I’m desperately in love with Really Useful Boxes. They’re amazingly sturdy, come in a bunch of different sizes and shapes and colors, but are sadly hard to find or expensive.
But the other day I was in a store and happened to see a few new boxes. One meant for ornaments, one meant for packing a Christmas tree and one for wrapping paper. I picked up the wrapping paper one, even though I have NO wrapping paper because somewhere in the back of my head was a little voice saying ‘We can use that!’ but no real idea.
Fast forward to today. I’m unf*ucking my art/craft/guest room and I look at the box. And look at my yarn and a little lightbulb pops up. I CAN PUT MY STUFF IN IT!
Not all my stuff, but the tray would work to keep my crochet hooks and yarn needles and stitch counters nice and neat and while the bottom part won’t hold even a portion of my yarn stash… it could hold SOME of it.
It’s not perfect but now I can find my yarn needles and some of my hooks!
For those of you just joining me, a recap:
I spin and sell yarn as a small business, and I am preparing for a craft show on the 16th. Normally, I leave everything til the last couple of days and then I nearly pass out from working like mad to get ready. There are always huge things I forget, like change for purchases or my sales order book, or price tags. Not this year, though. And this year, I’m adding my destash—yarn and fiber I acquired with the intention of using it, but decided I never would. I’ve managed to cull two Rubbermaid bins full that I will sell to augment my stock of handspun yarns. I am blogging about it as I go, partly to share with the UfYH crowd, and partly to have a record of proof that I really did it. The other day, I wrote about packaging the fiber.
So tonight I worked on the next part of sorting, which was weighing, rewinding, bagging, and marking all the yarn I’m selling out of my stash. I had—you guessed it—an overflowing Rubbermaid bin full of it, some of it tangled and most of it disorganized. I figured I’d do some 20/10s on it and be done. I sat down with the new Doctor Who episode and got to work.
That was 9 hours ago.
Now, I know that marathons aren’t recommended. I promise I took lots of breaks, making a point of getting up and stretching, making dinner, eating…etc., etc. I even dragged out my old-fashioned inventory forms and filled them out as I worked, so I have a nice record of everything I’m selling in this bin.
(Note to other crafting business owners: the inventory sheet is a fabulous tool, tbh. It can be a lifesaver if ever something should happen to your wares; you’ll have an itemized accounting of everything and are more likely to get money back to replace it. You never know.)
I know there are programs online and I could even do a spreadsheet in Excel…which I do. But having that paper that I can put my hands on, or store in my Info Binder, is just an extra level of security. I’ve been really, really bad about keeping records, and I am just waiting for the day when we have a fire or a flood or a break-in and I have to remember what was lost. Not my idea of a good time.
So now I am finishing up with some tiny skeins that I’ll be selling by the ounce, and then tomorrow I start a week of entirely revamping my actual stock. That will be “interesting”, and I’ll probably need to recruit help. But it will get done! And the great thing is, it’ll be done well in advance of the show, which means less stress in the days leading up to it. I’ve also taken the time to put together a list of EVERYTHING I need, up to and including my inventory and pieces for the spinning wheel I’m taking with me.
This may seem like a LOT of prep for a small craft fair, but it’s not just for this show. I have opportunities all the time to sell my stuff, but I’m usually not ready for it. Last year I turned down two additional shows because I just wasn’t prepared. That is a terrible way to run a business! This way, I will have pre-packaged, ready-for-the-road stock. It’ll be dry, clearly marked, and priced in advance. I’ll have 3 bins of yarn and fiber, and one half-size bin with my notecards, stitch markers, jewelry, and the cash box. How cool would it be to just say “sure, I can make that show!” and just toss the bins in the car and go??
I usually dread shows (I love them once I’m there, but it’s always SO MUCH WORK leading up to them) but this year, I am excited about them again. I have a new pricing method, a new look to my packaging, and the destash will bring in customers that might not have been interested in my other things (i.e., the bargain hunters, lol). So this 9 hours today and the time I spent the other day and the time I will spend again will ALL BE WORTH IT.
Until my next update, I am declaring this part of the business…
This is a major, multi-day project that I am breaking down into tiny pieces.
SO let’s go over why this is a Big Deal.
Several years ago, I started a DBA called Divine Bird. The idea was that I would sell the fruits of my hobbies, most notably art, knitting, and spinning yarn. It also covers the classes I teach in knitting, crochet, spinning, baking, and using alcohol markers, as well as any talks I give to local groups. I filed all the necessary paperwork and set myself up with a schedule, then got to work.
It became clear very quickly that I needed a Proper Space in which to work. So I tried to carve out that space in our tiny apartments, never really succeeding. And then we got a two-bedroom apartment where I was able to claim a whole room just for my business. Lovely!!
I set up the room as best I could. Desk in the corner with my computer, yay! Office supplies! Storage in the closet! Shelves on the walls! And then the rest of our stuff needed a home…so of course I put the extra boxes in there. And the shelves that hadn’t been hung. And then the extra clothes. And then we emptied our storage unit, so all the stuff we kept from THAT went into the room. My desk became a flat surface on which to place things. My sewing table went the same route.
