Organization: How My Worktable Looks So Tidy

One of the most common questions I get asked is,
"How is your worktable so neat?!"
This post is my attempt to answer that. 

This first photo is my table at the start of yesterday's work day. Notice that it's not totally clear. I've just stacked any random bits (and a roll of paper towels) that I knew I'd be using and pushed them to the edge. Still a pile, but a tidy one. I also keep a plate (palette) and water cup on my table, as well as a stack of paper bowls. They come in handy for all sorts of things. I'm lucky to have a nice big table (that I found on craigslist) which makes keeping things tidy all the easier. But the most important tidy factor is that there is a designated space for everything, and everything I use on a day-to-day basis is pretty much within reach. 

Just to the right of me sits most anything I reach for on any given day.
Notice the catch-all, an important weapon against overwhelming messiness. This is a place where I can quickly store stuff that I don't want to bother with right this minute. The catch-all can't be too big though, and must be contained. And when it gets full, it must be addressed.

And just across the room I have yet another table. I don't work there, it's just a handy surface.

This is my worktable at the end of yesterday's shenanigans. . .

. . . and again 4 minutes later.

I knew I'd still be working on the same project(s) in the morning, so I didn't put everything away. I just tidied up, giving myself a nice fresh palette for this morning. To me, this is a space that invites me to sit down and jump right into creating stuff.
I should also mention we have separate stations in other parts of the house. One for sewing, one for shipping, one for the printed stuff that we sell, and one for wood-working. But as those areas are Dylan's domain, so they're less pretty.
I know that some people like a messy work environment. I'm totally cool with that. I'm not a neat freak by any means (one look at the rest of my house will tell you that). This is just what works for me. Not being able to find a certain something that I want zaps my creative energy and takes away valuable time that could be spent making stuff. Now I'm off to make a new mess!

How about you
What kind of workspace do feel the most creative in? 


  1. I love to see other folks working spaces. I've just repainted my workroom and added a large blackboard wall for writting my to do list on, I can't work without a to do list!!

    I blogged about the redecoration on my blog The Pea Pod last week pop over and take a look. I'm not as tidy as you when I'm working though, I have little corners of creative chaos. Thanks for showing us x

  2. You have set a bar for me. I have let everything get out of control and it will be months before I have the time to address it. You have certainly given me alot to think about. I have two spaces and I work in several different media, but I can see that it would really be good if I had all of the needs for each in one place.

  3. You are so on the mark with that - nothing worse than having to wade through a mess before you can work... thanks for sharing :)

  4. Great idea Jo, having a tidy up at the end of the day makes for a clear space next day.

  5. It's wonderful to see your work space, thank you for sharing! I really like your idea of a "catch all", I may need to incorporate that into my creative space.

  6. Love this post! I've read soooo many thoughts on work space organization/flow, and yours is my fave :) The just-right-sized catch all is like an epiphany for me...thank you.

  7. It's wonderful to see your work space, thanks for the view

  8. Anonymous8/15/2012

    I'm impressed by your space. I let mine get too messy too often. I need a better system for staying on top of it all. I do have spaces for most things, but I have some stuff that doesn't have a good storage space so gets stacked here and there. And I don't clean up often enough I guess. It rarely looks this nice.

  9. my workspace is awful at the moment - bits of unfinished projects everywhere ((( so your post and pictures will be my guiding light in that mess and my next big plan is to make my workroom as comfortable, clean and organized as yours :) thanks for the post!

  10. Thanks for sharing what you workspace looks like. It looks very nice to work in with everything organized. Yeah, I too have certain boxes and areas for certain supplies so I know where they are when I need them. The "catch-all" boxes are a good idea. I'd like to incorporate that into my workflow. I also tidy up after a day of work, but if I'm going to work on it the next day, I'll leave certain things out.

  11. ...Your work space is just like your creations - awesome! :o)

    ...I like my work space clear and in some sort of order. Otherwise if I misplace something I feel like my creativity suffers. You gotta get while the gettin's good, right? ;o)

    ...I love your ideas and will be putting them to use in my sewing room too - thank you for sharing!

    ...Hope you're having a lovely evening!

    ...Blessings :o)

  12. Thank you for the pics! Now I feel better after seeing your messy table. I wanna be even more nosy and ask how you store your paper scraps ... they confound me in my office/work space! Your work space is so REAL ... like mine it's a real space you've carved out of your home - I have barely any space and am always squeezing one more craft supply into it. It's hard cause I don't have the focus to specialize so I'm always switching it up. Sewing one day polymer clay the next then I get a wild idea to collage and the place blows up lol! Again, thank you!

  13. What a wonderful work space and love the way you organize...When we built my studio I managed to have stations for different mediums...a sculpting and painting table, a cutting table and a sewing table...there is a shelf all around the wall next to the ceiling which has tupper ware boxes to hold stuff. I think the secret is having a place to put everything....I find it is easy to clean up when finishing a project. I have built storage in every nook and cranny.

    Thanks for showing us your work space.


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