Don’t miss a single blog post! Subscribe so I show up in your inbox by using the subscription box at the top of the blog sidebar. I never share your information and by subscribing we can make art together all year long! Woo! ————>
* * * * * *
A couple of weeks ago I started reading this:
My mid year break from work was coming up and I had decided that something finally needed to be done about my studio. I daydreamed about taking everything out of it and burying it in the backyard just so I could find a clean surface to work on. In other words, it had become a place I didn’t really want to be. And when the desire to create became stronger than my contempt of the mess, I was so distracted by the piles and disorganization that I mostly felt guilty.
It pretty much sucked.
So I decided to dedicate the first few days of my break to taking the room apart. It’s rare that I have time in my schedule to do something like that but I came to view it as a form of self care. My studio is my sanctuary and I needed to love being in there.
After spending some time reading the book (I’m only part way into it), I realized the biggest reason I keep cleaning a space that continually turns messy again is that I just have too much stuff in there. I feel fortunate to have a studio. It’s modest, though. It’s a spare bedroom and clocks in at about 150 square feet. So there is a limited amount of space in there and I had pretty much exceeded what it could hold.
A couple of years ago I worked with a professional organizer to tackle the space and things were great for a long time. The one thing we didn’t really get to was the fabric stash, just ran out of time. It was tidied but never sorted and as I continued to add to it, it became a force to be reckoned with.
I didn’t take any before pictures. Mostly because I tore into the space first thing on the first day of break armed with trash bags and a couple of laundry baskets to sort things into giveaway piles. I reduced what was in the space by a third and then set about organizing it. In all honesty, a lot of the things that I got rid of was junk. Fabric scraps so tiny that ants wouldn’t be able to use them and paint that had gotten shoved into the back corner quickly becoming a strange experiment. Failed projects, bizarre tchotchkes and odds and ends that make me feel like I need a psych eval for hanging onto them.
Here’s how things ended up:
(The laundry basket of fabric is getting donated for charity sewing.)
I still feel like I have a ton of stuff. And I still want to paint the room white and get up some decent design boards. But I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know what’s in there. I went over every square inch of the room and there isn’t anything in there that I don’t want.
In a way it was like a freaky little clown car – I just kept taking more and more stuff out. My studio won’t win any prizes for being gorgeous but I can truthfully say that this is the most organized it has ever been. Now in the interest of full transparency, I don’t keep every single thing I own in this room. I have a second space where I store samples, books and the items I sell online. That will get purged at the end of year over my Christmas break. I didn’t think I had the fortitude to do both spaces in the same week.
I had planned to spend the rest of the week happily making art but the week has taken a couple of strange turns and I’ve not been able to spend any time in there. Still, I’m thrilled that when I do finally get back in there, it’ll be full steam ahead and all I’ll see is the possibility of the art I’m making instead of a mess on steroids.
Do I think I will never have to clean it again? Of course not. It’s the nature of creativity that at some point the space will look like the Tasmanian devil tore through it. But now that there is enough room for everything, I won’t need to give myself a pep talk to tackle it. Onward!!