30 December 2008

Creative Minds Are Rarely Tidy

"A creative mess is better than tidy idleness."

When I was a kid I had a difficult time keeping my room clean. This was a constant source of conflict between me and my parents. One day when asked why my room could never be free of the ever-shifting piles, heaps of clothing and miscellaneous found objects and tschotchkys, I replied, rather haughtily, "Creative minds are rarely tidy."

You can imagine how well that went over with mom and dad.

To this day I continue to battle my long-time demons of disorganization and out-of-control clutter. I must have some primordial hording tendencies which is why I cannot bear to part with every oddly bent paper clip or rusty washer I find on the sidewalk and I even go out of my way to buy other people's junk from antique stores, yard sales and eBay auctions. These found treasures need a home, right? You never know when you might need that thing, right? Paper is my greatest nemesis. How long to keep that once seemingly important piece? Where to put it? My counters overfloweth with piles of books to be donated, school permission slips to be signed, mail that I would still like to look at to determine which 0% credit card offer to transfer to, stories written by my children that I am sure I should keep on the off chance they become famous and I can show them how far they've come, the set of old photos found of my husband's childhood, the broken back of some plastic thing containing 3 of 4 AA batteries of dubious power capacity. It appears as if a junk drawer exploded. And that is just my kitchen!

Is anyone else out there as creatively untidy as I am?
Or am I the only one?

Before I submit my family to being the unwitting victims on a show like "Clean House" (I watch that show to prove that we are not that bad), I know that I have to start small and get myself organized first. Perhaps then the rest of my clan will get the hint. I recognize our collective issues (believe me, I am not the only packrat in the house), and I even hired a professional organizer last year, just to get a handle on setting up my studio. She was quite overwhelmed by my fetish for ribbon. But I did manage to donate more than half of what I had (in ribbon and other defunct crafting supplies), and made a strong showing in my beading studio to reign in my disorganized tendencies. That is, until the last quarter of the year. That is when I was up to my beady little eyeballs in projects for the holiday rush.

I operate under controlled chaos. I have many projects going at once, all set out on individual bead boards with all the components clustered like a puzzle waiting to be solved. I know I have the beads and supplies that I need, and most of the time I can find it in all the clutter, but there are times when I lose it. Or rather, I lose the ability to locate that exact thing that I truly need at that exact moment. And then I turn the place upside down to find it, creating more chaos than before. And this is when I know that the clutter on my counter has invaded my mind, and I find it hard to be creative in that sort of frustration. I haven't so much as set foot in my studio since right before Christmas, and frankly, I am a bit unsettled by what I might find.

If you read my earlier posts you will know that I gave up resolutions years ago and live by only two Life Resolutions: to live creatively and to live without regrets. Since I can't be creative when I am out-of-control, and I don't wish to regret missing out on projects that might get me published or make a sale, I know that I have to make some sort of goal. But not being very good at goals, I have decided to make a list of intentions. I like making lists and checking off those things I have accomplished, so a list of intentions just might work for me. And since writing them down keeps you going toward that goal, I am going to take a leap and write them out here, on this blog so that if anyone is paying attention, you might hold me accountable, too.

RESOLVED: I firmly intend that in 2009 I will start by organzing my studio, discarding what I don't use, and making space to allow my creative nature to flourish.

I discovered that the Snapware containers that I love to transport all my goodies to and fro actually fit perfectly in the cabinets in my studio. So I went out yesterday and purchased 12 such containers in an after-Christmas clearance sale frenzy. Unfortunately, they are now sitting in a heap in my living room awaiting my gumption to transport them into the basement and my waiting studio (was that "Clean House" calling?). Did I mention I am afraid to set foot in that pit of organizational despair? Don't worry. They will make it there. And little by little I will put them to good use. And then I can get back into the business of being creative.

Creative minds might rarely be tidy, but they can benefit from a little organization now and again.

What is the biggest dilemma you face when being creative? Do tell. I promise not to judge.

Check It Out:: http://manageyourmuse.com/themuse/

Enjoy the day!


Jenners said...

I am an organizational freak! I am one of those people who has a place for everything ... not that my house is spotless as everything doesn't always stay in its place but overall, things go where they need to be because I find it way too distracting to do anything if there is clutter around. It is a fine line between trash and treasure and it sounds like you need to draw that line a little bigger and broader. I know that not every scribble my son brings home is worth saving but some are and I found that it takes some times and distance to figure out what they are. Around this time of year, I start going through stuff I've saved throughout the year and start sorting the wheat from the chaff. And there are so many cute containers and things that you can really make your space organized, attractive and still keep a lot of stuff. One of my dreams is to be a professional organizer -- I just love sorting through messes and finding an order in it. I wish I could come to your house and help you out!!!!! Good luck!

TesoriTrovati said...

Thanks for the great comment! You really sound like you have it going on and I wish you could come to my house too! To be honest, my sister is an organizational freak and got all the organizing genes in the family, but I don't think there is enough money for her to come and help me out! I have a lot of hiding places! But the piles just take us over...I will get the clutter in my studio under control first and hopefully the rest will follow! Enjoy the day!

Stevie G.B. said...

"An organized desk is the sign of a sick mind" --Anonymous

I am an accountant and my desk is a mess. I would like to call it creativity, but it's really laziness.

TesoriTrovati said...

HA! Funny! I must be very healthy then ;D

lisa said...

I think we had the same childhood! I am so glad you visited me so I could find your fantastic blog.

The Ginger Darlings said...

It is not that I am a messy peron, it is just that trolls sneak into my house in the middle of the night and arrange things the way they like them. I fear my children will grow up to love minimalism. Meanwhile my paintings are tidy, my house is a mess and my 14 year old daughter keeps reminding me that I said I would tidy up when I had finished my book. Trouble is I just don't know how to do it. Maybe the way to go is employ a cleaner and then hide away and paint


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