I never used that room. I couldn’t work in there; it was too cramped! There was no floor space left! My only choice was to work in other rooms, and I only went into the ‘studio’ to grab supplies.
Somewhere along the line, I decided that I would do an overhaul and Organize The Shit Out Of This Room. I took ‘before’ pics and posted them on Flickr and everything. I Had A Plan! I had a layout drawn on graph paper! Except THEN I had nowhere to put the rest of the stuff.
It is about this time that my business began to falter. The classes kept it afloat, but when it came to my production of yarn, I just never felt comfortable working on it. I was always worried the cat would shed on it (a big no-no in the yarn world) or I could never sit in a proper chair (terrible for ergonomics) or there was just No Space.
When we moved into our condo 3 years ago, I thought things would be different. I claimed the sunniest room in the house, and all it needed was a coat of paint and I would have my beautiful restful haven for creative works. That…didn’t exactly happen. Because I never had a system for my old studio, the new one ended up with all the junk and the stuff I’d moved with for 10 years, some of which I hadn’t even gone through in all that time. Bins of old artwork, bags and bags and bags of fiber, yarn, and fabric…and don’t even get me started on the equipment! Sewing notions, ribbons, knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn spindles, spinning wheel attachments (for 5 wheels that have come and gone over the years!), hand cards, yarn winders, a table loom, a FLOOR loom, and more. My little studio became a glorified walk-in closet, and a poorly organized one at that.
See, a friend recently moved back to my town and her current place is tiny. All her possessions in one room and she can’t really manage working in there. But she has this fashion show she’s prepping for in early 2013, and she needs a sewing space.
Oh hey, I have a space. Technically.
Just after that, I found UfYH. Several days of 20/10s later, and holy shit, I have a semi-functional room at last.
It’s not done, not yet—but it’s getting there. A little bit at a time, 20 minutes here, 45 minutes there, I have been going through EVERYTHING. I’m ‘destashing’ stuff that I have loved and carried with me for 10 and 20 years, things I have kept out of guilt because it was important to me once, or I spent lots of money on it. With every piece I discard, though, I am feeling lighter and more free. I was excited about the things I AM keeping, and excited about the things I’m going to get rid of.
And here’s the great thing—as I do this, I’m eager to get to work on my production again. I have things I know will go into the shop, and I have a dedicated space in which not only can I work, but also I can CLOSE THE DOOR. It won’t have to spill out into the living room or my bedroom. I am creating a storage system now that will allow me to access all my tools and supplies with ease. I might even FINALLY start sewing the bags I wanted to make.
It’s all due to UfYH. I couldn’t find the motivation to tackle such a huge project. I always felt overwhelmed by the Stuff. But now I feel like maybe, just maybe, I can not only do this but do it RIGHT. I need for my business to succeed and it won’t unless I work on it. Having the space and the system in place will help me achieve my goals. So thank PoM for starting this movement, because without it, I might not have gotten my ass up off the couch to begin with.
So my dad has always said, “There’s a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Which is all well and good, and certainly better than a place for nothing and nothing in its place, which is admittedly how I used to operate.
But sometimes we have a place for stuff and it still looks like hell. Case in point, our family shoe storage area by the side door. That’s where the shoes go, and it’s easy to throw them all in there, but it looks like craaaaaaaaap. And things are always spilling out onto the landing, and we really do not have space for that, either!
Before and after pics under the cut. :)
So I’ve been trying to play the Unfuck Your Habitat game and actually make some decent habits for myself. They come and go. I made my bed a few days in a row, but then spent the last couple mostly in it. I’ve been too lazy and off to put the junk on my bed (books, keys, top hat, pens, scissors) away because my desk remains fucked. I put the first few loads of clothes away, but then this last one’s been sitting for a couple days.
It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re on a physical down.
But I’m trying, and today I did all the dishes, and even washed or put stuff into the dishwasher right after supper! I never do that! I even cleaned off my kitchen counters.
There’s still lots to do, I know, and it’s slow going but I am going to unfuck my bed before I go to sleep, and try to get my desk organized to some extent.
There are a few things I need to get to make this easier. I need some recycle bins and some shelves around my desk and a garbage bin for my bedroom. BUT. STILL. PROGRESS.
Thanks, UnFuck Your Habitat. Watching stuff pop up on my tumblr all day is helping. :)
Today, I spent a good chunk of time thinking about organizing. Not in the ‘I really should organize but I’m going to procrastinate and then tell myself that I at least though about it’ sense, but in the ‘how do I
shoot webaccomplish this particular part of unfucking’ sense.
This is an excellent post about rethinking how you categorize items if mainstream categories don’t resonate with you.
Since my roommate move in today I have been on a little bit on a cleaning spree, or rather an “Oh my goodness, no one can know I live in this squalor” mode. I washed the dishes and swept the kitchen last night. This morning I decided that it was time to tackle my bedroom.
I put on a podcast and went to work.
I should probably explain why my closet is such a mess. About two weeks ago my other roommate closed the door to our combined closet and then less than a minute later I hear a loud thud. I knew what had happend, but I was reluctant to go look. My entire wardrobe had fallen on the floor. After living off of my closet floor for sometime, I decided it was time to take charge.
Consider this place unfucked.