Many of my clients are stuck in the muck of their scrap booking projects. Scrapbook inertia is a common phenomenon. It often comes from wanting to make your pages perfect or simply not knowing where to begin.
Perhaps you can’t figure out how to (more…)
Situation: A watercolor artist and instructor needed to get his art supplies organized. He is planning to move to a retirement community in about 5 years and doesn’t want to be overloaded with extra stuff he doesn’t need or won’t be able to fit in his new home. He decided to seize the moment and take advantage of the free time he has now so he won’t have to worry about it when it comes time to move. He knew he could benefit from hiring a professional organizer to help downsize because he found it hard to make decisions on his own about what to let go of.
Challenge: This artist had supplies scattered all around his studio, on his work bench, easel, and shelves. The supplies were not grouped together or organized. Because his work area was so cluttered, he had trouble thinking clearly and staying on task. His easel was so overloaded that he was using a second portable easel in front of his main easel so that he could actually paint. His workbench was completely covered and did not have the recommended 60% of his work surface open. He also had a shelf off to one side that was full of miscellaneous supplies.
Solution: We pulled out all of his art supplies and grouped like items together. We found that he had multiples of things- 10 packs of watercolor paint, extra brushes, palettes, etc. He kept what he wanted and then filled 3 bags of extra supplies that he will donate to his students.
The supplies he decided to keep were containerized and given new homes. He has a great cabinet for art supplies and his easel has shelves and drawers built in that were not being utilized. We organized his paperwork and painting examples for his classes and stored them in one of these drawers so he can easily find what he needs when he is preparing his lessons. The drawers are also used for paints, tools, paintbrushes, and palettes.
While we sorted through his art supplies, we found his wife’s gift wrapping supplies mixed in. She organized her gift supplies and separated them from his art supplies while we worked.
We also separated completed and incomplete artwork and set aside some of the completed work to be displayed in an art show. We are working on setting up a local art show at a bakery, which is something he has always dreamed of.
He is a retired dentist who then became an artist and then an art instructor. One of my specializations is working with artists (and I find many of them used to be dentists, which is interesting!) Artistic, creative, talented people are one of my favorite kinds of clients to work with.
When we were finished, the client said that organizing goes way beyond just the items being organized. It’s more about having open space to feel clear and have room to find inspiration and be more creative. He feels like he is going to be a better instructor, be able to make better paintings, and he will definitely feel more inspired with this newfound space.
Situation: A very talented artist was downsizing and getting ready to move. She needed to reduce her collection of artwork and supplies to keep it organized and functional in her new home.
Challenge: Because the client works in many different mediums, she had a lot of paper and art supplies that she had collected for her various projects. She also had a very large collection of artwork in her portfolios; some that she had created and some by other artists.
Solution: We pared down her paper collection. Six bins of paper was narrowed down to two bins plus one for under-bed storage. One bin holds white paper, one bin holds colored paper, and one bin holds materials for collage work. She donated three bins of paper to an art teacher at the private school where she works. We put oversized paper in a container so the movers could easily move it without damaging it. We went through her three portfolios and took out duplicates, pieces that she did not feel were good enough to show to clients, and pieces she will sell. We managed to get all of her work and other artists’ work in one portfolio. We also separated out unfinished projects into a separate portfolio to keep them in one place when she is ready to tackle them. Now she has a lot less muck to move, and finding what she needs in her new home will be a breeze!
This room needed to function as a laundry room, crafts and storage area as well as the production area for a home-based business. Although the home is beautiful, it is small craftsman built back when closets and all rooms were very small.
My client has a popular line of gorgeous baby accessories including burp towels and bibs but does not have a lot of room to create and sew as the orders come in.
We divided and conquered this room by first determining which activities were most important within this space. After deciding that the home-based business needed as much space as possible, we re-contained and moved every unrelated item up and off the counter and into the side cabinets. We decided which shelves should hold which craft based on the frequency they were needed. The more frequent gift wrapping and card-making supplies were stored in the shelves at eye level.
Once the counter was clear, we were able to sort and organize all fabrics and place them within the sewing zone to the right and under the counter.
As you can see in the photo below, we still have an area for miscellaneous projects and tools in the side cabinet.
The one thing I love about craftsman cottages is that once you can organize and look beyond their small size, they often have exceptional built-in storage areas!
Situation: Even with many storage containers, the crafts supplies were still out of control and taking over their designated space within the home office.
Challenge: The room was used as a crafts room and also a home office. When I was called in, there was not room to do crafts and barely any space to access the desk.
Solution: I rearranged the crafts area and the furniture so that all cabinets and supplies were moved into the corner. We donated the extra rolling carts and stowed the useful remaining rolling carts under the table. This opened up the table area for actual crafting and made it easier to get motivated and actually create scrap book pages.
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This client wanted to continue to renovate her home and also pursue her hobbies to unwind after work. She loved to make crafts and matte pictures but her ‘supposed crafts’ room had lost it’s purpose.
The remaining crafts, books and office supplies that needed to stay in this room were categorized, containerized and labeled. We installed two bookshelves inside the closet to work as a storage haven for supplies, books and photo albums.
Another client was getting rid of a great crafts table that she no longer had the space for but didn’t want to give it to a stranger because it was such a nice piece of furniture. When I suggested that we re purpose it for one of my new clients, it was a win-win. Now this client has a beautiful and inspiring place to pursue her hobbies.
Now this room has everything! A library, home office, crafts studio and even a treadmill for exercise.
*Note: These photos do not represent the actual finished project. After the room became completely functional, my client decided to donate her old desk and install a custom L desk to add more horizontal work area and file drawers. It turned out quite well and this room is now optimized to it’s fullest potential!
What Our Client Said:
“Clutter has prevented me from getting my home improvements done. I was stopped from redecorating and painting because I couldn’t get into the rooms and the workers couldn’t either until the piles were gone. Now I can walk around without falling over things and it is much more peaceful. I am also really motivated to get started on the projects that until now have been on hold.”
M. Stewart San Marcos