Monday, August 3, 2009

Organization Versus Creativity?

I have spent the better part of the day today trying to get more organized. I dug into the "back" room as we call it - that "spare" room that so many people have, that eventually becomes the "junk" room - so yes, I was digging in the Junk Room for my box of notebooks and organizer datebooks that I cleaned out of my desk a few months ago. I really need one of them now with my new business and all the details that is generating! I found the box and brought it out into the light to see what I have.

Well I have it all - Day Timers, Day Runners, Day Keepers, Day Minders, tons of really pretty blank books, notebooks, loose leaf books, spirals, journals, "record" books...the list goes on and on. It's kind of a shame really when I think how much money I spend on these little books that are so very useful to get my life organized, and yet I have them all in a box in the Junk Room!

Now don't get me wrong. I think these organizers are truly wonderful inventions. I have used every one of them for a time. I just don't keep on using them. I never ran my own business before so that may be about to change!
Here's what I really want to know: Why do I spend more time organizing my organizational tools than I spend being organized?

I really love setting up an organizer. I get very excited and can spend all kinds of time deciding what color I want all the tabs to be, what sections I want to have, what order I want to put it all in...I can see my WHOLE LIFE getting completely organized right there before my very eyes! The only trouble is, it's all in my imagination. I'm imagining my life is actually something that can be contained in the pages of that nifty little book.

Maybe I just have to face up to the fact that I cannot make my life a perfectly organized little container where everything has its place and everything is in its place. I have been to some homes that seem to be just that organized. But you know what? They were not places of joy and life and creativity. They were perfectly matched and everything looked new and pretty. I'm sure some designer somewhere was very creative when they put the rooms together for these people to live in. But they are very still. They lack a certain vibrancy. They make nice pictures for magazines. I wouldn't feel relaxed in these places and I certainly wouldn't want to mess them up with my creative process.

My house is always in motion. Everything around me is in motion! We have lots of pets - dogs, cats, birds, etc. They are always busy with something. Whenever possible I have my windows open so I can here the sounds of the wind in the trees and the birds and the squirrels, and the sounds of the neighborhood. Those sounds make me happy and remind me that I am not alone. They make me feel alive.

Everyone in my family is always up to some project. My husband builds computers so there are always lots of computers and parts around his desk. My daughter is a very creative person and there are always several piles of things she is in the middle of. We are musicians so there are always stacks of music on the piano. I put them away regularly, in alphabetical order, but it's never long before they are all over the piano again!

And then there's my studio...such as it is. I have one end of our family room. It's a space that is 15 feet long, and about 4 feet wide. Within that space I have my desk with computer and printer, a wall shelf to hold my jewelry making supplies, a chest of drawers to hold more supplies, a table to hold my sewing machine and whatever else lands there, it being a horizontal surface, and on the other side of the room I have a steamer trunk full of even more artsy stuff. I also have my camera and tripod here and my props for my pictures. Of course every drawer in my desk is also holding jewelry related things like tools, and all my paperwork. It's a lot of things in not a lot of space so it's a constant juggling act to keep things in some kind of workable order.

I think it comes down to understanding the nature of being a creative person. There will always be messy places in life and I should be happy when I see those places because where there is creativity, there will be a mess!


  1. It's simple--you have ADHD. :-) Seriously, though, we sound a lot alike. Pretty little organizers, grand plans, and then nothing. I was reading "The Disorganized Mind" today, and it was talking about just this. The thrill of the creation of the plan, and the boredom with the follow through. I still haven't figured out the solution for myself. But I'm working on it.

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  3. That sounds like a very interesting article...or is it a book? I have considered that I may be ADHD! LOL Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  4. I don't see how I will ever get organized. I keep every room tidy but my bedroom is a disaster with piles of paper I need to deal with and just don't have the time or energy to start. Bleh!

  5. I love planners. It's the one thing I miss about being in school. I would always have everything color coded and scheduled way ahead of time.

    Now that I don't really have the pressure of multiple deadlines, I feel like a slacker. There's really no reason for me to keep a Day Minder now that I'm out of school. I don't have kids and my knitting group meets once a week every week at the same place and time. Kind of hard to forget that sort of regularity!

    ...Hmm, does this mean I'm a boring person now?

  6. I hear ya Laura! One time I actually was at such a desperate point that I took a pile of grocery bags and went around and put everything, and I do mean every single thing that did not belong in each room, into the bags. I ended up with several bags FULL. I put them all out of sight in the garage. I took one bag out at a time and went through them all eventually!
    It was the only way. And it worked! That was years ago. I think it's getting to be time for the bags again!

  7. We don't have just a junk room, we have a whole basement. It totally overwhelms me to go down there. If I do go to the basement I bring only one box to go through at a time. It may take me years to sort it all out.

  8. I hear that OneFoldDesigns - we have the "junk room", plus the garage, attics, basement, are ALL FULL!!! Just gotta take a little at a time. It's the only way!

  9. I loved this post. It sounds very familiar. I am wonderful for organizing, but terrible about putting things back. I have learned that when I am totally organized, I am completely bored.