A lot of us either don't know where to start when it comes to our creative pursuit or avoid getting started altogether!
To solve this, I share a productive method to ease you into creativity which doesn't require you to sit down and actually be creative, since that's the part we tend to avoid when we are creatively stuck! Just think how many years have you had that book idea for or that album idea? Ya' know?!!
Take steps towards a creative life by decluttering your physical and mental space
DECLUTTERING YOUR CREATIVE SPACE
For many of us, our creative spaces are our homes. We may not have the luxury (or desire) to work from a studio or a shared space and therefore we need to turn our homes into a tranquil and inviting space for creativity. The quickest way I've been able to do that and maintain it is by de-cluttering! If you feel that your house is a tranquil space already, see you in the next post! For the rest of us, here goes...
WHAT DOES DECLUTTERING LOOK LIKE?
Decluttering is an ongoing process of throwing out/ donating/ selling things that you have never used or no longer use and fighting the urge to buy more to replace them! It is rooted in the idea of minimalism which started out as a design concept and later translated itself into a lifestyle.
WHAT DOES DECLUTTERING HAVE TO DO WITH CREATIVITY?
For me personally, once I decluttered my life, these were the benefits I noticed:
1. I TURNED FROM A PROCRASTINATOR INTO A DOER!
Decluttering changed my habit of being a life long procrastinator who didn't know where to start! Even though when I was decluttering I wasn't working on anything creative per se, I knew I was taking active steps towards making a change and it made me excited while taking the pressure off of having to create something in this very moment.
2. I SAW INSTANT RESULTS
Decluttering motivated me to keep taking more and more steps towards my creativity because I was seeing the fruits of my labour instantly in the spaces around me!
3. IT GOT MY CREATIVE IDEAS FLOWING
I didn't say creative "juices" because I hate that expression! In all seriousness tho, moving around is proven to build new synapses in the brain which eases idea generation! This is the reason why people get ideas in the shower or when taking a walk and not specifically when they decide to sit down and just "think"!
4. CLEAR SPACE CLEAR MIND
A decluttered space can instantly make you feel more relaxed, thus freeing up mental space for you to be creative.
5. MORE ENERGY
Simplifying your life gives you more energy left in the tank to invest in the things you want to do! It means less cleaning, less tidying, less time looking for things you need, less time spent buying etc etc.
"Simplify your life so that you have enough energy left over to do the
things you want to do"
HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE
Here's is my quick step by step summary for decluttering every room in your house:
1. Closet - Only keep what you wear. Anything that might look good once you are skinnier or have a more rounded butt has to go! Anything that you have not worn in years has to go. Anything that is damaged or unrepairable and has seen better days has to go! Be ruthless! Not only will doing this make it easier to get dressed in the morning but it will make looking at your closet in the morning a non-stressful event! Keep your top 2 to 3 items for "special occasions" and you are sorted. Do the same for sport clothes, socks and your under garmets!
2. Furniture - keep furniture in the bedroom to a minimum. If you have any furniture in your bedroom that you use as dumping ground for unfolded laundry, get rid of it (unless its the bed)!
3. Makeup - Go through your makeup and get rid of anything that is old or that you never use, because you will never use it!.
4. Paperwork and books - Try and only keep 1 book by your bedside for reading . Store away or get rid of any old paperwork/books you no longer need.
If you are thinking this is turning into a cleaning blog, go back and read the benefits of decluttering for your creativity. Believe me, this is going to make an enormous difference to your creativity because you are going to feel inspired by the space you are in.
1. Bench Tops - keep all bench tops clear of appliances and jars apart from a kettle, toaster, blender/whatever you use daily. Everything else should be in cupboards and away from sight.
2. Cutlery - If you have old cutlery that you never reach for anymore, they are better off in a donation store helping someone who needs them.
3. Fridge - Clean your fridge out. Buy some matching containers to store leftovers and chuck out old bottles of sauces and preserves that you never use.
4. Pantry - Buy matching jars to organize your pantry. Empty any half filled bags of rice etc into these matching jars so you can find what you need when you need it.
1. Products -Throw away old shavers, lotions, shampoos, medicines that you just don't use. Keep what you actually reach for every day. Everything else is just taking up space for no reason.
1. Cushions: Keep couch cushions to a minimum. Get rid of old magazines and old mail. Basically, anything that has been collecting dust for months.
2. Furniture: Only keep space for your living room furniture and maybe a vase or a plant. This process is really about being ruthless (my version of it any way)! Everything that is not living area furniture has to go. This includes your chargers and laptops. Store these in a basket or a drawer that you can access when needed.
1. Paperwork - This tends to be a place for paper, and more paper! Endeavor to go digital where you can. For anything that you must keep in paper form, buy some matching folders and a hole punch and file away!
Decluttering is an ongoing process. You might struggle to let go of a lot of things at the beginning, but when you re-visit this process every few months you will be proud of how far you've come. Always think that the less you keep around the less time you will spend cleaning in the long run. Things will feel fresh and organized and you will feel inspired in your minimalistic, uncluttered living space. Don't worry it will still feel warm and inviting, because you live in it!
DECLUTTERING YOUR MIND
1. JOURNALING + GRATITUDE
Writing down everything that is in your head is a way to keep it clear! This could be done in a free flowing stream of consciousness or diary form. The earlier method is a better way to get you writing things without judging them. Just write down anything that comes into your head, anything you are worried about, anything that is taking up mental real-estate. Just write, write, write! Do it every morning or every evening to recap what has been. Journaling has helped me personally with trying to solve problems. We usually have the answers to our own problems somewhere within us and we just need a way to uncover it, and journaling seems to be one of those ways.
Daily Gratitude Journaling is a recently discovered exercise that I have been trying to adopt. It requires you to list 3 things you are grateful for every day. Usually it is easy to list more than 3 things we could be grateful for on a given day (health, safety, family, friends, freedom, food, water, job, spouse, children) but on days where nothing seems to be going your way, where your mind is cluttered with negativity, it is more challenging for to think positively so Gratitude journaling steers and clears the mind from negative thinking.
I can't say too much about meditation as I do not actively meditate although it is on my list of things to pursue in the next few months. It is a proven method of decreasing anxiety and the brain chatter. Here is a helpful video on how to start meditating.
3. SOLID NIGHT'S SLEEP
Getting a solid night's sleep only works for me if I do 2 things:
1. Read a book instead of a screen
2. Have some chamomile tea!
This is still something I am actively working towards. Most nights I am working on a laptop or checking something on my phone. These are habits I am trying to break. Recent research has shown how a good night's sleep literally cleans out cell waste in our brains to give us that clear head feeling when we wake. So try and read a book and consume some soothing noncaffeinated drink before bed to clear out a cluttered mind. We can do this together as I am still chasing it too!
Another thing I am actively trying to implement in my life to declutter my mind is exercise. So far the results have been great. We all know exercise is good for us but when we are trying to start something new it's hard to implement yet another addition to our schedule. My suggestion is to try going for walks every day. I love podcasts so I usually go for a walk and listen to a podcast. Fresh air and exercise never fails to clear up a cluttered head for me.
I hope that once you go through these steps you will realize the benefits decluttering your physical and mental space towards a life of focus, action and eventually creativity, which we will talk about in later posts.