Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Move On From the Old


Taken at BarCampBlock in July. Then I liked the design. Today it's about the sentiment.

This was crossposted at BlogHer Sept, 3rd.

True confession: Last March I spent 5 days at the Claremont attending a surface design workshop with Rayna Gilman. It was wonderful: lots of play, great connections, things to build upon on my own. The supply list required me to pack 3 boxes with "stuff" for the class, which wasn't so wonderful, but since I love Rayna's work so much, I forgave her.

When I came home, those 3 boxes sat on a chair in our almost-entrance hall for 3 months because I didn't wish to bring that stuff into my workroom until there was dedicated (read organized) space in which to put it. But the room needs more than simply organizing; I need to admit that many of the "stash and supplies" that are stored there just are not ME anymore. They are taking up valuable space and keeping me stuck in a non-creative place.

June, I started the organizing process: tossing out items that were used, dried out, empty, useless. At some point, I felt comfortable moving the boxes out of the entrance and back into the workroom. After all I needed those boxes to use again.

I sorted a lot of stuff I will realistically never use labelling each box: fabric, beads, UFOs (unfinished objects) and yarn, ribbons, trims. Those four boxes are still sitting in my workroom blocking access to a number of drawers of supplies I could be using: dyes, paints, found objects. They sit partly because I see the monetary investment I made in them and cringe at simply giving them away, and partly because I'm not how to dispose of them aside from giving them to charity.

So instead of reducing the hidden clutter in my room, I've let it become a 4' tall cardboard "elephant in the room." I also have found myself walking into my workroom for whatever small supply I need (thread, scissors, tape measure) and immediately walking out. This is NOT a friendly-clutter situation. And I've got to either tackle it or put yellow "Crime Area" tape across the door.


First step: search the nets for suggestions that go beyond buying more plastic boxes to items that might actually make me feel better or give me some ideas exactly what to do.

I am not alone with my creative clutter-block. Last year a number of us cheered when the NY Times published an article Saying Yes to Mess. We loved quoting Jerrold Pollak:
Total organization is a futile attempt to deny and control the unpredictability of life. I live in a world of total clutter, advising on cases where you’d think from all the paper it’s the F.B.I. files on the Unabomber,” when, in fact, he said, it’s only “a person with a stiff neck.
John Nez (artist and author) applauded the research results explaining that his office isn't cluttered, it's creative. I love how he describes his organizational theory:
Actually I am very orderly. Except I'm the only one who knows the order. It's locked away in my mind in a sort of geographical location system. I successfully employ the studio GPS system of storing important papers and artwork. It's more based on location than category or date modified or anything else.
Alas, while I remember living with that kind of archeological clutter, that isn't my problem at the moment.

So I turned to Linda Dessau, who wrote Clutter & Creativity. She broke down the clutter into types: physical clutter, time clutter, mental clutter, emotional clutter, relationship clutter, then explains:
The clutter in the rest of your life blocks your communication – it’s just too hard to listen with your whole heart when there are layers of clutter in the way. This affects your inner listening as well – your ability to tune into your intuition, your “muse”.
Her quick quiz is supposed to help you understand if clutter might be a problem for you, (I scored a 38.. so there are problems but I can fix this!) and let you see the areas of your life where you might need to declutter and where the clutter is acceptable.

Moving on to her Clear the Clutter from your Creative Life tips. Nope. I'm occasionally forcing myself to work through the items and get them into boxes. I think I'm emotionally stuck at giving up the boxes. Maybe I need to take them to a guild meeting and see if I can sell some of this stuff. Or look for an Ebay agent to take them off my hands, sell them, and simply write me a small check when the dirty deed is done.

When you have realized that you are moving on from hobby to another, how do let your supplies move on? Do you have the space to store them? Do you have groups to donate them to? Do you feel guilty about the monetary investment you're "losing"? Or do simply refuse to admit that anything has really changed?

Additional reading:

Just One Quilt has started a Virtual Piggy Ban.

Annie is using an an old fashioned solution to quilters' stash busting: String Quilts.

Emelia, who knows she's staying put for a while, has a plan for stashbusting some of her yarn

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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