For as long as I can remember, I've been creative. And by creative I mean, pretty much always making a mess. The first thing I'd do when I visited my grandparents when I was little, was raid my Nan's craft drawer and begin making collages and cards on the living room floor. My bedroom was always filled with whatever project I'd decided to try, beads in the carpet, paint on the walls, recycled paper clogging the drain. I've always lived in an enthusiastic, creative mess. I got older, got my own place and my own studio to create in... And that's when the fun really started. I got to buy and collect things to put in it, try more new things and ultimately end up with boxes and shelves of 'someday' stuff. You know the 'someday I want to sew a dress, some day I'll learn to paint, someday I'll finish that crochet blanket and mend those jeans'.
At about the same time the DIY trend took off, and I feel deeply for making anything and everything myself. My creative soul just wanted to give anything a go and in the process I ended up with more 'crafty stuff' than I knew what to do with, or had time to use. Even when I tried to get organised, I just felt overwhelmed instead. Nothing was ever simple and I didn't know where to begin, so I'd get sidetracked and come up with just another idea. And so often, I didn't have time to go through with those ideas, so they went away for someday.. Except some day never came.
Instead I found myself abruptly and unexpectedly packing my life into boxes, wondering why on earth I'd accumulated so much stuff and at the time, in my grief and anger, I just wanted to throw it all away. Three moves later and much de-cluttering and refining of my own creative ideas and I've finally found a way out from under the weight of my craftiness, to a happy place where for the first time in my life, I can live a simple, creative life. Here's some things I did along the way that really helped..
~ Over the course of about two years, I've allowed myself the space to let go of past creative endeavours that I found no longer resonated with me.
~ I've de-cluttered numerous times, given plenty of things away and found great joy in a 'less is more' approach.
~ I've made peace with the fact that I don't have to try or be good at every new, cool crafty thing.
~ I've stopped craft shopping 'just because' and if I do need something I make sure I don't already have an alternative I could use in it's place. (This one sounds simple I know, but those places can really make you want to come home with so much that you don't need).
~ Where ever possible, I source the most ethical, fair trade and eco-friendly products available, or I go without.
~ I keep my supplies to a minimum and make do with what I already have, especially for personal projects.
~ I try to finish one project before beginning another one. (Something I've always had trouble doing).
~ I've allowed myself to create slowly, at my own pace and really enjoy the process rather then race for a finish product.
~ I realised I need to think about what I really wanted to spend my (nap) time creating and whether I have the funds, the space and the time, to make my ideas happen.
~ I've allowed myself to shelve ideas for later in my life, rather than rushing out to 'do it' next weekend.
~ I now select my creative projects based on whether they are small, simple, time efficient, achievable, movable and toddler friendly.
~ I no longer make things, 'just because'. Everything I do, must have a purpose and not create further waste or a negative impact on the planet.
~ I have found that the concept, 'beauty in utility' is incredibly helpful in identifying what projects I undertake.
I've still got a little way to go, I'm not totally happy with some of the clutter still on my shelves, but I'm getting there a little bit at a time. I've finally got a studio space I love, that's simple and organised. I know where things are and feel more inspired than ever, because I'm not overwhelmed by stuff. By freeing myself all the creative 'noise' of DIYs, craft stores and Pinterest, I've found a more simple, conscious and joyful way to fulfill my creative dreams.