Spring is finally here.
And just like the birds preparing to build nests, first there is some cleaning out to do.
If you live in the Northeast , you are probably throwing open the windows and doors to let in the fresh air. You may already be cleaning and putting away those heavy winter coats and clothes and bringing out the lighter garments. When I do this, I am often also getting rid of clothes that don’t fit properly or are too worn or outdated for anything but the rag bag or the dump. Even your home furnishings may receive some cleaning or be passed on to someone else or thrown out.
This spring ritual always creates an opportunity to assess whether or not your things, your possessions are still serving you or have become dead weight, weighing you down with the time and resources necessary to maintain them.
Creativity also needs a spring cleaning. Now is a good time to get rid of or purge:
- Materials. What materials are you not using anymore but you continue to hold onto them with the idea of “someday”? Paints, yarns, fabrics, wood, paper, metals, gemstones, magazines. You name it. If you love to create with your hands, there is always the temptation to hoard, to not let go of something you might use. Maybe it’s time to re-examine that idea. If you sold those materials you’d have money to buy more materials that you are using. If you gave them away to a hospital or a senior center you could always write them off as a charitable deduction next year (check with your tax person).
- Tools and Equipment. These are often a bigger investment than materials which makes it that much harder to let go. But think of how much space those tools and equipment take up. How much dust they collect. Think of how sad they feel sitting there unused. I made the decision two years ago to sell an eight-harness table loom that I hadn’t used for years. I then used the money to pay some business bills. I seriously considered selling my 60″ floor loom until the interior designer I worked with for years contacted me a few months ago to weave off throw samples for several clients. So I guess I’ll hold onto my big loom for a while but I do have a steam table…
- Beliefs and Rules. This is the really hard category to clean out because half the time we don’t even realize what beliefs and rules we’ve set up for ourselves that are limiting us. Oh sure, they were great rules or beliefs when we first established them, but today? Those rules and beliefs may be as dusty and inefficient as those worn out tools that you just keep using out of habit. So first, you have to sit down and think about what you believe you have to do to be creative and productive. What rules have you set up about what you can and can’t do in your work for it to be successful? What part of you and your creative impulses and directions do you believe you have to hide or suppress? Really look at what now supports you and what actually only holds you back.
Finally, you don’t have to do all this in one day or even one week. Give yourself enough time to do the cleaning while also giving time to your creating. You may find that, as Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way suggests, the more cleaning and purging you do, the more your creativity will expand and be energized.