I have a dirty, little secret… my studio is a MESS!
I try to keep it organized but once I get going on a project it just sort of snowballs. What was once a nice, organized studio, looks like a rampant rhinoceros ran through. Take a look.
Don’t run away with the idea that my studio is often organized and then gets this way, the majority of the time, this is how it looks and I want to change that. I’m certainly not the person to be doling out organizational advice but I’m sure I’m not alone in this struggle and a few tips are always helpful.
So here are a few I’ve been trying out.
1. Have a place for EVERYTHING.
I read this somewhere a little while ago and it stuck with me. Everything in your studio needs a spot, otherwise you end up with clutter. When everything has a place it not only makes it easier to clean up but it cuts down on the time it takes to clean up. If you don’t have a place for things, when you do find 15 minutes to clean up you’re likely to end up spending those 15 minutes trying to decide where to put things away. NOT the best use of your time and we know TIME is oh so precious!
2. WORK STATIONS are your best friend!
The way your studio is arranged makes a big impact on your productivity. I don’t know about you, but I’m easily distracted, not just by my kids, but an email coming in, a text ding, a passing car… Minimize this type of productivity killer by creating work stations. I’ve found that having a designated area to work on a task really helps me not only be more productive but to stay on task. I’m not easily distracted by having to step away to find a tool or material I have buried somewhere else. Everything I’m going to need for that task is at hand and that makes me work faster and better.
Here are a few of my Work Stations:
This is where I print. I ordered this table from Tyler Kingston Wood Co. on Etsy and had it made to my specifications, it was amazing! My husband bolted the press down and I keep all my ink, type and furniture right underneath. Next to the press is the roller wash and the rags I use to clean the rollers and the ink disc.
This is where I prep all my paper to print and where I cut it down after printing as well. I have two cutters that I use and I keep them right next to each other and store paper right underneath so I can grab it quickly. I also keep a trash can right underneath both cutters so I can get rid of the scraps right away.
Here is where I keep all my binding equipment. It’s so much easier to finish a notebook when all the tools I need are together in one spot. I finish up much quicker than I used to.
For finishing my cards I have several different areas that I use. This first photo shows the area where I score and fold the cards.
This second area is where I put fresh prints. I don’t like to interrupt the flow when I’m printing so I set up these little trays to hold the items that are ready to be packaged on the top and the items that need another color on the bottom. Before I did this, things would get lost in the clutter sometimes and I wasted so much time just trying to find things and organize myself. These trays have been a great addition to my workflow.
Packaging and Photo Stations
These aren’t the places where I actually package or photograph my cards rather the places where I keep the tools to do so. Even though I don’t I don’t necessarily do these tasks in that physical spot, keeping the tools I need in the same place has helped to minimize the time I used to spend looking for things. When I package now I’m usually in the same spot and I know where all the stuff I need is and I can grab it quickly and put it back quickly.
3. Fifteen minutes at the end of your project can cut down on your clean up time at the end of the day.
I can attest to the fact that this works. The times when I make it a point to clean up after a project right away, my studio will generally stay cleaner. The problem is, with everything that’s usually going on, it’s hard to put this into practice. Personally, I think it’s a matter of making it into a habit and possibly including clean up time at the end of the project when we set to work. It may sound weird, but if I have thought about cleaning up after the project ahead of time I’m more likely to follow through. If I don’t, I’m very likely to just move right on to the next thing.
4. Put things away RIGHT AFTER you finish using them.
Admittedly, I’m HORRIBLE at this. I’m in the moment, making something and I don’t have the time to stop and put every little thing away as I finish with it, it interrupts my flow and who wants that? However, I have found this is MUCH easier to implement if you start using WORK STATIONS (see #2). It’s so much easier to put things away when cleaning up doesn’t require you to move all around the room. If everything has its spot and it’s at arm’s length, you’re more likely to get into this habit quickly and just this little habit helps BIG TIME!
If my husband knew I was writing this post he’d laugh in my face!
5. Set aside some time to work on BIGGER clean ups.
Let’s be honest, you can’t work and clean at the same time, it just doesn’t work. You can’t be in the moment when you’re creating if you’re constantly stopping to rearrange your studio and clean it all up. The best answer I’ve found? Leave the bigger clean up jobs for a designated time (on a weekend or slow night) and you’re more likely to organize your studio well because that’s what you’re concentrating on.
When all is said and done, cleaning up is about creating the habit to do it.
Other than a few OCD people I know (my husband included), I don’t think it’s natural to want to stop what you’re doing to clean up. However, I do like a clean studio. It not only looks better but I feel better in it. I don’t like it when my studio gets the way you see it in the photos above. Unfortunately, it looks like that the majority of the time and I’m striving to change that.
So how is your studio? Do you struggle with clean up or are you a clean freak like my husband? If you are, give us your tips, we need them! If you’re not, what small things do you do to try to maintain some level of order?