Maker Resolution: Organize my studio

One of my big goals for 2013 was to reorganize my studio, which is basically a big basement room in our house that you access from the outside. It is a great space, and we’re lucky to have it. But since it is so large, we have found ways to fill it with useless junk. And now we need that space because we’re cleaning out a room upstairs (formerly the guest room and my husband’s office) for our nursery.

My husband and I used some of our post-holiday time off to tackle this project, and we feel so much better now. I am shocked by how much we were able to fit down there, but I suppose that’s a testament to the power of organization! Here’s what the room looked like before, and some of the problems with it:

1. Plenty of space to store yarn, but no good place for my rolls of felt. Also, general disarray.

yarn storage

2. Too many items crammed along this wall of storage containers.

storage wall

3. Shelving piled up with craft supplies, some of which I don’t even use.

craft supplies

4. Messy sewing table, which I also rarely use.

sewing table

5. Storage space under the house made inaccessible by empty boxes.

under house storage

And here’s what we needed to do with the room:

• Create a space for my husband’s desk. A mini mancave, if you will.
• Create a space for a guest to sleep (and for our dogs to hang out).
• Eliminate or store items that we are not using anymore.
• Organize items that I use in my craft business, especially the felt rolls and stacks of boxes.

All of that seemed like it might be a dream before we got started. But once we got rid of all the items we weren’t using, we suddenly had all this extra space.

First, the sewing table went into storage under the house, and we assigned that space for the guest bed. (Eventually we’ll bring down the real one. For now it’s Reggie’s hangout.)

guest bed

I arranged all my sewing supplies on a shelf. If I need the sewing machine, I can just use it on my regular work table.

sewing shelf

After moving some shelves and boxes around, we had room for my husband’s desk.

mike's desk

Eventually we’ll put up some artwork on those bare walls. There’s also an IKEA Expedit bookshelf attached to the desk, which has plenty of room for storing his projects.

Next to the desk we added another shelf of craft supplies and a file cabinet. We’ll add a second one to corral the rest of our paperwork.

more shelving

As for the messy wall of storage containers, I managed to create more space by turning them sideways. Then we stored the boxes in the extra space and added a shelf for all of the grilling supplies that are usually piled up down there. (Everything has to be in plastic or boosted up because we do get a trickle of water along that wall during the rainy season.)

container wall

One thing we realized is that we are total box hoarders. We had been saving boxes for all these small appliances (in case of another move?), but we decided they were taking up too much precious space. This is just some of what we got rid of.

trash pile

We also cut down some of the boxes underneath the house and recycled some that we probably won’t ever use. That made enough room for us to access the rest of the space there. It’s still crowded, but better than before.

under house storage

As for my workspace, I had plenty of room to set up my table and baskets of materials/finished products. (Remind me to find a better place for my foam scraps than an ugly cardboard box!)

work table

And finally, my favorite part of the whole project — my husband built me a shelf for my felt rolls. It fits perfectly into the remaining space, and has plenty of room for more rolls and shorter pieces that won’t fit on a roll.

felt shelf

Other than the shelf, which cost about $35 to build, we did not have to buy anything to complete this organization. We used shelving that we already had and simply moved things around until they were in a place that made sense. Now the space is completely functional and we can focus on finishing the baby’s room. She is coming soon whether we are ready or not!