Yesterday’s post was about coping with chaos, so it seems fitting to follow up today with the benefits of orderliness. I am a creative soul, and we’re not known as neatniks for a reason, I’ve discovered. I’m not fond of stereotypes, but it seems there’s no escaping this one! Or is there?
Ofttimes the clutter an artist is surrounded by is temporary, reduced back in defiance of entropy to order at the end of the day, or the project. I know that for myself, the act of organizing and putting things back where they belong often helps reset my mind from energetic to relaxed, and off the restful state I can spring back into the creative one. At work this morning, I found that I was very happy to putter around the lab before anyone else was working, putting away glassware and making the room tidy again. It always surprises me how beautiful I find the neat ranks of flasks and beakers.
At home in my improvised studio spaces, I try to keep everything where I can find it – which means taking the time every so often to put it all away again, and if some tool doesn’t have a space to call home, creating such for it. This lets me spend less energy when I do want to create. I’ve wanted to paint, recently, but not having a space for it stalls that urge out. Making dragons has a space (although as it’s outdoors and winter is coming, I will have to re-evaluate it soon) so I do more of that. As I mentioned yesterday, letting the paper clutter on my desk get overwhelming is a very bad thing.
One of the projects I’ve put off, and wrestled with, and finally come to grips with, is the organization and protection of my digital work. Art, photos, and documents alike present a challenge to keep in order, searchable, and safe in case of disaster overtaking my computer(s). After consulting with friends, looking closely at the options available out there, and realizing that some of this is just my lack of time overwhelming me, I’ve settled on four things: one was buying more storage space ‘in the cloud’ from Google Drive, to back up my documents while making them available to me on the go (at work, traveling, even when I’m at the grocery store and need to shoot something off to a client). Secondly, I’ve invested in a cloud backup for my computer. Not accessible to pull files from, but if I need to set up a new system, I can just pull the whole hard drive contents off the cloud into the new drive. Thirdly, I switched from Lightroom mobile to make my photos available online to using Flickr again. Lightroom has been having issues with reliable syncing for me for a while, I thought I’d solved it, but now it’s not syncing at all to mobile, so I’ve given up on it. When I have the time (hah!) I’ll take a few hours to troubleshoot. I’m not storing photos on GDrive because I have a LOT of photos – nearly a terabyte, overall. So that’s the final piece of my digital organization, I’ve bought a NAS tower for the house, which will hold 4 TB of data. Hopefully enough for at least a couple of years. That will have another back up of my hard drive, as well as files accessible to the whole home network. Which will alleviate the space problems I’m having with my desktop (a 1TB hard drive doesn’t hold up well to a photographer and graphic designer’s file needs after almost 2 years).
Finally, setting up something resembling a routine will help with the order. School is about to start, which means an end to the slightly chaotic summer schedule we’ve had, with traveling and other demands. I can set aside weekends for the graphic design clients, enjoy the gap times on weekdays for writing, and of course work is blissfully tidy and organized. Yesterday I was stressed, today I feel like I’ve gotten a handle on it again – in no small part due to having spent yesterday accomplishing a lot of stuff and checking it off the list.
Even a small project tackled and gotten done will help me feel like I’m on the right path – it used to be that I’d make the sink shiny (if you know Flylady, you know what I mean) and that would keep me from being totally overwhelmed with clutter, life, and kids. Now I have minions who mostly handle the dishes, but I have found that clearing my desk or making my bed has the same effect. Small things stacked up neatly together, at least mentally, add up to impressively ordered lives in the long run. Which is what I’m working toward. Not there yet, but I can see it.