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So on Monday I headed out to my studio to tidy things up, somewhat—I organized, put stuff away, took out the recycling, stacked up my plastic boxes that I store stuff in…

About plastic boxes—

No, they are not aesthetically pleasing like the antique armoires and vintage suitcases in other peoples’ studios, but they work brilliantly for me for two main reasons: First, I can see what’s inside, so I don’t have to rummage. Second, I bought all the same kind from the HEMA (a Dutch store that’s kind of like a Target) so they stack. I group them by content, so all my vintage books are in one box, books of paper in another, Create & Craft demo materials in one, workshop projects in another, and so on. I mean, I have a lot of plastic boxes.

Also, there’s no heat in here aside from a little space heater (it is a bicycle shed, after all), so sealing up papers helps keep them from getting damp.

Sara Naumann blog plastic boxes storage

Plastic boxes, totally unaesthetic but they work perfectly for me. (I'm not sure why there's a tennis ball in my studio, though.)

The other thing I use are recycled cardboard trays. Our geriatric cat, The Bean, is on a special diet for her arthritis, so we buy her food by the case from the vet. I save the cardboard trays to put things in while the glue or ink or paint dries, or just to organize projects for magazine articles or—in this case—booth displays. They’re shallow (about the depth of two cans of cat food!) so I can also stack them cross-ways.

Sara Naumann blog storage cat food cartons

Shallow cardboard trays are perfect for letting paint, ink or glue dry.

And for larger papers—like these giant sheets of acrylic paper that I painted for backgrounds—I use a wooden fruit tray salvaged from the street, literally. There are a couple of greengrocers in my neighborhood, and they pile up the wooden trays by the curb after they unload the fruit. The trays aren’t super-sturdy but they’re perfect for this kind of thing.

Sara Naumann blog storage fruit tray

Wooden fruit boxes rescued from the curb work for larger papers and projects.

So how does my studio look now, after my cleaning and organizing? Sadly, it looks just the same as it did before! I started working on some projects to display at my table at the Art & Soul Portland Vendor Fair, so it wasn’t long before I had paper and buttons and scraps and this and that spread out all over. Sigh.