You need to know something. I have like a good attention deficit... I'm messy and I always forget everything.
My man is making fun of me, because I'm always a bit lost. When I worked outside my home, he systematically asked me, when leaving the house in the morning: “Do you have your keys? Your bus pass? Your lunch?”. Yes, like with a child… But you know what? I was missing something every other day.
I've been living in my house for almost 8 years, and in my kitchen, I still go to the wrong drawer when I want to take out a cutting board. I have never moved them. My boards have the same spot since we moved in, and apparently I still have trouble remembering where it is.
Do that, that's it. I live with a brain that doesn't work in a straight line. He's always busy thinking of a lot of (random) stuff... This is clearly what makes me a creative girl. But it also makes my daily life less simple.
To say the least, I had to develop a lot of technics to keep track of my many projects. So as not to lose pieces along the way. To stay focused on my work. And not to drown in my job.
And since I assume that you too are a creative person, chances are that you have little problems with organization, storage and planning, right?
So, I'll share my tips with you. The technics of a girl who has been self-employed (on and off) for more than 20 years. The tips of a girl who lacks focus, who always loses a lot of stuff, and can easily get overwhelmed by her workload.
In my workshop, the key is easy storage...
First, to keep track where I am, and to easily find what I need, I need a tidy workshop. And to tidy up my workshop, it has to be simple, easy and quick.
Boxes for everything.
Everything has to have a place. And I mean EVERYTHING! I even have a bucket for things I don't know where to put. …But it has to be a small bucket, because if not, I put everything in it.
But beyond having a spot for every tool and for every material... it has to be easy to access. 26 bins with lids, all stacked up, it's nice, but it's not for me. Even if it is well identified.
Because I take stuff out, and then it just takes a little too long to put away to put it back in its box. I'm already somewhere else, thinking about the next step of my project.
So boxes, without lids. So that it's easy to dig into it, and easy to put back everything in it afterwards. And they need to be well stored, in a shelf. So that even those at the bottom are easy to access.
Everything must be identified
Because yes, it's nice to put all your stuff in boxes, but you have to identify those box. If I don't know where my cutting boards are in my kitchen, I don't know where my lace, my cardboard, and my buttons are either. And sometimes I move boxes... I have to find them wherever they end up.
So, clear identification.
The boxes are laptop boxes. I got them back when they changed the computers where my man works. It may not be Pinterest-beautiful, but it works like a charm.
The regulars go on a pegboard
For my tools, and anything I really use a lot, I have a pegboard. I should say pegboardsss. Because, I'm a bit of a pegboard freak. I admit it… But pegboards are so useful! I like pegboards. PEGBOARD!
There are plenty of hooks to make arranging tools easier. And it's super easy to modify when you have a new comer to added to your collection.
You need to see your fabric at a glance
I have a lot of fabrics. And putting it in boxes or bins that are too deep means that won't be able to see what I have deep down in those boxes. I really like my Ikea drawer baskets for that. They're not too deep, and see-through. So I see what's in it (without having to identify my drawers).
I organize my scraps by style, stretch and color. And above all, instead of stacking the fabrics, I place them vertically. This way, I see all my colors easily. And I also see if I have a lot of fabric left or not. I'm not organized enough to write down my quantities. But at least, by the thickness, I can guess if I just have a micro piece to do a little detail, or if there's probably enough to make the contrasting sleeves of a sweater.
A basket for each project
As I often work on several projects at the same time. And I buy fabrics in advance for certain customers. And I go from one project to another rather regularly... I set up a system so I don't get lost: It's very simple, each project has its own basket. And I identify the baskets with small tag to know what is where.
All the fabrics, all the patterns, all the accessories, all the cuttings are in that basket. It's simple, I hardly throw anything away while I work on the costume. Even the bits that didn't come out the way I wanted and had to start over (just in case).
This way, I don't look for my stuff when I start working, and it's easy to put away too: I just trow everything in the basket and here it is (and I do the clean of the basket right after the deliver of the costume).
I have tablets, baskets, and pegboards everywhere. Seriously, there's not a big wall in my studio where there's nothing (ok, except the wall I keep to take pictures of my finished projects – but that doesn't count…). I make the most of my space. I even placed my cutting table in the center of the room to free up the walls for storage (and also because I love to be able to work from every side of the table).
Because when you make costumes, you have a loads of tools and materials. And you throw nothing away... just in case it would be useful...
By the way, think in height. The more stuff you put on the wall (or on the ceiling, why not?), the more workspace you have.
I know, if you're 5'2", you'll tell me "yes, it's easy for you, being 5'7" tall... I understand what you're saying. But find yourself a small stepladder, a system of pulleys, something… But free up your work table. This is essential to facilitate your work.
It's still a work-in-progress
My studio hasn't always looked like this. And I have the feeling that it will still change in the months / years to come. Because, I am like that. I add stuff, I tweak my system, I improve my storage.
I make changes all the time. I test ways of working and ways of storing.
Remember, what really works for me, won't necessarily do it for you… And, I'm aware that not everyone has a workshop as big as mine. But test stuff, and you'll end up finding your own recipe. I swear.
Pinterest is my best friend for finding storage and organization ideas. By the way, you can subscribe to my storage and organization chart. I collect lots of ideas for my constantly evolving workshop. Maybe it will inspire you.
Talk again soon.
in the meantime… Keep on crafting!