Apr 15, 2016 · 4 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a special spot where you can create? A place where all your tools are easily accessible, there’s enough clear tabletop or counter space so you can spread out. A place where you have room to work?

Are you imagining a picturesque little backyard studio, filled with light and inspiration, maybe some birds chirping outside and a rainbow?

Sure would be nice. But in reality, what most of us have to deal with is a small corner of the kitchen table and tools we have to pull out and set up every time we want to make something.

It can be discouraging, especially if it’s a particularly messy day, and the table is covered in bills, kids’ homework and leftovers.

That’s why decluttering can be so important to our creativity. We’re not going to practice the thing that we love to do if it takes a lot of work just to clear a space to get started.

Lots of decluttering experts will tell you to start your simplifying process with the easy stuff — your clothes, a junk drawer, cleaning supplies. You get a victory relatively quickly, without a whole lot of effort.

I think that’s a good idea, but I think mine is better:

Start with your workspace.

Wherever you create, whether it’s at a desk, on the kitchen table, in a corner of the sofa or of a room, clear that space first.

The point of decluttering isn’t just to have less stuff. The point of decluttering is to free up space to do the thing you love.

When you know the end result is going to be a place where you can do just that, it’s easier to stay motivated, especially if the decluttering process will be massive. Follow these seven steps to streamline the process and get yourself working on the things that truly matter:

Find the spot

Find the place where you like to work. You don’t need to create a new special spot — your usual place will do just fine, unless you hate working there. In that case, find a new special spot.

Pile it up

Just start grabbing stuff and getting into a big pile if it’s papers, or use a box or basket if it’s bulky items. It’s tempting to move this pile to another part of the house, but don’t! We’re not moving piles, we’re decluttering. Do it now, and you’ll have a clean workspace and no stress from another pile you have to deal with.

Clean it off

Now that you’ve got a space free, wipe off any flat surfaces, dust if you need to, vacuum. Just start with a fresh, clean base to build on.

Sort it out

Now that you’ve got a clean surface and a pile, you’re going to combine the two briefly. Break the pile down into smaller, categorized piles: filing cabinet, kids’ room, garbage, recycling, etc.

Carry it away

Once everything is sorted, take it to its home and — this is important — PUT IT AWAY. Don’t take a pile of toys to the kids’ room and then dump it on the floor. Then you’ve just got a mess in another room you’re going to have to take care of later. Actually put the toys away. Actually file your papers (or better yet, shred them. Chances are, you really don’t need them). It’s going to take some time and work, but it’s worthwhile work.

Pare it down

Your space should now be waiting for you to set it up in the way that makes it easy for you to work. But we’re not quite there yet! Before you go putting all your tools and notes and things in the space, go through them and make sure you’re only keeping what you need, love and use. There’s no point in decluttering a workspace just to clutter it up again with other items that get in the way of creating.

Set it up

The spot should be clean, your piles neatly dealt with, and your tools pared down. Now comes the fun part: setting up your workspace. Arrange your tools so they’re easily accessible, your inspiration so you can see it, your sitting or standing area so it’s comfortable. You know how you work best; arrange your area so it complements your style and workflow, and it’ll be a place you’ll want to create in.

Happy creating!

Where’s your favorite spot to work, and have you set it up yet?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.