The Art of Organization

I don’t know about you, but I’ve only got my apartment as a studio space and it MUST be organized if I am going to be productive. The problem is that my natural tendency is towards clutter.

If my space is messy, then I get stressed about how messy it is. It’s kind of like seeing your pile of dirty dishes growing every day until by the end of the week, it’s so large that you just can’t even look at it. There are too many. You have too many other things to do. But the problem is ever-present… ever-lurking… tapping you on the shoulder. So, when my apartment gets like that, I get into this terrible cycle of being so stressed out that I don’t want to take care of anything.

photo by clintjcl on flickr

photo by mysid on wikimedia


This is why I have recently gone through a big two day reorganization. I threw away a lot of non-traditional potential canvases (hoarder artists anonymous, am I right?), sentimental items that have since lost their sentimentality, things that I decided I will never actually use, papers I’ve kept for no reason, old paint, old sketches that weren’t worth keeping, etc. It was about 6+ bags worth of trash and recycling. Then I completely reassessed and reorganized what I had in all of my storage drawers, bought two more, and categorized everything that I own into these drawers while also keeping in mind what materials I use most and what materials I should be using more (in terms of where I put things… out of sight, out of mind is a dangerous thing, indeed). A friend told me that it is not always the best idea to buy more storage containers, thinking that that will help… but I thought I would chance it. What’s the worst that could happen?

photo by staxnet on flickr

It’s not easy for the procrastinator, but it’s worth it! Beyond de-cluttering in order to be productive, the alternative purpose of this project was to establish an actual studio space in my apartment. AND I FOUND ONE. Right in my room. I can use my desk (previously storage for miscellaneous knick knacks and clothing) for digital work and smaller drawings/paintings, and I can use the wall space next to my desk for larger pieces. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME THIS WHOLE TIME (sadly I’ve been living here for more than a year). An old friend who visited recently was amazed at the organization of my apartment (luckily, she visited the day after I finished cleaning).


my room (trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to see a before photo)

Just remember that once you finish reorganizing, you have to stay DEDICATED to how you reorganized. Remember what goes where, and remember to PUT IT BACK! As artists, we’ve got a lot of play things and we’re so tired at the end of the day (or night or morning or whatever), so it’s hard sometimes to take the time and effort to put it all back. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF ART AND PRODUCTIVITY, PUT IT BACK.

Anyway, that’s just how I work, but maybe it will help you to set aside a day or a few days or a week (I don’t know how messy you are, dang) to put everything on the table (or the floor), reassess, and reorganize (and DEDICATE yourself to that final reorganization!!!). As for me, I just signed up for the online digital drawing class that Melissa posted about previously here, and I’m about to start sketching using, which Melissa also blogged about here (listen to her, she has good advice). THINGS ARE LOOKIN’ UP.



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