Four strategies for organizing

posted in: Studio/Organizing | 2
Studio cabinet 5 - before
Before
There’s something about organizing stuff that is very satisfying to me. I find that many times, when I have a creative project that I’m about ready to start working on, I procrastinate. But, if I spend some time organizing my workspace, I can approach my creative project in a much more relaxed manner. Weird, huh?

Now, I may be great at organizing stuff, but I’m lousy at keeping it that way. That’s because I pull out all the stuff I’m going to need on a project, I do the project, but then I don’t get around to putting it away until I’m ready to start the next project. It makes no sense.

Anyway, once again, I am facing the need to do something creative, so I started by organizing the cabinet in my studio that is mostly filled with ribbon, lace, embroidery floss, really old half-finished quilting projects, and other miscellaneous items that have absolutely nothing to do with the upcoming project. In other words, there was absolutely no reason for me to organize this cabinet!

Studio cabinet 5 - after
After

Are you someone who struggles with organizing? Here are four strategies that I like to use that may help you.

1. Choose your space. Depending on your personality, you may work better with an open system like bookshelves (my husband prefers open) or a closed system like a cabinet with doors (I prefer closed). My sweet husband wants to be able to see everything at once. I like having doors that I can close so I’m not overwhelmed by all the stuff. I also like the fact that it helps keep the dust off.

2. Choose your containers. If you have lots of medium to small items which you need to organize, choose a bunch of boxes or bins that fit well on your shelves. It helps immensely to have identical boxes or bins so they are interchangeable. Then you can shuffle the containers around as your needs change. Whenever possible, I prefer clear plastic boxes. In this case, however, I happened to have a bunch of cardboard, open-top bins left over from when I organized my cubbyholes, and they fit wonderfully in my cupboard, so I used those. Open top containers make it easy to grab just one or two items without having to fiddle with a lid. I also like the option of bringing the whole bin to my work table.

3. Group similar items together. For instance, I put all of the 1/8″ ribbon in one box and all of the 1/4″ ribbon in a different one. Lace went in several, elastic in another, and so on. Once all of the stuff was in a box, I was able to put them on the shelves in a logical order. Put the things you’re likely to use the most at eye level. The least used and the heaviest items get put on the bottom shelves.

4. Take time to label your containers so it will be easy to find stuff later. I’m still in the process of doing that for this cupboard. I love my label maker 🙂

Once you’re done, take time to enjoy it. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you’ll want to keep it that way.

2 Responses

  1. Nina-Marie

    I keep my stash on my third floor of my house – in a big dressing room on open shelving. Well my sewing hole is on the first floor – so that means I have to bring bins of fabric down and when the project is done – bring them back up! Every summer, I hire a teen to take hours to refold and reorganize and shelf away all that fabric that I don’t put back. This year my daughter was finally old enough to do it and she did a major overhaul. She did everything by color and value and separated out the commercials and the hand dyeds! Its heaven!! In 13 years she did the best of all the teens!

    • Maria

      Employing a teen to help is a great idea! When we moved to our current house about six years ago, I was working full time and we were completely rennovating the house we were moving into. It all added up to no time to pack up the old house. Our two daughters and their friends did all of the packing. The one who packed up my fabric started labeling the boxes stuff like “Fabric – Box 503 of 876.” She had a great sense of humor.