Improve Your Workspace
This little bird’s nest is in the middle of some heavy duty spring cleaning! You may have noticed the blog page changed (after it… broke… mysteriously last week), and is now more open. I’ve also been working on improving my work areas – keeping junk off my desk, working out better ways to efficiently store things in my office. I’m in the middle of cleaning out closets, I found a new way to organize my container garden. I’ve been busy purchasing a few items here and there to try to keep all my stuff organized…
Last year I took on a couple new projects – Totally Blown Glassworks, Recycled LOOT! and Bird & Belle to name a few. The work load was agreeable, but these projects required space. I needed a worktable to set up my sewing machine, I needed a space for my light box, I had to have somewhere to store the catalogue items pre- and post- photo. I needed a place to stack photographed items.
I made do as I could – things I didn’t need right away were shoved in the closet, trays of suncatchers were stacked in the corner. I took in a bust form to take photos of the pieces for LOOT. All the Bird & Belle goodies were stacked in bags under my worktable. All of the sudden my workspace had grown out of control. I had knit goods to store, I had craft bins out that I couldn’t put back in the closet because I couldn’t get to the closet. It seemed like almost overnight, our office space became unusable. There were shoe boxes spilling out of the closet, and bins pulled out with old paperwork piled on top.
So one day, after not being able to find the bin that stored my pliers, I decided we REALLY needed to do something about our workspace. We zipped down to IKEA, picked up a shelving system and a couple bins, and got to work.
How we improved our work area in almost 5 steps:
- Sort everything out! We realized that we had piles of this, mixed in with piles of that. Important paperwork was mixed in with crap that comes in the mail. We sorted out all the junk from the good stuff, and started a recycle bin. Anything that looked important went into a pile to sort through a second time…
- Once everything’s sorted, decide if it’s important to keep. Do we really need all the light bills for the past year? Probably not – I kept the most recent copy that said our bill was up to date, and shredded the rest. I went through the sorted piles and did this same thing. Credit card statements from closed accounts? As long as I have the account closed/paid in full sheet, I really don’t need to keep the statements. I pared down 2 divider boxes of “semi important paperwork” into one. That left one box free for other stuff – like my sewing kit!
- Stackable bins, shelf storage systems, tupperwares, etc – these are great for organizing small stuff that you use regularly! We got a GORM storage system from IKEA – we can stain or paint the pine shelving to match the furniture in the room we’re storing it in. We also got some of their folding media boxes because when you’re not using them, they fold right up! They also look nice, if you’re going to have company over, or use the room for anything but work. Clear tackle boxes are great for storing miscellaneous nails, craft tools and other small items. The cables we decided to keep (ethernet cables, cable wire) went in a small clear tupperware bin. All our paint supplies went in another small clear tupperware bin. Everything was stored on a closet shelf, or on the shelving unit if it needed to be easily accessible. If the boxes you use aren’t clear, an index card taped to the outside will give you a good idea of what’s in it.
- Create a system. In our space, it’s best if I can see all the glass goods so that I don’t have to dig through a box to ship out a candle holder. We created tall shelves for the suncatcher trays, and some not-so-tall shelves for single items. All the glass sits on one set of shelves, craft goods were on another shelf, shipping supplies were on another shelf. All the glass that hasn’t been photographed is marked, and has its own shelf. Bird & Belle items, got a tall clear tupperware for storage. Everything got labelled so it was easy to find.
- Maximize your large work areas. My sewing machine sits next to our shelving unit, when it’s not on my worktable, so that I have my worktable if I need to cut patterns, box up items, or set up the lightbox. The only necessity I need on that table is a good desk lamp – nothing else is stored there.
- Toss anything that isn’t necessary to keep – optional. I know some people are stackers, and some people are tossers (haha) – and by that I mean, there are people who keep things, because they have some sentimental value, and there are people who say “this isn’t useful” and throw all the non-essentials out. I’m somewhere in between – but generally if it’s not a photo and not SUPER essential, I don’t need it. That’s not to say I throw everything out; I have a couple small trinkets like a little Eiffel tower statuette on my dresser. BUT! Any books we’d already read that didn’t have some sentimental value went in a box to be taken and sold or traded. Old textbooks were re-sold. Clutter was eradicated and the room felt much more open.
We created space, created a system, used creative storage bins, and made sure everything was organized. It was really just that simple. We only spent about $70 at IKEA and have an organized system where we’re able to use our office again. Next giant organization project? My closet. DUNN DUNN DUNNNNN! It will be exciting. I will tell you all about it when it happens.