In My Studio Odds and Ends

Getting organised

I treasure things, little quirky things, small things that I find on my walks, special gifts from people who know what makes me smile. Then there are the things that might be useful one day. A third group of Things In My Life are things that I never really know what to do with.

So I end up with a playroom studio that looks like this….


and this….


and this….


until I feel weighed down by all those things.

The time has come to make a start. Not just tidying, but sorting and throwing/composting/recycling. A real clean up. I am not good at this, as you can see by the things I accumulate around me.

Asking myself three questions was an excellent sorting process.

Does it bring me joy? I have rephrased that, as ‘joy’ is a big expectation to put on an object, to Does it make me smile? Unexpected things got to stay when I asked this, like the origami birds and the jar of sea treasures gifted to me by Jan and the babushka doll from my trip to Russia in the 80s.

If the answer was ‘No’ my next question was Is it useful? The pin cushion was in, with the bonus that it makes me smile! The old maybe-I-will-use-these manilla folders  were out.

Which lead to the next question Can I get another one if I need it? This was the key question for all my natural treasures. Can I get another gum nut/feather/leaf? Yes. Amazing as they are, do I need a whole box full of feathers? No. Off to the compost. My nests went back and forth from one pile to another, but I decided that I couldn’t get others, so they have stayed. And they make me smile.

As I went I found another question waiting to be answered  — Does it weigh me down? These are the things that I find difficult to part with, but don’t really want to keep. For example, a gift made for me by a child I taught. I appreciate the thought, time and care she put into it, but I never used it. At the same time I felt that moving it on was disrespectful. Whenever I saw it there, cluttering up the desk, the negative emotion froze me. I was unable to deal with it.

Now I know I have well and truely given that gift enough of my “oh my, she created this just for me” emotional energy. (She would have moved on from the creation many years ago!) So, it’s off to the op-shop and hopefully someone else will love it and use it.

Now I have a clean tidy mantelpiece and a mood board ready for the next inspiration, an uncluttered computer desk, where I can get to the printer, and a reasonably tidy work table. Still lots to do, but beware the woman on a mission!

Treasures to keep….





It’s the fortnight my letter comes to you, straight to your inbox. In this week’s letter I show you some of my latest work, a series of trees, not unlike the oil pastel ones I did last year. These ones have sewing ~ now there’s a surprise! And I explain how my reading on creativity has helped me understand how these came about.

Like to sign up? And receive a free feather drawing? Just click here.

28 replies on “Getting organised”

You have such a lovely eclectic assortment of things. I think if I was in the same position, I’d be grouping them with the intention of making a series of shadow boxes. It would enable me to look at them properly whilst at the same time getting them off my surfaces. Win-win!


i do have a couple of shadow boxes. One is above the toilet cistern, to give the blokes something interesting to look at! But strangely I had never thought of putting the other one in my playroom. Another brilliant suggestion, Kate!

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This looks – and sounds – very familiar. I must do something about it one day too.
I like Kate’s suggestion but suspect I’d quickly run out of wall space despite having plenty of it!
Well done on making a start.

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And it must be only a start, there are too many other shelves and boxes and drawers with stuff that need to be sorted and culled. The questions were a great way to help me make up my mind. So when you start you may find them useful!

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I periodically need to “tidy up” – sometimes successfully other times “no so much” but also I have a shortish of space & my designated studio space is just toooooooooooo small, so it’s become an overflow studio storage. Instead I work in what is my “living room” and I spend a lot of time shuffling things around…


I love how sometimes your cleaning up is not successful ~ I think we have all been there too! It’s a problem creatively to be shuffling stuff around to be able to work, looking for just the right thing that you know is there somewhere. I know you had a big sort out when you moved house. That must have been a good feeling.

