I totally procrasti-cleaned last week. You know. When you clean instead of doing the work you’re supposed to be doing. I still did work I was supposed to do later, but not as much as I targeted to complete. I’m still happy with the choice. It had reached and point where I was losing time looking for stuff and moving things around. And I needed a “re-set” in order to stay focused on production. With downsizing to less than 250 square feet of studio space, it’s been a multi-year process of discarding and disposing of the items that are no longer serving me. I was more careful and mindful of selling this time. I've moved 11 times in 11 years and I went through multiple cycles of downsizing and upsizing throughout those years.
I also figured out a piece of the organization puzzle that had been blocking me from progress. This particular "explosion" was the result of the last event I did. Last November. I've been trying to finish organizing my studio for my current focus but I go out to the studio. Sit on the couch. Get overwhelmed. Lay down and take a nap. And leave. Studio unfinished. Yeah.... it's been overwhelming, even for an organized mind...
I applied KonMari principles to my first round of studio organization and there is underlying categorization in this mess that still adheres to my original setup. But I'm finding I'm modifying KonMari principles for the studio space. Creatives need stuff to fuel the creativity. There are so many interesting ideas that come from the serendipity of one item landing next to another. Some of my most interesting ideas came from chaos. Austin Kleon cultivates his messy creative space. I personally live between chaos and orderliness. I love chaos for triggering interesting ideas. I love tidiness for production.
My goal at this point is to re-organize my studio to grow my business (fulfilling wholesale orders) yet downsizing from a 400 sq ft studio space to 250 sq ft space. Here is how I'm using KonMari principles and how I'm modifying them for the creative as well as a downsized space.
- Categories - THE most important principle I gleaned from Marie Kondo's approach is organizing by category. This has made all the difference to me in how I organize things. Especially as I work with small things (jewelry and beads), grouping like items together is a key to me finding things again. I very selectively break the principle when it comes to setting up my workstation; but generally, all like items are grouped together. As I'm organizing the studio, I will put like items in a single bin until that bin starts getting too difficult to find things, then I'll subcategorize.
- Discarding - the big deviation I have from Marie Kondo on this is I reduce instead of "discard completely and all at once." So I can avoid the route of becoming a Hoarder (creatives see a use for everything), as I was setting up my smaller studio for business growth, I reduced the materials from various creative paths I've explored. I was able to sell a bunch in a craft yard sale. I gave some of it away. Some of it needed to be tossed the trash. I still have remnants of the ideas I tried, but I just kept the key pieces and the things I thought I would enjoy exploring again.
- It's a Process - as someone who has gone through a cycle of upsizing and downsizing in (11 times in 11 years), discarding is more of a process than a "once and for all" for me. Simply from a financial perspective, I can't afford to buy, discard/sell, re-buy things. I'm much more mindful of the process. Which led me to my breakthrough step with the latest downsize.
- Move 1 - major downsize from 1800 sq feet to 750 sq feet
- Move 2 - downsize - 350 sq feet
- Move 3 - upsized - 1200 sq feet
- Move 4 - slightly downsized - 850 sq feet
- Move 5 - slightly upsized - 1200 sq feet
- Move 6 - upsized - 1600 sq feet
- Move 7 - major downsize - 250 sq feet
- Move 8 - upsize - 1100 sq feet
- Move 9 - upsize - 1200 sq feet
- Move 10 - upsize - 2300 sq feet
- Move 11 - downsize - 500 sq feet
- Staging - I'm at the final leg of discarding and downsizing and almost have everything at the right spot. But, I was struggling with the studio space, because what I had left was still cluttering the space (downsize from 400 to 250 sq feet). And I wasn't ready to get rid of it. After the yard sale, I had a bunch of very useful storage bins, but they were empty. I emptied as many as I could and took out all of the stuff that wasn't being used (lamps, storage bins, boxes, creative pursuits that weren't the focus). Just the visual clearing made a tremendous difference. But I wasn't ready to completely get rid of storage items. So, they are in a staging place in my living room. As I live with the newly organized studio space and finish re-categorizing for growth, I will selectively and carefully bring back in storage items. After 6-12 months, if I haven't used items in the staging area, then I will find new homes or discard some other way.
Now I can breathe. And find things.
What about you? Have you used KonMari methods for your studio? How have you modified them as a creative?