I hope everyone is having a fantastic convention weekend, whether you’ve been celebrating at Anime Expo (Los Angeles, CA), Anime Overload (Austin, TX), Japan Expo (Paris, France) or just enjoying themselves at home in preparation for other events in the future. Meanwhile, thanks so much for all the positive responses to my first Cos-Spaces blog post! It makes me happy to hear it. If you’re just now reading this series, welcome!
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!
As a refresher, here are the previously covered topics for Personalizing & Organizing Your Cosplay Work Area:
- Shed the Shit.
- Select a Color Palette.
Let’s continue to the next 3 tips!
4. Invest in shelving to establish a work station.
Remember how in kindergarten, everything was stored away in its own little place, in a neat little labeled box on shelves you could reach? The same concept applies to designing a work station for your cosplay and crafting endeavors. While a table or desk is where all the action is going to happen, you’ll definitely need some kind of shelving for organization of your materials. If you had a difficulties with De-cluttering (#2) in the last post, it may be time to re-think your system.
Personally, ever since 2010 with Sewing Room #3, I’ve sworn by IKEA’s EXPEDIT. I felt that it would be a nice upgrade from plastic bins / drawers and still do the job. What do I love about it?
- It comes in a variety of colors and sizes (1×5, 2×2, 2×4, 4×4, 5×5) to suit any space.
- The nature of the shelving allows you to incorporate decorative items and/or other hobbies.
- It has versatile add-ons such as storage drawers, cabinets, and display shelves.
- You can mix & match all different kinds of storage bins and boxes.
- There’s even a desk that can attach to the shelving, which was a space-saver for me.
I also wanted to add that the Lack Wall Shelves from IKEA are great for displaying those styled wigs that can’t get packed away easily, or even if you just want a few on display. I swear this post isn’t sponsored by IKEA, though I wish it was! But if you live nowhere near an IKEA, fret not! Target has a lot of cube shelving options as well. If you’re not feeling cubes at all, there are still many things you could do, just keep in mind that you want a place where you can find everything you need. If you’re on a budget, plastic drawers and organizers are inexpensive and can do wonders for a startup craft room.
Some additional reading to consider:
5. Utilize vertical space.
This kind of ties in with shelving, but be sure not to neglect the space you do have. You actually have TONS of it. Even in my small 10 x 10 room (yes I consider that small) with vaulted ceilings, I’m always thinking of new ways to use the space on the wall. Who says square footage is everything?
- Tall shelving can help you fill a space in ways you’ve never thought of before. Use the higher shelves to store less-used items or display wigs, artwork, books, plushes, figures, etc.
- Hobby display shelving is perfect for small spaces, and even the lowest of ceilings. IKEA’s Detolf cases are tall & skinny, which make a perfect showcase for figurines and dolls.
- Bulletin boards and peg boards are a great way to display reference material, jewelry, supplies, and knick-nacks.
- Even awkward spaces such as the back of doors can be used for storage. Get creative with it!
6. Become good friends with your closet.
In my first sewing room, the closet was a true source of terror. It was tiny and dysfunctional. I would dread having to open the door and search for something within the mis-labled storage bins or cracked plastic drawers. Hang-up costumes competed for valuable storage space. You get the idea. Like many other aspects of hobby and craft organization, a functional closet is a fine art that is developed and cultivated over a long period of time.
Guess what? Five years later, my closet is still far my my ideals of perfection. The major difference is this: I am friends with my closet. Think of the kind of relationship you have with your best friend or significant other. They have their flaws and little things that drive you crazy from time to time, but overall you love them unconditionally for who they are. This is how it should be with your closet. Once you stop fighting against what it is or isn’t, you can be at peace and go from there.
Okay, what can I do to be friends with my closet?
- First things first, Shed The Shit & De-clutter!
- Don’t allow your closet to be a dumping ground. It should be to store what you need, not what you don’t need.
- Determine the function of your closet: Dressing room? Secondary Storage? The work area itself? A combination of these?
- Find a way to work around the current shelving within your closet OR purchase new shelves that work for you.
- Label your boxes, bins, etc. so you don’t have to waste time searching for items when you need them.
- Hang up garments that wrinkle easy or ones that you plan to wear often. Store the rest in bins or garment bags.
- Splurge on wooden or velvet hangers to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
- If you plan to stay where you are long-term, go crazy with color! Paint the inside of the closet, line the shelves, etc.
- If you are in a room with no closet but have the space for one, purchase a wardrobe or have an open concept closet.
- Even a simple garment rack with boxes stored underneath can serve as a mini closet for those with super limited space.
We’re almost finished! Only 4 steps left, with a post for that coming very soon. ~see you next stage~ (*＾▽＾)／