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Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!


The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

Getting Organized, A Fairy Tale

Before

First, a disclaimer. I’m in no way a neat freak. Housework has been on my list of things to be avoided at all cost since I was old enough to know that homes are not self-cleaning. I would use my last dime to pay someone to clean for me and consider it money well spent.  Nevertheless, I hate working in a messy environment. Go figure. I even clean the kitchen and put stray dishes in the dishwasher before I start dinner. Like I said, go figure. So when I started to avoid my sewing studio, I knew exactly what the problem was- it needed cleaning.

Periodically I’d take a deep breath and open the door, determined to bring some order to the space. I would look in horror at the mess, the detritus left by unchecked creativity. Were the heaps of material growing? Did the magazines hurl themselves from the shelves? Jumbled fabric demons with thread hair lurked under my sewing machine and taunted me, hissing, “You’re not the boss of me!”  So I ended up closing the door again, trying not to imagine the fabric scraps dancing with the dust bunnies on the floor.

Things came to a crux two weeks ago. With a deadline looming, I had to get some work done.  But things were so bad in the studio that I could no longer see any of the flat surfaces in the room. And that included the floor. There was no way I could start something new surrounded by such chaos. In desperation, I did what any sane woman would do. I cried. Then I picked up the phone and called for help. Help arrived in the form of a professional organizer named Kathy Needy. She calls herself the DeClutter Doc, but I call her my fairy godmother. When she came to the house for an initial consultation, I must admit I was worried that she might take one look at the place and run screaming from the room. Instead she looked calmly around and said, “This is a beautiful space!” I knew immediately that she was gifted with uncommon vision and the ability to look at something and see not what it was but what it might become.  It was a beautiful space, and Kathy was just the person to help it reach its full potential!

My Fairy Godmother and her assistants

She returned last week with her two lovely assistants, Kristy and Laura, and piles of boxes. They set to work immediately, their movements a ballet of organization. They conquered the huge piles by dividing  them into  multiple smaller piles and then putting them away. They assembled shelving and filled it with my painting supplies, all neatly sorted. They constructed a clever grouping of wire baskets that not only tamed my out-of-control fabric, it gave me another table surface to use. They took the vacuum cleaner out of the closet and chased the dust bunnies and scraps out from under the furniture. They sorted and filed and filled large plastic garbage bags with trash. All I had to do was stand back and watch, occasionally answering questions about the value of one thing or another. It was amazing, it was a miracle, it was magic. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Kathy had pulled out a magic wand and chanted, “Bibbity-bobbity-boo!”

After

By the end of the day, my studio was transformed. Everything was in its place, neatly accessible. My painting supplies had their own place out of the way. My design wall was cleared and ready for work. I could see the floor and no more dust bunnies! The area around my sewing machine was clean and quiet with no hissing demons underneath. Kathy and her crew bounced down the stairs and out of the house leaving behind complete order and the smell of lemon Pledge. I stood in the doorway, surveying my sparkling studio, and made myself a promise. I will never, never go messy again. And as I work happily drawing up designs for new quilts, I know that I can create again thanks to my fairy godmother Kathy Needy, at  DeClutterDoc.com.

Comments (3) — Categorized under: Creativity,Mary Alexander

3 responses to “Getting Organized, A Fairy Tale”

  1. lynn says:

    What a great story–better than a fairy tale because it’s real. The paradox of the messiness of creativiy and the need for order in order to be creative is what all artisst struggle with. You’ve shown exactly how the two oppositional forces must be brought into harmony. Happy quilting and painting.

  2. Lisa MacQueen says:

    And in 6 months, we’ll have a follow-up with pictures! How brave of you to bring in a stranger to view the chaos – especially resisting the temptation to clean prior to her arrival. You go, girl.

  3. Mary,
    My favorite line in your story is “I would look in horror at the mess, the detritus left by unchecked creativity.” So now I know my problem thanks to you; it is called “unchecked creativity”! That’s me to a tee — fast paced creativity just pushing items I’ve just used to the side. Stacked on the left side of the desk and then stacked on the right side of the desk. Then stacked on a nearby table. When the table is about to break, I start stacking on the floor.

    I just bought a book about how to de-clutter my life. Thank goodness, it is on my Amazon Kindle, or I would be soon stacking it somewhere too.

    I thought getting my computer was going to be the solution to all my problems. No more paper. Everything organized on the hard drive. But I am a collector at heart and can’t throw anything away. You know if I throw it away, I’ll need (want) it next week. Nevermind that I haven’t used it in 5 years. I thought about calling in the Merry Maids to do weekly cleaning for me, but they wouldn’t stand a chance with all the clutter about.

    Yes, I am OCD, but I think most of us creative folks are. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

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