For entirely too long, my creative space was an epic disaster. There was stuff thrown literally everywhere. And despite my best efforts, things were just getting worse.
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I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about organizing. And yet I still couldn’t figure it out. Let’s face it, though. When all I was doing was rearranging and reorganizing, I had very little time to actually make stuff. And I kept thinking to myself why is this so difficult?
Fast forward a few years and guess what? Cristi – 1, Creative Space – 0. Yep, I won! I went through every single thing I owned, sorted and purged, and basically started from scratch. How did I manage to survive what seriously seemed like a never-ending process?
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Of course I started with a plan. You can see my step-by-step planning process + get all the free printables I used to put together an awesome creative space here. And when I had a plan, I broke things up into manageable categories, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.
Are you overwhelmed by your creative space… or any space, for that matter? Check out these three secrets for organizing your creative space when you don’t know where to start because, contrary to what a lot of people think, you definitely can have your cake and eat it too. You don’t have to choose between being creative and being organized.
If you have a lot of space
Empty out your entire creative space, lay out your workspaces, and bring things back in one at a time. By doing it this way, you’re essentially starting with a blank canvas. Sure, it takes time and space, but the end result is awesome. And it totally isn’t as overwhelming when you’re looking at only a few things at a time. Make sure to sort and purge as you’re bringing things back into your workspace and don’t forget to use this opportunity to rearrange if you’re starting over.
Depending upon how much stuff you have, you might be able to manage this within a day or two. I try for approximately twice a year to give my space a thorough deep-cleaning and it takes me a weekend to empty the entire studio and put everything back again. I also wipe down the walls, scrub the floors, touch up paint if necessary, and clean all the windows. It’s definitely doable.
If you have some space, but not a lot
Put several boxes in the middle of your workspace. Label each of them by category. Of course, don’t forget to sort and purge as you work. When you find things that are nowhere near where they should be, put them in the appropriate box and keep going. The fact that you’re not running things here, there, and everywhere helps you organize more quickly as well as keeps you focused on what you’re actually doing. You could even set a timer and only work in 15-minute increments.
You want to create boxes for things to give away and things to toss, but you can also use the boxes to sort mixed media & art journaling supplies or sewing & quilting supplies. Maybe it makes sense for you do this with just about everything in your creative space and then go through each box and sort stuff into more specific categories. Once you’ve managed that much, give yourself a pat on the back and go shopping for containers. Remember, you’ll need space to grow too.
If you have no extra space
Grab a few old sheets or lightweight blankets and cover all but one of your workspaces. Focus your efforts there. Sort and purge. Toss everything that doesn’t belong in a basket or bin for the time-being. Once you’re finished, keep going. Eventually, you’ll be able to see your entire creative space again. And hopefully, it won’t be anywhere near as overwhelming. As far as the overflow, you can put it around-about where it belongs, but stick to organizing one space at a time.
This works to eliminate the overwhelm that comes with too much visual clutter. Some of us are just more sensitive than others. If you’re in need of some motivation, try starting with the workspace that’s the worst. Once you’ve conquered that, everything else should be easy. Getting the hardest part of it out of the way first will definitely give you the motivation to keep going. After all, making progress keeps you motivated and gives you a reason to keep going. And that’s an accomplishment in and of itself, right?
You can totally do this! Don’t let yourself forget that. Sometimes we get so caught up in the logistics that we lose perspective. Organizing is one of the few times in life when we actually get a do-over. If it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped, try again. If you’re not happy with something, change it.
Do you have a secret for organizing your creative space when you don’t know where to start? Leave a comment and share.
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