That’s me sewing at my kitchen table. I also painted, cut, planned, and created everything for my shop at that table; sometimes I even took over the kitchen counters. When I first started out, and my children napped several times a day for several hours it worked. (They were also little and I could easily keep them out of my stuff!). As they got older, took shorter naps and my business grew, it was not ideal. Depending on what I needed to do it took, me at least 30 minutes to get everything out and set up and then take it all down and put it away. So an hour a full hour for just set up and clean up; that is huge when I was trying to squeeze lunch, a shower, house cleaning/chores and work into a 3 hour window! I knew I needed to find space for my business, on top of the stress I was feeling about setting up and cleaning up multiples times a day, I just wasn’t getting as much done.
I knew I needed to find a place to leave projects out so I could go from “Work” to “Mommy” quickly. I toyed with the idea of blocking off an area behind my couch, and it would have worked for a little while, but I knew if I wanted to be serious about my business and have the ability to grow I needed something a little more permanent. Currently, I was storing all my supplies and finished products in a storage room that the previous owners had built off the side of the house. I started to think about how I could turn that room into my Work/Craft Space but still keep some of it for storage. I started the process of getting rid of the stuff we really didn’t need, got smarter about how I had things stored, and got some of those stackable shelving units. I kept a small portion of the room for storage and hung curtains to hide everything back there. I have enough space to keep my 6ft table set up with my cutting matte at one end and my sewing machine at another. Behind me is a 4ft table that I do all my painting at, that way I will never have an issue of putting fabric in wet paint (not like that EVER happened). There is a door I can close if I want peace and quiet, but I generally just keep a baby gate up to keep the kids out, but it also allows me to hear what they are up to. It isn’t the “prettiest” room, but it gets the job done.
Now, that I have everything all set up my only regret is not doing it sooner! If you don’t have a separate space for your work/business take the time and look around; maybe there is a closet that you can convert into an office/creative space. If you are sharing your office with the rest of your family, you might want to look at it backwards and stick the family stuff in a closet or convert an armoire. I created a board on Pinterest with some fun space/storage ideas for inspiration. If that doesn’t help you get organized and “find your own space”, invest in your business and yourself and call a professional! We have several Vend Raleigh Mompreneurs with organizational businesses that would love to help you out!
Michelle Bertoncino is a Mom to a 5 ½ year old daughter, and 3 ½ year old twin boys. She is the owner of Five Bees, a shop in Etsy with handmade items for babies and kids. Michelle is an active Member of Vend Raleigh and the leader of the Vend Raleigh Etsy Shop Owner Group.