One of the best feelings for me is to create order out of chaos. Whenever my to-do list looks like a novel, I always feel better tackling it from a tidy space.  Slowly, I work my way through all the piles of paperwork and the odds and ends that have settled on my desk. It feels great when that clear surface shines through. I can start with a clean slate and anything is possible. I finally have room to think and a place to spread out my ideas.

You can imagine how excited I am to announce that I finally have an organized office! For years my art space consisted of an easel and a small room under the attic. In that awkward space, I shoved every art supply wherever it could fit. I had to crawl under the eave and dig through piles of stuff to find things. The supplies I used most often ended up all over my family room so that I could access them easier. My inner neat freak was not happy.

Luckily, I have a fabulous (patient) husband who is willing to turn my organizing ideas into a reality. Together, we designed a system to make the best use of the space. I dreamed things up and he translated that into precise plans. He’s an engineer. He designed the office space and furniture down to the centimeter. Precision not being my forté, I agreed to leave all the measuring to him. Although I have an uncanny ability to judge if something is level, he doesn’t really appreciate my “eyeballing” things.

I cleared out most of the room. I wish I had taken a real “before” picture. This picture shows a tiny bit of what it looked like before I got everything out. I piled the family room high with everything and we got started.

My lovely assistant tested out one of the triangle shelving units. It was a perfect fit for the slope of the room. We were able to use scrap materials for the shelf surfaces.

It took a couple weeks to complete everything- cutting, sanding, drilling, measuring, remeasuring, remeasuring again… did I mention he is precise? But it was all worth it! I’m so happy with how things turned out. We even managed to use scrap wood and repurpose old wooden projects of years ago. There are shelves to store all the materials I use often as well as some products. There is a drawing desk with lots of storage underneath. There are rolling storage shelves that can hold all my standard size paintings with or without frames. There is a file cabinet to keep track of all the business affairs. Here are a few pictures of how everything came together:

In the beginning, there was a blank wall.

Then, there were supports for shelving.

A desk was cut, painted, and covered. It’s ready for installation.

First, the shelf under the desk was put into place with wooden legs for support.

Then things progressed pretty quickly. The desk and shelves were all installed.

 Supplies will go on the top of the rolling shelves. The majority of my paintings will fit nicely on the bottoms of all the rolling shelves.

Art supplies now fill the shelves and paintings are stored in nice straight lines. We added walls for the bottom of the rolling storage.

From chaos to calm! It is such a great feeling to come into the office and have everything neatly tucked away but still accessible. I can’t wait to fill this space with supplies and artwork. I hope this week you are all enjoying the space you take up.








Marla Bender

Chaos to Calm- My New Office

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