The Current State Of My Studio (The Reason For My Procrastination) [VIDEO]

I had a “let’s get real” moment with myself yesterday about my studio. Generally when Matt is chomping at the bit to pay someone to get a big job done around the house, I’m anxious for it to happen as well. But as y’all know, I’ve been dragging my feet on the electrical work in my studio.

Now that wasn’t all on me. I did have a hard time even getting an electrician to show up to look at the job and give me a quote, but I’ve had a quote in hand for over two weeks now, with Matt saying, “Call and schedule him!” And yet, here I am over two weeks later, still with no electricity in my studio, and no electrician scheduled. So yesterday I had to get very real with myself. Why the heck am I procrastinating so much?

I mean, it’s a wide open room just sitting there ready and waiting for electrical, insulation, drywall, and flooring, right?

Well, not quite. Since we didn’t immediately have the money to finish out the room completely after the framing was done, the room just sat there empty for a while. Then one rainy day when I needed to use my miter saw, I decided that the unfinished studio would be the perfect interim spot to use my saws. Then I decided to do a big art project in there (my entryway paintings), so I made a makeshift table and spread out my supplies. Then I decided that the back area could be used temporarily to store some furniture. Then one day I had to bring some lumber in from the looming storm clouds, so it got piled in here. Then I got into the habit of piling my tools and supplied just inside the door on nights when I worked late on projects outside and needed to bring things in quickly.

And on and on. I’m sure a lot of you understand how those things happen. They begin gradually, and continue gradually, until the next thing you know, the room is completely filled with stuff and there’s just a little pathway from one door to the next.

That’s the current state of my studio. I made a little video to give you the full 360-degree view of the current state of things in there. (I apologize for the sound. I have a new phone, and I’m pretty sure I had my hand over the microphone during most of the video. 😀 )


If you can’t watch the video, you can get an idea of the issue from these pictures. I’ve got my miter saw set up in there, and that’s where I use it (but never clean up the dust). I also use my table saw in there most of the time. On the far side, I have a big pile of insulation that was taken out of the walls at the very beginning of the garage-to-studio conversion. That insulation was fairly new at the time, so I have no idea if it can or should be reused.

Some of the lumber is left over from past projects, but the bulk of it is the tongue-and-groove wood that I bought for the porch ceiling.

I haven’t done the porch ceiling yet because there are currently two bird nests up in the ceiling of the porch, and I just can’t bring myself to move them and possibly destroy any eggs that may be in there. So for now, I’ve left them alone and kept myself busy with other projects. But eventually I’ll need to get that ceiling done.

The back area has become storage for random furniture pieces. I’m not a hoarder in general, but I will admit that I do have a problem with holding on to old furniture with the grand idea of reupholstering it and eventually using it in my house.

Because you never know when the perfect opportunity will come along for using those pieces, right? 😀 After all, the two chairs I plan to reupholster and use in the living room are chairs that I’ve held onto now for about eight years. And I finally have a use for them! But these particular furniture pieces taking up space in my studio are nothing special, so it’s probably time to just get rid of them.

So I have a real mess on my hands.

And I have a special ability to block out unpleasant things and pretend they don’t exist, which is what I’ve been doing for several months now. I only come in here if I need to cut some wood or look for a lost tool that I need. Other than that, I can keep the door closed, pretend the mess doesn’t exist, keep telling myself (and you) that things are in progress and it’ll soon be wired and drywalled, and dream about my “one day” amazing studio that I’ll have.

But it’s time to get real and face the mess I’ve created and let get way out of control. And it’s time to put some action behind all of my grand plans for this space.

So I’ve given myself two days. I have two days to get all of this mess cleaned up, and I have to start today. No more procrastinating, and no more excuses.



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  1. Replace all the wood with piles of sorted dirty clothes and you’d have my laundry room. Lol
    You’ll power through this in no time just as I will after taking a deep breath and using the quick wash cycle. We’ve got this!

