Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Craft space clearout: why get motivated?

Being crafty is such a marvelous thing - it's so amazing to produce something fresh and useful and self-reliant rather than just buying it in a store.

Except for the times when it really makes a lot more sense to just buy it in a store (so that the mess and the time spent all happens at somebody else's house.)

* * * * *

Yes: it's true.  I am once again trying to clear out the room in my basement that catches all the (mostly crafty) overflow from the rest of the house, so I am really focused on how clutter can both help and hurt us.


1/ Clutter means stuff, and furthermore, stuff that isn't in its right place.  Sometimes putting stuff together that would normally never be together produces great ideas, is a slightly less attractive version of an artist's seemingly disorganized studio serving as a constant source of inspiration.

2/ Clutter means you're not putting time into cleaning or tidying.  This in theory means more time for making.  Yay!

3/ Clutter means you have lots of stuff to work with.  Need a sheet of clear plastic, a particular type of wood glue, some unused keychains, or maybe even a pair of old pants you can cut up for the back of a quilted pillow?  It's probably in there.


1/ It's tough to find what you need in the time you have, if your stuff is all jumbled up and messy.

2/ If you're not the kind of artist who is inspired by disorder, you might be the kind who is overwhelmed and crushed by it.  Or, if not by the disorder, then by the sheer volume of projects you have mentally committed to take on.

3/ You may find you are repeating the same boring tasks over and over instead of using your precious time to empower yourself by making something fresh and new.  (see comment above, about cleaning out that room AGAIN.)

* * * * *

I'm so determined to resolve this issue once and for all, I've decided to develop some simple tools to share here at Hugs that build on the conclusions I'm drawing as I work through the process.  Maybe they will help some other crafty people to cut to the chase, and maybe they will just help me stay on track if I ever get into this mess again. 

(Normally I wouldn't give you a heads-up over simply developing the tools and posting them here but, um... Turner Classic Movies is running a Cary Grant/Jean Arthur movie and I really need to work on my twined mittens, so I can't work up the flowcharts and quiz sheets and post the guidelines.  Sorry!)

* * * * *

In the meantime, think about this.

Yesterday after reading about Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, for fundraising purposes, riding her bike from Toronto to Montreal which is just - well, it's a very long way - I went down to The Room of Doom with one small goal that took two hours to achieve, and I wanted to cry the whole time because I've tried to achieve similar small goals there so many times before only to have the place fall back into disorder before the month is out.

Then I asked myself, which is harder:

Riding a bike the distance it normally takes about seven hours to drive?

or Reorganizing a room that just needs some firm decision-making to clear out?

Okay, I admit I was pretty tempted to sign up for the same bike ride next year if it meant somebody else would come and deal with that room, but when you weigh it out in sheer number of knitting hours lost to training and doing, the bike ride wins.  You can totally clear out your craft zone to make it an inspiring and productive place.  And so can I.

(right after I've watched that movie and worked up a flowchart or two, ahem.)

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