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If you work in a creative industry, or have a creative hobby, you will understand how important it is to have your own creative space.

It might be your desk, it might be one side of your dining room table, it might be a chest of drawers in the corner of your living room or you might be really lucky and have a whole studio or office to yourself. However big that space is, it’s yours and you need it. Today I thought I’d share my top tips to help you really reclaim it and not let it get overtaken by outside forces.

Create clear boundaries

And that can just mean thinking about it differently. Stop referring to your crafty room as the spare room. Call it your art studio. I did that for ages. This meant that whenever I was having a big tidy up, I’d dump all of those miscellaneous piles of crap straight in my art room. Because that was “spare” space. It got to the point when I couldn’t actually walk from one side to the other because of all of the mess. I would just close the door so I didn’t have to look at it. Name your creative space, and you’ll see a difference. Your sewing room, or writing desk or gardening shed should be no less important that your kitchen, or bedroom or TV area, so take it back!

Make the space work for you

This is exceptionally important if you don’t have a lot of room – you need to use every square inch effectively. A few years ago I lived in a teeny tiny flat. The only creative space I had was a plastic box next to the sofa, that’s where I kept my art supplies and sketchbooks. That was the one area that was always “mine”. I organized that box until it simply couldn’t be organised any more. I had dividers in there, so I could sort all my pens, paints and tools. I had plastic wallets for my collage materials. It was so freakishly tidy, I wish I’d taken some pictures.

I think it can be really easy to be seduced by all of the great sexy organisation on Pinterest. I have an entire board dedicated to all of these really cool (and beautiful) organisation hacks but the truth is most of them probably won’t work for me. Those are other people’s systems and they may be really effective for them, they might be really effective for you, but I would rather focus on my art journaling or my writing or whatever I’m doing, than organising the systems around it. Pick something simple and just go with that. For me that is labeling. I like labeling things. I’ve got this massive wall unit that my Grandad built, filled with little drawers and shelves. That’s where everything lives now, and trust me, the labels are huge time savers.  I’ve got  maybe thirty drawers of different kinds of pen, and now if I’m looking for my purple Sharpie I can go directly to the Sharpie drawer and pull out the purple one, instead of faffing around in the first seven or eight drawers. It’s all about making it easy to be creative.  Having a kind of anal labeling system also helps me when it comes to tidying things away. I’m far less likely to just leave everything in a heap. This brings me on to my next point…

tidy up!

Don’t let your creative space be a shit tip. It’s really easy to do, especially if like me you’re really lazy when it comes to cleaning and tidying. But I promise, it’s a necessary evil. When you finish a project force yourself to clear up before you start something else. I use the Pomodoro technique to help me through it – I sent a timer for ten or fifteen minutes, and then for those ten or fifteen minutes I’ll tidy up as quick as I can. Once the timer goes off? Reward/break/bribe time. Then I’ll come back and if I need to do more, I’ll set the process again. It definitely helps break the torture up into manageable chunks.

inspire yourself

Now for the fun part –  surround yourself with things that inspire you. So obviously you need the tools and supplies that are useful for you to work with, but then also have things that you like to look at. Have artwork that your kids have made, have motivational postcards, have little things that you’ve collected on holiday, have photos that you’ve taken, have your inspiration board. Looking at those things will help you come up with ideas for your projects or your work or whatever it is. And it’s just… nice! It makes your little area more pleasant to be in. Inspiration and joy is just as important as functionality.

If you’ve got any hacks on creating amazing spaces for your hobbies then I would love to hear them, leave me a comment below!

Before I go, I want to leave you with the golden rule… If he gets Xbox space, you get creative space. It’s the LAW.