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Organizing your Studio – The Hand-Off

Organizing Your Studio 101
by Raette Meredith

I feel all the time that I need to create. When I see an empty can of soup, my mind is running through all the things I could make out of it…pencil holders, paint brush holders, paint mixing, holders for pretty much anything.

When does it stop? I think I will not stop creating until long after I die.  (I secretly pray God will let me paint a sunset or two when I get to heaven) Meanwhile, my studio is filling up with things I want to make, could make and perhaps sell for profit; if I only had the time for it.

I turn around after years of building stock for creating and my studio is jam packed. It is so full that I cannot create. My mind is overloaded and so is my room. I don't want to even be in my studio at this point.

At the beginning of 2010 I decided to feng shui my home. Okay, so technically it's not actual feng shui, though I am putting some of the principles to work; for example, opening it up to the flow of positive energy.  Mmm Okay. Positive energy? How about a nice breeze, or open to walking traffic. Makes sense, doesn't it? The last room I am working on, the one I strategically saved for last, is my studio.

This article is for artists who face the same situation. You want positive energy, or a clear path, open studio where you are free to create. Clutter blocks creativity. So in this series of articles I am hoping that my experience will touch someone out there who is feeling blocked creativity as well.

Organization tip of the day: The Hand Off

I was reading a football article online today and it said, "You can’t run the football if you can’t hand off. And if you can’t run the football, you’ll never win the Super Bowl." which made me think of my life as an artist. Okay, I still don't fully understand the game of football, but I do understand that playing the game requires a effort from an entire team. When I hesitate to get rid of something that I know I won't use for a while, perhaps it is time for me to "hand off" to another player. How can I win the Super Bowl of artistic creation if I don't learn to hand-off to another qualified player?

It really is okay to let things go. In fact, you may actually be doing a service to someone in need. Let someone else take it for a run.

For those of you who suffer from the same overly creative mind as me, perhaps you also feel obligated to dispose of each and every item correctly. Good for you! I say, thank you for not filling a hole in the ground with things that can still be used! Your efforts are commended. It is not only your responsibility to make the right decisions.

How do you feel? It feels awesome to make a decision that is ecologically friendly, but lousy when you walk into your home or studio and can't get things done or get to your projects. The rewarding feeling of turning that one tin can into a pencil holder (just like all your other ones) is outweighed by the stress caused by project clutter.

As wonderful as it is to take this responsibility seriously, it really is not all on your shoulders. There are many organizations that are more than happy to help you filter your stuff out into the community. Some will even pay you for your things.

I just cleared my studio of about seven 3-gallon totes of patterns and a 20-gallon Rubbermaid container of fabric I simply didn't feel inspired to use.  I couldn’t help but WANT to make something of it…someday. That is they KEY. When is that someday? Someone out there CAN use it NOW. Someone else is OPEN. Time to hand-off.

I have found that being realistic about what kinds of time restrictions I have, helps to decide what items to sell, keep, or give away. How much time do I really have to tackle the project? How difficult would it be to move my "stuff" if we decide to move? Realistically I have time for one or MAYBE two projects. The rest is doomed to stay on the shelf for another ten years.

Once ready to hand-off, you can begin the task of sorting.

We will talk more about sorting in the next article.

Meanwhile, imagine walking into your studio or art room, or wherever you create, and feeling inspired. Do you already feel that way? If so, then perhaps you have already attained ART ROOM FENG SHUI. Perhaps you can add some comments and tips that could help others achieve that same goal.

Enjoy the ride! We only get one!

Raette Meredith

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2 Responses »

  1. Great article, Raette! I've heard it said of "cleaning out" the extra clothes in our closet: If you haven't worn something in a year, get rid of it! I guess that works with our hoards of goodies awaiting future art projects.
    One thing for sure, when we "hand off" those long-unused items, it's amazing how free we feel to concentrate on our current art projects (of which there are always an abundance). "Use it or lose it" can be a good thing!

  2. Wonderful article, Raette. I used to have so much clutter in my studio I could barely move. One day a friend was visiting and she saw all my clutter. She offered to help me clean up and organize. To my horror she really cleaned up everything. She would hold something up for me to see and ask if I had used it in the last 6 months, when I said no, out it went. I was totally traumatized, however, the next day when I saw how nice everything fit and how clean everything looked, I was so happy and best of all stress free, I actually had room to work. Now I live by the 6 month rule.

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