Guest Author - Cara Randall
Ever notice how a clean room just feels so good? Have you mustered the focus to finally tackle that clogged up closet, and when you are done you just feel lighter, somehow? In Oriental cultures, this good feeling is referred to as "chi", a life energy that flows through all things. When we have a great deal of clutter, trash, disorganized stuff and poorly designed rooms, we block "chi" and-at least- stagnate our creativity. Fortunately, this is easy to fix and can often be fun to do at the same time!
Make a list of the things you'd like to accomplish, and don't write down so many items you can't ever hope to get them done. This will only result in frustration. You do not have to be perfect, just get started and make improvements even if it takes more than one day. Most likely the messes didn't get there in just a short time, so don't expect that they will disappear without some extended time and effort as well. When you have a list of perhaps ten things to get done, set aside some time and start tackling. Remove as many objects from your room as you can, clear it completely out if possible. Once the room is cleared and cleaned of the cobwebs and dust bunnies, you can decide what you really want to put back into the space.
This is the harder part. Make a box or plastic bag for tossing, one for giving away, and one for keeping. Begin to sort your objects into these bags, and try not to labor over each one for very long. Given time, you can probably come up with reasons to keep everything, but that doesn't do anything for you but give you the same cluttered space back again. If you haven't used the object in a few months to a year, you probably don't need it anymore. If you have trouble with this, I've found one of the best ways to get myself to toss things is to watch a few episodes of the television show, Hoarders. It sounds funny, but nothing gets me cleaning as fast as seeing those people held hostage to their own piles of junk! If you choose to donate, really assess your track record with donating in the past. Do you really give that stuff to Goodwill, or does it sit around in a bag for weeks until you get sick of it and put it all back into the original space? I know it's better for the environment to donate, but if I feel it's not likely I will really go through with it sometimes it's better to just put it in the trash and let it go. Getting these spaces cleaned out is better for your physical and mental health, and that's important, too!
Now to create a space that opens up your mind, frees your spirit, and inspires creativity! Place items back into your space carefully, allowing some open spaces. Avoid clutter by adding in pieces of furniture that will hold your extra items, like footstools that double as a storage cub, some inexpensive cabinets from a discount store can really maximize your storage-always think vertical. How can you utilize the walls to find places for items to be stored? Find a piece of art that really speaks to you and make it center stage on the wall or on the top of a shelf. Maybe get some lighter curtains and really let the spring sunshine in. Put some thought into what inspires you, and incorporate little touches of those things in your space. Do you love the sound of running water? There are some beautiful table top fountains that can bring the sound and element of water into your surroundings. If being surrounded by growing things lightens your mood, bring in some easy-to-grow plants. Whatever brings a smile to your face is the right choice.
Sit in your new room and see how you feel. Does it bring you peace? Do you feel a piece of furniture is somehow not where it should be? Does something feel binding or blocking in any way, or do you feel like the ideas will really flow? Don't second-guess, just move things around until you know the pieces are fitting correctly. It may take some tweaking, but you'll soon see that removing clutter and taking the time to love your creative space will pay off in a much easier creative process, and a room you canít wait to get into.