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Especially For Creatives - Part 2

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

You were right! It was difficult to clarify my artistic goals , but it made the de-cluttering process easier. It took much longer to clear out the studio than I ever could have imagined. (And yes, I had to ban the word: SOMEDAY from my thinking. ) Now I am ready to create a functional space in which to pursue my work. Lead on.


Clutter Convert

Dear CC:

Many art studios and craft rooms have not been designed for specific use. Gradually, the space becomes less functional over time. If you are de-cluttering in order to gain control over the chaos in your studio and plan to continue working in the space, now is the time to look at the design of the space and its furnishings in terms of the goals you outlined in Step 1.

As a Creative, Step 3 is the time to use all your gifts: space management, aesthetics, visual acumen and problem solving.

STEP 3: Create a de-cluttered space.

At the end of Steps 1 and 2, there are items in boxes marked Retain or Distribute. Immovable larger items are labeled similarly.

What to do with the Items to Distribute:

Items in the distribute boxes often fall into two categories:

  • Return to someone or someplace i.e. the library, another artist, a client


  • Give/sell to someone.

Take care of those items immediately. More space will “appear” in the studio. Don’t agonize – just do it and let the guilt go if the item was unearthed after years of being ‘lost’ or pay the overdue fines anonymously. Give away anything you can (www.freecycle.com) Sell items on Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) Use the “found” money for a dinner out or donate to your favorite charity.

What to Do with the Items to Retain

Before you can arrange all the items you retained, you must first create a plan for the physical space. First, analyze the processes you use to make art. Use 3x5 cards to create a step by step “work” flow. List all materials and tools you need for each step.

This work flow analysis will help you determine what you use on a regular basis and what kind of workspace is needed at that step.

You may then need to establish several “work stations” rather than one workspace.

Next, review again the items you retained to be sure they are critical to the creation of your work. Examine your storage systems: shelves, cupboards, boxes, etc. Because you have discarded items, there may now be adequate space for the storage of all materials. Items that are used frequently or consumed rapidly should be within easy reach and visible. Less frequently used materials can be stored away from your primary workspace.

If you need still need additional storage, make, purchase, or borrow the furnishings you need to make the physical space uncluttered and organized.

Hazardous materials should be kept in a locked cabinet for safety.

Take time to admire your re-designed space, take a photo and post it. Maintaining the space is part of making your art and will be easier if you follow some basic tenets that you learned in kindergarten:

  • Create a home for everything. (Label it if necessary.)
  • If you take it out, put it back.
  • Allow time to clean up when you are done “playing.”

Your goal is to keep your environment clear of chaos and clear for creativity. You will tackle the paper in For Creatives – Part 3.