Thursday, 14 August 2014

Tired of your work space looking like a disaster zone? Read on.

Does your work space look like a tornado just blew through it? Or is your space more chaos than organized? If the answer is yes here is a blog post for you. 

As an artist I wasn't always the most clean person on the planet when it came to keeping my space organized. It eventually got to the point where I could not stand to work in the space and when that happens your productivity goes way down. Here are a few of my tried and true tips for taking a huge mess and turning it into a productive work space. 

To begin your organizing journey you are going to need a few things. Whether you have a mess the size Mount Everest or your space is minor chaos, you should follow these steps to keep your mess to a minimum.

To get started you are going to need a small clear space, some garbage bags and of course some boxes. Place them in this clear space and categorize them as follows.

1. Stuff you intend to keep. This is stuff you use all the time or on occasion or sentimental items you don't want to part with. You can use several boxes for this as well.

2. Garbage, recycling, and shredding. These will likely be what you use your garbage bags for. Garbage is pretty much anything that is broken or no longer usable by anyone. Shredding is for documents that might have sensitive information on them that you no longer need. These items should never be put in recycling or garbage unless shredded before hand. The last is recycling for any papers and boxes you no longer have any use for but can be recycled.

3. The giveaway box. This is for anything you don't need or really use but someone else can get some use out of. What you do with it is up to you but here are a few suggestions. Goodwill/Salvation Army or other organizations like Habitat for Humanity. These organizations will take your donated items clean them up and put them on sale in their stores for other people to buy and the proceeds usually go to organizations in your community. 

If you think you can make money on these item you can auction them off at the auction fairs or you can host a garage sale. Or you can simply give things away to friends or family that might be able to make use of them. 


Okay now that you are set up, the hard part begins of sorting through all your stuff. To keep it simple in your first round just sort your stuff into the above 3 piles I mentioned. Once you have completed this task (this may take several hours or days to do). When you are done throw out the garbage, recycling and shredded materials and get them out of your space. For the items you are not keeping, put them in a safe location but away from your space. 

For your second round you are going to organize into piles or boxes based on the use. This can vary depending on what you have in your space. For the purposes of this journal post, we'll go with the standard artist's lair. So for my space since I am a graphic designer, I separated into the following piles.

1. Art supplies (all my paints, paint brushes, sketch pads etc.).

2. Office supplies (envelopes, pens, pencils, printer paper etc.).

3. Media (cds, dvds, techy devices etc.)

4. Keepsakes and knickknacks

5. Board games and other gaming materials

My office space is in my bedroom so I did have other piles for personal items but I will not get into details with those items in this posting.

Once those piles have been sorted out and any of your own choosing, you can now work towards organizing the space. As you do this be sure to take a vacuum cleaner and other cleaners and clean the space as you organize. 

The key to a clean space is to keep like items in close proximity. So your office supplies go in one place and your art supplies go in another. Once you have done your initial organizing go back and organize your stuff every 5 or 6 months and make sure your not holding onto stuff that you are never going to use or should be in the garbage. I hope this posting will give people some help with cleaning up a huge mess.

In my next post I will go over some of the cool organizing devices I use in my space to keep me organized (like shelving units, pen holders, bins, and my filing system etc). If you are interested stayed tuned for that post coming within the next few days.

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