Artists! A Simple System for Organizing Your Ideas and Work History

Use this simple system to get your artwork organized and tidy.

Creatives, especially artists, get a bad rap for not being organized.  I know one though who is quite organized now that we’ve worked together, and was fairly organized before we met. She’s also an art teacher who is in a relatively new position.  With that new role, she reached a critical mass of teaching materials for school, teaching materials for various other classes, and her own work over the years.  At quick glance it wasn’t clear what work or sample went with what work area.  She actually had many folders already, but they were scattered. The work that wasn’t in folders was spread amongst bins, drawers, and filing systems.  In a grand exercise of grouping like with like, we were able to decipher what belonged where, drawing clean lines between her vast visual history as an art professional. 

This file drawer is one part of her result.  In it we collected the following categories:

  • Knitting

  • Ideas

  • Portfolio

  • Works in Progress

  • Commissioned Work

The “Portfolio” section was the real powerhouse. The existence of this section was magnetic, attracting both favorite and forgotten works of hers that were previously scattered.  Naturally, she tossed many duplicates, sketches and early drafts to round out a tidy portfolio she can be proud of.

Other systems not pictured are two sets of pocket folders for personal and professional to-dos, a couple of large bound portfolios for housing past teaching materials and accompanying lesson plans, a file drawer for personal documents, and more.  The large bound portfolio is a colorful, large, system that works well for quick visual reference for future projects.  This drawer is more for peace of mind.

Are you an artist who also has a scattered work history? Would the creation of these sections help unlock more space for creative growth? How do you organize your past works? Please share in the comments!

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.