Thursday, September 27, 2012

Organizing a Creative Space

As you may know from personal experience, creating art and crafts requires quite a bit of stuff. Even folks like me who get a little crazy when we have too many things might find ourselves with an abundance of basic art supplies to keep in order.

I have managed to fit most of my arts, craft, and office supplies into 24 square feet. (It's the New Yorker in me!) Here are some photos illustrating how I've organized my creative workspace.

A lot of my craft things are stored inside and on a $15 IKEA bookcase. I keep all my crafting books a single the shelf.  On the shelf below, in a little "dresser" (behind the yellow bird bank), I store tiny random ephemera like buttons and shells. On the same shelf, embroidery thread is stored in two mason jars. I keep a pin cushion stocked with needles and pins nestled in the mouth of one of the jars. I have one pencil holder for colored pencils, another for markers and scissors.

No creative space is complete without a lucky cat!
One level lower, I've used a huge tub of Modge Podge and a glass candle holder chock full of brushes as bookends. On the fourth shelf, I store oversized tubs of paint and gesso along with glue atop an tin full of ribbons. (I'm actually looking for a happier storage space for the tubs since they're a pain to move when I need ribbon.) On the bottom shelf, I store Martha Stewart magazines in holders next to a box of thread and a box of jewelry tools and tissue paper.

Boxes and magazine holders from IKEA. Mel Gibson is a constant inspiration.
I use labeled boxes and a fun 70s suitcase stored on top of the bookcase to organize even more craft goodies. The suitcase contains a Caboodle full of old jewelry, sequins, and googly eyes. Also there is a half completed needlework project I found in a free box a few years ago thinking I'd complete it. (Maybe that needs to go in the trash. LOL!)

These are paperboard boxes from IKEA. Not the sturdiest things but they've survived three moves.
Next to the bookcase is my #likeaboss station. It's just a cheapo plastic container with drawers. On top is a desk organizer that holds my brilliant ideas notebook, scratch pad, a folder for dreams needing to be realized and those in action, and the book I'm currently reading. I also have memos for important accounts there. You know, businessy stuff.

Next to the #likeaboss station is my paper recycling bin that sometimes doubles as a cat bed. You might recognize it as a re-used Amazon box.
I use the inside to hold office supplies (paper, writing pens, tape, stamps, thank you cards, etc). When I first organized this, I labeled the drawers so I could remember where things belong. It also helps my boyfriend and guests find things.

I organized the top drawer by using check boxes as drawer dividers. Yay free!

I'm really proud of all the stuff I've crammed in here!
The shelf, I think, is really cute, but my creative space is not all adorable. On the floor (left of my desk-- a beat up vintage card table) the bulk of my supplies are stored in plastic boxes. This is not so good looking, but it's really nice having everything easily accessible.

I have a box labeled "Draw" and inside that are tins of charcoal sticks, a mug of drawing pencils and good pens, crayons, and colored pencils. In the "Paint" box, I store tubes and flats of watercolors, acrylics, and gouache, as well as mixing palates. In the "Sew" box, I store surplus needles, thread cutters, and other notions. The megabox on the floor holds my boyfriend's oil painting supplies. I keep art projects in progress on top of that box.

What's not by in this space?

My vintage sewing machine. I keep it in my dressing room, which is just off my office. I don't have sewing table yet, so it's stored on the floor of my closet. Occasionally I carry it to my desk, but usually I just sew on the floor because it's heavy and I'm lazy. I've gotten really good at using my knee on the foot control!

I keep oversized papers in two portfolios behind the sofa in my office. One is full of pads of drawing paper waiting to be used. The other contains sheets already painted and drawn on.

I gift most of my finished arts and crafts via curbside free box or holidays, but I store some completed projects and sketchbooks in an underbed storage box in the attic.

My creative space at night. I promise it's much more cheerful in the daytime.
So this is my little work-and-play space. What does your creative space look like? How do you keep your supplies in order?

(This is my response to the Daisy Yellow blog's Daily Paper Prompt 54 & 55: Organize Ephemera. I highly recommend visiting this wonderful website for prompts to jump start or add spice to your creativity.)

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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  1. I have an entire room to myself to craft, but I do not have a very good system for storing most of the stuff in it. Many things, like fabric and yarn and a box of supplies, have to be pulled out of the closet to be accessed. I'm trying to think up some cheap ways to do a better job.

    1. An entire room? You are so lucky! I don't know what the inside of your closet looks like, but if stuff is piled up or stacked I know that can be a pain. Things that keep stuff from piling high: Adding more shelves or shelf dividers. Using hangers or hooks. Grouping like things in smaller containers that can be pulled out more easily.



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