To rent, or not to rent? That is the question. Pros and Cons of having an out of home office space.

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Spread the loveHello everyone and happy mid June! I’m chipping away at some projects and I wanted to bring up a bittersweet moment in my art journey. Getting rid of my out of home office space. After almost two years, the space that I had curated, decorated and enjoyed several creative moments in, is now […]

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Hello everyone and happy mid June! I’m chipping away at some projects and I wanted to bring up a bittersweet moment in my art journey. Getting rid of my out of home office space. After almost two years, the space that I had curated, decorated and enjoyed several creative moments in, is now coming to a close. Even though this feels sad typing this, I still ask myself, is this necessarily a bad thing?

Let’s jump in! 

So what started this need of a separate work space from home? One guess. 2020. After being home with three kids day in and day out, it was easy for my husband and I to make the decision that we needed a space away from our house (and our children) in order to get anything done. Both of us working remotely helped with this ultimate decision of needing a space, as neither of us had an “office” that we had to report to every single day. After looking for a month or two we finally found the perfect place. It was a good size, the walls were white and the natural light that came in was just right! Plus it was in a great location downtown near a baseball stadium and even a waterfall! Everything seemed so perfect. But then almost two years later, we started to wonder, was the office working for us? Or were we working for the office? 

If you’re considering looking into a studio space, or if you feel like your creative self is missing something, here are my pros and cons to having an out of house space.

Pros:

  1. You have an out of home studio space! How cool is that?! This one is pretty simple. If you have a family and a full house, maybe renting a space away from your screaming three year old is 100% worth it! Plus there is a sense of professionalism that comes with having your own space.
  2. Less distractions: Because you are in a space dedicated to working, you might be able to get more done. I remember most days I would be so excited to leave the house so I could go and have my painting time just for me. I would get so much done because I didn’t have laundry, kids, pets, chores or anything else to distract me.
  3. Getting out of your house can bring a sense of community: Sometimes being in your house can make you feel isolated. Like it’s just you against the world. Yes there are social media communities, but there is still nothing like getting up and physically going somewhere, talking to other people, taking a walk in the local area, really submersing yourself into the community feel and everything it has to offer. 
  4. *this is another one if you have kids* No one touches your stuff: Constantly at my house if I set something down, chances are the next day, it’s not going to be there. At the studio space, when I put something down, it was right where I left it when I came back. IYKYK.
  5. A space for all of your supplies: Printers, paper cutter, mailers, envelopes, stickers, prints, paintings, books, I could go on and on. I have no idea where I am going to put all of this stuff now that the space is no more. If you have any tips on storage, I would love to know! 

Now that we’ve gone over some PROS, which all sound great… here are some CONS:

  1. Money: If you want that extra studio space, you have to pay for it, and that price is not guaranteed to stay the same. By the time we had made the decision to leave our space, our rent had gone up an additional $50 a month due to CAM fees. And if you’re wondering what CAM fees are, they stand for “Common Area Maintenance.” So if your renting a studio space and there is a common area room, your monthly rent could go up. 
  2. Commute time: When looking for a space, think about the time it actually takes to commute. Ours was about 20-25mins away on a good traffic day. Do the math and that’s almost an hour a day spent driving to and from a space. If you can find something closer to home, I definitely recommend it!
  3. Pressure to create: This one may sound weird but if you have anxiety like me I think you’ll understand. While there were those days where I could let loose and create, there were other days when I would go to the office with no ongoing project, sit there and twiddle my thumbs and then feel defeated after a day of not really getting anything done. For me, sometimes, everything is valued at how much it costs. The fact that I was paying for a space, going there to get something done and I wasn’t getting anything done… well that meant that the day was a waste and I lost a value in the investment of the studio. 
  4. Not being able to be available for my kids and my family: And I don’t mean this in a way like, “oh no I can’t make it to Timmy’s soccer game because of work!” I mean this in a way that when my kids were home sick, or needed to be picked up from school, or forgot something at home, or had a doctors appointment that day (any number of things) I would feel tethered down to my house. Then I would feel upset that I couldn’t make it to the office to get things done. It was like a weird power that the space had over me. If I didn’t use the studio then I was failing at my art career and wasting my money.  
  5. Safety: As glamorous as a downtown space sounds, there were some safety concerns. One day someone’s car got broken into, another day someone was mugged. If you have a rented space you’re at the mercy of the location. I would recommend asking other tenets of the space you’re looking in to. If they have had any negative experiences regarding this, it would be nice to know ahead of time. Always good to get more information! 

In the end…

We decided to move on and move out of our office. We have reached out to family members to help, it takes a village! They watch our youngest a few days a week, and we invest in daycare as well. Our youngest is three, very cute and very sweet, but he’s a monster. Even though I’ll miss the space a lot, I think that remembering the moments there is enough in of itself. Maybe in the future we’ll get another space, but for now we are making it work at home! Whether you’re saying goodbye, or moving into a new space, know that your work isn’t validated by where it’s made! You’re still an artist with or without a studio space.

Have you had or are you currently renting/looking into a space? I would love to hear about your experience! Let me know in the comments! 

Thank you so much for reading and have fun creating!

-Kay 

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Bit Bobs & Knick Knacks

An Illustration Blog with Monthly Updates.

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4 months ago

[…] creating or finding a space for my art. (see my post on renting a space here)2: painting more. (this seems to be a constant on my list!)3: writing more.4: getting more involved […]