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Almost every artist, crafter, and creator have one thing in common: our workspace always comes second to our work. Art studios are almost always number two, if not three or four. When we’re focused and honed in our projects, there’s no room to be concerned with maintaining an organized workspace.

If you’re like me, you can be in this headspace for a while and then one day you walk into your studio and BAM! It looks like a tornado has ripped through the entire room. There are supplies everywhere, and the thought of organizing it all is exhausting.

But have no fear! I have a few tips and tricks that’ll help you reorganize your art studio efficiently, and hopefully, in the long run, this will be easier to keep clean as you work. So roll up your sleeves, and get ready for some spring cleaning.

Take it All Out

That’s right. Empty the shelves and pull everything out of drawers. You want all of your materials, tools, and works in progress laid out where you can see it all. This part isn’t meant to be shameful, although every time I do it I do have a thought of “how on earth did I accumulate so much stuff?!”

When you can see everything in front of you, it will help gauge exactly what kind of storage you’ll need to adjust the workspace and make it fit better for what you’re doing. This step is kind of like a quick, mental inventory. If you want to go the extra mile, you can catalog all of your supplies and make an actual list.

While everything is moved from its original home, you have the perfect opportunity to deep clean shelves and floors. This is the perfect time to remove any paint stains ( I recommend
https://ohsospotless.com/how-to-clean-paint-out-of-carpet/ ) or get rid of that crusty clay that you dropped behind the shelf months ago. If you have a wet/dry vacuum, it would be incredibly helpful during this part of the cleaning.

Assess Storage Options

You’ve got storage, no doubt. Take note of all of your options. If you’re like me and you appreciate a physical list, then go for it. Looking at all of the storage available and mentally noting each one is great for our creative minds to gather ideas of how we can use the storage as is.

This step even helps us think outside the box a little bit, and use some of these options in a different application. For example, you might have a few yardsticks on hand to use for measuring, but you could actually use them as ribbon storage by hanging one stick between two hangers.

Take advantage of closet space, the back of doors, and under furniture. Any space you have set aside for your creation station can be adapted to work for your needs. And, don’t be afraid to use spaces that are higher than you’d usually reach. A simple step stool in the studio will help with that.

Don’t forget to leave a chunk of space, preferably in an area that you can get to easily, for your WIPs, or your works in progress. If they’re hidden away, you’re less likely to see them and finish. And, depending on how great you are at finishing what you start (I’m not) you’ll know the size of space that you’ll need.

Categorize

First, sort everything into groups according to what they are. Paints, clays, canvases, papers, etc. You’ll have just about a million piles when you’re done, but I’ve found this to be the most effective way to really see what you’re working with.

Once all of the things have found their homes, it’s time to put everything into categories according to how often it’s used. This is going to depend on how you do things in your studio, and what works best for you. When you’re creating these groups, consider these factors:

  • How often do I use this?
  • What kind of storage does it require?
  • How many of these do I have?

Once you’ve determined the answers to these, you’ll be able to decide what storage option will work best for each item. Keep in mind that things that you use frequently should be kept where you can see them and easily access when you need to.

If you’re finding that you have more of something that will keep you from putting it in the ideal location, don’t hesitate to donate the extras to local schools or retirement homes.

Put it Back

With your new homes in mind, start putting all away. I like doing this part slowly, so I can be mindful of where I’m putting everything. This saves a lot of time in the “where did I put that…” department. For me, this is one of the keys to keeping it clean after I’ve put in so much effort in organizing.

This is another checkpoint in the scaling back process, so you can again ask yourself if you really need that many bottles of mint green paint or seven of the same brushes. I find that I’m better at doing this during this phase, because I’m starting to get a little anxious about everything fitting.

Also, consolidating supplies at this point in the game is easier than ever before. Combining bottles of paint, adding the end of one spool of ribbon to a similar one, and even rewinding yarn balls are all great ways of creating more room, as you go.

Label, Label, and Label

Labeling might sound unnecessary, but it’s one of the biggest things you can do to help yourself stay organized. I actually took the time to label each of my containers, as well as it’s home on the shelf. It’s been so helpful, in fact, that I can even let my children jump in and help clean up without having to guess where they’ve stashed things.

Also, labeling doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative with labels and use whatever you have lying around. I’m sure after all of that cleaning, there are plenty of leftover supplies that would make perfect labels.

Finishing Touches

No art studio would be complete without a few artistic touches here and there, and maybe even a plant or two for clean air and overall springiness… it is spring cleaning after all!

The hard part is all done, so now it’s time to step back and admire your masterpiece. No more searching to find what you’re looking for, or wasting your time in the studio looking for space to put something. You’ve got your space mapped out just how you want it, so it can work best for you!

About the Author

Amy Anthony is a stay-at-home-mom of two, DIY enthusiast, and content creator. Amy thrives on having a clean and organized home and enjoys teaching others how they can do the same with minimal effort on her blog Oh So Spotless.