Thursday, June 2, 2011

IT'S TIME FOR THE PERFECT WRITING SPACE.... A DESIGN TIP FOR WRITERS.


Since I have many new blogger friends, I'd like to repeat my first design post that aired last November. We all need to be comfortable when writing and I hope this helps you create your perfect space.

This is my first piece of advice to all who seek to create a space that will enhance their life for a better writing experience.
De-clutter. We are all pack rats. Admit it you know you are. Is your mail piled up? Are books all over the place? Clothes strewn on the bedroom chair or on the floor... Do you trip on shoes when you enter the house? Kids toys everywhere? Husbands, wives, significant other’s junk everywhere. You get the picture. 
How can you even find your laptop? Let alone sit down and write. There is a very simple solution to this. THROW IT ALL OUT! Only kidding. The answer is create storage. This is a lot easier than you think. 
Step One. Start by downsizing. Honestly, start getting rid of all the excess. Junk mail, newspapers, magazines, and in my case catalogues ... the holidays are on our doorstep and so are the trillions of catalogues. Keep what you like and get rid of the rest. Even better contact the company and cancel them. You can find everything you need on the internet. You will be amazed when you see the top of your coffee table, countertop, or hall table that you thought disappeared. 
Step two: Make room in your closets. I hear the groan now. We all hate to organize closets, but it is necessary for your mental health. Admit it. How many of you have clothes you haven’t worn in years. Why keep them? Just think of all the room you’ll have for the new things you know you will buy. After you clean out the closets invest in organizers. Believe me they are worth the hours of stress to assemble them. Curse, carry on, throw things, but do it. Once the closets have organizers, the draped clothes, kids toys, scattered shoes will have their place, This will free up hours of cleaning and you can WRITE! 
Step three: If you are short on closet space, create it. For those of us who live in apartments or condo’s closet space is at a premium. Yes, even those who rent can create storage. Armoires are a great solution. Not only are they beautiful, but you can “stuff” lots of things in them. Now I do know money is tight. Go to your local salvation army or thrift store. Many of them have great deals on previously owned armoires. I live in the city of Chicago and I have seen them as low as $200.00. Another great source, Craig’s List. You will be amazed at the bargains you can find.
For condo owners, I have a tip for you. If you have a corner you don’t know what to do with, or some wall space that’s useless contact your carpenter and have a closet built. No I’m not crazy. I had this odd corner in my eat in kitchen next to the fire escape door. Only about a two by two space. Yes, I did, I put a closet there. I bought a 16” x16” self unit to fit inside. I have my coffee maker, toaster oven, cookbooks, coffee cups and assorted computer supplies inside it. It’s amazing how much counter space it freed up.
Now take a weekend and do as I suggest. You will be thrilled how much free time you will have after you pillage your house. Just remember keep only the things you really love.
Look for the next tip soon. Feel free to leave a question in Design Dilemma. I’d be more than happy to help you with your design dilemma.

Yes, everyone. I am not JUST a writer/illustrator. I am an Interior Designer, too. SURPRISE!

Do something nice for yourself today and let me know what it is....

37 comments:

  1. Such a pleasure in fantasy writing...My fantasy that is. I have no closet. Remodeling has me living in my own temp.closet. I can only dream of the space I will have one day, and my own atelier with skylights in which I actually have real lights in order to paint and write by. Keeping my mental health in the meantime is my real challenge. I am not a pack rat but my husband is and if he brings more junk into this tiny space not sure what I will do! Sorry, just venting a little on this holiday we have here called, Jesus goes to heaven day. This is a wonderful post which I look forward to reading again once I get rid of all the trash around here. Hmmm, maybe I can send it all off today with Jesus?

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  2. I decluttered recently and it was practically life changing. Like being able to breathe again. Now I can write without thinking about all that other junk. Great post, Michael!

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  3. I cannot cannot cannot create in clutter. Great tips!

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  4. Yep I hear you more shelves and cupboards is what I need. Good advice :O)

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  5. Love this post Michael! I'm all about interior design and beautiful, open space. My kids both went to Montessori preschool where the philosophy is, "a beautiful environment is essential to the creative process" I took that motto to heart!

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  6. Now I want to make over my writing space! I'm inspired! Thank you so much. You're right, the space is important and a little design can help so much.

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  7. We have moved four times in the last ten years and we are getting ready to move again. If nothing else makes you throw away the stuff in your life, that will. LOL
    Nancy

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  8. Great post as always, Michael. In my efficiency apartment, I sometimes feel as if I am writing up in space in the cramped space shuttle! Roland

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  9. My workspace is full, but it is organized!

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  10. I enjoy downsizing - the tossing, the shredding, the clearing, more shredding... All right, I just really enjoy shredding!

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  11. I love this post. It is really nice to go in and have a spring cleaning session from time to time. I think the only place that is not cluttered at my house is my desk. I make sure it is clean at all time...well other than when I am writing. Then it looks like a tornado hit it.:)

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  12. Seriously, dejunking is an obsession of mine. (= My kids know that if they leave their stuff all over it just might end up at the thrift store.

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  13. Cleaning out and organising is such great therapy :-) It's a massive undertaking though, so I usually leave it for a holiday!

    (and it's sad how quickly a decluttered space becomes cluttered all over again!)

