Part 2. Systems offset chaos
It’s important to realize that even though you can read this series in a short amount of time, the time it took for me to put all this into practice has evolved over years. This hard-earned wisdom came from having to have systems in place to be taken seriously as a business. It does take time, and it should be something you do happily because it’s a happy creative space you are making, for your own artistry to bloom!
My first few months making flowers, I began to slowly acquire supplies and materials. Paper, glue, wires, and cardboard boxes sat around my living room! I was pregnant, and it was convenient. As winter melted to spring, and each finished order led to another commission, I decided to use the nursery space. To be honest, my partner was frustrated with the state of the dining room table. Once in the nursery, even with my own room to make things in, things easily got out of hand with every project! So, I began to compartmentalize.
First thing to know is you do not need a room of your own. You really just need several boxes and moveable props. Really! I operate in limited space within my home even in year five, and it functions because I implemented the following:
- acquired storage boxes for each type of material I used so that everything always had a home when a project was over
- purchased folding craft tables in two sizes so I would have two flat areas to process, pack, ship flowers on
- sourced glass frogs and steel pin frogs so that many flowers could be processed at once
- organized plastic tulip crates with vases and vessels to use in arranging paper flowers (I was so sick of the hard goods being put away with my drinking glasses!)
- bought shelving units to stack my storage boxes full of supplies (and I use one as a stand-up craft and record station for videos!)
- bought cookie sheets-lots of cookie sheets-to have project “home base” layers and a way to capture scraps when I was cutting
- created backdrops that could be moved around easily with foam core or old wood for photography
- purchased and stored packing and shipping supplies
Truthfully, my space is often messy and in-use. Everything having a home makes a world of difference when it is time for a massive clean-up and sort. Most paper scraps go into brown bags that we eventually put in the wood stove. I do save sizable pieces, but not obsessively and cleaning up paper scraps is very satisfying, as is a clean studio space.