my big creative year : getting organized

I like to celebrate March with a big spring clean and organize and this year I’m in desperate need of it, particularly in one area. My work fills this place but the center of it all is a wall of shelves that hold most of my supplies, fabric, antique garments, tools – everything. Over the last year or so it lost whatever organization it ever had and it’s overflowing. I spend a lot of time looking for things, the stuff that gets used the most and should be easy to access is buried, it’s a big time waster, it looks terrible and it’s kind of depressing. I’ve been spilling over with new ideas lately and I have no room for them physically or mentally.

I love this from Sarah From on why organization is so important to creative work ( find the full blog post here):

“Organization is in part about being prepared for the moment when insight strikes. It’s about creating the conditions for creativity to flourish, so that when you enter into creation mode, your physical world is set up to support you. ”

My physical world was not set up to support me, not at all – and it was making me intolerably anxious so I made it the priority this past weekend to fix it. I took everything out, got rid of a ton of stuff and put it all back in a more thoughtful way.

studio storage shelvesI can see at a glance where everything is and the things I’m using the most right now are easy to grab. I even ended up with a couple empty boxes. I made labels for everything and attached them with clothespins for flexibility. I’m happy with my brown file boxes (I get them from Uline) and I replaced a few that had gotten crumpled and sad looking. And while I was on a roll I attacked my work table too – it had become a place to park piles of things lately – not much empty space to work.

ann wood's work tableIt’s all still a work in progress but it’s such a big improvement! I felt instantly so much more able to manage my tasks and ideas. I was excited to get up and look at it this morning – I gazed at it adoringly with my coffee. It was a big time investment I hadn’t planned on this weekend but it was absolutely worth it. Onward!


  1. My what high ceilings u have!!!!! Very organized……..

  2. oh what a delicious blogpost….love the organized photo’s!!! you are so right about inspiration kicking in and being able to just find everything you are looking for without searching (precious inspiration time going to waste!!!) I am spring cleaning too…my daughter is leaving the nest (other daughter has already flown) and you know what she said? “mom , I dont want to bring all those old things into my new and freshly painted house!! that was my aha moment….I don’t have to keep all those “old things” in my home either! I can just throw things out and enjoy an organized nest instead of developing an empty nest syndrome! LOL!!!

  3. Oooh…I love the owl on the dresser! I know the feeling of working in a disorganised space…I regularly have to tidy stuff away before I begin something new. Love the boxes too…must look for them here in N.Z.

  4. Oh, it’s such a delicious feeling ot have room to stretch and flex your brain. I am badly in need of a similar shakeup. I work on the couch and the dining room table and there are bits everywhere. Stopping in the middle of a tricky seam to dive for something in the cushions gets old really fast. 🙂 It’s been a goal to sort out my space, but not a priority. Until this post! I can practically SEE the deep breaths you’re taking in these photos! And thanks as well for the reminder that I don’t need a huge budget of fancy containers to get organised.

  5. Thank you for this post! It’s a great reminder and such an encouragement for me to start reorganizing my space too. I’ve been collecting all kinds of materials for years and my studio is such a mess I can’t take photos of it to show it on my blog. I like your brown boxes but I’m afraid I need the transparent, plastic ones.I’m a visual person and I need to see things or else I don’t remember that I even have it…How do you organize your materials? By color? Fabric type? Patterns?
    Anyway, I’ve been a big fan of your work and now I’m also greatful for your inspirational blog entries. Greetings from Poland!

  6. I love the quote, I lwould love to think my surroundings are supporting my unpredictable creativity surges.

  7. Guess what I will be doing this weekend? Time to get sorted I think… truly inspiring….
    I love that we have the same pin cushion! Got mine in Singapore 1969…ha ha.

  8. martine T

    i love your floor
    i love your site
    but i love your parket !!
    have a good day and a good week end
    and thank you for all dreams’ presents (i could said that ? vos rèves en cadeaux )

  9. yea you! i love to be organized, cause i hate spending time searching for things, so i decided that putting stuff away is important, and it gives me time to touch all my stuff, and check it out again as i put it away! and it makes me feel cal when there is space to work and to think.. so your space looks great Ann Wood!! yea you!!
    Warmly, Lauren

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