Day 14: Clear the Clutter

Okay, so you now have a space of your own and you’re in the process of making your wonderful creative space inspirational for all your current and future creative projects… what’s next?

It’s time to make more room for your creative pursuits by casting away the clutter in your surroundings especially in or around your creative space(s) and where you sleep. By getting clutter under control in your life, you create space, both mentally and physically, for amazing creative opportunity!

With that said, I’m gonna just blurt this out…

Clutter is chaos. Chaos is confusion.
It can negatively impact our creative potential.

 

Whoa… before some of you reach for your X-acto knife, seam ripper or leave the room at the mention of this topic, let’s explore it a bit further before anyone jumps to any conclusions. Okay, with everyone back in his or her seat with a willingness to look at this a bit deeper, let’s start by taking a look at the following:

1. God’s view

Isaiah 45:18
“For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos.”

1 Corinthians 14:33
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…”

2. The definition of clutter, chaos and confusion

so we’re all on the same page in our understanding of these words

clutter

  1. a crowded or confused mass or collection <of things>
  2. to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness
  3. a state or condition of confusion

chaos

  1. a state of things in which chance is supreme
  2. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order

 confusion

  1. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos
  2. distraction

3. Do You Have Clutter?

  1. Do you spend a lot of time looking for things when you’re trying to work on a creative project?
  2. Can you find what you’re looking for in 3 minutes or less?
  3. Do things in your surroundings distract you by reminding you of the things you need to do (i.e., unfinished projects, fix something, go through a pile of mail)?
  4. Do things fall or slide off to one side when you’re trying to retrieve something from a shelf or on top of your desk or table?
  5. Can you readily sit in your “creative work chair” and move it into any position at the table (one end to the other) without bumping into, scraping against or running over something?
  6. Can you work at your desk or table without having to push things aside, move them out of your way, or temporarily set stuff on the floor to make room?
  7. Do you have to climb over large tall stacks of boxes, papers and such to gain access to or  move around in your room?
  8. Do you have duplicates of tools or items because you were unable to find the tool or item when you originally needed it?
  9. Are there things you haven’t looked at or used in over a year?

If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, well, my sweet creative friend, you have clutter in your life.  Did you answer yes to Question #7?  If you did, I have to say I’m a little worried about you, but I’ll assume the best. Like me, you probably have a bunch of boxes you still need to get to after a big move or are renovating another part of your house 😛

Okay, admittedly some of us have a little, well maybe a lot of, stuff that’s been either set aside, casually placed somewhere other than its official “spot” or strewn about and left to be dealt with later. For most of us, that later can be slow going. Take the photo at the beginning of my post for instance. Yes, I’m embarrassed to say this is one of “my clutter” areas.  Notes, receipts, bits of paper and stuff get tossed right along side my computer for me to address later.  Well, looks like I’m doing a fine job of addressing it.

I challenge all of us to take a long hard look at the clutter in our life. Some folks have a higher tolerance for disorder, but after a while if left unchecked, the disorder can “cripple” our creative process especially when the “negative nags” start up and distracts us from our creative task-at-hand. 

  • You trip on something for the umpteenth time, “I really need to fix that or move it” 
  • Every time you bang your knee on something that’s constantly in the way, “Ouch”
  • When you’re trying to find something you need NOW and you can’t find it, “I really need that tool and I can’t do anything more on my project until I find it… Aaaaargh”
  • As you walk through the house to your creative space your thoughts are constantly bombarded with what needs to be done, what’s been neglected, etc. rather than getting fired up for creativity.

Sound familiar? Do you feel these thoughts and actions are productive toward making a more creative life.  Or is it negative and distracting as heck?

Can You Guess Who LOVES Clutter?

Cats!

They’re drawn to it like a magnet.  Go figure 🙂

How does clutter affect us?

  • The constant mental nagging can drain us
  • Can be distracting
  • Can cause us to procrastinate 
  • It can cost us time
  • Can make things feel more laborious than they really are

I’m certainly no stranger to the impacts of clutter.  Right now, I’m in the middle of a very slow going transformation project with little to no funds to forge ahead to get things done.  As a result, my “life” for the past two years has been, for the most part, in boxes and with very few places to store or organize things.   At times, this has really gotten the best of me, and when I’ve  gotten utterly fed up with the inefficiency of it all, I’d start to have an “OCD moment” frantically making and monitoring my lists and honey-do lists.  When things improved a little, my mind would settle and become more relaxed.  Who can expect to be their creative best, or even create, in that state of mind?

Well, that’s when I decided my creativity meant more to me than all of that; my hubby and I forged ahead “slow but sure” and started to improve our environment one teeny tiny step at a time doing the best we could with our limited resources. 

The first thing to go was the mindset that in order to get rid of the clutter I would have to tackle it all at once in one big project. Wow, really? Talk about a self-induced anxiety attack! Nope, they’ll be none of that in this house. I’ll stick to my motto, “slow but sure” and tackle things bit by small bit.

Next, out with perfectionism!  Sorry, there’s no room for that here. I’m a lot more accepting of how things are these days and I focus more on how blessed we are to have an imperfectly wonderful roof over our heads.

After that, we got our bedroom in decent order, mind you it’s far from my ideal vision of a beautifully put together cottage-style room – a girl can dream. I am, though, very satisfied that we’re able to get a more restful sleep now.  Doing this has also helped to eliminate the late night toe stubs as we’d make our way to the bed in the dark because the light switch was hidden behind boxes.

Then we addressed the thorn in my side… the kitchen. It’s evolved many times into its current workable efficient state and I am definitely a happier gal these days as a result.

With each small de-cluttering step, the mental barrier that kept me from creating started to clear away and my creative juices began to flow again.  For one thing, I started my blog.  I also cleared an area in my art studio so I could actually draw something if I wanted to.  I’m more open to letting things go especially if I haven’t used it in a long time, doesn’t reflect who I am anymore, or adds no value to my life. Who would have thought clearing clutter would be so liberating!

We have a way to go yet, and from time to time I do feel some of those negative thoughts creeping back in, but when they do, I take a deep breath, I forgive myself and acknowledge that I’m just an imperfect person living in an imperfect world in God’s perfect plan.

Are you ready to take the first baby step to de-clutter your life? 

Go to the next post in my series: Day 15: Freshen the Air

God Bless,

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