Are artists and creative people able to achieve a simplified decluttered lifestyle? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I sometimes wonder if creativity and simplicity are a kind of contradiction in terms.

 

I am feeling a clash of wills...and I am not talking about two people, they are both inside me! 

 

One half of me wants to declutter and to clean the house.

 

The other side of me is the artist and crafty person who sees artistic possibilities in everything.

 

Part of me wants to purge, purge, purge....the other part of me wants to hold on to everything that may have some possible creative purpose.

 

When I was talking to some artist acquaintances last week, it turned out that we all seem to have houses full of interesting stuff, bric a brac, assorted found objects, etc...things we hold onto to create still lifes, or to stick on to collages, for example.

 

Decluttering often seems to go hand in hand with the desire to be clean, as many of us here also discuss our housework routines and ways to clean things.

 

Whereas art is inherently messy and even grubby, it makes marks, splodges, requires chemicals like turpentine, it makes fumes, it leaves us with paint under our fingernails.  It also requires space for storing finished artworks, drawings need to be stored, etc.

 

See my dilemma? ROTFLMAO.gif 

 

I know I am not the only one who feels this way as a friend of mine told me she even stopped doing art just because she couldn't stand all the mess that art made!!  But this is not an option for me. (I can't afford to have a separate studio from my home, although that would be the ideal, to keep the arty stuff all in one place away from the home.)

 

Can one be an artist and also have a clean decluttered home?  Thoughts anyone?  Even if you just post and tell me you have the same dilemma that would be great, I am not expecting any solutions necessarily. winky.gif


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#2 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 05:07 AM
 
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I totally get your dilemma.  I see potential in so many things - I sew, knit, quilt, etc...and am always saving little bits, little pieces, things to cut up, things that inspire me, vintage patterns......I hate to throw out even the smallest useful or inspiring things...and yet I cannot cope with clutter or a mess, it stalls my creativity when my sewing room is a mess.  


So...I have a lot of inspiration boards covered with clippings and ribbons and scraps of paper and random crazyness - so I can see it but it is contained.  And lots and lots of clear containers so you can see what you have without it actually being out!  I also keep large black coil sketchbooks as scrapbooks and put in ephemera of all sorts.  Flipping through these is a major source of inspiration for me.  

 

Thankfully, my finished objects are usually functional and go into use so they don't need storage.  


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#3 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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I have the exact same issue..... I'm trying to pare down, but it's so stinking tough! I'm getting better with time though, and our small home size with lack of storage really helps inspire me.


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#4 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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I hear you! Not only do I enjoy upcycling and creating new things, I sell vintage items and supplies on Etsy. So I feel like "the stuff" is taking over!

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#5 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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As I recall, the book _It's Hard to Make a Difference If You Can't Find Your Keys_ addresses this question in a fair bit of detail. To a lesser extent, so does _Decluttering From the Inside Out_.
 
To me, it's about priorities - I cannot create if I don't have space and if I can't find my materials, so I can't keep more stuff than I have reasonable room for. Sure, everything has the possibility of contributing to something, but without space and order, _all_, not just some, of those possibilities are drowned. So, sort of like thinning plants in a garden, I kill some of them in order to give the rest even a chance at life.
 
Which raises the question, which ones to kill? How to prioritize? How to decide? How to be sure sure sure you kept the right ones? And my answer is, it doesn't matter all that much. 
 
Returning to the garden metaphor, you could laboriously choose the very best and healthiest plants and thin the rest. Or you could just march along the row keeping whatever plant is at a precise six-inch spacing, and killing the rest, without concern for which is best. _Either_ will be much better than leaving the row unthinned. Delaying the thinning because you fear you won't do it perfectly, is much worse than doing it imperfectly.
 
Your art comes from you; the stuff is just the medium. If you have the talent, you will create the art even if you make mistakes in what you "thin".
 
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#6 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katico View Post

 


So...I have a lot of inspiration boards covered with clippings and ribbons and scraps of paper and random crazyness - so I can see it but it is contained.  And lots and lots of clear containers so you can see what you have without it actually being out!  I also keep large black coil sketchbooks as scrapbooks and put in ephemera of all sorts.  Flipping through these is a major source of inspiration for me.  

 

 


I love your ideas of the inspiration boards, and keeping ephemera in big scrapbooks. smile.gif

 


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#7 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

As I recall, the book _It's Hard to Make a Difference If You Can't Find Your Keys_ addresses this question in a fair bit of detail. To a lesser extent, so does _Decluttering From the Inside Out_.
 
To me, it's about priorities - I cannot create if I don't have space and if I can't find my materials, so I can't keep more stuff than I have reasonable room for. Sure, everything has the possibility of contributing to something, but without space and order, _all_, not just some, of those possibilities are drowned. So, sort of like thinning plants in a garden, I kill some of them in order to give the rest even a chance at life.
 
Which raises the question, which ones to kill? How to prioritize? How to decide? How to be sure sure sure you kept the right ones? And my answer is, it doesn't matter all that much. 
 
Returning to the garden metaphor, you could laboriously choose the very best and healthiest plants and thin the rest. Or you could just march along the row keeping whatever plant is at a precise six-inch spacing, and killing the rest, without concern for which is best. _Either_ will be much better than leaving the row unthinned. Delaying the thinning because you fear you won't do it perfectly, is much worse than doing it imperfectly.
 
Your art comes from you; the stuff is just the medium. If you have the talent, you will create the art even if you make mistakes in what you "thin".
 
