Our first week of "Spring Clean Your Studio" will be spent establishing work zones. You may have your own craft room, a shared office, or you may have carved a niche out of the family dining room. Regardless of how much space you have, it makes sense to create different work zones within that area.
Step One: Establish A Primary Working Space
1. Pick a spot. Everyone needs a clean space in which to work. For me, it is the ugly 8-foot banquet table in the middle of my crafting room (an atrociously heavy piece of crap we picked up at Staples years ago). I plan to replace it with a table I can stand at, but I just need to save up enough to have a custom made counter top.
2. Clean it up. Once you decide where you're going to do the most of your work, take everything off the table. Everything. Give it a good scrub with some household cleaner. Pick something that smells good!
3. Pick a view. Which way do you want to face? I tend to face out towards the half-wall of my studio because it looks into my kids' playroom. It saves me constant neck strain from having to turn and answer every "Mom! Baby A. hit me!" If you don't have adjoining space with two tiny terrorists, pick the best view. Feng Shui principles dictate that you should sit in the far corner of the room, looking out. If you can avoid it, try not to face a wall. If you have the room, scoot your table out a bit and put your chair on the other side. A change of view can be incredibly refreshing!
4. Add essentials. Now, slowly add only the things that you need within reach at all times. Clean everything before it goes back on the table.
I use a Making Memories 17"x23" cutting mat as my working surface:
Additional things I have to have at my fingertips at all times:
A. My cupholder - I'm a wee bit accident prone and I've discovered that I need to have my coffee locked down where it can't do any damage. Get one that locks onto your table and frees up more space.
B. A turning caddy to hold the tools I use the most (scissors, running adhesive, glue stick, corner rounder, paper piercer). I've always used the Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About AND my old electrician's tote that was so popular a few years ago. I need to move into just one and free up some table space. If you're looking for some sort of caddy, you might want to try the JetMax Desktop Carousel (available at Michaels).
Step Two: Set Up Work Stations
Next, take a long hard look at the types of crafting activities you do the most. You're more likely to sit down and craft if everything doesn't have to be a big production. If you find yourself pulling stuff out each and every time you want to work, it becomes a hassle and sucks the fun out of your hobby.
Look around your studio/work space and get creative about setting up permanent work stations. Do you have room for a side table? I use an old dresser that I salvaged from a beloved crafting store that closed their doors. The top houses my die cutting center and the drawers hold a ridiculous amount of stuff! Hit up garage sales, Freecycle or Craig's List and find something that you can re-purpose.
If you use a die cutting machine (whether manual or electric) regularly, doesn't it make sense to establish a "die cutting center", rather than pulling out your machine every time you want to craft? If you don't have enough counter space, consider investing in a small table with a drop leaf side. The drop leaf can stay down when you're not using it, but your machine will stay out which will make it much more likely that you'll use it. Why not get yourself a pretty little cover for your Cricut /Wishblade/Silhouette while you're at it? Claire at Scrapincovers on Etsy will whip one up for you in your choice of colors!
If you're a stamper, you might want a stamp cleaning station. A scrubbing pad, stamp cleaner and baby wipes in a pretty little basket will make things so much easier for you!
If you love to sew on your projects, consider setting up a sewing station (this is what I need!). Keep your sewing machine plugged in and ready to go. If you're worried about dust, order a cover!
I desperately need a paper cutting station that is not on my primary workspace. That way my paper trimmer isn't in my way as I'm working, but I don't have to dig around to find it when I need it. I happen to have a rolling IKEA cabinet that I think will do the job!. I can keep it next to me when I'm working.
Step Three: Keep Like With Like
Most of us dabble in all sorts of paper crafting -- scrapbooking, rubber stamping, altered art, journal making, home decor -- and the easiest way to move from project to project is to have all of your supplies for each hobby together (of course, there's always some overlap!).
Where do you keep your laundry detergent? Under the bathroom sink? In your bedroom closet? Chances are, your fresh-smelling Gain or All-Temperature Cheer is located where it makes the most sense -- right next to your washing machine. It makes sense, right? You'll use it there. The same sort of thinking applies when using your crafting tools. If you use a Cricut machine, does it make sense to store the cartridges on the other side of the room?
Here are some suggestions:
- Keep your dies near your die cutting machine. I store my Sizzix dies in the drawers below my die cutter.
- If you are setting up a sewing center, store your manual/extra bobbins/threads/sewing kit nearby.
- Keep you rubber stamps together in one place. We'll discuss rubber stamp storage during weeks 5 & 6. But start giving some thought as to where they will fit in your crafting space.
- I have two drawers with nothing but adhesives and a third drawer with nothing but Xyron machines and their refills. It is so much easier for me to find the right adhesive for the job when they are all together.
I will check in a couple of times during the week and keep you updated on my progress. Please e-mail me blog links, photos and updates as you work on your space too! I am sure my readers would love to see what you're doing to establish your own work zones!
Here are some great photos of other creative work spaces to get you inspired: