Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clutter and Creativity

I heard recently that Clutterers Anonymous is the fastest growing 12-step program in the U.S. Don't know if that's correct, but I can easily believe it.

In recent weeks, I've been on a simplifying and order-bringing binge and it leaves me lighter in spirit, in fact exuberant.

Recent research indicates that people who get rid of their junk also lose weight and have less depression.

On the other hand, there's an image of the creative space as one that's full of odds and ends that the creator can join in surprising ways and combinations to come up with something new.

I'm now convinced that it's possible to have both order and interesting odds and ends. In fact, the interesting ones stand out better when the collection of empty boxes is gone. Or the most interesting box stands out better when the drab ones are gone. And so on.

I'm delighting in this process of dejunking and neatening and that pleasure is one reason for my exuberance. I've always thought of cleaning up as something I should do, because things had gotten so bad--or something I shouldn't do, because I should really be doing something more directly productive.

It finally strikes me that getting ready and cleaning up are part of the process of production. And it feels as if decluttering is something I get to do, not a chore I have to do.

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mamie said...

I view the process of organizing my writing space as almost sacred, and I make sure that the clearing is done before leaving the space rather than on entering. As I exit through the door, I bow in honor to the creative powers that rest there. I am always reluctant to leave this well-ordered room to go back to the chaos of the rest of my life.

Peggy Payne said...

What a great ritual, Mamie! This is like martial artists bowing as they enter and leave the mat or the dojo. Very nice awareness it promotes. I think I'm going to develop my own version of this. Thanks for writing about it here.