Right about now, when the weather is getting warmer and the seeds have grown into shoots popping out of the soil, is a great time to do some spring cleaning and create a fresh working slate. For me this means going through my closets and drawers and moving my winter clothes to big Rubbermaid containers while pulling out all my spring and summer clothes for an inventory. I make sure I’ve got enough white t-shirts, a bathing suit that fits and that my shorts and capris aren’t worn out. Then I can assemble outfits and fill in the blanks with a few fun shopping trips.
The same goes for my art studio. This is a great time to clean out all the drawers, boxes, bags and closets filled to the brim with art supplies and to organize them so they’re easy to find and there when you need them. I can’t tell you how many times I come upon some piece of decorative paper or a stamp or a paint color…long after I’ve completed a piece that it would have worked perfectly in. But I never would have found it underneath the hundreds of other supplies in those drawers.
So what’s the best way to organize? These are the tips that I myself have been using to bring some well-needed order to my studio and art supplies. Give them a try and I promise you’ll feel a whole lot better starting the new season and starting a new art project.
1. Take inventory: Now this might sound drastic but I have done this it and worked wonders for me. Lay out every supply–every sticker, stamp, paint tube, paper, glue stick, ribbon, etc.–on the floor. Depending on how much stuff you actually have, this can be done in waves, i.e. everything from one dresser, everything in a particular box, etc. This allows you to actually see all that you have. It can be both overwhelming and also eye-opening. But there’s an extra added incentive to clean up faster when your entire floor is covered in supplies 🙂
2. Purge: Inevitably, scraps of unusable paper and dried up pens and paint tubes end up in your pile. So get rid of anything you see that you know cannot or will not be used. This includes items that you just don’t really like as much as you used to. You might say, “Well, I spent a lot of money on that BeDazzler! I can’t get rid of it!” While I understand that, it doesn’t make sense to hold onto something you’re not going to use or enjoy when someone else can be having fun with it. So ask yourself the important questions when purging–Do I love this? Is it beautiful? Does it make me happy? Is it useful? Or do I feel like I need to keep it out of guilt or sentimentality? If it doesn’t make your life easier or more joyful, the answer is no. Toss it or donate it.
3. Organize: Before you put any of your keepers back from whence they came, ask yourself how often you use these items. Do they need to be in an easy-to-access place like a shelf or on a rolling cart? Or is this item something you only use at holiday times? Then maybe it can go in a labeled box or in a bottom drawer. Assess if you will need new storage containers to accommodate these observations and treat yourself to some new ones. Should your decorative papers be stored according to color instead of in just one big pile? Then consider stackable bins that allow you to separate like colors while keeping everything organized.
4. Install: Now it’s time to put everything you’re keeping back into your storage containers, drawers, rolling carts, etc. Make sure that everything you have goes into its own particular place that makes sense and is easy to find for you while working. For example, where would you go to find a glue stick? A favorite stamp? Rhinestones? A vintage map? Everything should be in a place that makes sense for your needs.
Now stand back and reap the rewards of your hard work! A little planning goes a long way for Spring cleaning. Enjoy the season and your new clean space.