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Tips for Making Cleaning up Your Creative Space Quick & Easy

I recently posted a simple question on instagram and facebook:

Starting the week with a (relatively) clean desk. πŸ’ͺ I have been trying to clean up after myself more frequently, so that it's a smaller task. But it's not my favorite thing to do and so I tend to drag my feet or avoid it. So help me out. What do you do to make cleaning up your creative space quick and easy? 🀷

The responses I got back were great!  They ranged from commiseration to super useful tips.  Today I thought I would share some of the tips I found the most useful in the hopes that they might be useful to you too!

  • annerienuyts: What I do is, to put away only 10 things. Before I start, or if I walk past the desk, or if I stop painting for the day, random moments.... But putting away 10 things is done rather quickly and the heaviness of cleaning everything, falls away.
  • marybethig: I keep a basket and trash can within reach of my work table at all times. If something is junk it immediately goes in the trash can. If it is something to be put away it goes in the basket when I no longer need to use it. At the end of each work session, I use a brush and dustpan to sweep up any stray mess from floor and work table. If I have time, I put everything in the basket away. If not, at least it is coralled in the basket until I DO have time to put it away.
  • Lori Paximadis: Everything must have a dedicated place to live, and those items I use all the time need to be in arm's reach. Putting stuff away is a lot easier when you know exactly where things need to go.  I've learned that my organizing style does not mesh well with lids and hidden storage β€” if I have to work to get to it, I'll use it less often, and if it's a pain to put away, I won't. So I reserve closed boxes for those things I don't use all that often, and I don't stack stuff in front of other stuff. My favorite supplies and frequently used items tend to be on shelves or in open bins.  I made a rule that I have to clear my workspace at the end of a session β€” even if I'm planning to come back to the same project the next day. If I've pulled special supplies or paint colors for it, I'll corral them in a project box and set it off to the side. And I always dump my paint water and refill at the end of a session. That way, next time I want to create, I am ready to work and take advantage of the creative impulse that brought me to my table. I don't have to clear a space or fetch water (no sink anywhere near my studio); I can just sit down and go.
  • Jan Brown: Hey Julie! Set a timer. Do what you can do in 5 or 10 minutes. Do that a few times in a day. It helps you see the big picture.
  • Pam Atkinson: Disco music. Its higher beats per minute gets me moving and then I tend to dance while cleaning making it more fun. They used to make tapes of songs with the beat about 120 per min. For walkers and runners to keep the pace. I use the disco channels on Spotify and Pandora instead.
  • Marie Cushing: Make a rule for myself - if it takes less than 20 seconds to do a job (hang up a coat, put away scissors) I do it right away. It makes a huge difference!
  • arleighb: This will sound silly but I think of Tomorrow Arleigh as a different person and I don’t want to leave a mess for her.

I am definitely trying to be more conscientious about cleaning up after a big project.  It's not natural to me, but I do keep thinking in my head, "I'm doing this for future Julie."

I hope you found this post useful!  If you've got other tips, feel free to leave them in the comments!