We’re back again with the 2019 edition of the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop! My friend Cheryl Sleboda of muppin.com and sewmuchcosplay.com puts this together every year so that our readers get a peek behind the scenes of different studios.
If you’ve followed me on this in the previous years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) you know that I’m not a terribly messy person. I find a tidy studio really inspiring and welcoming. I also frequently have friends over to sew at the weekend, or run classes in this space, so I’m always changing things around to fit the work or the people, and thus mess never lingers.
The first rule of tidying up is you have to do what WORKS FOR YOU. Please don’t use my tidy studio as a way to beat yourself up! There is no perfect way to do this – for me it happens when I hit some level of critical mass, often precluded by having a pile of something fall over on me!
I know people who find a lot of inspiration in spaces that have a lot going on in them – I just don’t happen to be one of them. In this world of so much perfect imagery coming at us, the most important thing is YOU DO YOU. Find out what needs to happen in your space to make you feel happy to be in it, and creatively motivated, and THAT is your perfect studio, or kitchen, or home!
Despite keeping a clean studio, I can have other stuff pile up on me, and in the last few months my books have been piled everywhere. On the kitchen table. In the living room. In the office. On the floor of my bedroom. So I decided to take care of those for this blog post – and I was happy to have a motivating deadline for getting it done!
I keep my bookshelves in my bedroom, and they were beginning to feel overloaded, and like they were looming over me.
No one pile was really out of hand, but the sum of the parts was making me a bit crazy.
First I went through each section and pulled things that no longer interested me. Either I’ve read it and I’m done with it, or I bought it when I was interested in something I’m no longer pursuing. And let’s face it, if I get interested in it again, I can always find the book again if I need it.
- Quilt books – I culled those that I no longer use for reference. They’ll go to my guild’s book library.
- Art technique books – I pulled those for art techniques I’m not working with any more. I doubt I will ever try landscape watercolor painting again!
- Language reference stuff – when I bought these books, I didn’t have a smartphone in my pocket, and now a lot of the information in those books can be found on the internet in seconds.
- Old travel guides – if I go back to those countries I’ll buy an updated version.
- Old magazines are off to the doctor’s office. I have a huge stack of Uppercase Magazine too… I love them, but I think I might need to gift them on as the evidence says I don’t usually go back to them once I read them. I’m several issues behind, so I might need to re-evaluate buying a subscription again, although dang, I do love to support a woman-owned publication!
- School books – I still had a few dusty art theory books from when I did my MFA in 2010. Trust me when I say some of these are the kind you only read when they’re assigned for homework, so the chance of me reading them again is zero!
- Entrepreneurial books – many of my entrepreneur friends often recommend this book or that, and I dutifully go buy them. And then they sit on my shelf for years. One wise biz friend (whose project planning methodology I use) told me instead to just look for a book to solve a problem when I was actively trying to solve the problem, and not to buy things that weren’t in the “working on this NOW” category. Good advice for keeping the book budget in check, and the clutter down.
The second rule is that you shouldn’t get rid of the things that make you happy, even if no one else sees the value of them!
I have more than a passing interest in mid-century pamphlet-style cookbooks. They were often published by a food manufacturer, and the books stretched to include that brand or ingredient in every single recipe. One of my favorite finds was this one, whose recipes all include salt. I know… salt?!
I also love the delightful mid-century illustrations:
And most of all, I find such humor in the recipes that sound just dreadful:
Once I had the books pared down, I re-grouped them by subject (I would LOVE to do it by color, but not having them categorized would make me itch!)
And then I shifted the placement for some of the subjects… I used to have quilting on one side of the room, and embroidery on the other. Now I feel like my categories flow a bit better, which means they can share shelves if needed. In the process, I reclaimed another shelf on which to store quilts, too.
Now it looks like this:
And this is the pile that I’ll be donating to my library once my friends have had a chance at them:
Oh… and here’s my tidy studio!
Please take a peek at the rest of the studios on the hop – you’re likely to find inspiration there!
April 29 – Linda Bratten – http://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
April 30 – Sandra Johnson – http://www.sandrajohnsondesigns.com
May 1 – Jennifer Schifano Thomas – http://www.Curlicuecreations.com
May 2 – Becca Fenstermaker – http://www.prettypiney.com
May 3 – Sue Griffiths – http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
May 4 – Kate Starcher – http://katiemaequilts.com/blog
May 5 – Jo Westfoot – http://www.thecraftynomad.co.uk/blog
May 6 – Sam Hunter – https://huntersdesignstudio.com <– you’re here!
May 7 – Simone Fisher – http://simonequilts.com/blogs/news
May 8 – Elisabeth DeMoo- http://www.brownbirddesignsquilts.com
May 9 – Sarah Myers – http://www.quilted-diary.com/blog
May 10 – Amy Bradley – http://www.purplepineapplestudio.com
May 11 – Kathy Nutley – http://www.QuiltingsByKathy.com
May 12 – Carla Henton – http://createinthesticks.blogspot.com/
May 13 – Sherry Shish – http://www.poweredbyquilting.com
May 14 – Kate Colleran – http://www.seamslikeadream.com/blog
May 15 – Pamela Boatright – https://www.pamelaquilts.com/
May 16 – Cathy McKillip – http://wishuponaquilt.com/blog
May 17 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com
Sam – this is such a great post about organizing. I so agree with the point about finding information to solve a problem when you are actively trying to solve that problem. I find that true in many areas of life. When I was still employed, sometimes I’d take classes in various software programs, but nothing really ‘stuck’ until I actually needed it in my work. Then I’d figure out how to do what I needed to do, and then I could remember it. Same with sewing, quilting, cooking, anything really. Thanks for this thought provoking post.
It really was an AHA moment for me!
You’ve inspired me to get rid of my college books that I’ll never read again! I’ve had them for sitting on a shelves for 12 years and never once looked through them! And by all I mean everything from core classes to the ton of Psych & Social Studies books. Not sure where they’ll go…by now I’m sure they’re all way outdated.
You library will probably take them… mine says they’ll take anything, but no guarantees on if it gets put in the collection, sold, donated on or recycled. I’m ok with that – I’m happy for them to make a few $$ any way they can!
What Inspiration! I love a good spring cleaning (or whatever season it takes) to get your studio (or office) purged and tidied up.
In February, we thought we were putting our house/studio up for sale. What a crazy two weeks. We purged stuff (clothing, kitchen stuff and so on). Rented a storage unit to put stuff in, and I was told to ONLY KEEP WHAT I WOULD USE IN NEXT SIX MONTHS! WTF?
So, between space bags and other methods, emptied my office (aka keeper of knit stuff, things I think I will sell on ebay or Amazon, I’ll use in retirement). I sold all my batiks to one gal, gave away my 35 year collection of 30’s prints, and other quilty stuff to my Bee and two quilt guilds. Whew. My office looks GREAT!. Studio looks GREAT!
Then, we came to realization we had not found the place to MOVE TO. Oh no! (still haven’t several months later). All the stuff comes BACK from the storage unit. Nooooooo….. I liked it without all the stuff.
So, on to purge number two (mostly knit stuff).
Like you said. Do what is right for you, don’t sweat the small stuff. Keep what makes you happy.
Looking good! I really need to go through my book collection, too. Thanks for the inspiration.
Have a fabulous day!
Looking at the before and after pictures are totally inspiring. I let out an audible sigh when I saw the “new version” of your bookshelves. (giggle).
Sometimes my “flat” surfaces disappear but like you I have to hunt them up again and it is similar to letting fresh air into my space.
Thank you for always sharing your journey with us.