort, and get a good view of what I have. The great thing about designating the extra room is that I could shut the door at night. It can be hard to look at the upheaval and still stay focused. Compartmentalizing helps. Take it one section at a time. It’s a little bit like Tetris. I tackled only a quarter of the room at a time.
  • I did an inventory of the house for storage containers, tables, or other things that I already had to help organize and sort before I brought the “stuff” back into the studio. I knew ahead of time what tables I wanted to swap out and what storage containers I had at my disposal for sorting and storing. I also had plenty of cardboard boxes for things I no longer wanted.
  • I had a plan for the extras. I already called to have a “donation” pick up on Wednesday of this week. Now I know they are counting on me to have things ready, and that’s a catalyst to keep going, and it helps with the decision making. I know it will leave soon, so I don’t have to worry about where I might put things until I decide what to do with it. It’ll leave Wednesday…so put it out front!
  • Finally, I scoped out the house and made sure I had everything I needed to keep going. Plenty of water, Gatorade, lunch already planned, a good podcast or playlist, trash bags, and plenty of vacuum bags! LOL Whatever makes it more tolerable. Notice I didn’t say pleasurable…..

I value my time in the studio and want to be able to find what I need quickly. I also want to be able to put my supplies back quickly so I can move on to the next project. More importantly though, I want to enjoy being in the space, so I want it to look inviting, organized, and functional.

Reorganizing your studio is a daunting task. But sometimes, it must be done. Your workflow may have changed, or you may have added another activity to your repertoire. Cleaning up is one of those “backstage” activities that doesn’t directly contribute to “creating” but is effective in making long range success possible.

My favorite of these tips is the scale drawing of the space to preplan the layout. What’s your number one large-scale studio organization tip? Tell us in the comments below.

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