Post #3 of an August series about organizing your creative space.
Catch up by readingPost #1 and Post #2.

The Psychology of The Mess

If you have been following my Get Organized posts this month, you might still be sorting your stuff. It’s a big job, I know! So while you are finishing up, I wanted to share 5 thoughts that might help clutter bugs like myself get in the organized mindset, and also give some insight to why we create clutter.

1. First, a VISUALIZATION TIP while you are de-cluttering.
As I was sorting, It helped me to get a rewarding image in my head of what I could do if I was organized, and keep replaying that as I sorted. For me I was imagining myself effortlessly gliding the vacuum across a wide open floor with the sun shinning in. I also imagined myself working in my tidy studio and being really efficient. It’s amazing how rewarding it feels when your visualization becomes reality.

While I was sorting through my things, I had an epiphany (OK- the idea was planted by my boyfriend & reinforced by reading but it grew and bloomed in my own mind and soon was firmly rooted into my psyche.) Anyway, I realized that not only did I need to physically clean up, but I needed to fundamentally change the way I thought about my stuff and my work habits. No longer could I leave projects out to remind me to do them (that is how I got to the photos you saw of my studio). I had to start putting projects away at the end of the day and making a list of what needed to be done the next day.

Now I have a 5 minute ritual at the end of the day where I put things back in their places, put my projects that I didn’t finish in my “Need to Be Finished” box, and throw trash away. I still allow myself to spread my mess out all day, but the difference is I actually clean it up at the end of the day. Seems simple, but I really have to make it a daily ritual so that I will do it. It has made all the difference. I hope I can stick to it.

3. OBJECTS don't equal MEMORIES
I have also had to remind myself that I don’t need to keep objects to remind me of events or people (a few are ok). The real memory is in my head, and truthfully- if I loose my memory the object probably won’t mean anything to me anyway. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. So get rid of it if you can!

4. REARRANGE YOUR SCHEDULE for a neater life
In order to get control of my mess I also had to rearrange my schedule. I had to have better self discipline about making an offical “closing time” each day. So now my closing time is 8 PM (for now) and after that I'm not allowed to work on Stitch Machine at all (I finish up earlier if I have to work at the grocery store that night). But of course Fridays I am out selling at my local market until 11:30 PM sometimes, so it all comes out in the wash.

When you work at home it is very hard to differentiate between work time and personal time, and I tended to always be working, never having any personal time to recharge, which would lead to me burning out. Sticking to a closing time now helps me to know when I need to start cleaning up, and also gives me a little time after work to do house chores and personal things I enjoy. Before I recently rearranged my schedule that stuff never really got done. It is a much more sustainable way to work, and helps to keep the mess at a minimum.

5. YES, being organized can make EVEN AN ARTIST feel good.
A few years ago, one of my organized friends proudly said that his favorite store was Space Savers. I scoffed and made fun as I sat content, but largely unproductive, amid my tangled web of creative projects. I secretly though "What a square!"

But after a few more years of maturity under my belt, now I finally get it. Being organized makes you feel good. It makes you feel peaceful. It frees your mind up to think about "bigger picture" things. It makes you feel powerful. You are in control of your space, and that breeds the feeling that you are in control of your life (even if you are not). It gives you some peace of mind and propels you in a positive direction to think that you are in control and you can do anything you set your mind to.

Do any of you organized squares out there (kidding!) have some inspirational quotes or mental tricks to help those of us in clutter rehab re-train our minds? If you are a master organizer, please share. We really need your help!

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