"The easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid of most of it" ~ The Minimalists
Way back in October last year I posted about trying to keep my art and craft supplies under control without being "an organized hoarder". It's taken me eight months of steadily going through things, assessing and reassessing them, to finally feel like I have it all at a level I am comfortable with.
In fact we sold the bookcase in the picture above along with another large pine bookcase and a pine sideboard this week and I love the extra space we have without them.
The picture below is of the same wall minus the white bookcase. I've started a family photo wall there to display some of the pics that would otherwise rarely see the light of day. I still have some other photos to add but I haven't picked up frames for them yet. The small three drawer storage unit doubles as a charging station for our mobiles as well as storing place-mats, tablecloths, etc for the dining table. It's small but efficient.
The cookbooks that used to live on the white bookcase now live in a new space I created in the kitchen when I donated a few kitchen appliances and things we no longer used.
I went through all the box files and shredded a lot of the unnecessary paperwork and just kept the essentials. This took longer than I expected but I can now store the two box files that are left in a cupboard in a different room.They're still easily accessible but now live out of sight.
The photography magazines are no longer a problem. I put some into the collage box for cutting up (my daughter and her friends love the animal pictures in them) and I no longer purchase photography magazines unless there's a really, really, interesting article in them that I can't find online. I discovered that I could find a lot of really great information online and some of the magazines share their articles online too.
I still accept the home and garden magazines that mum gives me and I sometimes buy one if I see something I like. I've created a series of mood boards for our house in a hard-covered exercise book. I cut tabs down the side and made separate areas for the different rooms that I'm going to be working on. I then glue in any pictures, paint samples or articles that appeal to me for those rooms. See images below.
This has made it so much easier for me to pin down a style that I like and I don't have to wade through stacks of magazines trying to find an idea I liked a few weeks ago. The rest of the magazines go into the collage box.
As for the art supplies that were all on the shelves. I've really pared back on them. I only kept the paints, pens and pencils etc that I used regularly and I gave my daughter the felt tip pens and some gel pens that I didn't use much if at all. My daughter and her friends color in their adult coloring books with them.
Most of my art supplies now fit in a secret compartment I had my hubby build into my desk. (see pic below) Clockwise from the top we have my back up external drive for my photos, my phone charger cord, 3 pencil cases all inside 1 yellow one. I use these when I'm going away somewhere and want to take art supplies with me. I can build 3 different kits for travel. The yellow pencil case holds my small watercolor kit, brushes, watercolor pencils and a pencil for sketching. The tartan case (not visible) holds my sketching stuff and normal colored pencils. The blue case (not visible) holds my gel pens and whatever else appeals to me for working in my journals. Under the pencil cases is some bluetack, then comes my watercolor paints, below that is a small tin with business cards in it, below that is my gel pens, next to that are some markers and pens I sketch with, then a cluttered box of miscellaneous office supplies, some envelopes and supermarket sellers cards on top, then above we have my mini camera flash and a box of mints, above that is a box of memory cards, my headphones, a charger cable for my Sony Walkman and some usb drives, then we're back to the hard drive. In the centre are 3 lettering stencils that my daughter uses for school projects and a couple of bookmarks, also my compass set.
When my desk top is down you wouldn't even know that compartment was there. (see pic below) On my desk top lives the phone, a pencil cup and pad for messages etc. My camera lives here mostly and in the right hand corner I have my colored pencils, paintbrushes and watercolor pencils. I also usually keep my work diary here but I had it in my bag when this pic was taken. My tablet doesn't usually live here but it was charging at the time of the photo. I also have a small statue of Guanyin near my pencils. (not sure if you can see it in the photo) Also not shown in these photos are my acrylic paints, art paper and journals storage. They're still a work in progress and I'll show you that some other time.
I have also pared down all my art books. I cheated a little in this though. I gave them all to my mother-in-law. She has a large studio and a large collection of art books that she regularly lends out to friends and family. I figured if they lived there they would be used and appreciated more than if they lived on my shelf gathering dust in between occasional uses. I also make frequent use of our local library which saves me having to purchase art books.
So as you can see I've really had a good clean out of my art supplies, books, magazines, and old bills and have a much cleaner and clearer space to work in. I could probably still pare down the stuff in the miscellaneous office supply box but it's not bothering me and I do use what's in there.