June M.

Ouch! This lesson really hit home. My six year old neighbor often comes to visit. He loves junk. He once came into my studio and said “You have a lot of junk. If you put one more thing in here it will catch on fire.” I don't think it's quite that bad, but he has a point. I have a lot of clutter and at some point all of it was important. Now some of it is gathering dust. The clutter keeps me from working. It overwhelms me and I put off cleaning it up. It depresses me. It's not a space in which I want to work.

I have been telling myself for the past two years I will do a thorough cleaning of my studio. I get started and quickly lose energy for it. I make some progress then quickly things are back to being cluttered and I am overwhelmed... again. I just repackage and move around the things I have without throwing anything out. I know this is a problem. I just haven't wanted to admit it. It's time to get it done.

This time I made a plan. First I gave serious thought to the type of art I want to pursue and what kinds of supplies I need to keep. If it doesn't support the work, it goes. I did a quick inventory of supplies and tools and made a list of tasks for sorting, disposing, and reorganizing. Instead of walking in and looking at the whole mess and getting discouraged, I can focus on one thing and check it off. I am more successful when I work this way. If I have 15 minutes I can tackle something small on my list. If I have an hour I can tackle a larger task. I am taking Anne LaMott's advice and doing it “bird by bird”!

As for using what I have, I like to work that way. I have not tried cutting up an unfinished piece and am anxious to try that but it must wait. Right now I have to focus my energy on getting my studio in order so I can be serious about my work, with our without limitations!