Sunday, February 12, 2012


My friend Lynn is cleaning out her basement and attic and gave me some great storage things for my studio.  The problem was there was no way to get them in the studio to start using them without doing a major overhaul of my space.  So I spent the majority of the weekend re-organizing, and very little time actually making art.  And once I start  organizing, it's hard to stop.

Here's what I've been up to:

The major "free thing" is this tower of clear drawers - now filled with nicely organized inks, paints, pens, etc. - all within arms reach of my table and no longer jumbled into huge tubs.  I also moved the file cabinet out of the closet, but more on that later.
The other significant "free thing" is this paper storage shelf.  I know, right?
The addition of these items required a total closet overhaul (even though I'm not keeping them in the closet).  I don't have a "before" picture, but you can visualize precarious piles upon piles.  I took EVERYTHING out of the closet, went out and bought cheap plastic shelving and started putting things back in better order.
I stole this next idea from Lee - I hung one of those fabric sweater racks next to my shelf.  It still needs some work - 2 1/2 of the spaces are filled with bubble wrap.  Might be time to let some of it go...
I had this old rack in the basement - it once hung in the kitchen of an apartment I haven't lived in for a decade, but heaven forbid I throw anything away.  You see?  it came in handy on the inside of the art closet door.
Lynn also gave me this vertical file, which now neatly holds folders full of stencils, my small cutting mat, some plastic mats I use as paint palettes, and other flat things that no longer tip over when I pull one out.
The vertical file sits on my primary shelving unit - which is no longer impossibly jumbled and crammed. (no really, it's not) 
 So here's my happy little workspace:
 The printer/scanner sits on this old coffee table from IKEA that has great storage space below
 The 1000 year old futon attracts visitors, both human and feline, and can be folded down into a bed in the rare event we have a house guest.
 When my sister was visiting in December she installed this wire/clip system along the top of one wall - it's a great place to hang stuff I want to see for a little while.
 She also installed these two little "floating" shelves above the couch. I often use them to prop works in progress so that I can look at them and decide what else they need.  (the face painting just came in the mail from Amy!)
Two boring-but-helpful changes:  mounted the power strip on the wall so I don't keep kicking it:
 Mounted the dustbuster on the wall so that it wasn't taking up premium shelf real estate
This is the ancient bookcase we found by the dumpster when I moved to Seattle in 1992.  It's a total piece of junk, yet I moved it 3000 miles when I came back to Massachusetts in 1998.  It's been sawed in half and bolted back together.  I did paint it once, though you wouldn't know it to look at it.   The black spot in the lower left of the picture is Jake crawling out of bed to say hello.
 Here's the little beast in his favorite spot.
 All of THAT work was done yesterday.  Today, the organization bug wouldn't die.  I tackled the daunting baskets of paper.  I sorted all my collage images into categories and made folders and put them in the file cabinet.  After this picture was taken I alphabetized them!
 FINALLY - I tackled the 3 overflowing baskets of painted papers.  I took over the dining room floor and sorted them by color category.  Jake is laying on the purple pile.
 Then I made hanging folders for each color (and within each file is an envelope-style folder with the small scraps in the same color family.  There were so many they all wouldn't fit in the file cabinet, so here is the overflow in a plastic file box under my table.  (not alphabetized) (yet)
I'm exhausted, but feeling VERY accomplished.
Now somebody stop me before I start alphabetizing my paints...


  1. Wow! Wanna come do my studio next?!! You really got a lot done in just two days. I need to do some organizing and sorting. You've inspired me to get busy.

  2. Love your space! Organizing is my favorite and I really enjoyed seeing all of your pictures of 'after'. :) Those painted papers are fantastic, by the way. Do you have a post you can link me to on those?

  3. Are you Friggin' kidding? YOU have super powers beyond belief. If I could get my hands on some of your ENERGY......I'd OD on it girl. Seriously- I AM inspired to put my art space into some sort of order. Before the baby comes? Yes....I could do it.

  4. Nice!! You have SO MANY painted papers - beautiful. Do I see a marbleized paper - I'd love to learn how to make that! I just finished organizing my sewing space into a sewing/painting/crafting/escaping (and still guest room..sigh) space.

  5. i have never been so organized ever. i Really want my space to look like this.
    even just a corner of it.


    the closet kills me.

    if you could see the closets in my house you'd run screaming.


  6. yikes. THAT sounded creepy.
    i Meant that you'd run away because of the messiness of the closet , not because there is something horrific in there.

    i'll just shut up now.

  7. A mass overhaul and organizing bender like this always leaves me feeling so good.....and being reminded of all the wonderful things I have available to me gets me itchin' to create!

    I bet you're going to make all kinds of crazy goodness in here!!
    I love the clip system and the wall shelves....something I've been considering myself :)

    Looks great....what a fantastic place to play!

  8. Wow. You busted you a@@. The painted paper all organized actually gave me chills. <----weird, but i'm an artist and get it big time. What a resource you have created.

    I might use that wire and clip thing. I never have a place to put stuff in progress that is out of the way, but within my visual, thoughtful space. Thanks for sharing and CONGRATS. What a productive weekend for you!!

  9. You for hire? It look Fab-uuuuuuu-lous! Mine is a total "i give up" mess until the basement is done and I can evict Greg out of *my& Studio into his own space. Wanna come do mine in September?????

  10. Your space looks so homey and inviting and your organization is fab, I need to do the same, love the color sorting, never seem to get around to that but it's a wonderful idea. Nice, nice and nice!!! xox

  11. i love your space, and want to go over and do some art, just makes me want to go down to the studio and create

  12. Holy Sh!t you've been a busy beaver. I am soooo in love with that flat file. I NEED one... has your friend got any junk left? from one hoarder to obviously another... you have got lots more room now to get more sh!t. Ok, I gotta one up you on the bookshelf. I've got one I'm currently using in my son's room that has been painted at least a dozen times and was purchased in D.C. when my dad was drafted in the Vietnam War. I was like 4 but it's mine now at least if it survives my kid who thinks it's great to use as a ladder. They don't make 'em like they used to.