When the outside world begins to warm up, it’s a great time to open your windows and get some serious cleaning done! Although avoiding creative work by focusing on housework is a cliché, sometimes, you really do need to get some serious cleaning done. Also, having a well-organized and harmonious space can be great for your creative mind. Below are some suggestions for cleaning up your workspace to improve efficiency and happiness in your studio.
De-clutter by creating four piles: keep, throw away, donate, sell.
Keep: See “Reorganize” below
Throw Away: Superfluous clutter can easily grow if you let it! Reassess the items you don’t use and which aren’t worth selling or donating. Have you thought about using them in the last year? If not, it’s probably time to throw them away. If throwing away any paints, solvents, or other materials that are hazardous or not accepted with your local trash collection, visit websites like Earth911 to find recycling options near you.
Donate: Donating your unused or gently used art supplies is a wonderful way to help out other artists who are unable to purchase their own materials. Search online in your area for schools, community centers, or groups who accept donations of art and craft supplies. In Vancouver, we have the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Sell: The cost of art supplies can add up quickly. You can sell your gently used unwanted items and recoup some cash by listing them for free on websites like Craigslist, Kijiji (in Canada), or your local free online marketplace website. If you have a bunch of random assorted items, you could even sell them as one lot instead of individual items. This saves you a lot of administrative time: one buyer, and you’re done!
Having an unorganized studio can be bad for several reasons: you can’t find things you need and re-buy them, you can’t find things you need and slow down your creative process, and in general, you can’t find things you need! Organizing your materials is an excellent way to improve your working environment—it also often leads to finding items you forgot you had. With all your supplies readily available, your have your studio working for you. If you are looking for inspiration, there are tons of ideas and photos of organized and beautiful art studios on Pinterest and Apartment Therapy.
Reassess the artwork you forgot about
So do you have some extra room now? Pull out all those works you tucked away and forgot about. It can be helpful and clarifying to reassess your artwork after a nice break from it; a little distance can give you great objective perspective.
Image of Georgia O’Keefe’s studio from Flavorwire’s 10 Famous Artists’ Stunning Studios