  2. I’m so glad to see that someone else has this problem LOL. You are 110% normal–we all have those rooms. Give yourself permission to let go of those pieces of furniture–you will always be able to find something later when you have a need. Hire the electrician. Save your knees and back–that’s a tall ceiling to pull wire through, and climbing up and down a ladder is murder on your knees. Even if you spend most of the time supervising them, you will still save on wear on your body. Breathe. Just hire it done. It’s okay to hire things out sometimes…..be kind to yourself 🙂

    1. We do all have these rooms! Our guest bedroom looks a bit like this minus the saws and wood. Boxes piled up, paint cans and other painting tools all over the floor and there’s a bed up against the wall as well as a chair and dresser that need some attention. We also have a treadmill and other exercise equipment in there too. It’s a mess!

  3. I think you can get it cleaned up and ready to be wired. You might be surprised how many more projects you can do in there with proper outlets to plug into. I know that it isn’t the total purpose for that room but its a great work space for things at this stage.

  4. Please start a YouTube channel! Would love to watch your renovation videos & maybe you could do some tutorials for women on how to use power tools, etc!!

  5. I’m dying! LOL! You sure know how to make a mess!

    I’m also dying for you to get your workshop built, so that you can do all of your sawing, cutting, storing wood, etc. in a proper workshop!

    Good luck getting this cleaned up! However you proceed, whether you do it yourself or hire it out, I’m sure it will be the right decision for you at the that time. I was one of the folks that recommended you wiring the room yourself, and maybe that would be the right answer if it was just one room and much of the rest of your house was done. But, maybe because you have so many other projects underway, hiring it out is the right decision right now! Whatever you choose, it’s okay!

    1. All I said was “WOW” when she said two days — it’d take me two weeks to go through that in part because I have a stressful full-time job which leaves me exhausted, and in part due to spinal injury issues from a car accident that flare up often. Then I remembered that Kristi is really the Energizer Bunny who moonlights as a shelter blogger/interior designer/woodworker, architect, electrician/plumber/general contractor, etc., and has the energy and tenacity of all of her readers put together!

      Kristi, as others have noted up-thread, we all have rooms like this! Empty rooms are like a vacuum, and *everyone* dumps stuff in their open spaces like that. You *do not* want to see my spare bedroom, it looks like a tornado spun through there! And truthfully, the rest of the house (except the kitchen and bathrooms) looks pretty bad, too LOL! You’ll power through it, and I’m hoping once you do, you’ll get better clarity on whether or not you want to do the wiring yourself. You’ve got this!

  6. I know that the ideal situation would be to clean this up completely and have everything go to its “home”. However, this is a very large room and I know you don’t have “homes” for everything. Could you move things into a big pile in the middle so that you have access to the walls to do the wiring? Quite a bit less satisfying than addressing the big problem, but that might let you finish your current project.

  7. I’ve been on many construction sites and all of them could easily look like your room except for one factor, safety. You are your own best employee and I sure would hate to see you get hurt. I have a storage room that has gotten out of hand too and it’s time to tackle it.

  8. Been following you since the condo. An observation I’ve had would be that you are a doer and much more in need of a workshop than a studio. What are you going to accomplish in your studio that you couldn’t accomplish in a workshop? Paint the sub-floor with epoxy paint so it’s durable and use that darned room. And, if you need a store room more than you need a mudroom, create a store room in the back. Put up some drywall and some cabinets to house your tools and enjoy working in a workshop-heck put an industrial central vac in that room and suck all that stuff up, mop the floor and move it to one side so you can use part of the room for your drapery project. Why worry about another pretty room, make it usable!

    1. I agree. While listening to the video, I kept wondering if you make this a studio now where will you do the messy sawdust-raising work.
      Sell, donate, toss what you don’t need. Figure out cheap storage for the rest – or storage you can move to a workshop later. Cover stuff like the pantry supplies or furniture you keep with tarps & keep building!

      Btw you have a lovely voice.

    2. I agree and was wondering if this was subconsciously holding you back from finishing your studio. Would it make sense to keep this room a workshop for now and turn your family room into a temporary studio where you could work on dust free projects – drapes, art, etc? This space (with a little cleanup and a work bench) looks like a great place to build your pantry cabinets.

    3. I agree! Workshop vs Studio is the real dilemma here. You are the creator of all things great and small therefore you are in need of a workshop. A pretty little studio, while dream worthy, is not practical. IMHO! You gotta be you….sawdust, old furniture, paint cans and all.

