Creative corners: Decluttering for makers

Can advice on ‘how to Kondo’ help you organise your creative studio and supplies, or do crafters need a different approach?

Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and follow-up Spark Joy, even made Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. But are principles such as “keep only those things that bring you joy” and “you will never use spare buttons” useful for makers or is a different approach needed?

 

Organised Chaos

“I found [Kondo’s book] life-changing,” says jewellery designer Laura Hunter (www.ilovecrafty.co.uk), whose home office used to be crammed with clutter. “Now I have room on my desk, I don’t feel so cramped and everything in my office is cute.”

Illustrator and blogger Lily von Cupcake of Tiny Grey Cat (www.tinygreycat.etsy.com) isn’t convinced. “Anything regimented instantly puts me off,” she says. “I’m a very visual person, so I like lots of pretty things around me to inspire and stimulate. My workspace can get pretty messy, but I still mostly know where everything is.”

“Organisation is sometimes more challenging for the most imaginative and artistic people, but it’s still vital for creating an efficient and productive workspace,” advises Nicole Anzia, owner of Neatnik and organising columnist for The Washington Post (www.neatnik.org). “You should be able to find the things you need without too much searching and have a space that lets you work comfortably.”

 

Creative Solutions

Lily likes borrowing solutions from elsewhere: “Ikea’s kitchen hanging pots make great pen pots and free up work surfaces. You can also use a spice rack or kitchen roll holder to keep washi tapes together and organised.”

Just don’t overthink it, says Lily. “If you try to implement a rigid system that doesn’t feel natural, it won’t work. Condense where possible – do you need five glue sticks? – store little things inside a bigger thing and embrace a bit of creative chaos. If your studio doesn’t feel like ‘you’, you won’t like using it.”

Laura feels differently about the effect of clutter. “I always thought that by surrounding myself with things I loved and found interesting or inspiring, my work would be better,” she says. “But actually, after getting rid of excess stuff, I find my work is fresher and more focused. It’s easy to be inspired when you can actually see what you love.”

Words: Anne Wollenberg Illustration: Maiko Nagao

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Creative corners: Craft room ideas to pinch

Creative corners: Clever storage ideas and storage basket patterns

Creative corners: How to make a sewing machine cover

Image above featured in Mollie Makes 49 | Photo © Henny van Belkom