De-Cluttering to Find Your Flow

March 20th, 2009


Today is the first day of Spring. Aaaaaah! (That was me singing angelically.) Just writing that puts in a little skip in my step. Longer days, warmer weather, and soon things will start sprouting green everywhere. Hooray! One thing I can say about winter in New England, it makes you really, really appreciate when Spring comes around. Granted, it is New England, so we could get whopped with a snow storm tomorrow, but still, Spring is here.

Spring and cleaning seem to go together. It's a time to shed the winter skin, the many layers, and all the accumulated dust and clutter that built up over the colder months.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of cleaning. Neither is the hubster. We're both messy. Years ago, instead of continuing to argue about how he never took his turn cleaning the bathroom, we decided to hire someone to come twice a month to do the hardcore cleaning for us. Best decision we ever made. O.k., that may be exaggerating a tad, but seriously, it was a great decision. I knew the woman who does the cleaning for us already because she cleaned the house of the family I used to nanny for. I knew she was trustworthy, kind, and did a great job. I also knew that she sent most of her money to her mom in Columbia. So, it works out great for all parties.

Sometimes, even though you CAN do something (of course, I'm fully capable of cleaning), that doesn't mean you shouldn't hire someone to do it for you. It's all about setting priorities and knowing how you want to spend your time and money. 

So, while I'm not about cleaning right now, I am all about de-cluttering...a different sort of cleaning that may seem like a boring task, but is actually all about creating space for the things you want in your life: your business, your projects, your art, your creativity, etc...

It's perfect timing (again) that this week's chapter in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, which I'm reading with Jamie Ridler's fabulous book group, is all about the Power of Subtraction. I loved this quote at the beginning of the chapter:

The first step in starting an enterprise is to clear the space for it, or till the ground. This clearing process is a must....We like to think just forging ahead is going to be enough to start, but when you run into gnarled old roots where your new plants need to grow, you've got problems. - Barrie Dolnick, Simple Spells for Success

Author Gail McMeekin talks about the Power of Subtraction in this way:

Here I encourage you to get rid of everything you neither need nor want in your life. This includes anything from old sneakers to outmoded dreams. To create a life of positive choices, you must let go of whatever blocks your creative zest.

This is a great continuation of the idea of positive priorities that I wrote about last week. And I think it also relates to allowing a sense of flow in your life. What blocks your creative flow? How can you remove those blocks in a way that is managable for you?

If clutter is a block for you, what one small step can you take? What teeny tiny step will give you a increased sense of ease in your life?


I like to imagine my clutter clearing is like this fence and I'm slowly opening more and more bars to uncover the river underneath.

I seem to be all about water lately. Wednesday I took a long walk and did some journaling by a river. Water seems to be such a great source of calm and inspiration for me. And today, my piece Lady of the Lake (below) is up at artist, Cathy Nichol's blog for her Found Art Friday project! I just added prints of this piece to my shop, which you can read more about and purchase here.



- Be sure to check out Jamie's latest interview with professional organizer, author, and mentor, Sunny Schlenger.

- You can also sign up for the free book group celebration call that's happening, Friday, April 3rd, here.

19 Responses

One of the quotes above reminds me of a favorite John Ruskin quote ” Have nothing in your home that you do not consider useful or beautiful”. As a basic guiding principle, I love that! I also want to add that I have only recently discovered your site…and I think it’s way fab. You are definitely a creative Rock Star!

What a great idea to have someone clean the bathroom. That is by far my least favorite chore. Recently my mother has offered to come over and cook! What a dear. She will come over for an afternoon and cook a ton of stuff that my son and I can eat for the week. This has freed up so much time for work on my dream project.

The raging water and gate are great visuals.

I love the Lady of the Lake. The colors and layering and composition are just wonderful.

And I am really digging the two quotes you chose from the chapter. I think they are very powerful.

Yay!! Love the new painting!!

Leah. :) Lovely post!

My favorite part was your angelic singing.

Have a great weekend.

When I was married (eons ago), my husband and I had that same tug of war. He told me to hire someone to do the cleaning, and it was as Martha would say “a good thing”. When I move in May, I’m going to put that on my priority list of things to do. Hire a housekeeper! That will be money well-spent. PLUS, it will help me keep things better organized because I won’t want someone coming in having to clean around my “stuff”.

I love a clean and orderly home, but I love creating more! :)

PS Moving MAKES you destash, give away, and clean. I call it “forced Spring cleaning”

And by the way . . . LOVE your latest creation!!

Aye, I need to clear the clutter. Thanks for the link – and the reminder…Lovely painting, Leah. Happy Spring!

Lady of the Lake is a lovely piece.
De-cluttering: I do it periodically and it is very liberating. I need desperately to do it again, or fix the part of me that compulsively clutters…

I love the idea of hiring someone to do something you don’t enjoy. I;m with you on that and am considering it. And not only does it benefit you and free up your time, it employs someone who needs the cash! Yes indeed! Love it :)

Now, I don’t mind cleaning the bathroom because it’s the smallest room with the least clutter in my house! LOL
I’ve been working on getting art framed and that has caused an explosion of clutter, but this is just temporary. Right?

Yikes, I was finishing a long comment here and oops/poof I hit something and it is all gone!

I have a cleaning lady, did so when I went back to work after Lauren was born so I did not have to waste my time cleaning on the days I got to be home with her. I will never scrub a toilet again!

I am working on decluttering, in small doses and going to start a list of wishes for each room…like need to do something for earrings, need a bin for boots by door…all those little things one forgets when at “Tar-jay”

love what Kira said about beauty and function, words to shop by!

This is a great post Leah!! You have recently inspired me to declutter on a regular basis at work. At home, I’m pretty organized…but work, well, my desk is a constant mess. This week I’ve made a point at the end of each school day to declutter it. Wow–what a great way to start my morning…makes my job just a tad bit more enjoyable. Ok. Lots more enjoyable!

Peace & Love.

Love your angelic singing!

I aspire to getting a cleaning lady. Some day, some day.

As for decluttering… oh what a process. I think it’s more a life style than a project, but it is a very good thing to learn.

Sometimes, I think I let go of too much in my last move. As my mind hangs on to certain things that I would have liked to keep but couldn’t move with me. Maybe that attachment is what I need to purge, next.

Hah! I was just decluttering when I stopped for a break to get caught up with your blog. This hit the spot, now I can go back to it feeling noble instead of grumbly.

I love Lady of the Lake! Mmmmmm…

Oh, I read this book when it first came out and I will never part with it!! It’s all so true — everyone is creative in their own way. Some need help discovering and revealing it. Beautiful painting:-)

Thats what I have been doing! I am SO not a fan of cleaning, although I do it. But the last 10 days I have been re arranging furniture and de cluttering…what a difference it makes..I done this to create a different space for me to create in. The whole house has had a shake up!! Whilst moving the furniture and passing on what I didn’t want,to people who did want it… ideas, designs, colours started to flood my brain. I must get that book.

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