Clutter, mess, stuff, collection, trash. Conquer Creative Clutter in 8 Steps – Letting Go of Your Stuff
Clutter definition: a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.
Is it a mass or a mess? What if your clutter is “Creative Clutter”. In my case, the creative clutter is a mess. My dirty clothes are in the hamper. The dishes are washed and put away. Towels are hung on their racks. Shoes are in the closet.
BUT what about this…
Hey there, I am so glad you stopped by. If you read my “ABOUT” page you might remember that I told you I had my pilot’s license. Pile it here, pile it there. Sacks and piles and stacks everywhere. Stacks and stacks and stacks. I am the queen of stacking. And I know what in each of my stacks (for the most part).
What a mess! I am encouraging and challenging myself to de-clutter so I can have a tidy space to create. My goal is to get rid of the excess. I don’t think I will ever be Pinterest perfect.
Sometimes the messiness can be so overwhelming that it is hard to know where to start. It is like eating an elephant. So, exactly how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Here are the steps (bites) I took to gain a bit of control over my sewing area.
I have a 6 foot long, plastic folding table that I would set up occasionally but now it has been in this place about 2 years. It has a cutting board on it for my larger projects and an OLFA Rotary Mat, a cutting mat that is self-healing. The entire table was stacked with STUFF as you can see in the photos above. I cleared off one half of the table to create a “Staging Area”.
Step 1: Find or create a staging area.
This can be a table or space on the floor. This step will save you steps, literal steps.
Step 2: Sort the clutter into stacks or sections.
I sorted the clutter on the sewing machine table first. They were new orderly stacks: old linens, cross body bags, leather fringed items (I told you fringe makes my heart do a little flutter), lace, silks flags, zippers, etc.
Step 3: Determine what needs to stay, what needs to go.
Decide if it will go in a garage sale or donate to a resale thrift shop, and what needs to go in the trash. Yes! Trash!
The old linens are staying. I moved them and the fabric to a storage container with drawers. I use the linens in the still life setups for my watercolors and some are used in stitched projects.
Do you see that red and blue vintage tablecloth near the bottom? It did end up in a project, a sweet little SNAPPY BAG.
Almost everything on my sewing table got to stay but it was put away. The papers went to the desk. The leather went to another drawer. The camisoles went to my dresser drawer.
Step 4: Be real with yourself. Be honest. Why are you keeping IT?
This little box contained ribbons and bias tape purchased in the 80’s and 90’s. Why have I kept it all this time?
Will I need it? Probably not. I have finally got to the place where I can look at a beautiful piece of fabric and walk away without buying it.
Why am I keeping it? Because, even though I have had it for 20 plus years, about a week after I get rid of it, I think that I will need it but I am letting it go.
Do I have an emotional or sentimental attachment to it? 5 pincushions!!! Seriously!!! We are not going to talk about how many thimbles I have!!! The purple velvet on the tin container belonged to my grandmother. It has a home on a shelf of other treasures that belonged to her. The lace one is over 100 years old. I purchased it at an estate sale in 1983. And, did I say it has fringe? The little tomato one was my oldest son’s when he took Home Economics in high school. Sentimental attachment? YES! Why am I keeping them? I use all of them!
Step 5: Are you REALLY going to need it or use it?
What about the ribbon and bias tape? No attachment to the ribbon or bias tape but I really do like the brightly colored rick rack.
Not only do I like the brightly colored rick rack but I have used it in the last year, several times. Keeping it! Ribbon and bias tape – garage sale!
The staging area was clear again so I went through all the storage containers drawers. It sounds silly but they needed to be de-cluttered too.
Step 6: Deal with it. Don’t put it off.
This gets easier, trust me! I have decided to have a garage sale. Another one. I have one a year. I priced the items before putting them in a storage tote in the garage. Now, it’s done. It’s out of my sewing area. I don’t have to lug the container back in, or drag everything out and handle it again to price it for the sale.
The crossbody bags and zippers went into a tote and back onto the sewing machine table because they are up next on my project to-do list. So, be sure and check back to see what I do with them.
Step 7: YOU DID IT! Reward yourself.
Relax! Read a book! Go to a movie! Get an ice cream cone!
You worked hard. You made hard decisions. Reward yourself!!!
I will just tell you, the whole room is not de-cluttered. I had set a goal to do that one section. It took the better part of the day. I sorted, organized, priced, put away, dusted, vacuumed and mopped. I live by myself now so there is no one for me to say to, “Look what I’ve done!” So, I put my hands on my hips, looked around, and said to myself and to Kitty No, “Alright, you can do this. One step at a time. One area at a time. One bite of the elephant at a time.”
You might be wondering what was my reward? I will be sharing that tidbit a little later.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 1 – 7. Look around. What is the next area you want to conquer?
Probably the most important question that I/we can ask is, “WHY?” “Why am I holding onto this?” It could be STUFF like the sewing room clutter or it could be emotional STUFF” like bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 ESV
I would love to hear about your de-cluttering: struggles and accomplishments. Be sure and subscribe to stay up to date.
’til next time,
This post contains some affiliate links. Click HERE for my disclosure.
I don’t know if I am brave enough to post my paper clutter piles. I’ll think about it. I do most of the steps you do. I think this will take years just like my remodeling. Your corner looks great. Thanks for the blog, it is encouraging.
LOL!!! Suzan, my paper piles are my next mountain. Trying to de-clutter and remodel at the same time is a huge undertaking!
Love it, & love that youre transparent & realistic about it! It looks great & I enjoyed reading! Also your pics are pretty!
Thank you for the encouragement, Micah!