The day I wrote about de-cluttering my online life this week, our office manager said she’d been looking at photos of people tucking home offices into closet spaces. I had a blinding, road-to-Damascus type flash of understanding that this was exactly what my studio at home needed. That room is an ongoing struggle. It has always tried to be too many things at once. It’s full of things which can not be corralled, sorted, or organized in any manageable way. The amount of things in there more than doubled during design school. No matter how often I give things away and rearrange it and pare it down, it’s a wild jungle of materials.
I started that day at lunch. I moved furniture. I trashed three rooms in the process, but by the end of the evening, I was 75% done. After I make a Goodwill run and Craiglist a giant work table out of my way, there will be plenty of space in there. I could make something in my studio, right this minute, if called upon to do so. At least I’d have a flat surface on which to wrap a present.
I sorted all my projects into baskets, and stacked them neatly. This does not solve the problem of the eleven unfinished projects, one which must be finished and packed and shipped in the next six weeks before tiny European nephew arrives; however, at least I can see them all now.
I dumped all my pens and paintbrushes and scissors and odd-shaped tools out and reorganized them. It makes me crazy when there is inappropriate co-mingling of pens. I fixed that.
I went through all of my architecture supplies, and tucked them neatly into drawers. There’s a drawer for drafting things, not that I ever do that these days, but I found my really heavy architecture-professor style lead holder, and it made me feel very design-y, just holding it again. There’s a whole drawer of colored pencils, and another for all my modeling tools, and one full of charcoal pencils and sketching things. I had 33 black sketching pencils. I’m guessing that’s because it’s easier to buy a new pencil than to root through your supplies and find the old ones. I don’t know.
The part that shocked even me was the glue. Please, tell me your glue collection looks something like mine. This is normal, right? Completely normal and reasonable?
Wait. Am I your first architect? I might as well tell you. We’re all like this. Right brain enough to have thirty containers of glue, and left brain enough to count them, organize them into a grid, and stage a photo shoot. I came to architecture late, and I wondered up until that point why I didn’t seem to think quite like everyone else around me. I certainly didn’t fit the public school teacher mold, although I enjoyed those years, too. When I got to architecture school, I realized I’d finally found my people. We are sorters and organizers, and we are compelled to make things.
I’m not done yet. I’m going to paint the inside of the closet, and do a chalkboard wall, and get rid of a pile of things I no longer need, and rearrange the bookshelves. After that, I have to rearrange the guest room. For the most part, I’ve satisfied my need to organize something this week. I realized, today, though, that I had not satisfied my need to make something. So, with all of this tidy and newly organized studio space,
I closed the door, left all my art supplies alone in neat little containers, and went into my kitchen, and baked bread.
You would not even believe how good this smells.