Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Studio & Organization Tips

Those who know me, know that I love to organize - to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. I must admit though, that many times I am so focused on the work that needs to be done that things hardly ever stay  pretty and get put back into their homes. That would be quite an amazing super-hero talent and I admire those who have it! Well, as Fall has been settling in, I definitely got bit by an organizing bug at the same time as discovering The Container Store! (Which, for any of you have been there, you know already how much trouble that means!)

So instead of just putting things back in their places, I decided to completely rethink what was working for me and what wasn't and use my creativity to brainstorm ideas on solutions that would work best. Since I put so much work into it, I thought I'd share what I discovered with you, in the hopes that it would help you figure out what you need most in your surroundings, as well as to inspire you to get organized - at whatever level that means for you.

So, to get started, I would suggest taking a piece of paper and writing down (single or multiple) answers to these questions with regards to your stuff, how you work, and organization:
1) What annoys you the most?
2) What do you always find yourself reaching for?
3) What are the main things that you use every day and week? 
4) What is on your desk that you don't use often?
5) Where are your piles accumulating?

For example, here are my answers to these questions, along with some thoughts on solutions:
1) What annoys you the most?  
That I don't have desk space to work on my current project. BUT I am juggling multiple projects at one time, and need immediate access to these items. That my printer runs out of paper and ink constantly and I'm getting into bins and drawers to get ink and paper. That the piles on my desk get in the way of putting paper in my printer. That there are piles of mini notes & post-its....
SOLUTION: Add a desk shelf so I can stack my projects & have easy access to them. Move my printer ink and paper into a more accessible location. Find something to put my mini notes & post-its in when I need a clear desk

2) What do you always find yourself reaching for?  
Printer ink, printer paper, art supplies, ribbon, Pantone books, personal stationery...
SOLUTION: Put these items closer and in easier to access drawers and containers

3) What are the main things that you use every day and week?
Ruler, memo pad, sketchbook, note book, desk calendar, client folders...
SOLUTION: Make sure these items are on my desk and at arms reach length

4) What is on your desk that you don't use often?  
Books, journal, receipt organizer...
SOLUTION: Move those items off my desk to free up real estate

5) What is in that junk pile that you keep?  
Royalty statements, important notes, printer paper samples...
SOLUTION: Find a way to organize these by importance. Also, allow myself to have a 'junk' section where I put things I need about once a month.

6) Where are your piles accumulating?  
On top of my printer, on the floor, on my drawing table, on top of my calendar that I need to always look at...
SOLUTION: Add a desk shelf to put these on! Spend 5 min at the end of each day putting things back in their places.

After many hours in the Container Store and Ikea, here are my actual solutions:
1) I added a shelf to my desk (GALANT series from Ikea) that I could stack all of my working projects on. This way they are easy to get to and allow me some desk space for working on another project. This has been SUCH a lifesaver!
2) My junk pile reorganized. I purchased these beauties from The Container Store. One shelf is devoted to royalty statements and the 2nd shelf is devoted to items of medium importance. Right next to that are these mini drawers that I put the post-its and mini notes in that have info on them that I still need and want.
3) I purchased this to keep track of the items I need to add to my Art Licensing Manager database
4) Mini mood boards I created, using these fabulous magnet/cork boards, to put behind my monitor, to offer visual stimulation when working
5) My client folders (using my new file folders with my art!)
6) Office supplies
7) Easily accessible printer ink and business cards
8) Pantone books
9) A mini organizer to keep important notes and information I need to access
11) Organizer that holds my sketchbooks and notebooks
12) These amazing sliding drawer bins that allow me to hide anything I don't want on my desk

Off to the left of my desk I re-organized quite a few things and purchased some items to make the area a little prettier.
1) Stacking Storage bin to hold my print inspiration tears
2) Stacking Storage bin to hold my color inspiration tears
3) Filing system to hold my organized print inspiration tears by type of print (graphic floral, painted/hand-drawn florals, geometrics, paisley, ethnic, medallions, damask, lace, texture.....)
4) Ikea flat files to store my drawing papers, hand-drawings, portfolio items, etc.
5) Matching magazine files to hold important magazines that I want to keep and don't want to tear from
6) Paper sorter with slide out trays to hold all the different types of papers I need to access for my printer, and other types of papers I need to access a lot.

Whew! As you can see, I spent a LOT of time re-organizing and finding solutions. Some of what I had was working before too, but I wanted to make things a little prettier (I am definitely an artist who likes to be surrounded by beauty!). I was definitely ready for a change too. I find that since my studio is quite small in comparison with the number of things I have in it, that I need to be quite organized or else my work environment will get frustrating and not be a pleasant place to work=not OK. I have found that it is SO MUCH EASIER now to pick-up my desk and studio because there is a place for everything that crosses my path. What used to take me time to think about where to put something, I am now saving it.

I admit, a lot of these solutions are kind of a no-brainer, but for me, it was actually taking the time to sit down and do something about it. I hope my organizing has inspired you to find out what you need to make your space more productive, or to introduce you to some fun new products out there that might be a solution for you! I'd love to hear what works best for you!

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