operation clean studio | the night I began

I had a LOT of requests for “dirty studio” photos that are current. To show the mess before the clean. The beast, if you will. As I just wrapped up an EPIC creative project, I’m only too happy to take a break from some project posting to share this. Here’s the story:

It was about 4pm, I worked until about midnight, or in other words, until I could reasonably use my studio if I had to create. I hadn’t planned on cleaning studio that evening… it just… happened. The first step is always the hardest? Nah, but it did force me to really see all that is going on in here. So, I took the Tsunami of Sh*t and turned it into a mess of epic global proportions.

FIRST OF ALL: not even a scrap of paper has been harmed in my mess or in the move. But it looks epic scary I know. Here are some iphone pics documenting the process of clearing off desks enough to move them around so the re-do can even happen…

Are you still with me?

Ok, so the thing is… I had to make it scarier before it could be better. It wasn’t easy… and I’m still not sure how I moved a 250lb desk among other things around this room. Maybe I am a super hero?


But I did work really hard and I had a plan. Get the big pieces in place. Get it in semi-operational order and ONLY put the things I know I want away. Have a place to put all basics (paper, punches, stickers, etc) even if it’s not the forever spot.

So, I opted to completely clear the back of my studio and start from there as a clean spot, working towards a path to the door.

The last two photos are the last of the night – once the workbench is in the perma-spot. Note that these photos were taken about 2 weeks ago. I’m behind in my documenting the process, that’s intentional. With breaking down and sharing so much, that’s just how it is going to work out.

Also, I intend on trying various stages out, seeing how I like them before I commit so I don’t want to tell you how I’ve found the best solutions until I feel like I actually have.

I hope that makes sense.

and I hope you don’t run away screaming forever thanks to my scary mess.

ha! just kidding. I know I’ve said and done plenty worse than this. But for those who wanted them – there you are. Some scary mess photos from the craft tsunami 2012 wreckage. Crews are working (almost) daily to fix it and clean it up.

When they’re not distracted into playing or on deadline, that is…

Watch for more craft room organization (and far more productive) posts coming at least once a week until complete! Please feel free to ask questions if you’ve got them as well.

18 thoughts on “operation clean studio | the night I began”

  1. THanks May for sharing! We have all been here at some point as our treasures get the best of us. Loving seeing your process of shuffling and trying out diff. ideas. Keep on digging!

  2. I’m very impressed that not a single piece of paper got damaged! Kudos to you. Thanks for posting. I am really enjoying your “journey”

  3. Glad to know that I am not the only one that has a similar work space……love all my little treasures too. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I have to say the before pictures look a more than a little familiar. One of these days I’ll be brave too. Thank you for giving me something to think about!!

  5. I’m not alone, I’m not alone!!! If I had a bigger window we could have twin studios!!! I did what you are attempting, it wa not eay, fun, or very satisfying…For months afterward I couldn’t find things, or found things in odd places…now 1 1/2 years later I am sooooo glad I threw it all into a huge pile and started from bare walls, cupboards, and containers. You’re gonna love it when you are done!

  6. OMG!!! I just had to laugh at your “mess”! My room is the exact same and the funny thing is I thought I was the only one with horse models in my scraproom! LOL!!! Of course, we have that in common and the fact that both our hubby’s are firemen!!!

  7. Congrats! I think the hardest thing is just taking the first step and starting the whole process. I still have not gotten that far and things are still piling up. I keep moving them to the other end of my table so I have a while 12 inches of workspace now! 🙂

  8. May, thanks again for being so transparent. It is always good to know we are not alone. I went through the process a couple of years ago. And to top it off we had a flood in the laundry room and my scrap room while I was in the middle of the process. Fortunately I was far enough along that nothing was on the floor. The insurance company had to update my built in cabinets (just closet type kind from Lowes – nothing fancy) so now they are new and sturdy. They had been through an earthquake and had seen better days. Then I decided to pay the difference and have laminate flooring put in instead of replacing the ruined carpet. So – a bad event turned into a real blessing. Now my room is really functional and I love it. But we can always use just a little tweak here and there so I am anxious to see what all you find that works for you.

  9. I’m glad I’m not the only one who creates chaos in the attempt to restore order to a creative space nightmare explosion!

  10. This looks a whole lot like my creative space. I am working on mine too, and I think I am at a point where a lot of the bins and large items need to come out so that I can make the whole thing work. I am also thinking that if I get everything out DH and I will find the time to paper or paint the walls. The old paper was taken down a long time ago, but since then nothing has happened. I think it was after DH fell through the ceiling that we had to halt some of updating and have not been able to get going on our projects since. I am anxious to hear about some of your storage solutions.

  11. Wow, you make me feel better about my space…maybe I am not as unorganized as I thought. Or maybe I just do tidier tsunamis lol. I am never able to put my hands on what I want when I want it, so it looks organized but isn’t. Looking forward to watching your progress…maybe I should tackle my craft room as well.

  12. Thanks for being so open and sharing May. My space looks like this all way too often. Nice to know I’m not alone either, like others have said. 🙂 Very excited to see your process of organizing it all. Hope to implement some of your organizational ideas into my own studio, as I really need the help! Thank you for continually inspiring me!

  13. Love that you’re sharing this. I’m trying to reorganize, too. Mainly due to the fact that my “space” is my dining room, in a 3 bedroom apartment. Actually looking like an episode from Hoarders from what I’m told. Good thing my kids are grown, and do not depend on me to cook dinner too often. Can’t see the table at the moment.

  14. WoW! SOOO could be my space, before i had to pack it all up! LoL! Now everything is just in baskets (stacked), and boxes…still a mess! Can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

  15. ok….i’ve always felt you were “real” and this just confirms it! LOL! 🙂 i must admit, i couldn’t work in a space with that much stuff cuz my brain might explode, but i am enormously impressed that you can! thanks for taking us your journey, i love to see before and afters! i’ll be cheering you on from so cal! go may!!!:)

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