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Gimme (Hobby) Shelter

Hobby work space at game mats PrinTerrain

I think everybody has a favorite place or three that they like to hobby (I use the term as a verb, not a noun, in the fashion of the British friends I’ve made in this wargaming life). Some folks do it outside in the sunshine. Some folks (lucky so-and-sos that they are) have their own hobby shacks in their back yards.

Until about 18 months ago, most of my hobby time was spent painting at the kitchen table. Which was fine, as far as it went; you just had to be careful not to wake the kids. Fortunately, since then, I’ve been able to carve out a super spot in my basement for my wargaming pleasure. I’ve got my old drafting table, my Citadel Project Box full of paint, a good lamp, and my ancient magnifier from my teenage years when I was painting West End Games Star Wars minis without a clue about washes or drybrushing (yes, the 20-year-old bulb still works).

All of the foregoing is meant to say that, in essence, having a hobby space is fine and dandy. The trick is to care for it. Keep it clean. Neat. Organized.

I fail at this constantly.

The thing is, of course, that my basement hobby lair also doubles as a playroom for my two boys, which means that more often than not there’s tons of toys strewn about (despite the new shelving unit I put together). Not exactly a calming atmosphere for hobby, especially when you’re tripping over stuff just to turn on the light.

The biggest issue, though, is me. I’ve cleaned up and organized my hobby space more times than I’d care to count, each time swearing that I’ll keep it spotless. But over time the space just becomes more and more cluttered with paint pots, paper towels, palletes, half-finished minis, and other stuff to the point that my expansive hobby desk has shrunk to six square inches of area to paint a mini in.

What’s the solution? If you know, please tell me. Clutter happens. It just does, and especially in a hobby like ours. Hobbyists are, for lack of a better analogy, like butterflies, flitting from one project to the next, back and forth. You start one thing, get stuff out to work on it, get stuck or bored, then move on to the next one, don’t put away the stuff from the last project, so on and so forth.

It’s not necessarily bad. It’s just the way it works in Hobbyland. It’s good to have a bunch of projects going at once; it reduces burnout and keeps you interested. But it also helps contribute to a mess.

And, let’s be honest, having a messy hobby space isn’t what you want. Hobby is supposed to be calming. A refuge. A retreat. A creative outlet. It’s hard to be creative when you have to push a bunch of crap out of the way all the time.

So we just have to keep at it. Clear your spaces, people. Give yourself a few more square inches to work tonight, just for me.

I’ll be over here, trying to organize my paints.

About the Author;

Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube

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