I’ll admit it. I didn’t used to be into organizing… and then I became a cosplayer. I feel that it’s essential to personalize and organize your cosplay work area, whatever size it may be. You might even just be starting out with a small desk area or a shared space — believe me, we’ve all been there before.
As I constantly update, change, and reinvent my office / sewing room / studio / whatever you want to call it, I like to document and share my experiences. This has led to many questions, from where I get my shelves to how to store costumes and display figures.
While this isn’t intended to be the end-all, be-all guide to Cos-Spaces, hopefully it can be a good start to setting up the creative area of your dreams!
1. “Shed The Shit.”
Excuse my French, but this has become a personal motto of mine lately. I’ve moved homes five times in the last five years – from across town, across the world and back, then across the U.S.A. I downsize more and more each time. I’ll admit, it’s not easy, and it does take time to train yourself to downsize to what you really need.
I highly recommend reading Danny Choo’s “Organizing Your Workspace” post. Not only does Mr. Choo have an amazing presence in geek culture, but he’s also a smart businessman with some mean organization skills. He breaks it down far better than I ever could:
For starters, I always make a point of getting rid of stuff that I don’t want so that I can easily find the things that I do want. Imagine you have a drawer filled with 50 different items – 40 items are things which you never use but you want to keep around for a rainy day. The other 10 items are things which you use regularly. But because those 10 items are mixed in with the rest of the items, you waste your time rummaging around for what you are looking for.
In this case you should try to separate out the stuff that you don’t or hardly ever use into a different location – better still – you should ask yourself if you really want to keep it.
Just like some animals, humans like to collect things – somethings are part of a hobby but then some things are just useless stuff that starts to pile up – either stuff that you bought or stuff that somebody gave to you. If somebody gives you something for free, its not actually free because you need time to look after it. You need to find somewhere to put it which will take up space.
He even goes into the logic of why we end up keeping things we don’t really need. It’s definitely a powerful read, and a great place to start if you want to begin your journey in SHED THE SHIT today!
Examples of Proactive Shit Shedding:
- Scrapping cosplay projects that you haven’t touched in 6 months and don’t plan to soon. Be honest with yourself!
- Donating extra/spare fabrics that are not going to be in used within the next 3-6 months, and that can be easily purchased locally at a low price (example: casa satin, cotton, gabardine, suiting, etc. takes up valuable space in my fabric bins, but I can always get them at JoAnn or Hancock. I keep hard-to-find or expensive fabrics and materials such as feathers, furs, spandexes, and custom prints, but I limit them to ONLY one box.)
- Rolls of ribbon, packages of bias tape, extra rickrack, Velcro, random odds & ends, etc. that only add clutter end up getting chucked after a while. Like certain fabrics, they are inexpensive and easy to get ahold of on the day you DO need them.
- It’s also a good idea to make sure paints are still good to use, and resin kits haven’t expired. There’s no need in keeping materials that are no good.
- Selling costumes and wigs that will not be worn again and are in good condition; throwing out or donating costumes that would be difficult or not worth selling. Check out Storenvy, Etsy, AC Paradise Marketplace, or good ol’ eBay for selling your cosplay wares.
- Hosting a swap meet with your friends and/or local cosplay community to get rid of & trade items.
Shedding the Shit allows you to do this. You now have fewer items to create a distraction in your life, and in your cosplay work space. I personally am not motivated or inspired to start working on a new costume or continue a current project if there are objects all over my desk.
By evaluating what you really need to have out and easily available, you can be more productive! For example, I use acrylic paints, craft foam, hot glue, a soldering iron, and polyester resin casting materials from time to time, but I definitely don’t use them for every costume, let alone on a daily basis. Why store them out in the open on my desk when I really need the room for my sewing machine?
- Limit items on your desk to what you REALLY use on a daily basis (computer, speakers, sewing machine, whatever), essential tools (pencils, fabric markers, seam ripper, pins, needles) and a few personal items to brighten up the space.
- Store items you use on a weekly basis within arm’s reach but tucked away. The storage bins on my shelving unit house current sewing projects, fabrics, scissors, and thread.
- Everything else is placed in secondary storage. Things like wigs & styling tools, cosplay makeup & contact lenses, finished costumes, etc. are easily reachable in my closet or bathroom. Because I only use them on a monthly basis or so, they aren’t out in the open taking up valuable space.
- Figure out what you use in your cosplay workspace on a daily, weekly, monthly, and possibly yearly basis. Establish a system that works for you. Remember, the key is to keeping your workspace as neat as possible! I get more in-depth with organizing in the next post.
- Don’t forget to compartmentalize! Even though I use pencils and pins on a daily basis, they are stored in separate containers, and then those containers are placed in a little basket on my desk. It keeps everything together easily, especially if I need to move things around.
3. Select a Color Palette
Now we’re moving into personalization mode. It’s definitely optional, but as a grown adult I find that having an aesthetically pleasing room, in addition to being functional and organized, makes me want to spend more time in it.
- Consider what your image color would be, or choose a bold shade you’ve been dying to experiment with. For me, the natural choice was pink.
- Choose an accent color. I went with white, and as a result, my furniture and picture frames are also white. You don’t have to limit yourself to just furniture on this, either. Find quirky decor items, storage bins, crafting tools, etc.
- If you’re able to, give your walls a refreshing coat of paint. It can really transform the room and make your crafting area seem like new. Get creative and experiment with accent walls, stripes, etc! Sherwin-Williams has a Color Visualizer if you’re a little nervous about the change.
- Don’t neglect or underestimate the power of neutrals! Beiges, tans, and grays can also make a statement. Use colors you wouldn’t normally use. For example, I’m using a cool, neutral gray for my walls to make all the pinks pop. It’s a nice change from having pepto bismol walls, and creates a calming effect for when I’m stressed.
- Undecided on your image color? Still not sure what you want your color palette to be? Try out Chip It! by Sherwin-Williams. It allows you to upload any image and automatically generates a palette for you. This is especially perfect if you have certain artwork to display.
That’s all for today, I’ll continue the next 3 tips in the soon! ~see you next stage~ (*＾▽＾)／