Friday, January 22, 2010

Five Tips For Studio Organization

With Christmas behind me, there's more time in my life to get back to blogging! Additional responsibilities have required that I be more organized with my time and my stuff. In fact, January's theme at my house is organization. I'm cleaning out closets, cabinets, and finding new ways to streamline my routines. So, what better time to talk about organization in my studio?

My students will laugh to see that I'm writing a post about studio organization because usually, mine is a bit cluttered! Even so, most of the time I can find what I need. I working to be able to say that ALL of the time!

1. Keep the stuff you need most frequently close at hand. I use this pocket organizer by the piano. It's a little jumbled, but all of that stuff in the pockets was spread out on the top of the piano until I put it all on the wall. Flashcards, stickers, game pieces, and my metronome live there. Now I can see everything and easily find items when I need them. I've read that some people are "innies" when it comes to organization, and some are "outies." I'm definitely an outie. I like to be able to see all of my supplies. My husband, unfortunately, is an innie and prefers to keep everything put away. This organizer satisfies my inner outie :-), and when I want to look a little neater, I can turn it around or fold in up and put it in a drawer to make my innie hubby happy. Best of all, now I can get to the top of the piano to dust it.

2. Utilize magazine files. My studio is small and there's no room to store all of my music. But, I keep my teaching library handy in these magazine files. These are just plain, cardboard files that I covered in fabric. I've organized it all by category - Christmas, duets, theory, technique, elementary lit., late elementary lit., intermediate lit., etc. Again, this is a good compromise between the innie and outie styles. If I turn it with the open side out, I can quickly find what I want. If I want the shelves to look nice and uniform, I can turn the tall side out.

3. Use a check box. Some of my parents pay online, but many bring checks. Before we moved to our current house, I was teaching in my family room. I didn't have a desk, so when someone gave me a check it sometimes got lost in the pile of stuff on top of the piano. So, I put a pretty box on a table in my foyer. Parents learned to drop their checks in the box, and then I always knew where to find them.

4. Organize your accounts with Music Teacher's Helper. MTH really streamlines my billing and bookkeeping. It's a huge time-saver. When students pay online, their payment is automatically recorded. If I spend 10 minutes entering expense receipts at the end of the month, and if I post any checks I receive right away (takes about 2 minutes), then at tax time, I can print off all of my information - money in and money out - in one report.

5. Keep your business and your personal life separate. I have a small filing cabinet in my studio for business related documents and records, and another file box in my kitchen for household management items and all of the school information that comes home with my daughter.

Do you have any unique storage or organization solutions in your studio?


Heidi said...

I love your storage pockets!

natalie said...

The storage pockets are brilliant! Where did you get yours?

Laura Lowe said...

The hanging pocket organizer came from Target, but I don't see it on their website. This one is similar, but might be a little smaller.

A hanging shoe organizer would work, too.

Rebecca said...

Great ideas! I especially like the magazine files. I'm currently re-organizing all my music and have been having a hard time coming up with the best way to do it.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this post and the links to your readers. I admire great people with great minds and big hearts in spreading some good news about how amazing and wonderful music as well as music teaching can be. Keep up the good work and continue to share your bright thoughts and ideas, which I think are all useful to many music teachers, school administrators and even studio managers out there. Please also share more relevant studio management tips and resources - giving us more rooms for effectiveness and efficiency. Thanks again and see you around. Cheers!

Jenny Bay said...

Great ideas! I hope you don't mind me putting a link to this post on our blog (under Helpful Resources) - we are focusing on Studio Spaces this week on The Teaching Studio, and this is so helpful!