Creating Space for Creativity

May 7th, 2009

Yesterday I took an Office Spa Day class with the super sweet, Jennifer Hofmann. This year I've done a lot of clutter clearing in my office/studio space and it's felt fabulous to unload so much. It's amazing to me how much clearing my physical space clears my mental space as well.


A few months ago, I spent a couple weeks doing a half-hour of clutter clearing every day. That worked well for awhile, but after I'd reached my goal of doing it for 2 weeks, I was ready for a break. The major advantage of doing clutter clearing at a regular time every day is that it takes the planning out of it. I just knew that at 11 am every day, I was going to spend 30 minutes doing this clutter clearing business and then it would be over. Small chunks of time is good. Planning a specific time is also good. But did I want to be doing that forever? No. So, I went back to occasional clutter clearing and maintenance and that was working fine for me, until I noticed that there were a couple areas I was avoiding. Sticky spots.

One of those spots was behind my office door. I keep my office/studio door open most of the time, so it provided this not-so-secret clutter hiding spot. And it was growing. The dust bunnies, an old Reebok step, two yoga mats, some old picture frames, a bunch of free cloth bags I got at various events, a dress....Oh, and did I mention the dust bunnies? Yeah, they were multiplying like crazy. Doesn't seem like a big deal perhaps, after all it was out of sight 90% of the time, but it was weighing on me. I knew it was there and it was also expanding to the point where I couldn't open the door all the way. At the rate it was going, there was soon going to be enough stuff "hidden" back there that I wasn't going to be able to open the door at all. Ack!

So, I'm learning when to ask for help and I knew that scheduling the time for an Office Spa Day (a fun, gentle way to clear some clutter in your space) would do the trick. Jennifer asks some excellent questions when it comes to clearing clutter including, "Does this (fill in your clutter item here) support who I am and where I'm going?" Asking this sort of question helps make it so much more clear and easy to get rid of the stuff that I've been unsure about what to do with.

I spent an hour cleaning out the space behind my door, getting rid of some crap behind my bookcase, and clearing off my inspiration board. And lo and behold, I can now open my office door. I immediately felt a sense of openness, both literally (the door can open all the way, yay!) and emotionally.

So, what does this have to do with creativity? Well, clearing space on occassion helps make room for new things to bloom, whether in your business, in your mind, or in your art. Physical space relates so much to our mental space. I find this happens with selling my art too. Even though I sometimes get a little sad when I sell a piece of art, I simultaneously love helping to brighten someone else's space with art and when I move art of my space, it helps make room for new art to be created. It has something to do with flow, keeping things moving, feeling expansiveness, openness, and room for possibility.

When you look around your creative space, do you see things that do not support you in you and your creativity? Try removing (tossing, storing, giving away) just a few things and see how it makes you feel. What might it open up for you?

More clutter-clearing resources:

Wow, looking over this list I'm realizing that I must have a thing for de-cluttering specialists! Ha! I think it's because all these ladies have a super sweet, gentle way of approaching something that's especially sticky for me. Go check out what they have to offer and make some room for the creativity that's waiting to bloom.

10 Responses

OMG I need to organize, purge and clean my bedroom/studio. I carved a whole third of the room out for my use, and it is HORRIFYING!!!!! What do I do?

Get to work and stop avoiding, Rowena.

I just love how clearing a particularly neglected place behind your door helped you feel more emotionally and physically open. Because your work is so creative, feeling that openness is just vital (life-giving).

The idea of clutter-clearing every day at the same time is fantastic (I might borrow your idea and share it – with credit and permission). I love learning about how that practice supported you. And doing it for a finite amount of time (in your day and for 2 weeks) helps lend a focus not usually present when we think, “Oh, I should really declutter this… someday.” How amazingly cool.

It goes without saying that it was a delight to spend time with you in Office Spa Day yesterday – and even more delightful to read about your experience here on your blog. Thanks tons for the mention – and I hope we get to spend time together again!

Keep enjoying that openness. :)


I just read this at the perfect time. I am taking a few minute break from de-cluttering my work area. I was a vital necessity as I didn’t even have room to swing a cat or a flat surface. Sigh. It’s no help that the DD and I both have a number of endeavors and each requires different tools and supplies. At least we can them out.

Today’s venture was fairly successful in that there are bags of fabric scraps to go to Rebecca and Romona, a bag of leather scraps to go to Curtis and also Kevin. Crate of books to go to the exchange and a whole bag of trash out the door, WOOT..

this is a lovely post. I’m a big fan decluttering myself and I love some of the ideas you’ve presented!

Just found this blog. I love it! I’m always looking for inspiration.

The image of Ophelia here is great. It also reminds me of Sethe in Beloved, with the tree on her back.

I’m reminded of the ‘ten-second rule’ a friend of mine uses in cleaning/organizing: If, when organizing, you pick something up and it takes you more than ten seconds to decide whether you need it–throw it out.

There’s a relieving and refreshing sense of satisfaction when you clean out your creative space. I have an issue of space. Just space. I don’t have room for the way my creativity expands and morphs as i get more and more involved. I need to find a way to start storing things more efficiently!

Great post! Have a wonderful weekend, Leah!


I so need to do this to remove the black cloud of dread that hangs over my head with every piece of clutter that shades my creativity!

This is exactly what I need, decluttering my space for art!
Thank you!! and thank you also for your kind and encouraging words on my blog Leah!!

I have a large room for my studio, with large windows overlooking acres of lovely trees, blueberry bushes, and land. The deer roam about freely out there and I love to look at them. Meanwhile, the studio is cluttered, unlike the scene outside my window. I have a habit of pulling out so much stuff when readying for a project, and then leaving it behind as I go on to do something else. I really need to take to heart some of the suggestions found in your blog and the comments. Thanks for all the great info and inspiration! Maybe there is hope for my clutter habit . . .

What a helpful question that is – does this support who I am and where I’m going? I may put that into practice today.

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