Studio Reorganization Progress

September 17, 2008 at 11:20 pm 1 comment

There’s been some real progress in my studio reorganization project. And some mission creep, too.

My original intent when I moved here two years ago was to keep the home office out of the studio. I had it all planned out: art stuff goes in the studio, home office goes in the kitchen. I had the movers put my desk in the kitchen. I meant to put the computer on the desk, keeping it out of the studio entirely.

Things didn’t quite turn out how I’d envisioned. I use the computer a lot for my art, including processing reference photos, archiving photos of completed paintings, updating my web site, blogging, keeping track of art shows, accounting, updating my mailing list, and so on. The computer quickly migrated into the studio. Some, but not all, of my home-office stuff followed. Envelopes and stamps were still in the kitchen, but the checkbook was in my studio. Paying bills, printing photos, mailing applications to shows, and numerous other everyday tasks involved running back and forth between the studio at one end of the house and the kitchen at the other. How ridiculous!

So, with help, I’ve finally moved the desk into the studio, where it should have been all along. I finally have desk drawers for office supplies! I also moved a tall bookcase and my paper storage “tower” into the studio. The stamps and envelopes now have a good home right by the desk, along with other frequently-used items.

What is my paper storage tower? It’s this:

The “tower” is two laminate shelving units stacked on top of each other, with extra shelves added to make more slots. I made it years ago to hold all my different kinds of paper: lined paper, tracing paper, colored paper, printer paper, envelopes, labels, folders, sheet protectors, slide sheets, etc. Paper is best stored flat, so the tower was very handy for that.

Over the years it got full. Too full. In order to move it from the kitchen to the studio, I had to empty it out. That gave me the opportunity to re-sort its contents. After two years of running to the kitchen for envelopes, stamps, lined paper, blank notecards, labels, etc, I know EXACTLY which things I use most often. Those things get to stay in the tower, and the rest can go elsewhere.

This highlights the biggest organizational breakthrough for me. This whole home-office-slash-studio reorganization project is based on the simple idea that the things that get used the most need to be kept close by, and things that don’t get used very often are stored farther away. I know, it sounds stupidly simple, but it’s taken me a long time to realize what a powerful concept this is. The whole studio reorganization is based on this concept. Blank canvases, which I need often, will be kept handy. Printer paper is stored right by the printer. Envelopes and stamps are next to the desk. Art tools that I hardly ever use will go to the back of the closet. Books I reference frequently get to stay in the studio. Books I hardly ever use will go elsewhere.

But this means there are things coming out of the studio that need to be stored somewhere else in my home. Ah, there’s the rub. There’s a lot of stuff in the way of that happening. Which has precipitated a cascade of reorganizing and decluttering all over the house.

When I moved here I didn’t know exactly what I would use, so I brought a little more than I really needed. A few extra pieces of furniture, a few extra pillows and blankets, a little more clothing, and so on. With no attic and no basement, the extra stuff all ended up stuffed in closets and the garage. Especially the garage.

The garage is getting full. There’s a lot of stuff out there that I haven’t used since I moved here. At this point it’s obvious that it can go. If I haven’t used it in two years, I probably don’t need it! How to get rid of it all? A garage sale!

So I’m having a garage sale. You can actually make a little money from a garage sale, if you have enough stuff and price it low enough to actually sell most of it. I’ve done this a couple times before, and it’s a LOT of work, but it’s so worth it! I’m very excited about it.

Mission creep: the project has grown from a (not very) simple studio reorganization to a whole-house purge and garage sale. Yikes!

It’ll be worth it. I keep telling myself that.

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Entry filed under: Materials, Organization, Studio.

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1 Comment


Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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