Organizing My Art Studio.

There are SOOOO many different ways to organize all of our crafty goodness. This has been an on-going process for basically forever (I’m sure you can relate) but I was inspired to write this blog post to not only share some hacks that I have figured out along the way, but I was also super inspired by Lilo’s Bowman’s new book – Love Your Creative Space. It is jam-packed with tons of great ways to organize your space for maximum comfort and productivity. I find that when I am organized, I am so much happier, more efficient, and less distracted. Hopefully you’ll see some of my ways of storing stuff and get inspired to update and organize your own workspace. Before I share some of the things I loved about her books, I wanted to show you the current organizing systems I use in my studio.

I run my business from home, and so my studio is a shared space with my husband who has also been working from home since about the middle of March. Together we share a space that is about 14×26 feet. It’s pretty nice and spacious and even leaves some room for our sweet little 3-year old boy to play. We spend about 80% of our time in this room, so it’s nice to have the space we need to flourish.

Fabric Storage – Lateral File Cabinets

Now, I know that this option can be somewhat expensive if you opt to purchase cabinets brand new. They can range anywhere from $300 – $1200 a piece. I’m not really about that lavish lifestyle, so this is an organization method that took some time to curate in order to save money. I actually found these cabinets at my local University. They have a surplus store where they sell furniture from around campus that is no longer needed. So, while none of these cabinets match, they are in GREAT condition and I only paid about $120 FOR ALL THREE! *I did end up spray painting them all silver, and the paint ended up costing more than the cabinets themselves! hahaha…

To store my fabric, I bought a bunch of green hanging file folders and I drape my fabric over the tops of them, and with the smaller pieces I stagger them. This way, I can see EVERY SINGLE piece of fabric that is in my stash. One drawer also contains all the quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted. And, if I have any tops that are still a work in progress, I can store the extra fabric WITHIN the hanging file so that it all stays together.

I also like using the top, pull out drawer of my tallest filing cabinet to store my thread.

These cabinets are also amazing because they protect all of my fabric and thread from any sun damage over time. But really, the goal is to USE UP all these supplies before they have a chance to be old and gross.

General Craft Supply Storage – Plastic storage bins

After I found my file cabinets I had a resolution to make pretty much all of my crafty supplies and tools fit within these cabinets. Since You can’t really just drape everything over green hanging folders, I still wanted to make the most use of the space.

I found plastic containers at my local Walmart that ended up working perfectly! Each bin is for a different type of craft. These bins actually sit right on top of the drawer, which gives me space underneath each bin for overflow to store things that I either don’t use as often or for things that are long and narrow and don’t fit within a bin.

Whenever I am working on a project, I can easily just take the entire bin out, do what I need to do, and then return the bin to its appropriate drawer.

All my favorite books – My Desk Hutch

It’s pretty safe to say that I USED TO BE a book hoarder. I recently re-homed so many books and made a resolution that I will only ever have as many books as can fit into the hutch of my desk. This forces me to be deliberate about the books I choose to keep on hand. The upside to getting rid of lots of books is that it gives me a chance to share them with others. So as I gave them away, I gifted them to people that I felt would love them as much as I did. I think that is how I will keep going in the future- collecting books, taking the time to READ THEM, and then thoughtfully pass them on to another and share that love in a meaningful way.

Quilts Storage – Under the frame totes

So, this one is actually kind of funny. When I set up my quilting machine, I was supposed to set the height to what works for my own body height. Well, I found these grey storage bins that fit SOOO perfectly under my quilting frame, IF I was willing to raise the height about 5 inches. So, my quilting frame is actually a little taller than it should be, but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to use this storage space so efficiently. These bins hold finished quilts, quilts that still need binding, smaller class samples, and then all my batting scraps that are too small for bed quilts but perfect size for wall-hangings and embroidery projects.

Entertaining People – The comfort couch

So, for a long time, my studio was so full of stuff that sometimes there wouldn’t be a comfortable place for hubby to chill with me while I did crafty stuff. I really wanted my studio to be a place where I could entertain, and invite others to come in and spend time with me while also being comfortable. So, by saving so much space from purging and utilizing the filing cabinets, we were able to fit a nice reclining couch into the studio as well as a flat screen TV on top of the cabinets. This has also become really helpful because it allows me to have floorspace for laying out projects and also gives my kiddo the space to play. Now, we can all hang out together in the studio, while watching a movie.

Now to Lilo’s Book…

The chapter that I really absolutely loved is called “Change Happens”. A little background about me, I am almost 30 years old. I have one child and hoping to have more. My husband is a computer programmer/my business partner/IT Savior. Since COVID-19 he has seamlessly been able to work his day job from home. And luckily for us, last September, for his birthday I bought him a stand-up desk that he had been fawning over for quite a long time. So when it came time to work completely remotely, we were grateful that we already had a nice set up for him here in the studio. (It also helps that he is a complete minimalist, so out of our 14×26 foot studio space, he takes up approximately 3×6 feet, leaving the rest for meeeeeee!) hahaha.

Also, with a toddler to entertain while we both work, we also found ourselves constantly needing to dedicate more and more space for him to play. Getting the TV (along with a Disney+ membership) has been an absolute blessing! This ultimately meant that over time I have become better and better at squashing my hoarder tendencies! Yes, I used to be a terrible hoarder but ONLY when it came to craft supplies, fabric, and art stuff. I’ve come a long way baby.

One of my favorite quotes from Lilo’s books says:

“Life is not a predictable constant, and whether we like it or not
change happens to us all. When that two by four hits you in the
side of the head with an unexpected job relocation, a relationship
shift, accident, downsizing, or a physical limitation, your creative
space should be included in any decision-making process.”

I really loved this because I think as creatives, there is such a level of self-care that comes along with being creative. Lilo’s book has reminded me how important it is to take the time and thought into how we set ourselves up specially so that our mind and heart and follow suite. I have always felt like when my space is cluttered or disorganized, my mind becomes cluttered and disorganized.

Well, there you have it, guys. I hope this was a fun look into my studio. Hopefully it gave you some ideas and solutions to how you can set up your own creative space. Be sure to grab a copy of Lilo’s book! You won’t regret it!

Be great to each other,

-Karlee

BTW, this was such a fun blog tour to be a part of for Lilo’s new book. If you’d like to check out the other posts in the blog hop, here is the info:

The Love Your Creative Space Blog Tour

Friday 26 June:
Christa Watson/Blog –christaquilts.com
C&T Publishing/Blog-https://www.ctpub.com/blog/

Saturday 27 June:
Bonnie K. Hunter/Blog-quiltville.blogspot.com
Teri Lucas-terificreations.com

Sunday 28 June:
Mel Beach/Blog-https://pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com/
Heidi Proffetty-https://www.heidiproffetty.com/blog/

Monday 29 June:
Deborah Boschert/Blog-http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com
Karlee Porter/Blog-https://www.karleeporter.com/blog/

Tuesday 30 June:
Lilo Bowman/Blog-lilobowman.com/blog

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