    4. This was what I was thinking too. I wondered if subconsciously you suspected that the studio wasn’t what you need. I think you actually need to install a garage door or sliding doors so that you can use the space for your woodworking, painting, and other projects, and have plenty of free airflow, in addition to making loading in at night and out in the morning much faster for exterior projects. The space is large enough that you could partition it and use half for workshop and half for studio. You could even install sliding doors between the spaces so that if you need an expanded area to work on something long/big. Until your whole house is done, you’re going to need some place to do all that stuff, without worrying about spraying sawdust from your mitre saw all over the table you use to lay out curtains.

      Something I’ve noticed while following your blog is that you’re the opposite of me. I won’t do a project until I’ve thought about it for months and months, and collected ALL POSSIBLE information about it, evaluated it (usually including an Excel spreadsheet), and planned for all reasonable outcomes. On the Birkman scale, I’m a blue. It means I don’t do half as much as you do, but I never have to REDO something. I believe it’s born out of laziness to be honest. 🙂

      And as for having piles of project stuff laying everywhere, that’s 99% of us, so fret not.

  9. Please get some of those wire shelving units and put wheels on them. Load them up with bins for things like caulk, small tools, paint. stain, etc. Keep a bin for the current project you are working on so you can clean up and start again easily. If the shelving units are on wheels, you can easily move them to clean up dust, etc. Then when your workshop is built, you can use them in there. Also maybe a wheeled garbage can with a plastic bag in it to throw trash and empty containers in right away. All this good advice is coming from a woman whose queen size bed in the spare room has been covered with papers, etc. for months, so I know how quickly it happens and how hard it is to “just do it”. Good luck!

    1. Those wire shelves with wheels are WONDERFUL……we have them all around the walls in our garage. They hold a lot and are very easy to move where ever you need them.

  10. I just want to let you know that you’re not the only one out there with this problem. 🙂
    I have a tendency to let things get away with me like that after a day of work. My father (who I love dearly and who is the best DIYer I know) is even worse.

    I’ve found a couple of techniques (or maybe more like crutches) that help me keep things somewhat under control:

    – I’ve organized my shop in boxes (literally, banker’s boxes, but I’d like to do drawer-style totes eventually like the Ikea toy box systems). Each box is dedicated to a type of work like plumbing, electrical, etc. When I need to use the stuff in that box, I take the whole box with me into the house, rather than just the tools I want out of it. Then, when it’s time to clean up, I toss things back into their rightful boxes and make a few short trips back to the shop with the boxes (rather than 800 trips with individual tools that then need to be gotten or put away).

    – If sorting isn’t your thing, you can also work out of a project box or crate. Just get a plastic tub or a milk crate (or 2 or 3) and pile everything you’re using for the current project into it. At the end of a day of work, take a couple of minutes to pile everything back into the boxes. If you can do it every night, it kind of keeps things at least neatly piled in one spot in the room rather than spread all over the room you’re working in. And when it’s time to finish the project, you can carry each box/crate/tote out to the shop and put everything away in a couple of short trips.

    – My shop is also in a detached garage space (as yours will be one day). I’ve found I don’t like it because it makes it more of a project to bring tools back and forth (like heading out there for a screwdriver or wrench I forgot). I think I’m going to find a spot in the house (probably the basement, since I have one) where I can put a couple of used cabinets and leave common tools right in the house (hammer, some fasteners, a set of screwdrivers, my cordless drill, utility knives, etc.)…kind of like an oversized toolbox. Then, I only have to go out to get the task-specific tools (drywall tools, painting tools, plumbing, electrical, etc.).

    You might consider, as you finish your studio, finding a spot in the studio where you can do the same thing. Have maybe just a 33″ cabinet (upper and lower or a tall cabinet/closet) where you can keep everyday tools stashed away that you use frequently. It’ll make you more prone to put them away at night if they have a place in the house to live.

  11. Maybe a compromise on the hiring out. You do all the lower stuff, and hire the overhead done later. I know you drew it up, already.
    Do it in stages!

    Pull every thing to the middle and get all your outlets and switches[at least the boxes] in, and then you can move stuff from under where the lighting goes when the one/ones who’ll do it show up. That way you know they are in the right place, for your planned cabinets.

