Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Is What I Strive For

My friend Ami is super organized. She lives in a two-bedroom condo, and has turned the smaller bedroom and closet into her studio. I am constantly amazed by her ability to absorb new supplies and class materials (she takes a lot of online classes, and keeps notebooks for each one).

This Is Ami

For my contribution to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog ( ) during Organization Week, and my own blog here, I emphasized the concept of "Like with Like." Ami organizes her stash this way, too. But she is much better at Putting Things Back than I am. Her studio is not very big, but it has a nice picture window and a good-sized closet. She keeps her work space under the window; it rests on top of a wood cabinet (obviously hand-made) that her husband got in a sale of unwanted items at work. It had a couple of drawers missing, but Ami's son Matt is a cabinet-maker, and could whip up drawers to fill the gaps; Ami decided to use the space to hold some of her binders instead. She has a big board to work on, propped up to make it high enough, and this holds the stuff she uses most and whatever project she is currently working on. Next to that, she has a flat file bought at a garage sale years ago that holds lots of different supplies.

Ami's Cabinet and Flat File
On the opposite side of the room are book shelves, where Ami keeps her collection of binders, CDs, and boxes to hold papers, stencils, and other things.

Binders Holding Class Materials and Other Notes

Small Things Kept in Specialty Boxes on Bookcase

Project Boxes Hold Supplies
The closet wall has a row of Iris Carts that hold everything from rubber stamps to stamp pads to brads, and on top of these are more binders for acrylic stamps.

Ami's Iris Cart Wall

Acrylic Stamps in Binders and Ribbon Storage on Left

Notice how everything is carefully labeled. Sometimes the labels fall off or come loose, though. Ami says she doesn't worry about that, at she can always stick them back, and if they were more permanent, they would be difficult to change.

Rubber Stamps in the Iris Cart, Like Images Together
Small Things in Containers in Iris Cart Drawers. Everything is Visible.

In the closet are more Iris Carts, a big wooden cupboard with shelves, and lots of hanging storage for papers and fabrics. Magazines line the closet shelf.

Iris Carts in the Closet Hold Paints and Bottled Supplies
Hanging Pockets of Goodies in Back of Closet
Magazines on the Closet Shelf

In the Big Cupboard in the Closet

On the closet door and the back of the door to the room Ami has hanging vinyl pockets that hold decorative scissors, tape, brayers, and other odd-shaped supplies.

Decorative Scissors Hang on Closet Door

Oddly Shaped Stuff and Tape on Studio Door

Of course, none of this would work if Ami were not scrupulous about returning things to their proper place when she has finished using them She knows exactly where everything is, all the time, and if she forgets, she can always read the label.

The fourth wall holds Ami's computer and computer-related tools like her printer. She does a lot of digital art and attends many online classes and webinars, and so this area is where she spends a lot of time.

But back to the window wall, with that wonderful cabinet. Here are some shots of the cabinet's contents:

Little Things in Recycled Mustard Containers From Take-Out

Cabinet with Distress Ink Drawer Open

Inside the Paint Drawer
And a look inside the flat file shows again how organized Ami is!

Pens, Sumi-e and Japanese Paints in Flat File Drawers

Did I mention that Ami's wooden cabinet is a treasure? I am thinking how cool it would be to build one for myself one day. How hard could it be? If only I had a place to put it!

Thank you so much, Ami, for letting me share your wonderfully organized space with others through my blog, and for taking pictures of the cabinet for me. I am so looking forward to all the super art you will be making there!

Nan and Ami

Until Next time, Nan


  1. wow she is organized I wish I was that organized, though I am trying. I am labelling my stuff, havent finished yet

    1. Yeh, me too--a work in progress. I think that trying is important, though. I need to try more on that "putting it back" thing!