Decluttering an Art Studio with the KonMari Method

5 easy methods for decluttering and minimizing an art studio using the KonMari Method

My art studio was SCREAMING for some decluttering Konmari method attention.

I work in the basement of our house – which also doubles as a workout room – so saying I have very little space is quite the understatement. Truth be told, my art studio wasn’t really a studio.

It was more like a storage area that had a shelf of art supplies shoved into a corner with a rickety-old folding table to paint and film my videos.

Exhibit A: My blurry basement “Art Studio”
My shelf of art supplies….ew

While I was watching Netflix trying to drown out my sorrow, I stumbled on Marie Kondo’s new show “Tidying up With Marie”, which lit a massive bonfire under my butt and sent me into a tidying, decluttering high from which I was never descending.

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From the famous book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, the Konmari Method basically keeps you and your room on your toes – by keeping fundamental items that bring you joy – thereby surrounding yourself with things that serve a beautiful uplifting purpose.

When it comes to art supplies, this can be quite a challenge.

A regular tube of cadmium yellow doesn’t necessarily spark joy within me. But, it is a color I use quite a bit.

So, I adapted the Konmari Method to not only surround myself with items that spark joy (like my artwork), but also with items I know I need to do my thang (paints, paint brushes, canvases, etc.).

I filmed my entire process of decluttering and organizing my art studio using the Konmari method, which you can watch below!

Let The Decluttering Begin!

My first step was to gather all art supplies and artwork I had lying around my house, (from my office closet to the recesses of the basement), and placed everything….and I mean EVERYTHING on the floor in my studio. I emptied the supply shelf, I dumped out my craft supplies, I took paintings off my wall. EVERYTHING! FLOOR! NOW!

This is every single art item I own – currently taking up real estate on my studio floor. Step 1 done!

Step 1: Categorize and Sort

After I placed all my art items on my floor, I decided to arrange everything into specific categories – artwork, art supplies (paint, brushes, pens, markers, pencils, etc.), craft supplies, canvas, filming equipment, etc.

Then, once everything was in their respective categories, I attacked each category with vigor – throwing out old material, saying goodbye to older items that were just taking up my brain space, and seeing more and more space in my little tired art studio begin to open up!

Step 2: Saying Goodbye to Artwork and Items

You know what I am going to say. You have all these old sketches of yours that you just keep transferring from place to place. You like them, but it takes up a lot of your space. Heck, I had 12 sketchbooks filled with my old doodles!

These were amazing memories, but they were really burdensome because I had so much stuff to carry around. So, here is what I did….

I photographed and/or filmed my artwork so I could preserve the memory for many decades to come (without fear of the piece losing integrity).

just finished filming all my old artwork! Everything has been digitally captured!

Once I captured my artwork, I held it close to my heart, thanked it for being such an important part of my life, and gently placed it in the garbage bin.

Rinse and repeat with all your items.

Cue the relief.

Step 3: Arranging and Placing Your Items Back

After all the sorting, decluttering, and vetting all my art supplies and artwork, it was time to place all my items into their rightful spots.

I had one goal with this….I want to see everything I own without having to rummage through. No closed boxes. No hidden anything….because if there is ONE thing I know about myself, if something is hidden from sight, I will 100% of the time forget it’s there.

Everything I work with daily must be visible at a glance.  Period.

Items on shelves were stored in open containers and stacked vertically so I could see EVERYTHING I had without having to rummage – this is key!

I stacked all my paint tubes vertically so I could easily pick out the colors I needed.
no closed containers here. I want to see everything I own without rummaging!
all my canvas arranged so I can see EVERY single one I own. No guesswork here!

Step 4: Bins Bins Bins!

…and may I just say that bins saved my life here – especially shower totes! Fun fact: if you want an economic, easy way of transporting items, grab a shower tote and fill it as described above.

Plus, bins are a great way to keep your items in the right spot. Brushes always go in one cubby hole; paints in another; towels in another, etc. In a way, it keeps your item in the right place, so you can find it time and time again.

Here I used two totes, for the purpose of holding my big paint tubes, paintbrushes (all visible), pencils and markers.

Don’t ya just want to get painting already?!

Step 5: Rearranging My Space – Fengshui and all That

After all my items were sorted and placed, it was time to do a sweeping rearrangement of my big furniture items – desk, shelf units, film equipment etc.

hanging up artwork that sparks joy for me.
my airbrush compressor – so pumped to finally use this!

I moved my desk to a new location (near a window for more light), shifted the shelf of supplies closer to the desk, added another little shelf for my canvas and airbrush kit, and hung up my artwork on the wall for inspiration.

After feng-shuing the literal poo out of my space (taking approximately 2 days of my time), my art studio was ready for use.

It was clean, fresh, all my art supplies were in plain-sight – getting rid of the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” problem I always encountered with my supplies.

Freshly decluttered art studio!
My art supply shelf – ready for action!

THAT was quite an experience, but I am so happy I did it. And, I feel I can begin painting with new vigor in 2019.

What are your thoughts about the Konmari Method? Have you ever tried it before? Comment below and let me know!

Decluttering an Art Studio with the KonMari Method

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