Friday, February 14, 2014

Reorganizing My Jewelry Studio

If you've been following my posts then you know that I've been experimenting with polymer clay and torch fired enameling recently.  I've also been slowly adding a few metalsmithing techniques to my skill set.  This is all wonderful except.... When I set my studio up in our spare bedroom I had mega-tons of beads, but no torches, hammers, enamels, polymer clay, pasta machine etc.  Well you get the picture.

As I added more things that didn't have a designated space, my computer desk got overwhelmed with junk tools, metal and clay.  My computer got ousted to the living room, my studio floor became littered with papers, magazines and whatnot.  Add this to the fact that I am  not a naturally organized or orderly person and you have chaos! 
It was getting so bad that I couldn't even find space to work. I was becoming annoyed and thus began avoiding my studio. I finally had enough!  So I began burrowing out of the mess.  Unfortunately I didn't take "Before" pictures right away.  The pictures I do have were taken about a week after I began Operation Studio Renewal.  You know how things actually get worse before they get better?  These pictures attest to that.

I'm not all done yet, but I thought I'd post some mid-project pictures.  Maybe it will motivate you to tackle whatever organizing your studio may need.  And I know it will help me follow through to the end of the job.

I'm actually typing this post at my desk, but here's what it looked like near the start of the project.
And this evening it looks like this.
Here's a daytime shot from Wednesday this week.  I've got the polymer clay pasta machine on the left side of the desk.  It can stay set up there, but out of the way. 
The  polymer clay and tools were scattered all about, but they are now nicely corralled on shelves to the left of the desk. Here's what the shelves looked like before I went to work on them.
The shelves were not a complete disaster, like my desk was.  They were somewhat organized, but I needed to make room for the polymer clay and enamels without having to invest in new shelving or expensive storage items.

Another goal I had was to reduce visual clutter, as well as physical clutter.  I think I've accomplished both goals here.
Let's start with the top shelf.  My before picture shows that I had the same white plastic storage drawers up there initially, but they were all stacked at varying heights.  And then there were smaller purple storage boxes stacked up on the right side of the shelf.  Its hard to see in the before picture, but on the left side of the top shelf was also a round plastic jar of furnace glass beads.

I removed the purple boxes and the furnace glass and I spread out the white drawers so they are all the same height.  Now the eye can rest on that shelf comfortably and not be jarred by all the conflicting heights, colors and storage boxes.  The only non-white item now is a wood and papier-mâché diorama from Mexico that is on top of one of the storage drawers in the corner.

The 2nd shelf down is mostly empty right now, but that's OK.  I'm not done cleaning the whole studio yet and I might still need the space.  One trick to give yourself extra space for smaller items is to use hanging wire baskets that hook onto the shelf above.  You can see that I've used one of these above the second shelf.
I'm quite pleased with the 3rd shelf.  I picked up a number of these inexpensive, white cardboard boxes at IKEA.  They are a bit tedious to assemble, but they are sturdy, come in at least 3 sizes and are white, to go with the other things on the shelf, (though they come in colors too).

I moved all my polymer clay supplies into these boxes and used my trusty label machine to label each box.  There is still extra room in the boxes for more, as I expand my stash.
 I've also organized a shipping station for items purchased in my online shops.  I used to keep padded envelopes, bubble wrap and tissue paper in baskets under my work table.  Thank you cards were next to my work table.  Business cards were on my antique printers cabinet, postal tape was in the kitchen.  Oy vey!  One of the cardinal rules of organizing is to put like with like.  This is so much better!
You are probably curious about where I actually make my jewelry.  I've just barely started organizing it, so its mostly still a wreck.  But you will notice that I've cleared a small bit of real estate in the center of the table and even this little work space has re-sparked a creative drive in me that I welcome.

So that's it for now.  I'll do an update when I finish the task.  Do you have any handy organizing tips to share with us?  I know that many creative types struggle with organization and we can all benefit from one another's hard won tips!  Do share!

P.S.  Happy Valentines Day.  AJE loves our readers!

