The Dangers Of Organizing The Studio

9:54 AM

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I became infected with the organizing bug as so many others around me have been. I mostly "blame" two close friends for my infection as they often regaled me of their efforts and eventual triumph over the clutter and disorganization of their homes. 

And let's be real—my studio has become more storage unit than studio in recent years. In fact, I usually decamp to the breakfast nook table to paint as it's far easier than attempting to find or make a clear horizontal space large enough for me to work. 

But no one ever talks about the downside of organizing. I am here to tell you there most certainly is one and I thought I'd share two recent examples. These may or may not have recently happened in my organizing adventures!

The Dangers Of Organizing

It’s great fun to fondle all of your art supplies and sort them out into ever-so-useful boxes (or not, because you either haven’t rounded up all those fun, similar items to put into one perfectly-sized box, but you are absolutely sure you have more, so you don’t know how large of a box you will need so the sorting and boxing has been delayed) or you simply remember running across an item in your sorting and fondling that you now have a dire use for it, but you have no idea where it is. None. Other than in the studio, that is. 

You think you remember it in a specific drawer, but is it there? No. Maybe the one below or above? No.

And so begins the epic journey down the rabbit hole of “where-is-the-elusive-item," causing you to spend vast amounts of time hunting and searching everywhere you think it might possibly be lurking. In your laser focus, you may or may not undo some of your prior organizing.

And still you cannot find the item.

You may become so frustrated and angry you stomp out of the room, slamming the door (if you have one) for good measure, hoping the studio will rethink its selfishness and give you the item you must have for some reason you can't quite recall at the moment.

You could also succumb to defeated negativity (this is especially dangerous) and give up completely as you feel you are not up to the gargantuan task of organizing the mess formerly known as your studio. 

Do not succumb to these feelings! 

Do not let one little item and its gleeful game of demonic hide-and-seek derail you. You're bigger than one little-bitty missing item. You can and you will do this. (Repeat this statement until you start to believe in yourself again.)

Simply ignore the item and use something else. Usually, within a day or week or month, said item will surface in the first drawer you expected it to be in the first place. It is very important to refrain from throwing lit matches into the mess at this point—you’ll regret it.

Or, you finally, after days (weeks?) of searching, find the item, but by the time you find it, you have absolutely no idea why you had to have it, what project you intended to use it on let alone where the project may be at this point, or you simply don’t care anymore. You have zero interest in using it because all of your enthusiasm was wicked away by the hunt for the idiotic item that may or may not have been as great as you originally thought.

These particular jaunts down the rabbit hole are extremely dangerous to your well-being as they can cause extreme frustration, irritation and exasperation not to mention they can make you question your own mind as to the possibility that you may have simply imagined owning the elusive item because you’ve also spent a great deal of time online searching out fabulous ways to organize said studio. These necessary searches may have lead you down the road of temptation to other fabulous art supplies which you may or may not own!

The second example is even more insidious in its ability to make you think you are quite possibly losing your ever-loving mind. You think you have finally corralled every item of a particular genre. You have carefully sorted, labeled and stored these items into just the right size box and then you sought out the best location in the studio to store this carefully curated box of goodies for the next time you need/want them. 

Job well done, you mighty organizer, you. 

