An attack of the “tidies”

Do you experience that moment? The one where you walk into a room and everywhere you look there is something out of place or half-finished? This seems to be the state of my studio on a regular basis. Often it means that I’m busy and work is getting done. But sometimes it gets in the way of work. When I need the table surface for a project and it is covered by notebooks, a warping reel, paperwork to be filed and cones of yarn.

This week I reached a critical level of unhappiness and did some cleaning. I’ve got a set of those plastic shelves, the ones from the hardware store that you put together like Legos. They were supposed to be for project organization, to keep the queue visible and remind me what needs to be worked on. They’d turned into a dumping ground: shipping supplies, projects, household/collectible items to sell on eBay, a pile of personal mending, and bags of raw fleece that I thought I’d clean, comb, and spin (in my copious spare time.)

I just can’t afford to give up prime storage space for things that aren’t needed on a regular basis in the studio. So, with some rearranging, some purging, and some putting away I have a space that even has room for more stuff.

I did a second round of this in the rest of the house this weekend. We were having company for dinner and “living space as dumping ground for things without homes” wasn’t working for me. I thought I had a nice organized plan for this, but it turned into more like a relay race with only one runner. I’d start on porch (screened in, three season) with something that should be in the living room. Get to the LR and need to make space for the item, which led me to clean up the bookshelf in the LR. Now there’s a pile of books to be donated (back to the holding shelf on the porch) and space on the LR shelves. Meantime I was picking up stuff that had drifted into the wrong room and returning it to its rightful place.

I stopped at one point to comment that I was sure I had a plan, but that I’d lost track of what it was as one pile led to another and another and another. Two good things: 1) it’s a small house, 2) the guest’s arrival was imminent; otherwise I’d probably still be cycling around. Ultimately some tough decisions were made about things to keep/donate/discard and that feels really good.

That work table is still covered with stuff though.  I have some filing to do.

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Author: Jennifer Kortfelt

Owner, Heron Pond Designs, a fiber and textile exploration.

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