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Pull Yourself Together!

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There was a point for me when all my stuff was getting in the way of working with all my stuff.

Maybe you can relate, but my artistic style depends heavily on an ample stash of stuff. I design a piece based on what I desire and what I have on hand. And I use bric-a-brac like nobody’s bidness.

So it shouldn’t surprise me that my “studio” (really a corner of the basement that houses my supplies) had long been too stuffed for service. Over the years, more was added, and less taken out, that the space was just too full. Make-shift storage meant stacks of Sterlite bins holding supplies and heaven help me if I wanted something from the bottom of the stack. My work table held all the pieces that didn’t have a home so where could I work? Well, I couldn’t.

Finally, after a family intervention, I knew I had pull my space together. I really wanted a working work space – I did! – but I was overwhelmed by the task of large-scale organizing and restructuring.

So I just did it. I dove in. I organized my space.

First came the Great Purge. This was so hard to do, I’m not going to lie. I had to honestly assess a stockpile of supplies and determine its real value – easier said than done! I had to pitch half-finished projects that would never be finished. I had to donate* supplies for hobbies not-yet-learned (stained-glass: in another life!) and I had to give away perfectly good materials because there was simply. . . too much. (Sigh!)

But it was all worth it. With masses of stuff moved out, I was able to stash my all my supplies in proper storage. (There was enough! With all the extra crap gone, I actually had storage for everything that was left!) Yarn is sorted (sport, worsted and bulky) into separate drawers of a yarn tower. Ribbon has been wrangled, and buttons beaten back.

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And being an artist, I added beautiful elements to inspire me. I painted my old wooden armoire black and then rubbed a cherry stain into the grooves and corners. Painted the work table to match. Made a burlap bulletin board to hold notes and patterns. I strung twinkle lights from the ceiling. Wicker hampers corralled rolled canvases. And those vintage glass jars that are prettier than practical? Yes, welcome!

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Everything is neat and accessible, and pretty.

And my work table _ is _ clear.

* Props to The I.D.E.A. Store in Champaign, IL for being a recycling wonderland for the everyday artist. They neatly collect and resell a trove of second-hand goodies just waiting to become a new masterpiece. And they welcomed my craft room goods with open arms.