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Yes I did have a whopper of a sort out when I went from very big to relatively small…not just small creative stuff but fairly old useless furniture – some which I had to replace…

I’m now in a bind with something nice but not really needed n0w- 3 large bean bags and a smaller one. I spent part of today trying to decide “where to put/store them…they were gift, so it’s hard to reconcile where they should be…especially since after those came, someone gifted me a 2-seater couch”!
There is a space I could create in my bedroom and pile them up – but do I want them in there…”nope, not really” – and putting them in the “shed…oops no”


I had a big clean out a couple of years ago. Since I have discovered how much work it is to get rid of things, I’ve been accumulating far less. But I discovered that I could go deeper. So at the moment I’m having Clean Out #2. I go through the same thing as you with the collectibles too! I’m always bringing things home from my walks. But every few months I realise I’ve soaked up enough from them and I retire them back to nature or to the bin. A little tip I learned is if I really want to get rid of something but it holds some special story or meaning, I take a nice photo of it, and keep the photo. That has worked perfectly. Good luck with your efforts.


Thanks for the tip of the photo. I have souvenirs and nick knacks in other boxes that I am yet to face. So photos of them may be the solutions. Or maybe sketching them, and adding the written memoir. That may well be the way to go. Thank you! Another brilliant suggestion! Good luck with clean up #2!

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Oh definitely! I feel lighter looking at what I have done so far, with the added bonus of actually being able to see things, rather than mess……and not have to perch the lap top precariously on things when I want to print. (For some reason I can’t do it wirelessly. Another thing to add to the list!)


It’s always refreshing to go on this journey I find. And at first it is much more difficult than it is when you are really in the swing of things! Your space looks like a great and inspiring place to work.


You are so right ~ thinking about it is always more overwhelming that doing.
It is a lovely space. I get envious when I see the large airy studios some people have, but I know that I am very lucky to be able to take over the spare room, and set it up, just for me.


Your collections are reassuringly non-mininalistic. When I think about culling, I feel a little qualm… possibly because the only times I have done it is when ending relationships… then it feels therapeutic. But there are a few items I offloaded to my eternal regret. I did try to have a sort through prior to our treechange but immediately realised in my enthusiasm I’d thrown out things I had a use for. So my lesson is to migrate surplus into a holding space for a while. After that, if they go, I like to think of it as setting them free to find new appreciative homes, just as has happened with many treasures which have come through our door and never left.

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That’s the dilemma with treasured things ~ will I regret moving this on? The only flaw I can see for me with your plan of storing things for a while is that the while could end up being a very good long while! I find that ‘out of sight, out of mind’ fits me to a T.


Good for you, Anne! I love that you’re tackling your space and thinking about what belongs (gives you joy/is useful) and what can go back into the world. I must say, that of all the clutter I’ve seen over the years with various clients, roommates, etc. your collection appears to be full of natural beauty, not junk picked up along the way. Those feathers, seed pods and the like are lovely. I wonder if you could make a hanging mobile using your feather assortment. They would be up out of your drawers and bins, but could hang from the ceiling, catching the breeze as they dance. Does that make sense?


That makes perfect sense, and is a lovely idea, a feather mobile. The things on the mantelpiece were gifts from nature, and I love to have some of them there (just not spilling over as they were!). However I haven’t shown you the mess that is in other parts of the room, the things I need to get to next. That’s much less interesting stuff!


Anne, your wonderful postcard arrived yesterday. Thank you so much. I continue to have troubles emailing you. I sent two earlier this week and keep getting messages back that the mailbox is full and that they are undeliverable. I also emailed you via your Etsy account. It’s been frustrating having a problem that neither of us can figure out how to solve.

As for organizing the less interesting stuff, perhaps it just needs a good clear out entirely. I wish I could pop over to help. It’s so my thing, yet I know it’s sheer drudgery for others. Sending a big hug across the miles.


Feel free to pop over here any time ~ and not just organise me!
I sent you another email yesterday, via my gmail account. It didn’t bounce my end, but the way we are going, that doesn’t mean a lot! Fingers crossed that it works. The other issue was that my mail box was overflowing with old emails, cluttering things up. Surprise, surprise!


Hmmm. I’ve not seen that email, Anne. I’ll check again though. I wonder if you can filter some of those emails so that certain ones go to an alternate mailbox. I do that and it really helps.


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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