    I fully understand the “room” look you have here, but organized, it will not be so bad at all!

    I know you’ll find the right way, you always do!

  12. After watching just part of the video, it looks to me like you need your workshop completed first before you need the studio completed. Is there a reason you couldn’t do the workshop first?

  13. I so appreciate your honesty with us and willingness to show us the things that aren’t pretty. Thank you for reminding us you are human. I’m positive you’ll be able to get this cleaned up and that you will feel much better once the wiring is done.

    I loved the glimpse of your sweet doggo too. How is he doing? Has he stopped pottying in the house?

  14. Those are all legitimate tools and materials that need a home. I don’t think you should beat yourself up for using the space as a garage still when you don’t have a home for those tools and materials.

    1. Replying to myself, You could use an assistant, like a nice local (walking distance) tween or teen maybe four hours a week to clean up your saw dust and just in general take instructions from you. Give a kid a job! It could be great for both of you. Say $40/week or so?

      1. I was thinking the same thing! An assistant would be great – provided you could trust them to put stuff away appropriately and take care of things the way you want. 🙂

  15. Kristi, what you need is an assistant. I bet there are a lot of people in your area who would love to be your assistant/intern, etc., just to learn from you. You have so much skill and knowledge, and I just know that you could find someone interested in assisting you in exchange for getting to work along side you and learning an itty bit of what you know :). Then your assistant can take care of the jobs that you’re not good at, like cleaning up. It’s a thought.
    BTW, you’re my hero on DIY!

  16. Hmmm. I’d agree with those who are asking where in the Sam Hill are you going to do your messy work once you turn this space into a “studio.” A studio for what? You need a workshop!

  17. I cant remember…where will you store your tools and wood when you have your studio done? Maybe that should come next then your studio. Also do you have a local votech or trade school near by, you may be able to work out an arrangement them they need to do real world work and havent gotten the “good ‘nough” work experience yet. Just a thought.

  18. I find you are either the organized type person or you are not. Even offered opertunity to stay organized a hectic couple of days will cause total chaos if you are not so inclined. I am not in my shop but am much better in my home. I clean up and swear to put everything where it goes when I Get through for the day butttt I find I work too long and late on projects instead of stopping and cleaning up while not dead tired. I feel your pain my shop is the identical twin. I also start new jobs just like you before old ones are finished because of waiting for something. Then it is always hard to get back to the projects that need just a little something to be finished. Naturally the tools or materials for that first project are usually still out and in the way . I totally understand how you got to this point!!!!!

  19. All of the above comments are good advice, sympathetic words of wisdom and great suggestions. I have nothing constructive to add because I am laughing myself into a spasm!!!!! I have never seen anyone admit to a mess like this before and I am loving it! If you put up sheet rock, you’ll have MY ‘work in progress’ space! Oh yeah! At least I have a partner in crime. Seriously, it will all happen in it’s time. Think we could learn a lesson from this catastrophe?

  20. I like the idea of an assistant to come and do General clean up! Also, until you get the house finished you are going to need a work room. Pulling things to one side and working in an are and then working the other side sounds like a good plan. Electricity in that room and insulation are important. But drywall can wait until you get a workshop built. You have a common problem with stuff. Lol Very few people like to clean up after working all day! Love the video. A YouTube channel would be amazing!

  21. Don’t beat yourself up too much, it happens to all of us at some point! Just dig in and clean up, find a home for everything and just park the give away stuff at the curb with a “free” sign on it! It will disappear before dinner!!! 😁 Cover the stuff for the pantry too. Toss the insulr, it’s probably torn at the edges, which will prohibit stapling to the studs.
    When you get done, have a glass of wine and vow to get the wiring done before another thing goes in there!!!

  22. I think you need a workshop where you can be messy, do multiple tasks, and organize it enough to find things. I have a workspace in my basement where I sew, paint, do crafts, refinish furniture and do upholstery. While creating, I throw scraps on the floor, amake a mess while happily creating. I tidy at the end of each day (tidy not clean) so my animals don’t drag it through the rest of my house! I think being a creative person means having a space where the chaos of creation in your head gets translated into “what a fabulous idea” from admirers. And it means not having to say you’re sorry. You are amazingly creative and courageous, give yourself a sacred place to play. This opinion provided with great affection for you Miss Kristi. ❤️

    1. Jacqui said it all and very well.

      Sounds like you need a day off, Kristi. A break from your environment really would refresh you. Go someplace and see something different and beautiful.

