I decluttered my creative office! Check out the video below to see how I accomplished my first creative dream (declutter my creative office) from my creative dream list.
When I first started my decluttering journey, Marie Kondo’s ‘Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ felt like an epiphany. Sunrays lit up my student room in a hallelujah fashion. I could properly shut my drawers again! All the same things were in the same place!
I loved the logic of it all.
You sort per category, not per location.
You declutter ‘once and for all’, instead of forever getting nowhere. The immediate and extreme transformation as a result is extremely satisfying.
You make a conscious decision on EVERY SINGLE ITEM you own. Sign of a thorough system if you ask me.
I also like that the KonMari method focuses on how an item makes you feel. How do the items that you surround yourself with make you feel in your space?
I think that her rule that an item should ‘spark joy’ is one of the most renewing addition to Western decluttering practices. Well, that, and thanking your underwear for their service.
Con Mari (see what I did there)
But now that I’ve used Marie Kondo’s decluttering tips to get rid of most useless, impractical items (monster closet cleanup, clutter collage, Mary Poppins decluttering technique), I’ve reached the limits of her method too.
I do agree that what you keep should ‘spark joy’ (with the exception of some useful things like perhaps toothpaste or a cucumber that don’t spark anything really).
However, just because something ‘sparks joy’ doesn’t mean you should keep it.
Imagine you have 9 beautiful vases, but never have any fresh flowers in your house because you’re allergic to them. Those vases might be beautiful. They may even ‘spark joy’ as Marie so famously puts it, but they might also be useless to you. Let’s assume that you don’t find a creative use for them as cooking utensil holder. Why are you keeping them anyway?
Now that I’m a bit further along my decluttering journey, I’ve noticed that I’m starting to find more inspiration in minimalism.
Minimalism focuses on what’s important (to you), and strips away anything that doesn’t match that essence, so that you can find happiness, fulfillment and freedom. Away with the fluff. More time, space and energy to focus on the important things, whatever those are for you.
Minimalism asks: Why do I have this in the first place?
Minimalism asks: What do I find important in life, and does this item help me accomplish that?
Decluttering becomes easier and harder
As I declutter more, it gets both easier and harder. Easier in the sense that you are more experienced in the tidying process and trained in letting go. You’ve noticed that the world goes on without that extra coffee mug and those 100 plastic bags you’ve stuffed away somewhere ‘in case you need them’. You start to trust your intuitive decluttering choices. “Yes or no?”, becomes easier to answer.
The pile of everything you own shrinks. Meanwhile, the percentage of actively used items increases. Say that before decluttering, you only used 10% of everything you own regularly. Then, you eliminate the things you can do without. By now, your rate of active use has perhaps shifted to 30%.
The more you get rid of, the more you feel you should keep what does remain.
Usually, you start out with the ‘easy stuff’. You get rid of a lot, quickly. Nobody needs broken pens, but are you absolutely sure you won’t need your watercolour pencils?
So if you want to eliminate more from your life, you need to start to ask yourself some tougher questions.
Slowly but surely, you start to encounter choices that touch upon your identity and image. Is your book collection proof of your love for books? Can you still be an avid reader if you do not own that many? Are those killer heels proof of your stylishly chic inner diva?
I recently parted with a unicorn. Until the very last moment, I kept going back and forth with my decision. I loved the item, but as a concept, not for its actual value in my life. I never use the item, but somehow I felt that it was ‘so me’. But do I really need a piece of plastic hidden away in the attic to prove to the world that I’m quirky and imaginative and therefore love
the idea of unicorns?
Do you keep items to validate who you are? And, are those ‘parts of you’ even really you? Or are they a mere fantasy version of you, that you can’t ever seem to muster the energy for to actually be?
When you part with those items, you also part with the hope and promise of a person that you think you could become some day.
My creative home office touches my identity in many ways. Creativity, my business, and making things are a huge part of what I do.
When I look around my office, I recognise how all these (mostly creative) items speak to who I am or could be. And so, I do experience ‘joy’ when I look at them. I get a vague hint of inspiration of this craft that I can try out, or that skill I want to develop.
However, when I look around, I also start to feel like all these items are fighting for my attention.
I started to feel a need for clear surfaces and serenity. No more shouting objects. Declutter my creative office.
Whatever is in sight, gives me messages as what to do with them. In essence, creative things shouting to use them wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Yet, there are SO MANY items that shout at me.
Every item that you own that is in sight, speaks to you.
“Try me!”, says my still untouched collection of chalk pencils.
“Read me”, says the book that was worth the time to read once, but not twice.
“When will you finally start me?”, asks the craft item that was gifted to me.
“Keep me for future reference”, yells the paper flower pattern I so carefully created for a flower photo booth.
“Draw me like one of your French girls”, winks the wooden figure that I keep because it helps me tidy my room and gives instant creative vibes to the space.
“Make something creative out of me”, whispers the broken watch from out of its drawer.
A closet full of shouting items.
A room full of possibilities.
So many options can honestly feel a bit daunting.
Creatively, options are a good thing. But so are boundaries.
And therefore, for the same reason that I think it’s important to dedicate space to your passions, I also think it’s valuable to be selective of what fills that space.
Creativity needs space.
Creativity needs limits.
Deciding what deserves your space, and what is distracting from actual creation can be a great first step to reclaim your creative energy.
Rethink your creative passion space every now and then. Make sure it still holds items that inspire you. What you keep are tools for the things you are either truly passionate about, or otherwise truly excited to eagerly explore.
Everything else is just noise.
[Disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links.]