I’ve got a lot of stuff. It comes with the territory of teaching art workshops, being an artist in multiple mediums, and needing to have an inventory of supplies since I create things to sell. And, I’ve got a small house, and a small studio. That all adds up to too much stuff for my small spaces.
For quite awhile, I’ve been wanting to clear out the clutter. It stresses me out, makes me feel tied down (“move, how could I ever move? I’ve got too much stuff!”), makes my small house & studio seem even smaller, and it’s hard to find things (and sometimes hard to move around). It’s holding me back. My stuff is taking away from my life instead of adding to it.
Recently I was looking through some boxes in my studio, and found some art supplies I bought a few years ago while I was teaching in Seattle. They were still in the bags the different stores put them in when I bought them. When I got home, they were never used, and forgotten about!
In my book The Art Journal Workshop, I have an exercise called Use It or Lose It. It’s a great exercise where you grab a small box and put art supplies or tools in it that you haven’t used in awhile. Then you work in your journal, or do some other artwork, using those materials. When you’re done, you decide which of those items to keep, and which ones to get rid of. The ones you don’t want to keep, you can donate, sell, or swap with friends (but swapping means you’d get more stuff).
When gathering up stuff, if you definitely know you don’t want something anymore, just put it in the “Lose It” pile. But if you aren’t sure, using it is a good way to decide. When I do this, sometimes I’m reminded how cool an art supply is that I have forgotten about. Then it’s like having new supplies without actually buying more.
Even though I’ve got lots to go through, I’m going to do it a little at a time. I know if I try to do it all at once, or even in big chunks, I’ll get overwhelmed, and I won’t get it done. So I’m challenging myself to go through a little each week. And each week, I’ll decide what gets pitched, donated, or sold. I’ll post the things I’m selling on my blog, and I’ll sell them on eBay, or in my shop, depending on what it is.
I know I’ll be so much happier without so much crap! I’ll feel lighter and it’ll be easier for me to work. Plus, it’ll be easier to keep my house & studio clean(ish) and I won’t get frustrated trying to find something that I want to use. Want to join me?
I’ve already started! I’ve been meaning to sell my Diana Mini camera for awhile now. So that’s what I started with, and I put it up for sale on eBay.
Here’s a great video that’s from the TED Talks series, on getting rid of your stuff. I’m not going to go to the extreme that this guy did, but it’s a great video to watch, and very inspirational.
I hope you’ll join the challenge! You don’t need to sign up for anything, but I’d love for you to leave a comment letting me know. (Plus, making a public declaration always helps me stick to something.) Decide what your own rules are that are doable. At this point, my only rule is that I’ll put at least one item up for a sale a week (not counting the usual things I sell). I might give myself some more rules later, but that’s it for now.