      I agree you need your workspace to be just that. Others have suggested hiring a clean-up person and that is brilliant. Outsource that and put your energy and effort into your creative endeavors.

      And now that I see the wiring and electric work in a different light, thanks to many good comments, I agree. Hire it done. Especially since Matt is urging it. Hmm. The bid you got sounds high.

      Mainly, stay happy. No need to be unreasonable with yourself. We are all rooting for you and eager for the next installment. Your video was great. Thanks for making it. It is like being there.

      Cheers from Ecuador

  23. as I was watching this TED video and then read your post today I think you need this for a good laugh…sounds like you are in the Monster stage: https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator/up-next?referrer=playlist-the_most_popular_talks_of_all

    On your studio I would suggest you just take a few days; however long, and clean and dispose of anything you are for sure not going to use. In some ways, this is dangerous because you might trip over something and fall or hurt yourself. Keep a scrap bucket or trash can in there and clean as you go…and empty when full or on trash days. s

    We love your sharing BTW

    1. That was awesome! I laughed until I cried! 😀 And yes, I can totally relate. I was the one in college who would put off my 15-page research papers until the day before it was due.

      1. Glad for a bit of humor for you. Save this when you feel down or discouraged. It is a real picker upper. 🙂

    2. Oh, Gaye,

      That’s my favorite thing. I read his blog post on it years ago and passed it around to my family and friends. We still talk about the panic monster and dark playground. If you haven’t actually read the blogs, it is so worth your time. Much better than the talk even.

  24. Wow! It looks like my basement, only brighter. Reading through the suggestions from fans, I’d have to agree with the “teen assistant”. I have a dear friend who hired a ‘Mother’s Helper’ to entertain her kids in the days prior to hosting a large Holiday party.
    I too suggest a tarp or old sheet over your pantry items especially anything with a motor. Sawdust is not your friend there.
    And finally, break things down into manageable areas. Tackle the useable insulation get it in and toss the rest. Once outside for trash, it doesn’t come back in!
    I understand your feelings of being overwhelmed, I’m facing the same thing with my dark, dank basement.😱

  25. That room looks much better than my garage does. Haha. My favorite picture is the one where you can see a cute, little doggie face looking at you through the window.

  26. I don’t want to be redundant – so I’ll just say there are a lot of great ideas already given. I’ll just chime in and say – garbage can and push broom- get a large one of each – and force yourself to sweep up and throw away trash ASAP- even if it means the next morning –

    Second – check out FLY LADY – read a bunch of her essays – I can guarantee you will see yourself there – if you try some of her routines and systems I think she can help you
    Great job and keep up the good work – Thanks for what you do ❤️

  27. This room is speaking to you. It is saying I need specific places for all this stuff. It does not have a home. You need an overhead bin for lumber, shelves for paint, another one for small tools. A work table for sawing and one for sewing. I don’t want to be fancy. I want to be used. Spill on the floor, make piles of saw dust. Use me. Don’t make me pretty like the house. I am an industrial space to get things done!

  28. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to making messes, piling up any horizontal surface, and not completely finishing all aspects of one project before I begin another. So, I feel ya, sister!!
    In my humble opinion, you need to divide into two rooms……….one to be used as a workshop and the other as a studio/office/sewing room. I don’t see you being happy any other way. You will always have the ‘mess’ associated with saws, power tools, etc working with wood, masonry, MDF, paint, and on and on. You also need a ‘clean’ studio space where you can do projects such as sewing, craft projects, etc that cannot be in the same area with sawdust and other related debris. I can also see you working with the public again at some point. If you do, you will need a pleasant atmosphere for meetings, consultations, and an office area. Get out there and clean up the mess you’ve made and call a board of directors meeting with you and Matt before you finalize your plans for that area 🙂

  29. Keepin’ it real. lol *sigh* Why is it so hard to keep things tidy from the start? Especially when you know it’s gonna get to epic levels of dread later on? lol I do the SAME thing! I clean out my garage every single spring. Then it does one of two things- it either gets blistering hot, or starts raining buckets for days and I have to either postpone because of the heat, or work ONLY in the garage, set up tables do my sorting and purging IN the garage because of the endless rain, it gets abandoned, pushed aside, and IT NEVER gets finished! Somehow I am able to take a carload of stuff to charity but it feels like it’s just a small piece. It’s not like I’m bringing more stuff home either. I keep telling my husband we need the ceiling racks to get the camping and seasonal stuff OFF the floor and wall shelves. Everything else is either tools, yard or bikes. I am about to start again. THIS IS THE YEAR!!!

