Dee AngelWish I had taken a picture of her before the gold paint.

Trying to declutter my studio, piece of paper by piece of paper. LOTs of paper in my studio. Watercolor paper, writing paper, copy paper, files, index cards, sticky notes, backing paper, handmade paper, rice paper, practice and demo paintings on paper….you get the idea.

A great deal of the paper will be used, in arting.  But, I am finding a newfound joy in letting go. Seriously, every brochure from every show I’ve ever been in? I kept the ones where I won awards.

Multiple pictures of paintings? Gone.

Every sketch in every sketchbook? Systematically removing and adding to a new “history” sketchbook. Keeping those I deem worthy or related to vacations.  Some are being made into notecards and some are just going into the recycle bag.

Joining a group of like-minded individuals has been great. The Annual Declutter Challenge (via Slow Your Home) on Facebook is a great support system where you can brag, whine, complain, or ask for help.

In the midst of this cleansing, which I am doing at a leisurely pace, I have found a way to incorporate my creativity in a new way.

Coming across the angel figurine that had belonged to my Mom, I hit a roadblock. Trying not to empower objects with memories, I struggled. I never liked the pasty face or the words “December Angel” on her base. I had held onto her because she belonged to my creative muse, Mom, and I am very fond of angels. She was hidden in the mass of tangled objects on a shelf that had long ago stopped being a display for anything.

So I put her in the “keep” pile. At least for a couple minutes. While doing the next shelf, I had to stop, and go get the spray paint.

Dee Angel has become my mascot for my quest for simplicity. A basic coat of good spray paint has simplified what I did not care for, rejuvenating and bringing new life to this sweetheart.

But it didn’t stop there. More spray paint brought some dark photo boxes to a new life to use as dividers in my newly organized drawers. The old duct taped together address book? Names and addresses transferred into a notebook I had, and a painting now decorates its cover. Oh, and in the process I used up that can of spray paint.

Decluttering is good for the soul. A bit addictive, but there’s a lesson in all of this. Not everything has to go, maybe it just gets reinvented. A metaphor perhaps?