Cluttergone Case Stories
Creative confusionYou are a creative, that's what you do. It's an essential part of you and your life.
Sometimes to create there has to be a mess.
But you may be feeling that clutter is holding you back.....
Read on for
story of Amanda...
Amanda has a textiles degree. She gets huge pleasure from her crafts: knitting, needlepoint and crochet. The siren calls of new materials, fabulous wools, amazing textures and new projects can't be resisted. When I arrived, she took me straight up to her studio and opened the door. Colour exploded in front of us, a mad dance of wool in every conceivable colour and texture: some balls and hanks were loose on the floor and others were spilling out of broken bags.
‘I want to be able to work in here, but it is all too much’ Amanda said. ’Can you do anything with this?’
‘Okay, when you start a project, are you more interested in the weight or the texture or the colour of the wool?’
‘Then let's sort into colour families and use the big baskets and bags you have in here to put them in’
Once we got the wool sorted, we placed the baskets around the edge of the room in rainbow order.
‘Oh wow! This is just like the way the materials were arranged at my college. This is great. Thank you so much!’
I thought Amanda would be a one-off client, so I was surprised to get a call from her a year later: ‘Can you come and help me go through all the stuff I kept from my course? I know a lot of it can go, but I don't want to do it by myself’
‘Sure, what date would you like?’
On the day, Amanda took me straight back up to the studio. It was immaculate; everything we'd done was still intact and she'd made some other refinements.
She grinned at me saying,
‘I love working in here now, keeping it like this makes it so much fun to pull wools out for a new project and I've started using things we found that I'd forgotten I had. The college stuff is in the dining room. I thought we could work in there today.’
Amanda was absolutely focussed and very clear about which projects and bits of her college work she wanted to keep. About 75% went straight into the rubbish. As we went through the bags we found both finished and unfinished projects: jumpers, fine embroideries, scarves , etc. Amanda does beautiful and often intricate work.
‘What do you want to do with the finished things?’ I asked.
‘I don't know, some of it I like but doesn't suit me, some of it I did for interest, but I don't really want to keep. I'd be happy for some of it to go to a charity shop, but not all of it’
‘Your work is stunning, I'm sure your friends and family would love to have pieces. We could put aside the things you don't want to keep as gifts’
‘I like that idea; I didn't really want to just dump it all’
Then there was the pile of unfinished pieces which, by the time we finished sorting, had grown into quite a mountain. Every time we found another one
Amanda would say, ‘I want to finish that.’
‘You've an awful lot of things to finish off,’ I said, ‘I know you like to have several things on the go but you also like to start new things. Tell you what, I will bring all the unfinished projects to you in the other room and you arrange them from the pieces that you most want to finish down to the ones that would be drudgery’
I didn't say anything as I carried things through and Amanda organized them into a long row. When she had everything laid out, she looked up, waved her hand across just over half the projects saying,
‘I want to finish everything up the here, but the rest I don't care that much about if I'm honest.’
We then spent time salvaging materials. Some of the rejected projects were almost finished; it was just that Amanda didn't want them for herself.
‘We could add these 'almost' things to the gift bag if you like, so you'd only finish them if you had someone special to give them to?’ I said.
‘Yeah, I like that idea.’ she replied.
By now the 12 large bags that we'd started the day with had been reduced to 3 very neat bags.
Just before I left, Amanda said, looking at them, ‘I think there is more that I can get rid of there. You've taken the curse off, so I'm sure I can do the next part by myself.’
Part of being creative can be, what would appear to the rest of the world to be, making a mess. For Amanda that meant pulling out all her wools to find the beginnings of a new project. The serendipity of one thing nudging another can play a huge role. Tor Amanda, making a creative mess was more fun in a clear space.
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