Spelunking in the Studio – Organizational Challenge Share

I've had it.  My studio is in a bad way, and it isn't getting any better.  I could break it down to the many roles I play - to justify it, and believe me I have.  I say things like:

"I'm an instructor, and so I get boxes of multiple items for a workshop and I have to keep them together – the shipping boxes are just something I have to live with."

"I'm a project designer, so I have to keep xyz company's stuff seperate so that I can use it for projects."

"I bought this thing, or that thing, or those thingamajigs, because it was such a great solution at the time.  How can I just get rid of it now?"

"I'm busy chasing the three short people around and I need to devote more time to their needs.  I'll work on my schtuff later."

"It looks like a mess, but I can find everything I need."

Oh, that last one is the worst justifier of all!  It's so easy to fall into that trap.

It's not that all these things are true to some extent…but the overarching truth is, I'm overwhelmed with all this schtuff and looking into my studio used to make me feel happy.  Now I want to find some kind of curtain rod to install so I can hide it from view.  We all need to have a source of personal joy – that used to be my studio.  It used to be my creative nirvana.  It is what makes me a happy person and allows me to fulfill all of my other roles well.

My husband gave me a 'gift of time' over the holidays, of two days to work on my studio.  I spent one entire day just getting the myriad of loose layouts into albums.  That was GREAT! 

The second day, I got an urgent last-minute assignment and I had to rush off to the company's warehouse to get product in order to make the project to mail off for an overnight delivery.  The assignment was completed and shipped away — but I didn't get the day back to organize…

I could lament my lost day, but the facts are far more simple than that — it's going to take a LOT of time to get this done.  I need to look at it in the same way I look at housework – 15-minute intervals, whenever I have that spare moment to work on it, and the big chunks of time will be presenting themselves along the way.

I posted my Facebook status last week:

"My studio is a creative shambles. I'm going in. Let the spelunking begin. Send help if you don't see signs of movement. :)"

And then I got frustrated and starting looking around the internet for something to help me organize my task.  It seems easy when you break it down to types of items – but I just got overwhelmed.  Then I found a blog called "My Love Affair with the Label Maker" and decided to use it as an index to my frustration.  It was a 29-week challenge that was posted in 2009, by a scrapbooker named Stacy who also has an interior design background.  It isn't a currently running challenge, but who cares!  I take this as perpetual and it's certainly still a viable means of kicking the clutter!  I would simply post the blog link, but it isn't a really organized blog, as far as the initial post doesn't link to the subsequent weeks.  Hey, she is organized, just not geeky-organized!  So I've broken down her weekly posts below with links.  I was doing this for myself, and I thought I would share the links with anyone else who could benefit from it.

While my studio covers every surface and media imaginable, I still think the categories that Stacey has posted will be a good general index to follow.  I don't have any photography negatives to store or die-cuts, for example, so I will probably be focusing on something more applicable to me, such as substrates in general, from microscope slide holders to canvases.   Many of you don't scrapbook at all, but I think we can all agree that scrapbookers and assemblage artists have TONS of schtuff at their disposal.  They have photos, you have rusty things.  Everything needs to be stored, organized and readily available for use.

The blog post is older, 2009 is kind of pre-electronic die-cutter craze, so I don't think she even mentions the Cricut, never mind it's siblings.  I have several friends that will be helping me get that particular section in order.  Daphne, Meghan, Laura and Tammy - be afraid.

She has a category of memoribilia which I would rename ephemera – but the organizational concepts are still pretty applicable.  But as I hit areas that she doesn't cover, I'll share any links, tips and tricks that I either find online or in my own journey to organization posts.

Here are the links.  Note again, that the portion below is essential a reblog, and not my original content.  I simply organized it for easier indexing:

ead this first.  Even though her challenges are posted in a weekly format, it doesn't mean you have to get something done in a week.

Week 1 – Space Audit
Immerse yourself in your space – what do you love? What annoys the daylights out of you?

Week 2 – Brainstorming
If the Scrap Fairy DID exist, what is your idea of the perfect space?

Week 3 – Clean Slate, Week 3 – Clean Slate BONUS for room OVERHAULERS 
Get out the boxes ladies, it's moving day!

Week 4 – Paper
We're all guilty on this one. I know my stash could wallpaper the White House.

Week 5 – Scraps
What to keep, what to toss, and where to store them.

Week 6 – Photos (print and digital)
Solutions for your most prized possessions.

Week 7 – Ideas
What to do with that 3' stack of layout ideas under your bed.

Week 8 – Projects, Incomplete Pages and Kits
I found a system to help you get these off your table and into your albums!

Week 9 – Embellishments
Containers galore!

Week 10 – Alphas
Stickers, chipboard and rub on storage.

Week 11 – Non-Alpha Stickers and Rub-ons
When a giant box just doesn't work anymore.

Week 12 – Ribbon, Thread and Fibers
My pretty little things!

Week 13 – Stamps
Know what you have and where they're located!

Week 14 – Crop Supplies
How to keep the sanity in your space when you're always on the go!

Week 15 – Ink, Ink Pads and Embossing
How to deal with these little things that take up so much room!

Week 16 – Paints and Glitter and Stickles
Oh my!

Week 17 – Punches
Not the boxing kind.

Week 18 – Tools and Adhesive
Keeping them handy

Week 19 – Chipboard (raw)
Sheets or die cuts, let's get them in place!

Week 20 – Die Cuts
By theme and by color

Week 21 – Pens and Pencils
The basics we can't live with and can't live without!

Week 22 – Dies for Die Cutting Machines
Quickutz, Sizzix, Cuttlebug, and more!

Week 23 – Templates
Plastic and metal

Week 24 – Memorabilia
How to store your glorious collection of ketchup packets for that layout you're going to do…someday….really!

Week 25 – Negatives
Yeah, we probably will never use these again, but they need to be stored safely!

Week 26 – New Items and Keeping it Neat
How to avoid re-taking this Challenge

Week 27 – Fonts
First step….stop downloading!

Week 28 – Cards and Card-Making Supplies
What DO you do with 300+ birthday cards?

Week 29 – Room and Space Decor
Time to make all your hard work look pretty!

So I'm just getting started.  I will be posting when I feel like I've made headway or had a breakthrough in an area or find another useful source of information.  It's an ongoing project.  I'm not going to commit to nightly or weekly posting — but I am committing to 15-minute slots of time to attack.

Who's with me?


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