  30. My husband is your “brother from another mother”. We have a 2400 square foot outbuilding FULL of his stuff, while I only have a two-car garage full of mine.

  31. It sounds from many comments your in good company! (I too have a reno in progress and can sympathize). Your can do attitude will steer you through it no problem!

  32. Pulled from other comments:
    Step 1 Put what was in the sunroom back (big tool box and the shelves)
    Step 2 Plan out a Storage for the big tools so you can use them.(I like a cart for each big tool). Design, so tool lives on top and ready to go, a bottom storage (choose: Shop vac, etc., not scrap). This is your carrot
    Step 3 Continue Organise/purge/clean the rest. Set aside what will be used and live with big tools.
    Step 4 Wire studio.
    Step 4 Build big tool Storage in wired space as treat.
    Remember how that tool chest made you feel when you got it set up. You can do this! go create your blank canvas

  33. You do have other space where you can warehouse things, altho they may currently be equally disorganized. (Believe me, I’m just as bad, or worse, without some of your options.) Your sunroom and guestroom can be set up for furniture-in-waiting, lumber and other materials. The suggestion of mobile wire shelving is great, along with bins to hold general tools and task-specific tools. I have a ‘tool stool that I use for many of my personal hand tools, separate from my husband’s. This is what I use for small household chores and to take when I’m working at my sister’s or daughter’s. I agree it seems overwhelming, but you can break it into doable chunks and gitter done! Good luck, and keep posting your thoughts, decisions, and progress. You do inspire the rest of us!

  34. Kristi, wow, it is a mess. I don’t see how you can get around in there safely. Two days sounds like you might be pushing yourself too hard, but I don’t doubt you can do it because I have seen you accomplish miracles before. Clean it up, girl, then reward yourself with the fun stuff like fancy mirrors and wall art.

  35. Well, as I tell the parents of my gifted and talented students; creativity is a messy business, and giftedness is a two-edged sword.
    Cleaning up is torture for creatives, as your readers affirm here. Advertise for an OCD helper to organize and tidy up so you can work to your strengths instead of beating yourself up for there being a flip side to your enormous talent.

    1. Too bad Monica from “Friends” isn’t available, she’d be perfect to help out quite a few of us LOL! I just remember that episode where she heard about Ross’s new girlfriend having a messy apartment and she couldn’t help herself, she showed up there with her cleaning supplies begging to be let in! *sigh!* I wish I had a Monica in my life!

  36. Oh, dear. I know exactly how you feel – out of sight, out of mind. I have several good sized jobs to do before my company comes tomorrow so i’m reading your blog instead. They’ll all get done, of course, but not ‘til the last minute. Good luck!

  37. My basement looks worse after kids moving out/moving back, etc. I, too, try to stay out of it, but the washer/dryer are there! I almost had half of it cleared out (then the kids moved home) and I called a cousin to help because I was legitimately overwhelmed. Having someone to make a plan and carry it out with made a huge difference and added fun to a bleak task.

    I’d suggest getting rid of the garbage first then see how you need to organize in order to get the wiring done.

    This space may one day be a studio, but for now it is your workshop and THAT’S OKAY!

  38. I can totally relate. Also, go ahead and get those nests down. I have a soft heart for animals and birds and I know that it is much easier to get rid of the nests if there are just eggs and not little birds. The times I left the nests, my porch had a pile of bird crap all around the nest. I’m betting you don’t want that to happen to your new porch floor.

  39. JANPARTIST says it best and everyone to follow. Fix up the room as a shop, electrify, insulate, etc and finish the bones. When you reach the point of more completion with the house renovation, then start to set up a “studio”. You are using it as a shop, you need the space.