Have you noticed that during this pandemic, many people have turned to crafting to soothe the soul and alleviate boredom?
I love this trend, as I've always been an avid crafter, trying just about everything from millinery (my former profession) to tatting.
My current focus is on making face masks. It's gratifying to make a few each day and to see people help themselves from the bag at my front door.
In addition to my mask factory, I've also been knitting, making things with my daughters, and playing with ideas for retrimming some summer hats. With all this activity, my craft studio is a mess!
Yes, you heard me right: a mess. But I'm a professional organizer! Isn't every corner of my house supposed to be magazine-perfect all the time? Um, no.
We often confuse "tidy" with "organized," but they are not synonyms. In fact, when people remarked to my fellow professional organizer, Cynthia Smith of Your House in Order, that her house must be so neat, she's ready with a reply. "No," she says, "It is very organized. Things have homes, and I can find what I need easily. It is not always neat, but it is always organized."
Messy is a temporary state caused by a work-in-progress. If the space is also disorganized, then tidying up will be a huge project, and the mess becomes chronic. If, however, the underlying space is organized, then it can be made neat again in a matter of minutes.
The creative process is naturally messy, as we gather materials, see what sparks inspiration, and build our product. According to an article in Psychology Today, being messy actually aids creativity.
Don't tamp down that exuberance by requiring constant tidiness!
Instead, use my three keys to create a flexible workspace that allows for creativity with an organized substructure.
1. STUFF OUT OR STUFF IN?
First, figure out if you are a Stuff Out or a Stuff In person.
You’re Stuff Out if you...
Stuff Out solutions include open shelves, clear bins, tools hung on the wall, and display space for completed pieces that will inspire new creations.
You’re Stuff In if you...
Stuff In solutions include drawers, cabinets, and baskets or trays to hold works-in-progress so you can move them off your work surface to start a new project.
2. DESIGNATE ZONES
Zones, defined areas for different activities or types of items, are the next key to organization. Grouping different item types together instead of stashing things in every corner of the room.
In my studio, I have a large, counter-height tabletop on a double chest of drawers as my main work zone. Everything I need for laying out patterns, designing hats, and planning knitting projects is stored in these drawers. Other zones are for books, fabric, bead work, hat blocking, and machine sewing.
3. STORAGE: AMPLE BUT NOT VAST
In the mess of creativity, you pull things out and play with ideas. You store bits for just the right project and accumulate new supplies too, so make sure you have ample space to accommodate it all.
Remember my 75% rule: Once a space is 75% full, consider it filled. This will give you enough elbow room to get things out and put them away without a struggle, plus you’ll have a little room to add new things.
But ample doesn’t mean rummaging through vast bins every time you need something. Picture things laid out on a tray -- so easy to see everything, right? Use that idea to select shallow drawers and divided bins so you can sort your supplies to find what you need easily.
Now that you know what it takes to organize your craft space, go get creative and MAKE A MESS!
What are you making these days?