The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

Out of Clutter Find Simplicity

They say a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind….

Well, I believe them.

It’s commonly known that we “artsy, creative types” are messy in general, but it’s also said that a mess stifles productivity.  In my case, I must be creative and productive in both my personal life and many jobs, so it’s beyond time to do something about this cluttered mind of mine!

To make things even more urgent, all three of my kids will be home this summer.  I need to find a way to get my office organized, my work time planned out efficiently, as well as to put a comfortable routine in place for my children so they will have an enjoyable summer.  Otherwise, we will all end up frustrated, and my hard work in organizing this office will be in vain.  I do not want to end the summer with a similar photo!

I find that quote so comforting, especially since Einstein (ahem, a genius, mind you) was said to have a messy desk himself!  😉

So how do we clear the clutter in our desk, homes, minds and lives, to find the calm of simplicity?  How do we move past the discord and chaos in our lives and create harmony in its place?  What beautiful opportunity awaits us amidst this difficulty?  Here’s my plan….

Clear it away.  I’m de-cluttering the house, including my entire office.  I’ve reorganized most of the space… the only lion that needs to be tamed yet is my desk that you see above.  I’m clearing the surface off and then only putting back what truly belongs here… which shouldn’t be much.  Corralled office supplies, the lamp, monitor, keyboard and tablet, and my calendar/planner.  I will be ruthless about what I allow to take up my workspace (and my focus).  At the end of each day, I have to commit to clear off my desk and make a plan for the next day’s tasks.

Simplify.  Ever heard that phrase, “too many irons in the fire”?  That is me at this moment.  We have all come up with ways to simplify and de-stress wherever possible.  We gave our sweet puppy to a new family this weekend.  We adored Rhett, and it was a tough decision to make. Many tears were involved, and not just from the kids… Mama cried too.  But in the end, I needed to lift a little weight off my shoulders and make things easier around here.  Three kids, three jobs, ppd, and one rowdy little puppy proved to be too much stress for this mama to handle right now.  I know that the time will be right for us to have a dog someday, though.  Until that day comes, we are choosing to think about how delightfully happy he’s going to make two precious little girls in his new home!

Create routine.  Kids thrive on routine, or at least mine do.  We’re writing out a new summer schedule, along with our summer bucket list.  This article is just brilliant, and you can even buy the Summer Camp Kit here.  I’m looking forward to getting my work done each morning and heading out each afternoon for a treat that we’ve all earned.  Also, what a wonderful way to teach kids the value of chores (ah, mine say they know it too well), the importance of saving up for something they really want, playing independently for a little while, and keeping their brains and bodies active at the same time!  LOVE IT.

Outsource.  I’m hiring a new intern, pronto.  Someone to do the packing and ordering and matting and shipping for me, so that I can shoot, edit, write, and take care of my kids.  I’d much rather spend time with my little ones and concentrate on building my strengths, than to have someone else take care of my kids while I struggle with my weaknesses over and over.  Don’t get me wrong, I have THE most fabulous daycare provider on the face of the earth, and she truly loves my girls as if they are her own.  But I miss them when they’re gone!  And I love being a mama.  So I’m outsourcing what I can to make life simpler and more enjoyable for us.

Be inspired.  Just listening to Danielle’s calming voice makes me believe I can do whatever I set my mind to.  She has a refreshingly unique business perspective, and she is certainly motivating.  Simple but effective.

Pray.  Part of my new summer routine will be taking a few minutes each morning to start my day off right.  I tend to pray off and on all day in little bits and pieces, and again before bedtime.  But how much more confident would I be if I spend a few quiet moments alone before my day really begins?

In the coming days, I’ll show you my newly organized space… and hopefully my de-cluttered life!  Stay tuned.

How have YOU cleared clutter from your desk, office, heart and life?  I’d love to know your favorite ideas and your tried-and-true resources.


About Stacey Woods

Stacey Woods is an on-location, natural light lifestyle photographer for the Tampa Bay, FL area. Her favorite subjects are expecting mamas, the tiniest of babies, and children of all ages. She believes that the small moments are really the biggest ones, that photographs are legacies that we leave to our children, and that authentic love is beautiful. Her online photo journal can be found here.

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  • Lucretia

    I love your point about routine! Finding one for myself this summer has been critical, and such a stress reliever! I also discovered the HomeRoutines app which has been brilliant in keeping me on target. Thanks for your insight!

  • Anca

    The other day a colleague added this to a similar remark about a desk from our open space: What can you than say about a neat almost empty desk? :)

  • Ursula Page

    I am a busy photographer and I hired an assistant a few months ago and it was the best decision! She packs orders, makes calls, sets up appts, arranges pick ups, etc. I am now teaching her Photoshop basics to design cards and storyboards and that will be a huge help. Good luck!

    • staceywoods

      I did have an assistant last fall, but she moved away. Time to hire another! So glad that you’ve found it to be worth it also!

  • Cilla

    I adore you. We are exactly in the same spot right now, with you being much more awesome and dedicated to awesomeness. 😉 Our office and rest of the house are in the middle of reorganization and it feels like we’ve been there for a while. My brain can’t take it any more. And interns are definitely going to be a must!!!!!!!! Now be sure to make some room for us in a few weeks (well, not literal room…we’re not moving in, more like time ;))!

    • staceywoods

      Always time for you, love. Maybe we can hold each other accountable for whipping our own spaces into shape, what do you think? :)