Organizing Creative Spaces

Organizing Creative Spaces

I always joke around that if I ever wrote a memoir, it would be called "Sorting Fasteners" because as a child I spent a lot of time in my pop's shop separating button heads from flat heads, and then 1/4-20s from 10-32s, and then 1/2" from 3/4" and so on. I didn't know it at the time but it was probably a bit meditative for my anxious little brain. I've always loved organizing but as a creative person, it's very easy for me to get monstrously disorganized in the thick of a project. Here are some tricks I've learned along the way that might help you get and stay organized in your creative space.

 

There's a Place for Everything  ...and everything should be in its place. If you haven't made a home for a tool or supply, the next time you need it, you're going to find it in some random drawer in your kitchen after furiously hunting for it for an hour and forty-seven minutes (true story). Create reliable spaces for things, get into the habit of always putting them in that spot. It will save you so much time and energy. 

 

Have Eyes on Your Supplies - Make as many items as you can visible in your creative space. This may sound a little visually overstimulating but it's so helpful. If your supplies are out (like fabric in your sewing room or art supplies in your studio) you're more likely to be inspired by them, you're less likely to buy the same tool four times because you didn't remember you already had it, and your workflow will be more seamless when you can easily access tools and supplies as you're working because they're right in front of your creative little face.  

 

Make it an Activity Not A Chore - Instead of feeling daunted by getting a handle on your cluttered creative space, the next time you're re-watching Mad Men on Netflix (to check in on how dreamy Joan Holloway is) or gabbing on the phone with one of your best buds, grab your pile of yarn and start organizing it or start sorting your drill bits. You don't have to reserve a whole weekend for a massive reorganization project - you can chip away at it as you find things that might need to be better organized.  

 

Organize Progressively - If you're not naturally organized, this is key, and if you are, this is bliss. Start by prioritizing your creative tools and supplies from the most important or most often used to the least important or least often used. Organize the most important things into big categories like "fabric" and "thread." Once you gather everything in your space that falls into those categories, think of sub categories that work for you. For fabric it might be wool, felt, and cotton. Only organize to the level of specificity that suits you. If you don't need to distinguish dark blue, houndstooth, wool blend, 60" wide fabric, then it's a waste of your time to narrow your categories to that degree. Maybe start wide and as you work on projects, you may find that some things to be more organized and some might need to be less organized. 

 

You Can't Organize Everything - Sadly, as much as my OCD brain fights this, it's true. Make space for groups of things. You may want to keep your small fabric scraps in a bucket because if you're spending all your free time folding tiny pieces of fabric, you might have some other stuff going on. You might want to have places to put broader categories of things like "cutting tools" or "broken jewelry." Or it could be helpful for you to have a buckets for when you've just finished a project labeled things like "Fasteners to Sort Later" so that you have a way to clean your space but you don't have the time or energy after your creative output to switch gears into organizing. 

Do you have ideas for organizing your creative space? I'd love to hear what they are. 

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