Know Thy Selfie: How I Organized My Studio and Creative Process To Make More Out of 2017

Fashion & Style


One of the great disappointments in life is that we can’t be good at everything. Then again, how boring would that be? It is in our quirks and oddities that our uniqueness shines.  

It does, however, take a while to learn to love those quirks. I learned this hard lesson very early after realizing my coloring skills couldn’t hold a candle to my desk mate’s. For better or worse, I spent the next decade taking stock of my weaknesses, writing them down in a journal, vowing to abolish said flaws by sheer willpower. I’m sure you could guess how that worked out. (Hello, therapy!)

Since then, I’ve learned to let go of some of these “weaknesses” and accept my flaws, with one glaring exception: I’m incredibly disorganized. I embody disorganized chaos in every sense of the word; from my physical space and objects to my work and social schedule. I say yes to things without referencing prior obligations, and I’ve (more often than I care to admit) gasped when realizing I have a meeting in 5 minutes and have to get across town. I am constantly battling the clutter in my room and, for whatever reason, have a total aversion to putting clothes away after I try them on. I would feel less shame about this if it didn’t affect almost everyone I encounter. The late emails, the lost keys in a Target parking lot, missing paperwork, or luggage left at security. I apologize to strangers, friends, family, and sink into my own steamy soup of shame.

I’m working on getting over it. But it’s taking time.


What I’ve come to accept is sometimes the most basic life skills are the most difficult, especially for adults living with ADHD. It’s a constant struggle to keep information, passwords, keys, cell phones, sunglasses, and wallets within your grasp. We learn to thrive in the chaos. It also makes us dynamic and fun and exciting to be around. This chaos has it’s challenges, but it also brings forth gifts like creativity and imagination. As I’ve gotten older I’ve let the chaos in my brain lead me to exciting jobs in the creative field and hobbies that involve making things. While I’m getting better at recognizing the upside of my scattered brain, that doesn’t change the fact that the world we live in, especially when you run a business and have children, requires some sense of organization.

Technology has been one of the best things to happen to scatterbrained people, if they can harness it’s power appropriately. For example, with every opportunity to fall down the Instagram rabbit hole, there are 2 apps that assist a busy brain. I’ve learned to live by my calendar, take advantage of online banking and bill pay, enlist the help of Amazon’s Alexa so I don’t over cook the chicken or forget to buy batteries, and freed myself from the clutches of my phone with a smartwatch.

As 2016 came to an end, our friends at MyDomaine and Fossil asked us to participate in a 31 Day Challenge that was about embracing technology and the improvements it can make in your life. Given how much of my life these devices have given back to me, I said YES! We gave the Fossil Q Smartwatch a test drive when I got back in the office vowing to get organized and reinspired for 2017. We were challenged to think about the role of Organization and Creativity play in my daily life, and it was fun to step back and think about skills that so often contradict one another. “Organization” is about systems and logic and process while “Creativity” is about play, experimentation, and wonder. What we’ve found was that an organized life allows for creativity to blossom, and creativity needs organization to continue to evolve.

W&D’s Life Hacks: Organization Tips For Disorganized Creatives

A clean desk brings a clear mind, but sometimes a little clutter can work in your favor. Here are some ways we tamed a studio full of stuff to look put together and work for a variety of functions.


1. Use home decor odds and ends to organize desk clutter. When we set up our desks, I decided to shop our prop closet to find cute vessels for my keys, business cards, lipstick… basically anything I would throw on my desk on a daily basis. It’s a quick way to take your desk from blah to pretty without much work.

fossilq_blogsized4 fossilq_blogsized5
2. Color Code Your Clutter. We have A LOT of props in our studio, which can look cluttered and disorganized at times. We decided it was best to arrange each shelf by color, giving it an eclectic but unified look. It has also helped speed up the pulling processes when getting ready for a shoot!