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  14. I don't like the idea of cleaning/de-cluttering . . . but for some reason, once I start, I enjoy getting things in order.

    Great post!

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  15. Great advice! I tend to keep far too much - but when I go through it, I usually toss too much! It's a fine balance :)

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  16. I love these de-clutter tips. If only I could carry through some of your tips. I'm not a hoarder except for books and some special magazines so not too much to worry about. Oh, the clothes. Yes, should throw half of them away.

    Something nice for myself? I'm going to plan a little body pampering.

    Oh and I tagged you on my blog today.

    Denise<3

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  17. Great post and tips! We have an A frame house with very little wall space for shelves. Luckily, we do have several nice closets. My son and I created a small craft/writing space in the converted attic, and even used a nook behind the stairs to create a library.

    Alas, it is too hot to work up there during the summer. We'll need to get a window unit.

    I could write better in clutter than I could in 101 degrees...!

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  18. My kids are my clutter. The neighbors complained when I set them on the street.

    .......dhole

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  19. So true, Michael, but sometimes so hard! MrB and me are both incredibly untidy BUT...we are in the process of mega de-cluttering. It feels good but it doesn't come naturally. I like the sound of your mini closet...

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  20. In January I redid my home office, getting rid of old furniture, organizing closet, etc. It's made a difference in my productivity. Now I love to write in my office. Regarding clutter, I've never been a clutter fan.

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  21. Yup, I like to have a clean and organized work space for sure. Great tip!

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  22. I am a big fan of decluttering - I love clean, airy spaces, as does my other half. We've been told our flat is very minimalist, ha!

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  23. Last time I organized my closet, I ended up with an upper respiratory infection. =( Apparently I'm sorely allergic to my closet.

    Simple is definitely better. Great advice!

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  24. I declutter our home periodically. One thing I did was stop buying so much decorating stuff...It just accumulates dust! It makes life a lot easier.

    I do have my own writing room which is full of books and art supplies...I love the space, but it's the only room that is "full" in our house.

    Great post, Michael!

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  25. My house is always a mess! That's how it goes with a 5 year old in the house though! I don't try to fight it- if I did, I'd always be cleaning and not be writing. So I usually take one day out of the week to super clean. Then the rest, I write, read, critique etc in my spare time.

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  26. This is a very good reminder that I must throw away stuff, LOL. Thanks Michael for this excellent post.

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  27. Great post Michael! I know I really need to do this, but I don't feel like I can even spare a weekend for it. For now it's all "contained clutter" - as long as it's contained in the closets and on the shelves... well okay, there's a pile of research books and papers on the floor next to the sofa. Argh!
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, I need an intern! :-)

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  28. Looking forward to your game picks for Monday's blogfest!

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  29. Oh no, please, Michael, don't tempt me to rearrange my room again. It's like heroin. Have to focus on the writing. As soon as I tidy up my desk...

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  30. Hi Michael! Thanks for the post, and yes you are right about the clutter/organization. I have and enormous bookshelf that doubles as storage for my mriad of notebooks, pens, folders, markers,etc. (All the things I convince myself that a writer needs). Now if I could just de-clutter my desk..

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  31. Hi, Michael :) Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such thought-full comments. They were truly appreciated.

    Whether it's for writing or not, I simply cannot live in clutter. Treasured knick-knacks around? Yes - within reason. Am I OCD about leaving a piece of mail on the table? No. But clutter literally drives me crazy! You're made some great suggestions.

    For those that need a little more help with decluttering (especially if they have a lot of it), I have a few simple practices that might help.

    1. Pick one space and start there. It might one closet, one room, or even be one 'junk' draw. But whatever it is, seperate the decluttering into bite sized pieces to help overload.

    2. When decluttering big spaces, it's helpful to have three large boxes (or laundry baskets). One is marked "KEEP", one might be marked "YARD SALE" and another "GIVE AWAY". If you don't do yardsales, then those items could be donated or given to a friend.

    I never feel so good as when my space is clear...and that goes for my creative space :)

    Thank you so much for this great information!

    Grace

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  32. Interesting timing that you should re-post this now. Margo and I are going through a massive de-cluttering at the moment. I've been amazed how much stuff we don't need. We're making three piles - throw away/recycle, give away and sell. We have way too much stuff!

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  33. I just cleaned my desk. the piles invade already. :-O

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  34. I am always downsizing because I live in tight quarters. I toss junk mail the day it arrives. I recently cleaned out my email. Now I'm just trying to keep that current each day. Things really can accumulate if one isn't diligent.

    Excellent post. I enjoyed it. I always enjoy coming over to your incredibly creative blog.

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  35. I would expect nothing but the best from you! Seeing as you're a fabulous interior designer and writer you know exactly what's best for all of us.

    I was about to say that I wasn't a pack rat until you mentioned mail piled up... it was then the guilt set in. Thanks. Hehe.

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  36. Michael, great tips, my friend. I am trying to de-clutterize our house. I long for a walk in closet, but that just is NOT going to happen. So I will take your advice and toss the stuff I can do without. (A little cursing won't hurt either.) hehe

    And I have magazines that I wanted to keep fro years ago for reference and I haven't picked them up since. I guess that have to go too. *sob*

    Thanks Michael!

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