How to Spring Clean Your Studio
Spring clean your studio easily, quickly, and efficiently. These tried and true tips that will take you from danger zone to comfort zone in less than 30 minutes. The arrival of spring not only makes me want to clay my days away, but it also makes me want to clean! It's no secret that I can't clean in a mess. I've written many times about how I LOVE a very clean studio. Unlike many other artists, I crave a clean and tidy workspace. [It's okay, you can laugh.] I do know that I'm not the only artist that is like this. I have written articles on this blog before about how you can clean up your studio, but today I'm talking about the BIG clean up (almost like a purge) that you really should do every spring.
ROUND ONE: Learning That You Can't Keep It All
The first thing that you need to do as an artist is realize that you do not need to keep everything. My husband and I live in a very small home; and I love it. I like not being able to have space for everything. It keeps me from being a hoarder and it allows me to say "no" much more easily. Lack of space can often work to our advantage. It can also come in handy in the craft room as well. My craft room is also on the small side, big enough for only me and two other people. But it also means that I'm very choosey about what I keep inside that room. And let's face it, when you only have so much room, not everything is going to make the cut. If you're more than just a polymer artist (as many are) you may have more than just polymer supplies. I'm not only a polymer artist and sculptor, but I also art journal and dabble in mixed media.
Mixed media comes naturally to many polymer artists since polymer clay can be such a chameleon medium.
If there are things that you have purchased that no longer fit the bill for one reason or another, get rid of them! Do not hold onto supplies that fit into these categories a) you have ruined (this goes for clay too) or are expired b) found you did not like or cannot use c) you simply have way too much of. Something that has really stuck with me is this: "Someday is not a day of the week."
- Grab a garbage can. Place all the garbage in this waste basket. This would be expired items, items you've ruined. Anything that you consider "garbage." Don't think twice. Junk it. We're artists ... we can make or buy more. THROW IT AWAY!
- Go through your studio with a box or a laundry basket (I find laundry baskets incredibly useful). Place all the things that you no longer have room to store, use, or didn't work out (but are still good) in that basket. These will be the items you will either donate them to charities, destash in an Etsy store, place on eBay, or sell in allowed FaceBook destash groups.
- Open your drawers and do the same thing. Take your garbage can & laundry basket with you.
- Remember, you can't keep it all ... unless you can clean your counter space, have full room to work, and still have all your things neatly putting away. [In which case you don't need to read this article...]
By this time you've cleaned up the "clutter" that's sitting on the surface area and hopefully in the drawers. Hopefully you've decided what you really need to keep. Or have you? So often we look at things and decide I can't part with this it "cost too much." With art supplies that's always a HUGE consideration. But if you can destash that item or sell it on eBay, go for it! Do it! Then you can use those funds to purchase the new supply you were considering. Now ... what didn't you purge that you might be able to let go of?
ROUND TWO: The Process Continues
Now that everything is put away and your drawers are nicely repacked you should have a nice clean working surface. Now it's time to take a look at your tools. So often we hoard, collect, and "over-collect" tools. Many of you have seen my infamous spinner picture. Do you see how PACKED that thing is. Here's the sad part. On a daily basis I use about 10 of those tools. Yep ... that's it; a measly 10 of those tools. Why then do I continue to keep so many?
- Go through your tools. Chances are like me you have many more than you actually use. Keep the ones you use daily and even semi-regularly. If you aren't using the tools, set them in a laundry basket for a sale.
- Go through your paints. Paints are often a "forgotten" part of our stash. We just collect the bottles and forget to ever look through them. This past winter I organized all my paints. There were so cute now sitting along the shelves. Here's what I noticed: I had tons of greens and barely any purples! And the reason I never noticed was because they were all stashed in a bin I never pulled out.
- Organize your paper. Hot dog! What a challenge. What a project. Terrifying. Frightening... Long before I found out about Evernote, I would PRINT every tutorial I ever purchased. This caused a massive build up of printed paper materials to accumulate into my studio. Go through your tutorials, chances are good that if you've been at polymer clay for a long time now many of your older tutorials you've already mastered. Take photographs of the cover images so you remember them and file the tutorials away in a box outside your studio. This will provide the inside of your studio with extra storage room!
- Organize the things you've made. If you're like other artists, you've displayed your work (or others work) throughout your studio. Take a few moments to dust off that work, shuffle it around, bring some life to it. Hang it up, set it on a different shelf, put a block under it to bring life to it ... whatever you need to do, but you put time and effort into that piece. Don't just "let it collect dust."
ROUND THREE: Deep Cleaning
Now it's time to really clean up the dirt & grime! Now that you've purged and put away your studio should be looking really great! It's time to put the finishing touches on your studio to get it ready for the next year. It's time to really clean! Time to get our your mop, broom, vacuum, and whatever chemicals (or non-chemicals) you use to clean your studio.
- Start with the floor. Whether tile, carpet, or wooden I always start on the floor. Get it done so I'm not stirring up dust as I do the counters.
- Wipe down the wooden baseboards & door jamb. Use some wax on a soft rag and wipe down all the wood components in your studio. This will give them a nice shine and keep them dust free for quite awhile.
- Clean up those mirrors! Looking in a mirror with doggie-nose prints is never fun ... take some windex on a rag and give that beautiful you an awesome pose to admire!
- Wipe off your countertops. Remove everything from your countertops temporarily. Depending on the type of countertop you have, throughly scrub down your countertop to remove any residue, paints, and any other goop that has accumulated. This may take a little elbow grease. Put some muscle into it and you can do it!
- Put everything back in its place.
And that's it my friend. You now have a delightfully wonderfully clean smelling studio that is ready for the next few months of a glorious creative, polymer clay adventures.
Thanks for joining me today,