July 19, 2011

Taming Your Work Style For Harmonious Home and Studio

A very good friend of mine recently went back to work in an office, more out of necessity than desire. We chat via e-mail regularly about our preferred work environment. She is more of a solitary worker, able to spend large amounts of time barricaded in her home office and banging out projects.

Me, I like heading to the local Starbucks or diner and tapping into my creativity with the background hum of baristas churning out coffee or prattling conversation between two people in the next booth.

Crafters are, by nature, a different sort. Our work defines who we are. And many of us like to have it around. All around us, much to the chagrin of family and friends. My son has been stepping over boxes filled with newly packaged soap, freshly made body butter, table displays and wrapping paper since he was three. But I've been trying to, of late, reign in the chaos. Moving my office and workspace to the bottom level of our home and drafting plans for a full-blown workshop.

Separating work life from personal life has been the focus of a lot of discussion, especially with more and more people setting up home offices, workshops and studios. So how do you keep your crafting life from taking over your home space?

Here are a few tips:

1) Ask your family what bugs them. If it's the boxes of yarn stacked in their bedrooms, or the dining room table covered with beading projects, then there may be a problem.

2) Define a work area. Do you have a bedroom, basement area, or even a corner in the laundry room, you may want to dedicate to your crart?

3) Design a work area. The new craft room furniture and organizational bins, boxes and shelving allow anyone to custom design a work studio even on a budget. Martha Stewart has a new line of craft room furniture, and the Container Store is organizational nirvana.

4) Periodic purge. Set a schedule for going through your crafting materials. Pitch, swap or sell items you don't need.

5) Control the spending urge. You're in the craft store or online and you see that one "perfect" item that would make your project better, your customers happy, will increase your sales. But in reality it is costing you money when you don't use it. So my new rule of thumb is, if I don't plan to use it within the next 72 hours, I can't buy it.

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