I don't necessarily like clutter, even though clutter is sometimes a necessary part of my creative process. Keeping clutter under control can be a challenge for someone like me who lives in a small house. (It's hard enough keeping my son's toys organized!) When my basement office was wrecked during flooding we experienced this spring, I decided to look at it as an opportunity to start over from scratch and make my new office and beading studio a place where I could easily stay organized and keep the clutter from spreading to the rest of the house.
If it feels like you're always cleaning up clutter from around your beading studio, there are a few things you can do to keep the clutter under control and get organized at the same time:
1. Keep things you use close at hand. On my work table is a small set of tabletop drawers where I keep my tools, needles, threads, findings and supplies – all the things that I use on a daily basis. It helps to keep them near me so that I can reach them easily and I always know where they are. You'll be amazed how much time you'll save by having your most-used tools and supplies within an arm's reach!
2. Take time to keep things organized – put beads and tools away as soon as you are done with them. All too often, I finish a beading project and I rush on to begin the next one without properly packing up and putting away the beads and supplies from the previous beading project. I've found that if I take five minutes to properly sort and put away all the leftover beads and supplies from each project, I can sit down at a clean table and start fresh. It actually feels great to start a new beading project with a clean table and a clean work pad!
3. Designate drawers for each set of items – tools, beads, threads, embroidery supplies, findings, etc. Take a photo and step back. This seems like a no-brainer, but it's really saved me more than once. I have one drawer just for clasps and cones, one for earring findings, one for tools, and another for beading threads and stringing wire. This makes it easy when I need a particular supply or finding – I always know exactly where they are among my ever-expanding stash of beads and findings.
4. Make use of spaces under tables and desks. I have a high table in the corner of my studio where I can keep two sets of drawers and still have enough leg room to be comfortable. Don't forget that you can keep drawers, bookshelves and file cabinets under your desk or table to get the best use out of your limited space.
5. Take a photo of your space to take a step back and see where you can organize and add storage space. Sometimes it helps to see things from a different point of view. (I decided not to put in a photo of my currently unorganized work space because I didn't want to scare anyone!)
Of course, organizing your books and magazines is another way to keep the clutter under control. Here's what Bead Fest instructor Jill Wiseman of Tapestry Beads discovered recently:
"In the ten years I've been beading, I have amassed quite a pile of magazines since I refuse to throw a single one away. My problem is that are taking over my bookshelf. And closet. And another bookshelf. So when I saw that I could get a full year of Beadwork Magazine on a CD, I was super curious. Would that format work for me? I ordered one CD to test and it out. I was thrilled! I can easily flip from project to project using the included sidebar menu, but if I want to go page by page I can do that too. Sometimes I'm looking for inspiration or new color combinations or maybe for another project to make, and having options for flipping through my digital magazines is important! The pages are exactly as how they were originally printed, so that means that when I'm looking for that one clasp I saw in an advertisement, I can still look for those "needles in the haystack", too! I'm sold! I'll be ordering the rest of the CD collection and working on replacing my old hard copies of Beadwork magazine!"
Take your first step to reducing the clutter in YOUR beading area and check out Beadwork magazine on CD. You'll get six issues of Beadwork magazine on one CD. And did you know you can search the entire CD? You'll find basic techniques, expert advice from your favorite bead artists and all of the beautiful projects from Beadwork magazine.
Do you have a great tip for clearing clutter and staying organized? Share it here on the blog! (Please! I need all the ideas I can get for my new office!)