Thursday, August 27, 2009

Studio reorganization... is it permanent or just a short-lived phase?

After delaying for years I finally bought a new monitor and Mac, so yahoo! However, as this photograph demonstrates, some reorganization was in order as well. The room isn’t quite this disheveled normally, but the photo was taken after the new system was in place, yet the old system (G4 tower, a small LCD monitor, and a Sony Trinitron CRT) was still on the tables. It’s still in here actually, because I keep thinking of files that must be retrieved from it.

I asked my naturally-organized hubby Andy for advice on how to improve the use of space. After chuckling because he gets this request from people at work fairly often, he immediately came up with two great suggestions:
#1 Put some shelves behind the monitor.
#2 Get a larger bulletin board.
The white boards on top of the TV are pieces of foam core that were sort of propped up there... for years. Kind of like bulletin boards, come to think of it. When stuff accumulates in sort of a permanent geological formation, it’s either a sign that a storage unit is needed, or perhaps that the stuff needs to be discarded. It’s not obvious in these photos, but the other items that have an annoying way of piling up are sticky notes. They accumulate in my office-studio like barnacles on a gray whale.
Let’s start with the new bulletin board (below). It’s a lot bigger than the old one, 4' X 4' and it’s very easy and inexpensive to make. It’s a piece of rigid foam insulation from the building supply store cut in half because it comes in 4' X 8' sheets. The other half is elsewhere in the room giving a total of 32 square feet of wall space to put stuff. Note: take your own box-cutter to the store, one with a nice blade at least an inch long. They only give the employees a dinky little cutter with a teensy tiny blade that just scratches the surface, literally.

The foam is covered by inexpensive decorator fabric from an outlet that is wrapped around the back and pinned into place with ball-headed straight pins. They're angled in pointing towards the edges to keep them from poking through. The pins work well instead of thumbtacks, which would make bigger holes and tend to degrade the foam faster. I didn’t bother to attach the finished bulletin boards to the walls... this one is sitting on the tables and is held in place by the mini-bookcase and TV. If you wanted to attach it to the walls, you’d probably have to glue some chunks of thin plywood to the back because you can’t hang foam on a nail. For long.
With this much-thinner monitor (a NEC MultiSync LCD 2490WUXi), there was a huge amount of room behind it. After visiting the local office supply stores, I found this 3 X 3 cubicle in Target. It’s not the most sturdy chipboard in the world... it’s similar to dried oatmeal. However, because the shelves are supported every 12 inches, it shouldn’t have any sagging problems, hopefully. It was a little confusing to assemble, but eventually it came together. This gives me an additional 9 square feet of stashing space that so far is mostly empty(!) The plastic bins are from Office Max... they were the only place that had anything like these.
You can see some sticky notes have crept in already, but I’m forcing myself to use the sticky note “widget” on the Mac instead of the real ones as often as possible. Or, just starting a document to contain whatever the fab info is. I should probably take the pens and pencils away, that might help.
Anyhoo, it’s a vast improvement and makes it much more enjoyable to write, illustrate, design, go online, you name it. Maintaining this nirvana is the next trick. After I finish up the rest of the room...


Diane J. Evans said...

How comforting to see that other artists are working in overcrowded spaces (like mine) and thriving, as you are! They say that clutter is inspirational for the creative mind -- if so, I've got tons of inspiration around me daily! Nice job organizing!


Leanne said...

Thanks for posting this! I already have a bunch of 2x3' Ikea corkboards on the wall over my drawing table, but I like the 3x3' shelving unit with the plastic boxes... I could put that on top of my flat file! And it was great to see that I am not the only one with the postit barnacle problem (mine are on my monitor) and "geological formations" of stuff! I tend to keep packing supplies like bubble wrap and padded envelopes "in case". Best of luck with your "permanent" ness! ;D

Loreen Leedy said...

I save padded envelopes too and haven't had to buy a new one for a decade or so. Used bubble wrap has a spot in the closet, and most boxes get reused for my brother's used bookstore. I've been trying to make a dent in my magazines by either marking articles of interest or giving them away. Then it'll be time to tackle the books... yikes!

Beena said...

I don't know how I missed this post of yours.

Enjoy your organized work space! I certainly have to be getting to clear my clutter soon!