As you continue on with the laborious task of organizing, you bask in the glow and contentment of a task well done...until you find one more wayward item that should have been stored in that glorious box. And here’s where the trouble begins:
  1. You go to find the box of said items and it is no where to be found! Did you store in cabinet A or in drawer 7 in Cabinet G? It’s in neither and you were absolutely sure you put it one or the other. Refer back to the first example of the ensuing mayhem that takes over your mind and studio when you jump down the rabbit-hole of extreme searches. It’s not pretty. Instead, it is best to quietly exit the room, shut the door—no slamming—and fix yourself a nice cup of tea. Perhaps add a small amount of your preferred alcohol to help calm your nerves, but do be careful not to over indulge or you’ll have yet another problem on your hands. Return only when you are in a relaxed state and no longer care about the where the box is. It’ll show up. Eventually. 
  2. Or you find the box and it’s full. As in perfectly full. As in too full for one more single thing. And you deflate. Your glow and contentment wither and dry up, swept away on a wind of defeat as you realize you will have to dump it all out and start over. You entertain the idea of secretly throwing the vexing item out, but then reason(?) reasserts itself and you realize this item may well be the very one that makes or breaks a future project that could not possibly be as perfect without said item. Again, quietly leaving the room and indulging in a strong drink—forget the tea—has been known to do wonders for helping the organizer to relax and not really care at all. About anything. 
So for those of you thinking you want an orderly and organized studio in which to create your wondrous creations of which the world is in sore need, proceed with extreme caution lest you question your mental stability, become known as a highly, peevish individual prone to fits of pique or quite possibly, a lush.

Yes, this organizing thing is getting to me…why do you ask?

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8 Creative Thought(s)

  1. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing as I read this. It is oh so true. And those boxes that things are stored in. While some my be quite beautiful you can't see inside of them so you have to open quite a few of them to just see what was in them and then lose track of what you were originally looking for. Oh the curse of a neat studio! I do have one trick that helps me. I had a drop-leaf table that I keep in my room. I keep the drop-leaf down so I only pile things on the back side of the table. I can always flip up the drop-leaf if I get a wild urge to create there. Works for me. :)

    1. Lisa, those boxes, unless they're clear, might as well be invisible to me! I'm not going to hunt through them all. Love your drop leaf table idea!

  2. Oh. My. Goodness. This has so happened to me. And recently. I KNOW I had a particular item, and I never did find it. I finally ordered another one, knowing that someday, it will turn up. So far, it hasn’t.

    I can so relate to once an item finally does turn up, you have no idea what you bought it for in the first place. I have a lot of those.

    I recently donated a whole bunch of stuff to my local art center, but you would never know it by looking at my studio!

    1. It would seem to be a fairly common thread amongst artists and crafters, Cheryl! I've heard a number of funny stories about things going missing only to show up later. Chris and I had recently (in the last six months) bought some of those removable hooks. They come three to a package and we used one. "Put the others away." Somewhere. We looked all over for them. They were not to be found so I bought another pack as we needed another hook. Last night, I took our George Foreman grill out of the cabinet and something fell on my feet. I looked down to see our missing hooks. The grill sits directly below the "junk drawer" and apparently the hooks had been pushed out of the back of the drawer...need any hooks?! I have four extra!

  3. This is a very, warm cuddly post. Someone far younger than me has 'issues' with their art stuff. Years ago I happened upon a lovely little cabinet with 9 shallow drawers -- to put all my 'little art stuff' in. When I got organized a few months ago I was horrified to find enough lead to draw a line around the earth and enough white erasers to erase the whole line; but never enough of what I really want, such as a good brushes that comes to a tiny tip and scratch knives that are not dull. I have an art supply order the way as I write ... more stuff to stumble over but I just had to have some masking fluid that hadn't dried up.

    1. Nine shallow drawers? I would love to be able to fit all of my stuff into nine drawers and I suppose I could if I gave most everything away!

      But, as you say there is always more to order—the struggle is real!

  4. This post comes to me at a time when I'm dealing with much of it. My studio got turned on its head when I dumped a bed into it in preparation for knee replacement surgery (our bedroom is on the second floor). COVID shut down my surgery for the time being but the bed remains. So does all the disorganization it produced.

    Truth is, if I'd just throw away the kajillion pointy devices and fuzzy sticks I have but rarely use, it wouldn't be so bad but you never know when you're going to "need" such things.

    1. I shudder at the thought of suddenly trying to fit a bed into my studio! Ugh! Could it be done? Yes, but it the rest of the space wouldn't really be usable as a studio and I can only imagine the displacement and disorganization would be far worse than what I'm dealing with today. I feel for you, Larry!

      And yeah, isn't it odd how we might "need" things we've not yet needed even though we've had them for however many years? Artists are funny creatures!


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