Tell me, does a messy studio stress you out, or is it a sign of a creative mind at work? Can you create better with everything out in the open and available, or when you have everything unneccessary to the task at hand put away, with clean open spaces in front of you?
I ask, because there's been a friendly debate going on over at the Studios Forum on the topic of tidy studios: some people see clutter as the bane of creativity, others see it as a boon. Which one is right? I suppose--and several posters have said as much--that the answer is that there is no right answer. It's not "wrong" to fold every scrap and replace every pin before you leave for the day, nor is it a sin to close the door and leave everything right where it was so you can dig right in the next time. One thing I will say is that when we ask readers what topics they most want to see in Cloth Paper Scissors Studios, the #1 answer is always Storage and Organization ideas. That makes me think that more people want to get organized than want to add clutter to their studios. But I think that's partly because most of our readers are long on "stash" and short on space.
I think the trouble comes when the way you keep your studio doesn't work for you or your art. For example, you always tidy everything up into neat bins and drawers because that's how Mom taught you--or because you just can't stand a mess, but you miss the visual stimulation that having everything out in the open can bring. Or, you hate to clean up and don't mind clutter, visually, but you can never find what you need when you need it, and frequently find yourself heading off to the craft store for something you "know you have somewhere," or rummaging for a rubber stamp or piece of fabric only to find something you were missing a month ago: "So that's where that was!"
Maybe the answer is in compromise. If you like a sleek, tidy studio, consider a wild and crazy (or orderly but colorful) design board or inspiration shelf that you can change frequently to spark ideas. If clutter is your thing, at least commit to keeping one drawer, or a segmented tool box, for your most basic supplies (such as scissors, glue, sketchbook, ruler, hand needles and threads) and resolve to put those things away every day so you can find them and get back to work quickly and easily.
I know that at home I am always trying to clear the decks, create more space, and de-clutter. But, you know, I like stuff. And stuff apparently likes me, as it seems to follow me home and in through the door. So I've tried to commit to putting at least the most important things in my household--bills, school papers, coffee-making supplies--in one place, always. It works most of the time. I'm still working out the best method for my "studio" supplies; I think the best plan for me is to have duplicates of the basic things in each room where I like to craft (primarily hand stitch in front of the TV) and move the project from place to place, because I am a social crafter who likes to be with other people (or at least the TV) while I create.
What about you? Do you have any suggestions for "slightly" de-cluttering or getting "a little" messy? If you do, spill! (Or, if you're a tidy type, don't spill, just leave a comment.)