Linda Landig Jewelry – ArtFire 
Linda Landig Jewelry – Etsy


  1. whoa don't get too carried away - you'll make the rest of us look bad! Seriously, nice work!

  2. I am in the same stage. Big exception: haven't yet unpacked all my supplies from our holiday move. So I am trying to continue creating while continuing to unpack and organize. Constant struggle between my poor left and right brain!

  3. I love seeing other people's spaces. Because it confirms to me that I am not alone. ;-) I have a similar conundrum. I am tripping over bags and boxes and bins of beads. I have room to put them away but for some reason I don't. And I have been converting an old tv armoire into a functional and pleasing to the eye storage and it is working okay so far. I have to pick up a cabinet from my dad that is a full size filing cabinet but with drawers for 3x5 cards. I think that will make a good tool caddie! And I am working on setting up a metal working space in the middle of the room (ostensibly away from the flammables) and then I can set up the claying area. So much to do! But you have given me hope that I can do it! Enjoy the day! Erin

  4. That's looking great. Inspiring me to get mine more together. What are those beige boxes on your work table in the last pic - I like those.

    1. I love those boxes too! They were from IKEA, but for some reason they don't make them any more. :(

  5. As a hyper-organized person, let me first say Congratulations! Well done. And a wee warning if I may be so bold...don't put it all away, or you might end up like me with an beyond tidy space...and creativity that wanes when everything is out of sight. To prevent that, I bought a deep white paint pallet that I keep on the bead table with color combos that I purposely pull and locate there for inspiration; I also unpack new things and 'store' them there right away. That way, I am more likely to keep up with what's new and to use them. Brandi Girl blog pallets hang on the white board nearby, since color is my continual challenge. Even with all that done and organized, hubs still thinks it looks like chaos...but his desk looks like Einstein's so I just ignore him! lol

  6. I'm trying my hardest to get organized...but it's not easy. I want to make, not put things away! My big wake up call came the other day when I was tracking down receipts for my taxes and realized that I had beads and findings that I had bought a year ago that still hadn't been properly put away. Yikes!

    Now I'm trying to get all my art beads settled into their new home in a refurbished antique embroidery floss counter display and then I can get other things into the storage containers I just freed up. I bought a few more today too since I know I have too much stuff!

  7. Love that small bit of real-estate for making jewelry!!!!!!!!! To funny. I am always trying to get more organized and I do love IKEA...sad that they quit selling those wooden boxes you had on your desk or at least at my store they quit!!!! Its a slow process...I love having my shipping organized as it is so hard to run around and find everything when you want that package to go out to your customer in a timely basis. Great Job Linda!!!

  8. My new favorite saying "Organized people are just too lazy to look for things" LOL!! Nice job on the re-do so far Linda.

  9. I feel better that I am not alone!! I have moved my small workspace into my dining room which also houses toys. It is a big room but I need to add.a wooden work bench for metal working. I need to move to a

  10. Good for you! I find that visual clutter affects my mind and mood too. I feel much better and freer when things are "put away." I recently revamped my work spaces too, as I was getting too frustrated looking for things, and I thought it looked too messy. I was also ruining my back, bending over too often to work on things, or to look for things on the coffee table I was using as a work table. I work in the living room, and I like it to actually LOOK like a living room, so I got a new bookcase, some nice baskets to store things in, and got rid of the coffee table and replaced it with a storage ottoman. I now work almost exclusively at wooden folding TV trays and keep the majority of my supplies put away. My back and my mood are thanking me, and I'm also finding it easier to focus on one thing at a time.

  11. I am so glad to know I am not alone!! My mess is growing by the day! :)

  12. Ridiculous! How could you let your studio get so messy?!?! HA!!! Just kidding. Mine is probably worse. I need to tackle it again. Because it's a never ending process of organize, mess it up, organize, mess it up over and over and over.

    Great job! Look forward to seeing the final after photos.

    What is that you have your pliers in?

  13. The pliers caddy was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. It is a desk top 2 slot mail holder. I no longer needed it and was about to put it into a Goodwill bag, when I realized that I could re-purpose it as a pliers caddy. I love it. It works better than the "real" ones!


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