The Simple 4-Step Studio Organizational System – Why a Routine is So Important

Before you get all excited and rush into designing the perfect home studio, there is a way to make this stick but it means you need to slow your enthusiasm down a bit.

Have you ever designed the perfect room – picked the perfect colors, furniture, soft furnishings and accessories? So much fun right! But after you start using the room, it quickly gets cluttered with piles of stuff overtaking the beautiful design. This is the situation we need to contain before it becomes unmanageable.

Creativity is messy. Art & craft supplies can be so hard to manage and keep organized. When you are talking about investing your hard earned money on new décor items plus all the creative tools and supplies, you want to be sure you have a system in place for taking care of that investment.

I have developed a simple 4-step system to help you with this. But let’s be honest, this system is not exactly foolproof because, as I repeat, “creativity is messy”. As soon as you put too many restrictions in place, creativity can evaporate which we definitely don’t want. It is a fine balancing act. But hopefully, this will start you leaning into a more intentional and organized creative space.

Making your space look nice, the part we designers all love, is actually the 3rd Step in this system. I would suggest using Step 3 as the reward for tackling Step 1 & 2, which are the not-so-fun “grunt work” steps.

STEP 1

MINIMIZE HOUSEWORK

Who doesn’t want that? But to implement this step can actually be really difficult and requires a bit of discipline.

It starts by recognizing that housework is not going anywhere. It is never completely finished. And the more you put it off or ignore it the worse it becomes. It is time to come at it from a different angle. The only way to diminish it is to establish a solid routine.

Have you read the book “Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown? I highly recommend it.

It’s such an interesting read about the philosophy of “less but better”. This simplified way of living can be utilized in every facet of living even though this book is written specifically for the business sector.

One of the concepts the author writes about is the importance of routine. “Routine is one of the most powerful tools for removing obstacles. Without routine the pull of nonessential distractions will over power us. But if we create a routine that enshrines the essentials, we will begin to execute them on autopilot.” (p206)

Continuing on to page 207, the author writes that studies have shown that “once the mental work shifts to the basal ganglia [part of the brain], mental space is freed up to concentrate on something new.” Kind of like when you drive a car and realize you have arrived at work but don’t actually remember driving the roads.

“Instead of spending our limited supply of discipline on making the same decisions again and again, embedding our decisions into a routine allows us to channel that discipline toward some other essential activity.”

Read about my personal experience of how I minimized laundry to just 5 minutes twice a day on my previous blog post How One Load of Laundry Taught Me the Biggest Lesson in Time Management. This would be a great example of how this unending chore has now become, for me, a daily routine like brushing my teeth.

If this doesn’t work for you, there are so many life hacks on the web you just have to find the one that works best for you. Something you can actually stick with for the long haul.

Here’s another post I compiled to get you started 10 Great Ways to Minimize Housework so You Have More Time to Create.

Implement only one new strategy at a time for 21 days, the time it takes for a habit to form, to avoid overwhelm and reverting.

STEP 2

ORGANIZING YOUR STUFF

Once Step 1 of Minimizing Housework is set firmly in place, Step 2 of Organizing Your Stuff becomes more of a natural extension rather than a battle. Read my blog post The Laundry Plot Thickens, to understand what I mean.

STEP 3

MAKING IT LOOK NICE

With Step 1 & 2 implemented, Step 3 of Making It Look Nice becomes your reward. Have fun during this stage to design the space to your dreams!

STEP 4

ROUTINELY MAINTAIN

Finally, Step 4 of Routinely Maintain takes all the lessons learned from Step 1 of Minimizing Housework and using them within your newly designed creative environment. Establish a routine within your studio environment.

Not only can routines be developed for cleaning your creative space but also within your creative process. Some examples would be that artists could easily establish a routine of priming canvases or framing artwork in batches. Knitters could ball and label their yarn stash. Quilters could label their fabric remnants.

According to Michael E. Gerber in “The E-Myth Revisited”, another highly recommended read, “The craftsperson learns that within the work she does there is a jewel hiding below the surface… The thrill of the craft is to discover the jewel.” The established routine is the “grunt work” that uncovers the gem.

The bottom line is that we can choose the routines that design the life we want. But it takes actively discovering what works and what doesn’t with intension and purpose until we get it right.