6 Nov 2013

Art and hobby supply cleanup part 1

“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, 
worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear,
 and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.” ~Jerome K. Jerome

Over the past couple of years I've been busy decluttering our home. I've gone through every cupboard and wardrobe, every bedroom and bathroom and every bookcase in our house at least twice. Removing all the unused, ill-fitting and unwanted items I could find. Now that I've gotten rid of all of the 'easy' stuff such as outgrown toys, clothes and books I'm now left with the 'harder' stuff. Children's artwork, sentimental items and the art and craft supplies. 

I've avoided going through the art and craft supplies up until this point because I figured that everything in there was important and useful and so there would be no point in going through it all unnecessarily. I mean really, who's heard of an artist minimizing their art supplies? It just doesn't happen does it? Artist's are known to be messy and have large collections of books and supplies, it's in their nature right? Well, that's what I thought so the idea of sorting through this stuff was pushed to the back of my mind and I tried to ignore the quiet little voice that said "Oi, wait a minute!"

That was, until a couple of weeks ago when I finally took a good look around our lounge/art space and realized that all of the 'clutter' in the room wasn't regular household clutter. It was art and hobby supplies and some of it hadn't been used in years. It was taking up valuable work and storage space so something had to be done.

  • I had two shelves in my bookcase filled with painting, art, photography and cross-stitch patterns and computing books. Also my finished journals.
  • I had loads of cross-stitch supplies. Spare material, tons of threads in plastic boxes with a bag to fit them in, bags for 'current' projects and the threads for them, and loads of finished designs waiting to be framed on one shelf.
  • I had acrylic paints, gesso, brushes, spare canvases and texture paste on another shelf.
  • Watercolor paints in tubes and pans, brushes, watercolor paper, spare journals, and watercolor pencils on another shelf.
  • Scrapbooking papers, assorted 3D embellishments, buttons, old postage stamps, old magazines, assorted paper for mixed media in various shapes, sizes and textures, wire, solder, tools, ink and stamps, lettering stencils, felt tip pens, gel pens, colored pencils, art pencils, charcoal, various tech pens, spray fixative, carving tools, lino pieces, picture frames, eyelet kit, packs of unopened playing cards for making ATCs, compass set, plastic triangles, flexi-curve, knives and cutting board and lots of other misc stuff.
  • 2 cameras, film and digital and various bits to go with them, tripod etc.
  • Lastly there is the computer side of things. The computer, scanner and printer, printer paper and also the drawing tablet etc.
Yikes! No wonder I felt like I was making no progress in cleaning up, I was ignoring a huge amount of stuff!

Then came the tricky part, what to keep and what to get rid of? I decided to start with the easy decisions first. All of my cross-stitch stuff hadn't been used in about 3 years and I have no plans to go back to it again. So I rang my sister-in-law and asked if she would like it, she has three daughters and said yes. Starting out in a new hobby is always expensive so if you can share what you have with family and friends it works out great all round.

  • Never dump your unwanted supplies on people without asking first though. There's nothing worse than having a lot of stuff dumped on you when you don't actually need or want it. Always ask first.
Next came the photography stuff. This was easy as I got rid of a lot of spare bags and things when I sold my SLR a couple of years ago. I mostly use my Canon G11 now and occasionally my film SLR. I went through my photography books and pruned down to four favorites.

The computer stuff just required a tidy up of the printer trolley and photo paper and a quick dust around the rest. I sorted out a shelf on the trolley for the graphics tablet and spare drives etc. I only had one book on Photoshop and decided to keep it.

There ends the easy part. 
The art supplies and books are going to be much more difficult and I'm going to save that job for another day. I first need to decide what kind of art I like doing the most and what equipment I need to keep for that. I tend to work smaller now with only the occasional larger canvas. I'm also doing more with watercolor but I still like my acrylics so I have some soul searching to do that will ultimately help me decide what to keep.Wish me luck :)

Have a great week :)

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