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Like I said in my last post, I am going to discuss a problem that I believe most artists and craftspeople can relate to. I am talking about hoarding. No, not the kind we see on TLC, but an issue that I have had to address more than once in my life. Being both artsy and craftsy, I am prone to collecting an enormous amount of nonessential items, and it is always difficult to declutter when the time comes. I can rationalize keeping just about anything if it is for my projects, even future projects that have not even entered the concept stage.
Over the past year I have actually thinned out and organized my huge stash of drawing, painting, and sewing items. I had to replace my floor, so while packing up everything in my room, I took the opportunity to apply a little Marie Kondo philosophy to my belongings. I discovered a couple of things about myself in the process: 1. I will part with clothes and jewelry far easier than art supplies, and 2. I am a very specific type of hoarder. Now confessions five and six will address this second discovery.
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5. I hoard pencils.
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That is not hard to believe since I have reviewed so many colored pencils on this blog including Prismacolor, Derwent, Faber-Castell, Conte, Koh-I-Noor, and many others. I also love to try out pastel, charcoal, and graphite pencils. These are not items that I am willing to just toss away because I have duplicates, however. I actually use them, and they cost money! I will not throw them away unless I can no longer sharpen them or they are rendered unusable. Heck, my dog has chewed a few, and I just cut off the mangled soggy end, sharpened what was left, and kept using them.
While space is at a premium here in my little place, I find simple storage solutions that allow me to keep my pencil hoard. In a previous blog I reviewed a huge pencil case that holds 170 pencils. As long as I have one shelf, I could line those babies up like books! I also use the good old coffee cans for storing random pencils, brushes, and pens. And screwdrivers, glue sticks, craft knives, and other random items. Everything else can be sorted into stackable plastic bins that slide under my bed.
6. I refuse to throw away old (filled) sketchbooks.
This could be worse. I have already had to part with sketchbooks that were ruined by a house fire several years ago and two hurricanes within the last three years, so my current collection is not that scary. I keep them in large plastic storage bins in my shed. One bin holds loose pages that survived past culling phases. Every time I fill up a sketchbook, I flip through it to see how much of it is worth keeping. They are not always worth the storage space, so if most of the book is unremarkable, I will take out the pages that I feel are worth saving and stick those in the "loosie bin".
It is not like every mark I make is dear, but I like to flip through old drawings and sketches to see how much I have improved or get an idea of where my mind was at some point in the past. Sometimes I see ideas in the imagery that I think I can develop more effectively in my present state of emotional and artistic growth than I could at the time I made the original work.
I feel like I have become the queen of storage bins considering I have them in every closet and tucked under all my static pieces of furniture. How do you deal with clutter in your work space? Share what you do to keep things tidy and what items you tend to "collect" in the comments!