Clutter Clearing Meets the Creative
Once upon a time, I did a lot of sewing—garments for myself, my children, wedding dresses for my daughter-in-law and my sister-in-law. All of that clothing construction meant a lot of fabric, a massive variety of trims, fastenings, elastic, interfacing, zippers….
Now, I spend more time drawing and painting than sewing. Canvases, watercolor blocks, drawing pads, paints, brushes, palettes, pastels, charcoal, markers….
And, as I was pondering in my post on downsizing, I’m wondering about how to (and whether to) pare down my creative supplies.
Since my business partner and I are presenting a clutter clearing mastermind circle (email me to learn more), my coach asked me today what benefits come from clutter clearing.
The first, and most obvious for me, is that I can find what I’m looking for. On more than one occasion, I’ve gone out and bought something I knew I had (somewhere), simply because trying to find it took more time and energy than a trip to the store did. Another benefit is easier access to the things I do have—no more pawing through, lifting down, and shoving aside in order to grab what I need. A third is that the clothes I actually wear don’t get crushed and wrinkly, smashed between a lot of unworn garments in the closet.
But how does all this apply to my ‘creative stuff’?
The editor of Threads magazine (a fabulous sewing journal) addressed this question in an editorial a couple of months ago. Are our sewing supplies —that fabric stash, those old patterns, that once-in-a-blue-moon specialty tool — actually clutter?
And how about our art supplies?
When I stop to think about it, those artsy items need organization, so I can find what I want when I want it, can know they’re accessible, and can keep them in good repair. But the clutter clearing criteria I may use for cleaning out my closet or my overloaded kitchen gadget drawer don’t apply to the tools of my artistic trade.
Those tools are creative fodder. They inspire. Even when that piece of vintage fabric isn’t, right now, finding its way into a new skirt, it holds potential and possibility. It’s a reminder of how and why I got involved in sewing in the first place, and it draws me back to this particular form of creative expression.
I believe artistic tools of all types have that potential, and we need some flexibility when it comes to discarding them. When they overwhelm, they need some weeding-out attention. But for me, clearing my ‘creative clutter’ falls into a category (and a process) all its own.
How about you? Do you see your creative supplies as ‘general clutter,’ or do they merit a classification that’s unique?