Deeper and deeper

Deep cleaning sure takes a lot of work. I have been going through every bin and drawer, sorting, rearranging, recycling and getting rid of a few things. I haven’t gotten rid of much, really, I keep a pretty tight ship over here, but I have been stuffing miscellaneous items into the wrong drawers and bins for quite a while.

I have been thinking about what helps me feel organized. The main thing for me is, I don’t want to see too much visual clutter. If I continuously stuff items on top of bins, and do not clean up after an intense project, this is visual clutter. This does not mean that in the middle of a project that my workspace is pristine, not at all. When I am in the process of making a thing, my workbench and every surface around it is a total mess. It has to be this way. But! My goal is have all of my supplies, materials and tools easily accessible, so that when I am in the process of creating and exploring ideas, I don’t get tripped up by not being able to find particular stamp or stencil. Being organized also helps make clean up easier because everything has its place.

Last week, David and I were returning home from a walk about and we came across this Trofast (Ikea) wooden bin in someone’s trash. I already own 4 of these bins (with the drawers, not shown here), so we nabbed it and brought it home. I really like bins and boxes with lids. This feeds into my need for visual simplicity and also helps me define aspects of what visual clutter is: Visual clutter is the inability to properly shut a bin or drawer! If the bin is stuffed chock full? The lid tips? It drives me crazy. 

I really like being able to grab a box, bin or drawer and be able to get what I need, then put it away. Salvaging the Trofast bin created the need to purchase the matching bins to go with it, So I packed my bags with sweaters and socks and (Oh, sorry. That is a different story– one of my favorite childhood stories), and walked over to Ikea to get a few items to complete this organizational extravaganza.

The items in these boxes got reorganized and put into the Trofast bins. Like items together, I put some items into ‘deep storage’, others got grouped by type (sewing items, fusible webbing, printed sacks (which I have fallen in love with for some reason), and painting items each got there own bin.

I am sorry this photo is blurry. But I think you might get the idea that this pegboard bin had a layer of dust and grime. Well? No longer. Dirt and dust has emotional weight in addition to visual. I emptied each bin, got out a toothbrush and scrubbed it clean.

Deb Lacativa once told me that keeping beads separated by color and type was akin to a bead prison! And while I still chuckle at this analogy, I was never able to make leeway in changing my perspective. I like things sorted by color, type, need and project. This bead prison  😎 holds items related to purse making, rivets, button release clips, bells, and embellishments. So why have a stuffed brass letter stencils in there, when they could be more easily accessed in my new painting area. This has been remedied but is an illustration of just how deeply I want to clean and organize. There really is no use in having supplies if you are unable to find and use them.

And, I think this is really important too, ‘It isn’t the supplies you own, but what you make with them’! For some reason this jar of Presist became precious to me and I put it aside, I remember thinking it was expensive stuff and that I needed to hold on to it for the right project. Well, I don’t know if you can tell but it is dried up. I had to throw it away. To add insult to injury, this product is being discontinued! 

My organizational extravaganza is almost complete, When I am done, I will create a video and show you what is in each drawer and why I think it works well. In the meantime, perhaps you could encourage Mary Ann to get her sort on! Mary Ann posted to facebook that she hung pictures and unpacked 5 boxes, I want to see some photographs!

9 thoughts on “Deeper and deeper

  1. I am taking some of these tips and ideas to heart as I go through our boxes of Christmas decorations. They really need to be purged, organized and cleaned up.


  2. I absolutely agree with you and I’m on a whole house mission. A room a week. Visual clutter kills and not finding stuff I know I have but also finding it unusable is frustrating. So I am enjoying the destressing! Thanks for the confirmation! ;^)


  3. Had to giggle at your process (like a movie I just watched). Guess I have that “beads prison”, and “thread prison”, and “sewing supplies” prison, too!!! But I can’t work any other way.
    Just LOVE your Ikea find and wish there was a store close to me. Yummy storage ideas.
    One silly thing that I changed was to get rid of my “lidded” waste basket. Even though it was prettier, I had to fiddle with the lid every time I dropped a chunk of thread or scrap of paper. I now have a small container, lined with a grocery bag, which gets emptied more often but takes no extra steps. Awful to be distracted by the mundane.
    Continued fun to you. Its so comforting in the end. :))


  4. Oh my I’m impressed. You have added to my motivation to go through all of my stuff and organize and toss. Unfortunately, this will have to wait until January. What I don’t want anymore I will try to find a home. May try to sell off some of the supplies on Etsy. Am working hard on focusing on what I really want to do rather than trying every new thing or tool I see.


  5. I am taking notes Melly so that I can get things in order once the rush of making is completed for Christmas. You really should hire yourself out to help others. You can fly through Houston on your way to SLC or through SLC on your way to Houston. We could play and make a mess once it is all cleaned up. 😉


  6. When you throw all your beads together it is called bead soup. When we had broken packages at the craft store we mixed them together and sold them cheap as Bead Soup. But I like mine separated, I keep them in the plastic embroidery bins, they sometimes stray to their neighbors but they are easy to get at.


  7. I love Deb, and her phrase “bead prison” caused me to laugh out loud! I have lots of “prisons” here, but most of my buttons are in a soup. What a great score dumpster diving. I am really big into things that seal. We get frequent dust storms and no matter how tight your house is, the gritty sand finds its way in. I oddest thing I have found is my Gram’s pinking shears in my yarn prison.


  8. Thanks for all your inspirations, Melanie. Your studio organization looks fabulous. I took over our Florida room as my studio. Life “stuff” happened so although there is some underlying organization the visual mess covers it up. I’m using plastic covered bins for storage as well as supports for tables/benches to work on. I have 3 walls of windows which is great for light but not for wall space. The other wall has two windows and a doorway but a wall area that I’ve set up for painting. I really like hanging canvases/paper on the wall to work and am thinking of constructing a portable wall for larger work. Will see what happens. While doing this organizing, I’m still taking time to create in tiny areas, amid the chaos/mess as well as the kitchen counter…feeds my soul. Eventually I hope to have an area for printmaking/bookmaking, art journaling, sewing and painting. So far, my archeological digging has found some great treasures I’d forgotten about.


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