Don’t Fall In Love With The Potential Of Stuff

The warning for you creative types is to not fall in love with potential. You know what I mean. Where a box of old door handles could be a future coat rack.  Or a old door can be painted and turned into a desk {that is what my office has}. The problem starts when you no longer have the stuff organized or it spills out of its confined spaces and can be found all over the house. You may know exactly where everything is, but the problem might be with the people you live with. Is your kitchen table your work surface thereby stopping your family from having family meal times at the table {I am guilty of this one}. I have organized artists before and what is interesting is when they call me the first thing they ask is if I had ever organized an artist before. They realize that it takes a unique person to organize them. They are not the types to have me alphabetize their paint cans. We need to take their space and create a magical and creative workspace or home.


Even trying to get rid of items for the creative person can be difficult. Where I may think a piece of tissue is garbage, they see it as a perfect shade of blue to paint their office. Respect their “rubbish”. When I work with clients I never assume that something  is garbage. I always have them touch it and throw it away. They are the final  decision maker, not me. Or as my saying goes, “One professional organizers  trash is another boy’s treasure”.


What I do know is that the creative types that I work with are all highly intelligent and the wheels in their mind are always turning. These are not lazy people, quiet to the contrary. They are usually working and creating until all hours of the night simply wishing they had more hours in the day to be creative.


But what do you do if you are the creative person and your family and you know that there is a problem with too much stuff? Here are some simple ideas that I have implemented with my creative clients:


  • Put limits on the amount that can be kept. I did this with my youngest son and  his collections. I simply gave him a container and said that he could keep  whatever could fit in the container. I also did this with a young lady and her stuffed  animals. We established how many she could keep and we had the others go and  live in space bags under the steps. She could switch them out at any time, but she had  to stick with the same number at all times.


  • Create projects boxes and put everything needed for that project in the box. Also set a limit on how many project boxes you will have. If you have found another project that you want to put in a box, but your boxes are full, then it is time to get rid of or finish a project. Establish a strong one in one out rule. Don’t bring anything else in until you  know what is leaving in its place. You only have so much space….and you don’t  have to fill it all up.


  • Surrender and let someone else do it for you and trust in their process.  Sometimes it is better just letting someone else do it for you. You need to  trust that they will get it done right for you and you have to accept that they  will get rid of some things that you would have kept.


  • Don’t gather anything without first knowing what the project is going to be. This is probably the hardest one. You see the potential in everything. But know that if you need 6 paper towel tubes for a project you will have the time to gather and still get the project done on time. It often doesn’t make sense to collect every paper towel tubes for some unknown reason. Only to find your house being infiltrated with paper towel tubes.


  • Box up things and put them in the basement or garage and put a date 6 months or a year into the future on the box. When that date happens, simply get rid of the box and make sure it leaves your house… peeking as to what is in there. Remind yourself that if you have not needed or missed it during this period of time that chances are you will never need it. Some people find it easier to have a family member do this for them.

The goal is to create a place where the creative type can flourish and create magic and art and not get frustrated. What can you do today to make a more a more functional space or just create more space in your home or workplace?


To Joyful, Simplified Living,


MS. Simplicity


MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at

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1 Response

  1. B.

    Thank you for this post today. I am working on a “house purge” and I have been struggling with my craft area. I so needed this!

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