Marie Kondo-ing My Studio

I am moving soon, which was exciting until I realized that that means I have to pack. 

I briefly considered changing our life plans and just living here forever, but then I decided I could take on the mammoth task of organizing and packing up our home as long as I started sooner rather than later. I gave myself a month and a half. 

The worst room in our place when it comes to organization? My office/studio. I really struggle with keeping everything in its place, especially after I finish a weaving. I like to put my supplies in a wide-bottomed tote bag so I can work in different rooms and that bag slowly becomes filled with yarn scraps and needles and abandoned warp coils and loose heddles. When the project is over that bag ends up somewhere in the studio until I can't find my 12" Loom's warping bar or ANY heddles at all and go digging through my bags. 

Just as I began to panic about taking on this task, Marie Kondo's new Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" came out. I watched it with fascination and decided that I wanted to try her organizing methods. What could I lose besides my sanity?

Ms. Kondo has six tenants to her tiding method: 

  1. Commit to tidying up.
  2. Imagine the lifestyle you want.
  3. Discard items first. Before getting rid of them, sincerely thank the item for serving its purpose.
  4. Tidy by category.
  5. Follow an order as you organize 
  6. Ask yourself it each item sparks joy.

She has five categories of items to organize. I altered her categories a bit to fit with a specific studio/office organization. 

  1. Materials (yarn, beads, thread, etc.)
  2. Supplies (looms, beaters, needles, etc.)
  3. Books and Papers (I'm combining two of Ms. Kondo's categories here)
  4. Komono (a.k.a. Miscellaneous Items)
  5. Sentimental Items

    My first step was to throw all of my materials (category one) into a pile so I could visualize them. 

    Crap. I thought I would never see my floor again. 

    studio cleaning

    cleaning my studio

    cleaning my studio

    When it comes to non-studio organizing, I'm actually pretty good at getting rid of things. Except shoes. But with supplies, it is REALLY hard to get rid of anything. I can pick up a shirt and say: "Okay, I haven't worn this in a year. I can get rid of it." But I can't do that with a ball of yarn. It just hasn't found the right project!

    So, uh, not much got tossed... But I did get rid of a tangle of sewing thread that was definitely not worth untangling.

    When deciding which items to get rid of, according to Marie Kondo's method, you're supposed to ask yourself if an item sparks joy before throwing it out or keeping it. I don't think this method works very well when you're talking about useful objects or materials. Does your vacuum spark joy? Maybe not. Do you want to get rid of it? No. (But if it's literally sparking then you should probably get rid of it.) 

    Anyway, the same applies to a lot of office and studio "stuff". Some of it absolutely sparks joy. Do my 16 bobbins of mostly-used C-Lon thread? Not really. (Why do I keep not finishing bobbins?) But there is no way I am throwing those away! 

    Ms. Kondo is big on boxes and everything having its place. I bought some labels in an attempt to keep myself honest. If a box says "beads" I'll be less likely to put non-beads in there... right? 

    yarn

    After materials came the next step: supplies. This part was actually pretty easy except that in many cases I had no idea which warp coil went with each loom. I'll admit, instead of dealing with that, I threw all the loomless warp coils in a little bag together. Someday soon I'll go through and put them on each loom and see which fits where. It's like Cinderella! 

    Next I moved on to books and papers, which was actually a pretty easy category for me because I'm not big into printing things. I did want to go out and get some file folders, which I haven't done yet, so my paper filing is on hold. I did find a lot of papers and a few books I was ready to part with. Goodbye Nora Roberts book that my mom picked up for free when she was visiting for the holidays! 

    books

    I think the hardest part of organizing is dealing with the miscellaneous stuff. I have so much stuff that doesn't fit neatly into any category. This category is called komono. I dealt with this mostly by keeping all that stuff in one bin and throwing a lot out.

    Last up was sentimental items. At first I thought this would be easy, but then I realized all the projects (finished and unfinished) probably fit into this category. I did some sorting and stashed away some pieces that will have more permanent homes when we move. I also made a big pile of unfinished projects, mostly jewelry and wall-hangings, and even threw a few duds away. It felt good! 

    tapestries

    After that I was basically done and just needed to finish tidying up the piles I'd made. 

    looms

    organized

    At the publishing of this blog post, I am 90% done with this process. I still have some little things to deal with, like matching up warp coils and really going through my "komono" bin. 

    It feels good to organize. It really does. But OH MY that feeling when all your yarn and beads are covering the floor... it's definitely panic-inducing. 

    Making sure I have places for everything means I am more likely to put things back where they go, and that means no more, "WHERE ARE MY 12" LOOM WARP COILS?" moments. Or at least fewer. 

    We'll see how this holds up, but for now, I absolutely recommend a winter studio cleaning spree! 

    1 comment

    Kelly

    My studio is a real problem too, especially since it’s only half a room that is shared with bookshelves, kids toys, xbox etc!
    But, I certainly don’t keep my half tidy enough and I’m constantly looking for things. I love how it looks and feels after a big tidy up, but I never seem to keep it that way.

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