3. Put Some Wheels On It. One of the benefits of this space is its flexibility. We embraced the idea of having storage on wheels, so we could use them for wheeling props, supplies, etc. to different parts of the studio. Sometimes we’ll use this an Ikea bookshelf for organizing props for a shot list, or for organizing product samples for a presentation. The flexibility has made it super easy to do a lot of different things in the space.
fossilq_blogsized48fossilq_blogsized524. Activate Calendar Notifications on your Fossil Q Smartwatch. The best part about using a smartwatch is that I don’t have to constantly be looking at my phone. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re busy shooting or in a meeting, so the discrete notifications on the Fossil Q Smartwatch make it easy to stay on top of my schedule, especially when I am 100% reliant on my Google calendar.

wd_dutchboy_finals-85. Think outside the box (or kitchenette). Our office kitchenette needed to work double time for us. The island doubles as a work table, and we used an empty corner to place small appliances that otherwise cluttered our countertop. Now, the microwave and N’espresso machine are out of the way and easy to reach.

W&D’s Life Hacks: How To Make Room For Creativity

Whether you’re taking up a new hobby or trying to improve your craft, creativity is a fickle thing. We can’t always turn it on when we want to, and if we don’t make time for it, these hobbies quickly give way to more practical tasks. Here’s how I’m trying to make more room for play in 2017 with three of my favorite creative hobbies: floral arranging, writing, and interior design.

  1. fossilq_blogsized32fossilq_blogsized45Don’t be afraid to fail. My favorite creative endeavors have only begun after I gave myself permission to be terrible at it! I’ve always wanted to make beautiful flower arrangements, but it’s harder than it looks! As soon as I said, “OK, this isn’t your calling,” I was able to find ways to make pretty arrangements at home by lowering my expectations and simplifying my approach.
    fossilq_blogsized27 fossilq_blogsized26
  2. Don’t be afraid to start somewhere. One of my goals this year is to write more. In 2016, it was “become a better writer.” That goal was so lofty, I would put off writing everyday because I felt it was impossible to achieve. With a small tweak in perspective, it’s easy to quantify my progress.image-1_lightened
  3. Make time to practice your craft. It’s difficult to make time for the things you like to do, let alone all the things you have to get done in a day. When I don’t feel like writing, I set a timer on my Fossil Q Smartwatch to 10 minutes. I have to at least try to put words to paper for that amount of time. If I’m not on a roll by then, I get to quit. It’s a great way to feel good about the effort you put in and takes the pressure off of what you made. It’s a great way to bring creativity into your daily schedule.
  4. Creativity is a way of thinking, not a craft! My love for designing interior spaces started out as a hobby. I loved it so much I decided to take what I learned as a graphic designer and apply it to interior design. Instead of looking to interior trends, I think about rooms in terms of repetition, focal points, balance, and juxtaposition.
    fossilq_blogsized135. Mix and match. Creativity can be exercised in so many different ways, and it doesn’t always have to be art, design or music! One way I’m trying to bring more creativity into my day to day life is mixing up my wardrobe. Since having a baby, I’ve streamlined the number of pieces but have been getting more adventurous in switching up my go-to wardrobe. What I like about the Fossil Q Smartwatch is that it’s more subtle and fashion-forward than an Apple Watch for a much lower price. I can also go for the sporty look with the silicone strap. I also like to add a scarf to my wrist as another way of spicing things up. The digital watch face can also be changed to align with my mood or wardrobe. Total customization is possible and I don’t have to buy any extra accessories.

A big thanks to MyDomaine and Fossil for inviting me to participate in the 31 Day Challenge!

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Fossil. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for development of additional dynamic content to be produced, unsponsored. Thank you for supporting our partners!


BY Kate Arends - January 12, 2017


add a comment

  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    January 12th, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Loving the photos so much! My dream space!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Natalie Harney

    January 12th, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Love this! Your studio looks absolutely incredible as well

    – Natalie

  3. Kate

    January 12th, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks Natalie!

  4. Nora

    January 12th, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Where is your coat from? It’s beautiful.

