Have you been so overwhelmed by your own clutter that you have to clean before you can do anything else? This is a photo of my studio desk earlier this week. There was so much clutter I couldn't find anything!
I've read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and completely understand her concepts. On the flip side of her "tidying up" coin, is "I'm a visual person and need to see things". Don't get me wrong--I love a clean, neat work space (and home). But, more often than not, my spaces are full of clutter: paperwork, tools, notes, works-in-process, experiments, custom orders, ideas I'm working through, sea glass and stones I want to work with soon, gifts, things I need to remember to take to my next class. It's just a lot of "stuff". Usually I can clear a spot and get work done. Electronic reminders help with deadlines. I put tools back in the same places so I can find them next time. Occasionally I re-organize my upcoming projects so they're neatly lined up. My mind is always full of ideas though and I move my components and "stuff" around to experiment. Marie Kondo says that when people put their houses in order, "it positively affects all other aspects of their lives, including work and family." I can't testify to keeping my house in order (ahem, other people), but I do know that when my personal life is chaotic, my work space gets even more chaotic than usual.
For the last month, my personal life has been extremely chaotic. It's been overrun by the needs of family members and family always takes priority. Yesterday I took time to create with some other extremely talented women (another post on that later). And, then walked back into my studio to my desk shown above. Hello, Anxiety and complete Overwhelm. The chaos in my personal life had moved into my studio. My studio is normally a retreat from the cares of the world. Before I could work, I had to clear a spot and return tools to their homes just to keep from running away from the studio! It wasn't "magic" but cleaning and tidying up certainly calmed me. I needed the structure of order. I needed to be able to see clearly. I needed to take back control of my studio and kick the chaos out. I took about half an hour to put things away and then started on some small projects. I found a place to hang my keys. That little bit of time restored the feeling of calm and "sparked joy" in my studio.
I will be continuing the KonMari Method in my studio. I have storage options but I need to eliminate many things hiding in the drawers. I have beads to de-stash and private students that need a place to work. If it's going to stay, it must "spark joy". There are no shortcuts. Organizing and cleaning is going to take time, but I need the magic of my retreat!