Crayfish


Excellent post Crayfish, thanks so much for this...some great points which just made my mind somewhat clearer. thumb.gif

 


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#8 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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Clutterwarrior, what about a shed in your yard for a space to work and to keep your art things, if that's even a possibility. That way, all that particular stuff is kept contained in one place. My mother was very creative in all sorts of mediums. When she was alive she had kept all her creative things contained in one upstairs room and she kept organized bins in the closet.

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#9 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 08:23 PM
 
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I am dealing with this as well. Since i know we will be moving 2 or 3 times in the next 3 years it motivates me to stayas decluttered as possible. I recently went through my yarn- anything i couldn't see myself using was donated. My goal was to get all my yarn and supplies to one rubbermaid bin. I did the same with my material and sewing supplies- only then the goal was to empty and organize it all into only 4 bins.

This will make moving easier but it doesn't prevent me from having my crafty stuff! I don't accumulate craft books or magazines. There are always lots of ideas available online and those don't take up any space.

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#10 of 14 Old 06-04-2011, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by sweetjasmine View Post

Clutterwarrior, what about a shed in your yard for a space to work and to keep your art things, if that's even a possibility. That way, all that particular stuff is kept contained in one place. My mother was very creative in all sorts of mediums. When she was alive she had kept all her creative things contained in one upstairs room and she kept organized bins in the closet.


smile.gif  Yeah that would be ideal! ... but at this stage we have no space in our yard to put a shed, in fact there would never be unless we moved house.

 

Currently I am trying to make part of the garage into a sort of 'studio' for painting, so that I keep paint mess and paint fumes etc away from indoors. Also I have a room indoors that is my craft room where I do scrapbooking.

 

I am fortunate to have these two areas; I just need to work at containing everything to these two areas, as I also have some art supplies stored in a closet in my DS's room, plus I have more scrapbooking supplies in the garage. I really need to give some of my supplies away....in fact I have been doing so already, I gave a lot to the flood victims earlier this year, but I have heaps more I am sure I can donate.

 


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#11 of 14 Old 06-06-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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DH is an artist and is the starkest minimalist you'd ever meet. He hates clutter of any sort. He has a lot of paints, charcoals, sketchbooks, canvases, etc. - but they're all contained in sliding plastic drawers by his desk. The only bulky thing is the easel, which although it folds up, is kind of an eyesore. I'd prefer it to be set up as it looks neater that way, but he likes it folded. Either way it takes up a big space, but oh well.

I'm a creative type as well but I can confine most of my pursuits to my laptop. However, I do have a thing for craft items. I have a knitting basket where I keep my yarn, where I also keep an embroidery box. I also have a fabric bin, and a bin for misc. children's crafting stuff (colored paper, scissors, bits and pieces, etc.). Oh, and my sewing machine has its own corner, but it's typically in storage because at this stage in my life I don't set it up much due to the little kids. I am keeping it because I know I will use it more in the future when they're not so grabby-grabby, and it's a nice sewing machine that I wouldn't be able to replace, most likely.

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#12 of 14 Old 06-06-2011, 05:03 AM
 
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I think it depends on your personality more so then if you are an artist or not.  My mother lives in a messy cluttered home.  I grew up living with her crafts.  I remember making dinner around molds and pushing aside paint to eat.  She has a spare bedroom for her crafts now which keeps things contained but it is a total mess of things.  Organization has never been her strong point.  My sister is an artist but also a minimalist.  She keeps her supplies all organized in a large closet unless it is too big to fit.  But her home is so sparse that a couple of things left out are not even noticed.  

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#13 of 14 Old 06-06-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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Yes!  I am a very creative person, as well as an artist.   I have many avenues that I use to express my creativity including painting, sketching, sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, etc.

 

I'm also homeschooling my daughter, and that in itself requires lots of organization for all the art and craft supplies, the books and paper, etc.

 

In fact, I absolutely cannot work, whether practical work like cooking a meal, or creative work like sewing a dress or working on a painting, if my workspace is messy and cluttered.  I must have free, open, and clear spaces to think and let my creativity flow.

 

I keep all supplies organized.  Sewing and yarn crafts go in my closet.  Art supplies go with the homeschool stuff which is in a large cube system from Ikea.

 

Papers in one area, pencils in another.  Ongoing projects get set in out of the way places.  

 

This is difficult for me since I'm such a visual person, on the one hand I need to "see" my stuff in order to be inspired, but on the other hand I need to have clears spaces to work.  I've found the cube system really helpful with that.  I can see all my supplies, but they are organized and out of the way not in piles all over the place.

 

When I want to sew I have to take all my supplies out and take over the dining room. When I'm done, I clean it all up and put it aside.  I don't really do super long intense sewing projects though, I usually start and finish in one day.  But if I did, I would just choose a good stopping point and start another day.

 

I have pared down my supplies to the essentials.  I have one bin/basket that I store containers, cardboard, recycled materials to do crafts in. If it doesn't fit on the bin, I can't keep it.  If the bin is full, I have plenty of materials. ;)

 

I do have a problem with storing my vintage fabric stash.  Currently they are all crammed into a 3 drawer nightstand that is actually inside my cloest.  It is really full.  I also have a pile of them that I need to list in my Etsy vintage shop.  Currrently that pile is in a bucket right next to me in the sunroom.

So I need to find another home for those, because I can't live with stuff on the floor.

 

So, yeah it can be done, you just have to get 'creative' with storage and organization.  

 

 

 

 

 


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#14 of 14 Old 06-06-2011, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for all your input and ideas, I am inspired by some of the ideas here, including the Ikea cubes, will be looking for those!

 

I think I might be spending today doing some organising in my craft room. thumb.gif


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