Do You Have Creative Clutter?

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Crayons scattered on white paperSaturday, I gave a talk at the Ada Writers’ Group. We talked about creativity, some tips, ways to jump-start your creativity, some creativity exercises, and more. We even talked a little bit about clutter. If you know me and my attitudes about housecleaning and clutter, this is at least mildly amusing.

I was talking about clutter. As in getting rid of it.

Here is the gist of what was said.

  1. I used to say I had creative clutter.
  2. When I was sick (long-term, a period of two years), I would toss something in my office and say “I’ll take care of it later.”

First, let me just say I was fooling myself with the creative clutter comment. I think we lie to ourselves far too much when it comes to clutter and our creativity (in general, not necessarily related to clutter).

Second, the clutter wasn’t creative. It was constraining. I couldn’t really think. I couldn’t really create in my office. In my self-described studio. There was … too much … stuff. It was everywhere. “Later” had finally arrived.

Let me just say that it’s not perfect. There are still some things that need to be done. Now, however, I have designated spaces for jewelry-making, product photography, writing, knitting/crochet, and videos. (For the record, the first two are in my kitchen, not in my office. My space isn’t quite that big.) It is a lot better. There isn’t near as much clutter and what there is will be easily managed.

What is the biggest difference I have noticed?

Other than being able to walk across the floor without knocking piles over, I have room to think! I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. I feel like I need to repeat it.

I have room to think!

The first time I came in the office to sit at my desk felt different. I sat down and mentally went “ahhhhh!” because it felt good. I turned to my computer and was able to do some work without feeling stressed or cramped.

All because I got rid of (most of) the clutter.

It makes a difference.

Stop telling yourself you have “creative clutter” or “creative organization.” It’s not. You don’t. It’s just junk. It’s clutter. There might be important things you want to keep — maybe even things you need and have been looking for — under the piles of stuff. But that’s not an organizational system.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Think about cleaning it up. I mean seriously think about it. And do it. It will be worth it.

What are some of your experiences with cleaning up the clutter in your creative spaces? Leave a comment and I might use it in a future episode of the podcast.

5 thought on “Do You Have Creative Clutter?”

  1. Kelly

    Boy, did I need this today! I’d already planned that my day was designated to finally getting the studio put in order. I got a small corner done last weekend and the overall feeling of that space changed! Creative Blessings!

    1. jencnipps Post author

      I still have some things I want to do and change. I put a coffee/tea station at the end of the hallway between my kitchen and bedroom so I don’t have to go into the kitchen all the time. It helps curb the nibbles and it’s just so handy. I was given a taller cabinet than the trunk I’m using and want to get that put there. Bonus: It has storage for accessories and stuff so I don’t have to use a small basket on the top. But that’s just one thing to finish/change.

  2. Trinity

    I have a craft room; it’s amazingly compact, but I know where everything is – it’s organized! The area I need to watch out for clutter is the craft table – I try to clear it at the end of a craft project; a cleared table means future possibilities. 🙂

    1. jencnipps Post author

      I am not quite to the point of knowing where everything is yet, but I’m getting there. I’m still struggling with finding places to put things that are realistic and accessible. (Whoever built this house was TALL and thought everyone needed three layers of cabinets.)

      1. Trinity

        The secret to organizing in my tight space can be summed up in 3 words: “Clear plastic containers”! From boxes of yarn to stackable jars of buttons – I don’t have to open up tons of drawers or boxes to see what’s where…


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