3/16/10

When Piles Fail You, Get Shelving

I've been reading a book called Organizing For Your Brain Type by Lanna Nakone. Turns out the 'everything in it's place' motto won't help people like me. I have always been a piles person. Ask my parents. Ask my college roommates. Ask my husband. Things always got stacked on the floor by my bed rather than put away where they belonged. Now things get stacked in the studio before, during, and after a project. Since I rarely have enough time to finish a project in one sitting I leave things out until I return. It makes me feel more attached to my environment when I can see my favorite colors, images, ideas out in the open rather than filed away. I need my surroundings to be visually stimulating, but I'd still rather have them organized.

I finally managed to get some shelving up a few weeks ago to get the mess off of my work table. It had been covered in supplies for months! I've arranged things in groups and made space for supplies I'm using regularly. The larger things like leather hides, batting, stuffing, and a few hanging file folders full of found papers are underneath the table and hidden by my curtains. I also keep papers in a wide, shallow, plastic storage box. I have made a little space to the left of my work table for cutting mats, metal straight edge rulers, and unused canvases to be tucked in. I've also got a paper cutter at the other end since I'm using it a lot these days.

As far as containers go, I've collected almost all of them from flea markets. The nesting wicker baskets and shelving were purchased at Lowe's. I keep baby food jars in the smallest one to contain small supplies like screws, earring posts, rhinestones, bells, hooks, etc. The wicker basket with handles is from my parents' house and holds all of my acrylic paints. Its the perfect height to hide the labels but still shows the colors from the top. The wine crates are from a local flea market and almost made it into our bathroom for shelving.

It always feels easier to make things when my space is picked up and now that I know a spartan organizing system isn't useful for how I'm wired, I don't feel quite as frustrated with my efforts to be a spartan. How do you stay organized?

xoxo,
Rachel

35 comments:

kiki comin said...

i am SO the same way! piles everywhere, but i really do enjoy being nice and organized. i have yet to find something that works and is fool proof, but loved some of your ideas and will for sure use them!

CaL said...

This is a GREAT solution to piling...which I do a lot of...I mean...a LOT of piling. I've restored my great grandpa's old filing cabinet to store all of my major craft supplies...it's huge & holds a lot...but not nearly big enough...I'm going to have to do something in the way of shelving. Oh & I found the best HUGE Ball jars at Michaels the other day...I needed some over-sized ones in my collection! =)

ashlee said...

me too...piles:) how do you store your fabric?

RachelDenbow said...

My fabric is stacked on an open bookshelf directly across from this little area. I try to keep them folded and organized by how I use them. Vintage sheets on one shelf, cotton prints from stores on another, reclaimed fabric from suits, jersey cotton, and bark cloth on another, etc. I also color coordinate them and then try to fold and put away fabric at the end of each week when I've been using a lot of it.

Rubyellen said...

haha...i should be cleaning my studio while they all nap, but there are too many piles and i am intimidated! i really, really need shelving as i am starting to lose things. this space is definitely inspiring!!! xoxo

Josie said...

Oh my gosh! It was fantastic reading that you're a piles everwhere person too. I try so hard to put everything in it's place and I get so discouraged when I just end up with piles anyway. Now I know I can be ogranized my way! Awesome!!!

Marg said...

Me too, I am always leaving everything in piles. Every so often I have tried to organise my stuff and after a few weeks it ends up in piles again. Now I know there is a solution, thanks so much for the post.

buttercup caren said...

I'm the same, too. Piles galore! Messiness is an art form. ;)
I am working towards organizing, though, because I've found myself with one pile too many & having to hunt for material, vintage goods & receipts. Wake up call!
I bought a couple of DIY magazines to help me figure out a strategy, and decided to do an Inspiration Board with the articles & photos.
I love what you've done with your space! I hung shelves last year ... but the piles are now surrounding them. oops!

Mon Alisa Design said...

I'm struggling with this too. Your workspace looks lovely :)

maedchenmitherz said...

i'm really baaaad when it comes to organizing things. especially in my craft room. shame on me!
but i go with boxes. some of them look really really great (you know, the decorated ones) so my craft space is just filled with boxes. but don't you dare to open them: CHAOS! :D

Contessa Kris said...

Love your new shelves and organized system. Wonder how long it will stay that way. I know in my studio, not long. I've read 'Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain'. Really a good book for artist types. http://www.amazon.com/Organizing-Right-Side-Brain-Organized/dp/0312318162

Con pájaros en mi cabeza said...

Hi there! I found your blog and I love it!
I add your button in my blog for share your work. A lot of hugs from Chile :D

Jolie said...

I am ordering that book. I have such an organized chaos approach to life. My craft nook is a disaster. Shelves are a great idea!

robin said...

my husband and I are also pilers...he got it from me and I know I got it from mom..she would buy all kinds of snacks and pile them in a corner in the kitchen...my husband called it the "pile" before we were married..now I come home and see the snack food "pile" in my own home...it's huge...and I keep that way..I need help..I am turning into my mother!!!

Good Girls Studio said...

I am such a piler too! If I can't see it I won't use it so my trinkets are scattered in piles all over my studio! Looks so lovely and organized in your space!

Ashley said...

I am exactly the same way and it drives my boyfriend crazy! He is super neat and tidy so to him my piles are just clutter.

Since we live in a smaller apartment, everything has to go into boxes for storage. I bought a few ornament bins at Target last year after the holidays (they were super cheap) and sorted through most of my craft supplies. It's helped me so far!

