Thursday, October 6, 2016

HELP! (Calling all Expert Organizers)

Organization does not come naturally to me. I've never quite understood why I should clean up just to make a new mess.

But when I began to think about blogging and sharing my creative process, it became apparent that I would need a more photogenic studio space than the usual tidal wave of materials that only makes sense to me (and not much sense at that).

Living in a tiny studio apartment with my partner made it imperative to create a functional studio area - space is at a premium, so I began the process of developing some long-overdue organizational strategies.

50 Shades of Green
For years I kept the mineral colors loosely organized in baggies, grouped by color families in storage drawers. It was always difficult to see what colors I had: the baggies would get dusty on the inside, and the dry color is never as bright as it will be with a medium. Labels would wear away and I'd forget what was in each baggie.

Next I tried stacking cylinders: an improvement until I found that different sets of the same size were not interchangeable. Organizing colors was maddening..

A hodgepodge of reused glass bottles and jars from the kitchen presented its own storage and display challenges. Though the minerals look lovely in glass, the weight and fragility make it impractical.

It seems every time I find containers I like, they are invariably in limited quantity and disappear never to be found again. This is the case with the tiny canisters I found recently at the Dollar Tree, though they form a good basis for what has become the Magnetic Studio.

The process of getting it all under control is never ending. Even since my last post on this subject the studio corner has undergone yet another transformation. The addition of a professional drafting-style adjustable table will be a great work space - if I can ever clear it off enough to do any work, or make enough space around it to work comfortably.

Financial limitation means a LOT of improvising, which keeps me creative, but it feels like forcing together pieces from a dozen incompatible puzzles. Nothing seems to fit.

The Weirdo Toolbox is the biggest organizational hurdle. How does one categorize and arrange a random assortment of thingamabobs, dohickeys, and whatchamacallits?

I try to reassure myself that saving weird little items most people throw away doesn't make me a hoarder, as long as I am using them, but that is small comfort when trying to organize.

Living in a small space with so much CRAP is beginning to feel like I am trapped inside a Rubik's Cube - I just shift the chaos around and around and it never feels comfortable enough to paint, though I've been working at it nonstop. I haven't painted anything in WEEKS, and it is making me CRAZY.


Seriously, I need help.

Many of the big totes are mostly empty, though they are excellent for transporting paintings safely for a show, so I can't get rid of them completely. 

See??? (This is actually pretty organized).

I'm calling on all expert organizers - not just for creative spaces, but households in general. Please share any tips or organizational hacks that might help me maintain a harmonious space (in a tiny jail cell of an apartment) where I can comfortably get back to work (and start regrowing some of this hair I've been pulling out).

You can leave comments on this page or email me  at I would really appreciate any advice on Taming this Art Beast before it buries this hopeless clutterbug.

P.S. Anyone who wishes to do so can also help by providing a good home for any of the dozens of original works of art, which are also crowding me out since I have completely run out of wall space. I am willing to make a great deal on some very large paintings, since I never, EVER want to move with them again. 

Email me for a catalog of available works and a price list. They make excellent Christmas gifts. (hint, hint)

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