Cherry and cinnamon, listening to Schubert. A moment of sanity and peace. Perfect.
(Recycling bins of course.)
I did appreciate all your suggestions, but after reading a story about someone who hoarded old shoes, I went through the house binning all the things which once sparked joy but were now sparking regret/anxiety/guilt/sadness/nostaliiia/uncertainty and indecision.
Out went the shoes the boots the sandshoes and the slippers. The dying plant. the old breadboard which goes black when I cut fruit on it, the dusty wreath, an old bag with an inkstain on it, the packaging from the new juicer (the old one blew up!), another pair of shoes which I never really liked, some old tired underwear (is there anything sadder than old tired underwear?) and everything in the fridge past its sell by date!!
Something else which feels really good is spending some fun time with Mary from Washinton DC - long time commentator on this blog. Mary blew into uk on storm Brendan and if the next storm allows and the ferries are still running we meet tomorrow for a Scottish cities trip!
Meantime here is my own little bit of cherry blossom. Prunus subhirtella 'autumnalis'. Photographed mid-December and hanging on through the recent gale force winds.
..and gently does it.
As long as I concentrated on just putting like with like and designating a place for each category, binning only the obvious rubbish, I got on really well with clearing the studio.
I went in there this morning and my heart lifted! That has not happened for a long time.
At the end of day three it looks ordered and calm but that's very superficial! A good start though. The next step is to go through each category making decisions about what to discard and what to keep.
This is where it gets difficult.
All those boxes, files and drawers are stuffed full of my history as an artist. I am reviewing my career here so this may be a time to remember the joy I've had (and hopefully given).
Marie Kondo suggests you start with the easiest things, so I may begin with empty sketchbooks and notebooks - the empty ones have least emotional charge and I may put some on Freecycle. A young art student was thrilled with some supplies and old frames which I gave away through Freecycle once and that felt good, and freed up a lot of space.
What are you currently clearing? And how are you going about it?
I really appreciate your support, insight and humour - you are helping me see this through.
I do believe I am beginning to enjoy it!
Before I could tackle the chaotic studio it was important to me that the rest of the house was calm and orderly. This took no time at all as thanks to Fly Lady routines which are second nature now, and my previous Kondoing, my house is, on the whole, a calm place - that 'click point' has been reached and I love it!
I have had a major block about my painting and unblocking is proving difficult. I've lost direction. Maybe I should write rather than paint. I've been a painter for twenty years. I've painted and sold several hundred works. Maybe I'm 'painted out'. I am hoping that clearing the studio will clear my way forward.
I will put that decision aside and deal with the practicalities of the physical stuff. Firstly I have created categories::
Saleable finished work large, medium and small
Finished works I want to keep (I may move these to another room)
Work on paper which I will put in the plan chest (a major clearing task in itself)
Sketches, notebooks, cuttings, postcards etc - masses of this!
Materials - oil paints/watercolour paints/inks/pastels/brushes/pens/paper/sketchpads
Packaging (takes up a lot of space)
Related paperwork (I have not been good at keeping records)
Quite a lot to accomodate in a space just under 3 x 4 metres.
One of the things I love about the studio is that I can play music there as loud as I like! Oscar Peterson helped me on my cleaning/clearing way - it seems to take up part of the anxiety area of my brain....
I was going to spend half and hour.
I spent more than half a day.
Throw ten things.
This is a great way to simplify!
I'm doing it in the garden every day this month.
(Including the shed dear husband if you are reading this!)
We are opening the garden for charity in 25 days time.
That's 250 things! Can I find that many to throw? You bet. Have you seen our shed?
I thought of putting up a photograph of the shed but then I thought you'd much rather look at this.
For more see Simply Bin It, and Simply Get Rid where if you scroll down you may like my Five Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Stuff ....
20 bin bags of rubbish were collected from the beach and the shore path today - exhausting but satisfying for the 15 or so volunteers, some from other villages, who came to help.
As the first flowers come out in Coronation Wood (click top right for more photographs) we had another bonfire and a barbecue, and made a start on a natural sculpture inspired by the wonderful work of Andy Goldsworthy.
Tired but happy tonight....
Continuing my review of my own blog...If Simply Beautiful was my favourite Category, Simply Bin It is one of the more useful!
There are only four posts in Simply Bin It. You might like to check them out (see sidebar) if you think you may have stuff to bin....
Throw Ten Things was great, and I still do that every now and then, and I enjoyed reading Paul Graham's take on modern day problems with stuff. He says one of the difficulties is that the people whose job it is to sell you stuff are really, really good at it.
Do you have a problem with stuff?
I'm trying to be detached and analytical about the remaining clutter and calling in Rudyard Kipling's Six Honest Serving Men to help - What, Why, When, How, Where and Who.
Take the aforementioned table for example (16 Jan 2012) :
What is it? A table for use in the garden. I have six garden tables!
Why did I buy it? It was a bargain, I couldn't afford anything else at the time and I enjoyed using it for a few years.
Why am I keeping it? I got kind of fond of it....Hmm..
When did I buy it? About ten years ago before I got nicer and larger ones.
How do I use it? I don't.
Where is it? Hanging off the end of the garden shed, because it is rusty and unsightly.
Who bought it in the first place? Me. So who should decide if it goes? Me.
Are any of the above answers reasons to keep it?
What a relief!
I have a Simply Bin It category, and a Simply Get Rid category - and have to think of the difference. Freecycle, as Liz says is a brilliant way to Get Rid to someone who can use the things. Look at www.paulgraham.com/stuff.html for a wider view of the modern day problems with stuff. Thanks Julia. I like his line Hardly anyone is so poor that they can't afford a front yard full of old cars....
You've got to laugh at the advertising people. I got two new books from Amazon (The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin and The Spirit of Silence by John Lane). Inside the wrapping were two leaflets - one headed 'Secret Sales' and one called 'Naked Wines'. Neither of which turned out to be either secret or naked!
Secret Sales is 'exclusive' to anyone who cares to register, and in the small print on Naked Wines it says 'PS We don't expect you to drink your wines naked. We do think it's wise to always drink responsibly' !! Who thinks them up? Simply laugh and bin it....
Ethically, it goes without saying - recycle, compost, charity shop, gift it, whatever.
'Throw Ten Things' I read in a magazine. I started in the greenhouse. Five minutes and I'd thrown ten things which were rubbish or shouldn't have been in there anyway. Then I threw away ten things from the shed. Then I went to the back of the shed - ten more things - then the pot area, then the bench area. In twenty minutes I'd got rid of fifty bits of junk and I felt great! Now if I did this every day....?
Then it was a coffee in the cosy greenhouse out of the cold north wind, with a new book I got for my birthday (Amazon wish list is such a good idea!). The book is 'Lazy Days and Beach Blankets - simple alfresco dining with family and friends' Inspiring - I plan to have more of this this year. Starting with the primrose picnic . 'Picnic When Possible' is on my Simply Eat manifesto (see 9th April). A hill up the Larach, a pass between Loch Long and Loch Eck, has huge swathes of primroses on it and for a couple of years now we have taken a simple picnic up there - if it gets warmer by the end of this week I shall be ready with some food and a flask, and the picnic quilt made by Laura (who also bought me the book). Simple pleasures and lazy days. I think I need to practice lazy....
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)