Your go-to guide to mastering your in-person market experience
Learn more about the ins and outs of handmade business ownership with more in-depth lessons on our YouTube channel
Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
I love getting my business organized and ready for the new year in January. I don’t know about you, but after the holidays, my business space can look like the toy aisle at Wal-Mart the day after Christmas.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I’ve got some tips to help you cut through the clutter and start the new year in a fresh, clean space.
The idea is to work on little bits at a time. Trying to do it ALL will result in you quitting before you even get started.
I like to arrange my materials in a way that’s functional and makes my process easy. So, this might look slightly different for you, depending on what you make and how you work. But the fundamental ideas are the same.
Okay, grab your boxes and turn on the music – it’s time to organize!
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you have items in boxes, drawers or on shelves, it’s time to bring it all into the light.
Take out EVERYTHING and put it somewhere where you can see it all. This is the worst part, I promise!
I know it may seem daunting, but this will truly create a space that will keep your business organized and your mind clear.
I know, I know – that bolt of fabric you bought three years ago is perfect…for something! You just haven’t figured out what. I am also guilty of “sparkly thing syndrome”. You go to the store, and see all the shiny objects, and figure you can use them…some day.
Now it’s time to go through it all and say goodbye to anything you haven’t touched in over a year.
Before you start, have 4 boxes set up: “Keep“, “Donate/Give Away“, “Toss” and “Maybe?”.
Sort through it all, and put each item in one of these boxes. Be brutal – the secret to staying organized is to keep the clutter to a minimum.
I know it’s tough, but you got this – we can do hard things! If you need help letting go, try reading this article to see if it can help.
Give yourself a week to take care of the donate / give away box. Toss the “toss” box immediately. Put the “maybe” box some place prominent and give yourself about 6 months. If you don’t use an item from that box within that time frame – it’s time to say bye, bye, bye!
In order to assist your work flow, try to establish “zones” in your work space for different types of work. I know this will depend on how big a space you have. Therefore, try to create areas that are functional for certain steps in your process.
For example, one zone could be where you paint, another where you pack your orders, and a third where you have your computer.
If you have a larger space, you could have several zones, and smaller spaces might have just one or two. Do the best you can.
Remember you can always go up! Shelving above workspaces can be used as zones for materials and shipping supplies.
In today’s world, much of what we used to have on paper is now available digitally. Invoices, contact information, supply order forms, you name it, it’s all online now.
Try to reduce duplicate information. Get rid of paper that you know you already have in your email or digital folders. It’s okay to throw it away if you have your important information online (and backed up).
Everything in your workspace should have a home. Put up shelves, use drawer organizers, filing cabinets and bins to create a space for everything.
Then, make sure each thing goes home when you’re done using it! Get into the habit of putting items back after using them.
You can really have fun creating your space. Use color, boxes and bins found at Goodwill, a label maker and washi tape to make the space personal and a pleasure to be in.
I love seeing my beads and baubles, so I created a rack system that I can use to hang all my beads from in my space. They are organized by color and type, and they make my space fun and inviting.
Set aside time this month to go through your space and follow the steps outlined above. You won’t believe the difference it will make! You’ll feel better about working in the space, and you’ll find it’s easier and quicker to make your products.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!
Watch on YouTube