I think I should read that book though, it sounds very interesting.

Roxanne said...

I am so into my piles. I start out all nicely organized, but it's literally just neatly stacked piles. Those shelves are seriously cute!

Danielle said...

I'm definitley a piles girl too. Your space looks so organised now

hollysarah said...

I'm totally a piles person too, ask Ryan, it drives him INSANE! He's a total 'everything in it's place' guy, and we clash most of the time, in that department. :P

I bought a BHG mag called Secrets to Organizing and I've been getting inspired by that to find solutions for a lot of areas.... bathroom, closet, pantry...
hopefully some of it will 'stick' as I usually resort back to piles. lol

elliebelle said...

I am definitely a "pile" person also. I always long to be organized, but it's not really in my blood...I actually prefer to have all my stuff out when working on it.
Though I really do like your shelf idea. It looks great!

Maria Inês said...

Hi Rachel,
At this very moment I can't seem to get organized... I'm lacking space and time! Do you have an idea how to solve this problem?
But now I'm not ever crafting because I'm stuck in a job I don't like and wich steals all my time... =S Actually I'v just flickr mailed Elsie about it... You make me keep the dream alive you know... You inspire me and make me believe that I will make it! Thank you so much for that. Really.

xoxo
Maria Inês

Tara said...

Thanks Rachel for the Cliff's Notes! I'm the same type of Pile-Up Organizer...even though the site of clutter bothers me, I somehow find comfort in the connection I have to each little stack - even if it's a stack of bills - knowing that they'll get paid.

Shelves could really pay off...I'll have to give it a go in April when I remodel the spare room to officially make it my STUDIO! Yippee!

Best,
Tara
http://elanvitalanthology.blogspot.com

Pretty Crafty Thang said...

I love it! I too am a stacker. Any project that I am currently working on or that I plan to work on is always neatly stacked with the paper, thread, fabric, whatever, in piles in my craft room so all I have to do it grab that pile when I'm ready to work on it. It's usually how I get my thoughts or ideas out...to stack them.

jari spry said...

yep.. i hear you rach! i'm totally the same way. my hubby calls me 'pile queen!' haha! vertical open storage is so fun! your place looks soo pretty.

Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

Love that shelving - looking awfully organized!

JET Bags said...

Looks great Rachel! I think if I had a room that I could close the door to, then I would love to have things out to visually see them. However, my formal dining room is my craft space, so I hide them all away in a cabinet with doors. Works for this point in time, but I am dreaming of the day I can have a room to go to and close up!

Lori said...

I've been think JUST that thought. MUST. HAVE. ORGANIZATION. In some form and I'm now thinking simple shelving like that would be the ticket. Great pics. Have a terrific day.

Alex said...

You are not alone! I'm a piles person just like my mom. She would shift piles from one place to another and eventually put everything away in one clean swoop. I'm the same way and it drove my dad crazy! Now my boyfriend is learning to adjust to piles in our apartment. Shelving would be perfect but we don't have the wall space right now. Your studio area looks fantastic and very inspiring! Great job!

Joyce said...

I love my piles and some of them get so high sometimes that I have to stop and clean up a paper slide. You have got be painting cardboard boxes{one of them already holds 12 inch pizza boxes that have WIPS in them}-I am starting to gather stuff to make shelving for when I move my buffet.I mixed this gold color with teal and sour apple{all acrylics} to get kinda a dark lime, anyways- I love my 4# and 5# animal cracker barrels{I get mine from the church nursrey}-I just leave the labels on and turn them around to the see-thru sides and put everything from fabrics to mix-media, to bits of papers. The Kirkland brand 4#er's have the ability to stack themsleves, 3 or 4 high depending on how heavy they are. I have them stacked EVERYWHERE! I also use the 5#er's as drawers for my socks, bras, lotions, shampoos, ets. Happy happies.

agirlandherbrush said...

Absolutely love this space. I have had to do this as well at my desk and in my studio! I guess I must be a piler too. I love putting all of my different piles into baskets. Somehow baskets just make the piles not as intimidating. And I am all about using what you find around the house or going to the flea market. Thanks for sharing your space!

Jessica said...

very pretty. love it all! :)

Tara said...

wow, cool, i'm a 'piles' person too, guess i'll have to invest in some shelving!

Joyce said...

A few more items for ya. I tend to use those cardboard box trays that fruit and veggies come in. I've got two of the bigger ones that aren't very pretty filled with books and videos and stacked together and three or four more holding random craft stuff and stacked. My two faves are a big one with cherries printed all over it that I keep my stacked paint containers in and the other one is smaller and black with nectarines and green leaves printed on it. I've got a couple of those wooden trinket boxes made from cedar that have pretty wood burning on the lids. Small display cardboard units always come in handy as well, a little paint,paper, glue, etc. Happy happies.

the whyte's said...

piles?? i love piles?? what's wrong with piles?? i'll admit they frustrate my husband a bit(darn that anal military "everything in it's place" training), especially when i'm trying to describe which pile something is in. :) thank you so much for this post! i knew i needed to check out that book, but this tells me i need it now. :)

Carlina said...

definitely a pile person. I can't help it.. if everything is hidden away and my desk is completely clear I just don't feel right. I need to be able to see everything & colors & be inspired.. yet I would love to be organized.. been trying to find a happy medium. It's interesting that everyone that commented is a piler also. I wonder if that's how most crafty people are.. Maybe someone should make a group blog for "pilers" and share our ways of being "organized" haha.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” -Einstein