Saturday, July 26, 2014

well begun but not half done

in which our plucky heroine makes great progress...

One of my major goals this year is to have my entire house functional and organised, not full of random things in boxes, but instead supporting my life in a way that allows access to all the tools, supplies, and information that I have. When there are actual useful "homes" for stuff, I am good about putting it away. For the last two months, there has been a successful attempt to do battle with the former Mt Messmore aka the large workroom/studio, thanks to the help of friends, in particular Kate Comstock, for her ongoing sixteen hours of assistance and encouragement...

So this is how things are looking now... Standing in the doorway from the kitchen, looking west. The floor is clear and the room is orderly, and there is more room for teaching workshops and working with individual students, as well as working on commissioned pieces and my own personal artwork

The righthand image shows what we started with... same viewpoint looking west. There are all sorts of things stored here because this is the only indoor place with enough space for them. I do metalwork and enameling here, and messy textile arts, as well as all sorts of home repair projects. The room is about 11 x 20? and was, at one time, a single car garage. The shelves on the far wall on either side of the window, intended to hold boxes of craft supplies, were emptied in 2012 to safely store fabric away from temporary feline housemates, which left my other supplies scattered all over the house in unorganised splendor.

This is the south wall of the workroom. It is now possible to walk directly up to the storage shelves and access supplies. There will eventually be a narrow standing workbench below the long shelf visible here. I will be adding tie downs for the lumber and wood bits stored behind the ironing board (which I forgot to return to the back bedroom before taking this picture!)

Prior to beginning the organising/decluttering project, the south wall was a mass mess of random lumber and things almost but not quite at the angle of repose, which made me crazy! and not in a good way

The southwest corner of the workroom with my small workbench and the enamel storage shelves. This probably has always been the best organised part of the workroom, because I have several homemade shelves that are sized to fit my enamel jars... the enamels are all visible, in color order, and the shelving is not plastic, but is wooden and attractive to my eyes... also cheap... I made these from empty drawers from the Rebuilding Center, and bits of lathing, and old yardsticks... aesthetically and visually and functionally they make me happy.

The workbench remains clear until projects happen, as there are places behind and to the side to store equipment and supplies. I plan to store "kits" of projects in process in the small drawers to the right, and am always keeping my eyes open for other small wooden drawers of useful holding (The silvery stuff in the lower right corner is mylar bubblepak, to cover the west-facing window when the sun hits it in summer, because the glare and heat are so not helpful)

Formerly, while the enamel storage itself worked well, my small personal workbench though, was a mess, somewhat visible at the right of the picture. I usually cleared away a small space in the middle of it to actually work. Compare that to how the workbench looks now...

Between the workroom and the back door is this space for my wagon and bicycle to live, as well as room for some garden and housey tools and supplies - the idea is to have needful things within easy reach. There is still much to be done to improve this room: there are many small individual boxes on the shelves that need to be sorted through and their contents either placed in a proper home or sent on to Goodwill or recycling; there need to be one or two better adjustable office chairs acquired, the pantry and laundry area need attention (as they often do); a pegboard for hand tools needs added to the wall above the bicycle area; the standing workbench shelf needs to be built; and someday, eventually, the other two walls will be painted to match the west wall...

July SMART goal challenge
1 1st wool cardweaving hem on red silk gown bag to paper recycling
2 blue Pel Laurel green undergown mended bag to paper recycling
3 * bicycle area cleared bag to paper recycling
4 * * bag to Goodwill
5 * * bag to Goodwill
6 * * bag to Goodwill
7 * * cardboard recycled
8 ---------- * cardboard recycled
9 ---------- * bag to Goodwill
10 ---------- ---------- *
11 ---------- ---------- *
12 ---------- ---------- *

so, as Suzette Hayden Elgin says, "anything you feed will grow"... I have been putting attention into decluttering and discarding, so that column in my chart is being fed pretty well, and I will go into August almost caught up on my SMART goals for the year (in that section) The Things Made and the Things Fixed groups though, are weak, especially the Things Fixed... must make an effort there, as I really do want to end up in December with an entirely full chart to meet my Rising 60 challenge. Somehow, fixing things is actually more difficult than making things. The good news is that some friends of mine want to swap sewing for yardwork and honey-do chores, so I may catch up in the next few months... August is looking hopeful, as there are both good social events scheduled and some useful work already lined up.


  1. It looks fantastic amd so easy to access things! A wonderful space.

  2. Great job of decluttering. Soon you will have it all done. Be proud of your accomplishments.

  3. ahhh I truly admire your lovely workspace and it is so well organized now! I'll send you a picture of the current state of my metal/project room. It is sad. But soon I will have my worktable completed - I got components from Second Use in Seattle - two kitchen cabinets and a slice of granite. I just need to paint and attach levelers (the floor features a nice angle), anchor it together and attach it to the studs to keep it stable in an earthquake. Once things are in place I can 1) work in there and 2) consider a leisurely process of "deep" organizing. I want to return my studio to the organization I was used to before I had to pack and move it all, all in a rush. Now I don't need to rush so I can actually think about where stuff goes! Lovely to see a nice organized work space!

  4. Looking like excellent progress! Keep up the great work in there.

  5. thanks for all the positive words... since this room is more functional, I am turning my thoughts to the guest room/sewing room in the hope that with thought and effort I can get that room to a similar state and make it into a space I actually want to sew in (I currently drag my sewing machine into the living room or workroom instead as those spaces just feel better to work in)

    Claire - it takes a good span of time to really get a workspace organised... Sounds like you are making a good beginning!