  5. Kate

    January 12th, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Nora! Thank you 🙂 The coat is by Szeki 7115! They don’t have this coat in stock anymore but the current selection is gorgeous:

  6. Kendra

    January 12th, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Seriously. The struggle is real. The way you describe your ADHD and the uniqueness that comes from it, for me, is like looking into a mirror. It can be so frustrating, depressing and nerve wracking to live with at times. Especially being a human tornado. I have come to embrace many of these ideas as well as building a routine for myself and celebrating each day I follow that routine. I have done some variation of ‘bullet journaling’ for most of my life and that has helped a great deal!

  7. Kate

    January 12th, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Kendra! So interesting to hear bullet journaling works for you. I have looked into it and the site of those grids gives me heart palpitations! Your experiences makes me think I should give it a shot…

  8. Jen

    January 13th, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Sometimes I think I must be lazy because I can’t get my home office in order, and then I have to remind myself, it’s not my fault…I have ADHD and I don’t know how to organize. It is frustrating and sometime I loathe myself.I also laugh at myself and I’m a blast to be around – I am funny and I can make people laugh. And I’m incredibly kind and creative and sometimes love nothing more than to brainstorm one solution after another when people need help. I just wish my office didn’t look as if someone broke in and tossed papers all over the room – I’m sure it didn’t look like that when I left the room.

  9. Mailinh

    January 12th, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I love how you incorporated technology into your process. I’ve always been hesitant about adding the smartwatch to my routine, but this just adds another “pro” to the list.

    Also, I totally think you’ve got interior designing down. I always look to your posts for inspiration.

  10. Danielle Whithorne

    January 12th, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Great post! How do you like your smartwatch? I finally decided to get one (after many debates with myself about if its truly necessary or not…) and I was going to get the iWatch this weekend but saw yours. How do you like it? I love how you can change the face, and the bands are much more attractive compared to Apple’s…

  11. Kate

    January 13th, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Hi Danielle! The watch is so pretty and honestly, if you rely on your phone for notifications and basic organization, a smartwatch is a really great tool. I’m an apple user, but all of my communication and calendars are powered by Google, which made it easier to use than I had anticipated. If you care about style and customization, I’d go the Fossil route.

  12. Colleen

    January 13th, 2017 at 11:57 am

    I find these post to be so encouraging! Also, I love the wooden hand on your shelf! Where is it from?

  13. Kate

    January 13th, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Hey Colleen! I found it at a thrift store! It looks like it was part of a mannequin…I’d check out ebay and etsy!

  14. Anna Oates

    January 13th, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I should move over to google calendars, but I’m such a paper planner girl. Mine is lugged around with me everywhere. It’s not the lightest, but it keeps everything straight for me.

  15. Cait

    January 14th, 2017 at 10:59 am

    where is that gorgeous bag from?

  16. Kaitlyn

    January 16th, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I love your openness about this topic. Disorganization can be considered normal or a simple quirk. But as someone who has overcome the same hurdles, I completed understand that disorganization can really dictate how the next day, week, or month will go.

    Thanks for sharing!


  17. jamie

    January 16th, 2017 at 10:41 am

    So much truth in one post! I have a baby on the way and have been trying so hard to get my organization act together…which very well may never happen. 🙂 Thank you for being so open about your life and journey.

    Do you know the source of the open shelf in the kitchen area with the microwave on it? It’s gorgeous!

  18. Sheri

    January 20th, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Finding your focus is always challenging, add some good, old fashioned ADHD and it just becomes that much harder. This was great, thank you for sharing it. I get the feeling from reading not only your post but the replies that you’re helping these gals (and myself) much more than you realize. So thank you!

  19. Sylvia

    February 7th, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    You have incredible fashion! Wondering where you got that beautiful black bag from? 🙂

  20. Brooke

    February 7th, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I have always had trouble organizing! While I am do not think ADHD effects me, I am dyslexic. I put systems into place some have failed, some succeed. Having one location right when you walk in our door for keys has but an end to the great key hunt! This year I also started using both Alexa and a smart watch and so far so good. I love your idea of setting a timer even for 10 minutes to dedicate to tasks you are procrastinating!! I am definitely going to give that a try! Thank you.


    April 29th, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    I believed this is great. It reminded me of

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