Once I had a plan (thank you, Julie Morgenstern!) and had thought things through via the writing exercise, I was ready to start sorting. This was the longest part of the process. I had to make piles and piles and piles of supplies as I went through the materials that were stacked on the floor, sitting on the tables, and stuffed in containers. I had a box for each of my large categories (sewing, paper arts, or embellishment) for the really homeless odds and ends, but I actually spent a lot of time just putting things away. Even though it didn’t look like it, I had some areas in my studio that were already well-defined, and I used those locations to collect and pile related materials as I unearthed them.
The hardest part of this process was out in the middle, when I’d been sorting for days and still wasn’t done. Everything was a mess and it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Because I didn’t know how much of what I had to deal with, I didn’t always know how I was going to actually store something even though I had a good idea where in the room I wanted to keep it. Writing really helped me to work through the process. Because I’d already done some writing to prepare for the project, I made a point of writing whenever I was feeling stuck. Before I started, I would state my goals for a session, then at the end, write about whatever I was unsure about. Just by writing things down, I often found a solution. At one point, just making a list of all the piles sitting around that needed homes helped me to focus on finding the right containers and getting things put away. Much as I wanted to bull through this process as quickly as possible, I think I needed the time between sessions both to recover my energy and to cook-up more ideas of things to try. In actual hours, I put in maybe two days worth of time, but it just wasn’t possible for me to do all this work in just two days.
For the record, Morgenstern forsees the slogging stage of this process. One of the reasons for the questions in the analysis phase is to build a list to help the organizer stay focused and motivated. When I was particularly stumped, I would pick up her book and reread her instructions, and that often gave me a new idea or reminded me of something I had forgotten. In case you haven’t guessed, I highly recommend her book for organizing a studio, or anything else for that matter.
Tomorrow: Getting my worktable back.