It’s about this time every winter that the weather starts to wear on one’s nerves...regardless of where you live, you start itching for a change in seasons. Perhaps that’s why it feels so cathartic to clean up and organize...a hold-over from January to start off the new year with the best of intentions.
Along with everyone else, I’ve been inundated with Marie Kondo and finding joy (or not!) with my belongings. Top of my list of what needs to be cleaned and organized is my work studio...in the throes of creating, I can leave quite a trail of paper shreds and snippets.
Here’s three techniques that I’ve used that seem to work well for me – nothing new or exciting – but three things that, if used consistently, seem to keep the detritus in check.
One – Keep like things together all in one place.
Corralling everything together helps to know what you have and keeps stragglers to a minimum. With my recent cleaning, as I gathered like items together, I found that I had amassed more than one accidental collection! With everything grouped together, it was daunting to view how many date stamps and keyless locks I had...unless I am hit with inspiration for some massive assemblage art piece, I think I can hold off on picking up any more of these items at estate/yard sales. Keeping a mental inventory of what I already have is easier when it’s all in one place.
Two – Put things away in the same place when done using them.
Once I have gathered all like items together, always putting things away, IN THE SAME PLACE, is key. This ensures that the next time I want to find a wooden ruler, a measuring tape, a brass screw or a paintbrush, there’s only one place I need to look to find that particular item. I realize it’s tempting to just throw it on top of the desk or in a random drawer...but the next time I want to find/use it, I know exactly where to look and don’t have to waste time and generating frustration on where the damn thing is. More than once, I have purchased some item I needed in constructing an art piece...only to find what I needed hiding in forgotten corner of the studio...thus, a place for everything and everything in its place.
Third - Have a container for like things and half of your storage problem is solved.
Keeping everything contained helps immensely in keeping it organized and giving it a home. Plus once everything is contained, it’s easier to store on a shelf or tabletop as well as portable. There’s no surprise that there are entire stores and business devoted to storage containers. But the simplest of items can be used and it’s the perfect opportunity to recycle/upcycle the most common of items. Empty tin cans are perfect for hardware bits – smaller tuna cans for washers and brads, larger cans for nails and screws. Glass jars for buttons, needles, hooks and snaps. Orphan drinking glasses for pens, pencils, rulers, scissors, paintbrushes.
My favorite discovery for storage is the lowly cardboard pizza box...it’s perfect for organizing all those pieces of paper ephemera that easily take over my work space. The boxes help to keep everything flat and they easily stack to minimize storage space. I bought a case of 50 boxes online (yea, have a lot of paper scrap!) but my local restaurant supply store had them in stock if one only needed a few.
So there you have it - my pearls of organizing wisdom...as I mentioned, nothing earth shattering, but simple acts, that used consistently, make life a little easier. And with that said, I need to get back to my own organizing!