I’ve carved out my studio in a converted porch that previously served as my boys’ playroom. It’s still a collection point for toys and craft supplies, but I am gradually making it mine. My stuff is stored with varying degrees of organization, from obsessively sorted, to artfully messy, to utterly chaotic. When I learned today was National Clean Your Room Day, I decided it would be great to post some photos of my messy but cozy abode, before and after. Accountability!
My “workbench” is a folding card table covered with a cheap tablecloth and tucked into a corner. (I have a “real” workbench on my wish list.) It has pegboard behind and to one side, where I keep my metal beads and findings, spools of wire, cord and chain, and many of my tools. Others are in bins and boxes on the shelves, including my tidy-by-necessity boxes of beads, sorted by type and clearly labeled. This organization helps keep me from getting completely lost and gives me something to shoot for when I tidy up.
On the opposite side of the room are the table and backdrops that serve as my photography studio, with props littering the shelves that line the window on the east-facing wall, where my tiny houseplants live. There’s no ceiling and the roof leaks a bit, but I love to be in the studio when it rains.
My creations occupy various shelves and hooks scattered about the room. This is where my organization really falls short. I’ll be honest—I don’t have a system, which may be why I’m so hesitant to maintain inventory, preferring to make items to order. But I can (usually) find what I’m looking for!
With National Clean Your Room Day in mind, I set out to make the space more tidy and functional. Step one was to unpack my art show crates and get my inventory back on the shelves. My Mad for Magenta collections are living on display pieces at the moment, so I had to make sure and leave room for those.
Because collection storage has become such an issue for me, I purchased a five-drawer organizer and some inserts, to allow me to store pieces I don’t want or need to have on display and to help me keep track of my inventory. I always prefer to avoid spending money (unless it’s on supplies!) so this was a deliberate decision made after much consideration.
Chain, Chain, Chain…
A big undertaking was getting my stray bits of chain on to spools and labeled. I also needed to tidy up my leather cord and some of my wire. Fortunately, this is an almost meditative task, so I got it done without too much pain. The difficult part was determining which chain was which. I had a lot of unlabeled old stock. I’m certain when I bought it, I truly believed I’d just keep track in my head. Nope.
The single thing that helps me stay reasonably organized is having a place for everything. Even if my space gets completely out of hand, knowing exactly where each item belongs makes it easy to tidy up in a hurry. Labels help ensure everything ends up in the right spot. This comes in super handy when I acquire new materials (which happens often). I enter new inventory into my database, give it a unique id, and then hand-write a little label and pop the beads into their boxes.
Much better! It’s not perfect—I didn’t get around to organizing my fabric stash, there are too many electrical cords strung about, and my focal stones and findings are still a jumbled mess of baggies in a basket. But I know where everything is and it’s all readily at hand. I did some light tidying of the upper shelves (they’re more organized than they look) and rearranged some paper. The result is what feels like more breathing room and a much more pleasant workspace.
In case you’re wondering about the open cabinets, they did originally have doors, which I removed. I’m much better at staying organized when I can see my stuff. My bins and boxes are mostly transparent so I can easily find what I need. You may prefer things tucked away, which is what I’ve done with my older stock. The new storage box works a treat!
Regardless of how you keep your stash, organizer trays make it easier. I use a fabulously sparkly gold tray to corral my office supplies, matching bins for adhesives and loose supplies, and some copper-colored wire trays to store jars, cans and bottles. Keeping like items together in a confined space makes all the difference in helping me put things away.
I used to organize my beads by size and type, but lately I’ve been more deliberate in selecting materials that work together, and I store them together for easy access. I find the combinations beautiful to look at, and gain inspiration from them. On that note, here’s a sneak peak at the items that are making their way into my summer collections. They feature sparkling sea blues, deep forest greens, and browns from subtle to bold. These will be set on better quality metals like genuine copper and silver-filled wire and chain.
I’m looking forward to creating some beautiful new things. Stay tuned!
Cover image: From The History of Cinderella, or, The little glass slipper (1852)
This is one in a series of images from a mid-19th century tome. The document has been reproduced here. It’s rough reading, as it appears to have been optically scanned, but if you’re a Cinderella fan, you’ll likely find it interesting!
Thank you so much! I’ll never use half the stuff in there…probably…but it’s nice to have the option!
You’ve done an amazing job, and I may be coveting your studio. Okay, no maybe, it’s happened. It looks like a great space to stimulate your wonderful natural creativity!
Cheers to you !