Studio Makeover: The Hard Part

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 tidy view from the door

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.


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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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