Carve Out Your Creative Space

You will reap so many benefits after decluttering your space. And one of the benefits of a decluttered lifeworld is this: you can pursue what you are passionate about with less baggage under better conditions.

I am not talking about those daily work we need to do for our families and friends, although we are passionate about them, too. Keeping the home, preparing healthy meals, etc. are creative ways to serve your family.

But I am talking about those things which were set aside when you stayed at home, worked a full-time job or business and which you would do again if you had more time and opportunity!

If you think you don’t have time, make time! That’s what they say. And the same goes with opportunity.

But there’s something about clutter I want to point out in this post. Although I’ve written about decluttering already (you can read it here), I am not finished with it yet!

First, the Standard Disclaimer

Of course if you love your home and think at this season of your life that you’re happy and glorifying God where you are, or if you make your job your creative outlet and find that there’s nothing else you want to do in life, then that is perfectly fine. We grow when we do what we love, that’s for sure.

After all, creative people are scattered everywhere — from curators, to professors, to moms and daughters! And as long as we are working with our hearts and minds with the intent to make the world a less bleaker place through our talents!

So there. But from the standpoint of a mom who stays at home most of the time, things can be a little different, as you will soon see…

What is Your Childhood Dream?

Personally, though, and what I am getting at (since the subject of creativity is so broad this post isn’t enough to discuss everything about it AND I don’t know much about it either) are those things that relate to some dream, wish or desire which had been repressed due to the mundane demands of a role you have to fulfill in your life.

Do you have a hobby, say, crocheting, or a thing with words… Is your dream to be a published writer of children’s books, or a vlogger, or have a homebased business selling crafts you’ve made yourself?

Are you a musician, writer or a painter? Or maybe an artist, coach or influencer?

If you dream to be one or more of the above, let me first say that you will greatly benefit from working in a corner where your creative material can be sown so that they can shine.

True, there are people who can weave wonders anywhere they go. They can write books from coffee shops. They can make movies from old cameras. They can make a novel using typewriters. These are the no-bells-and-whistles guys. Are you one of them? Good for you!

But for a wife and mom like me who is in the house most of the time and keeping the home from sun-up to sundown, there is no other place like HOME as the venue for those creative juices to flow.

But there is also no other place like home to crush that creative endeavor.

Ironic, isn’t it?

I remember wishing, really wishing to have a bigger space so I can have a study area of my own. That way, I can shut the door and try to focus on my poems, my stories, and just write the movies in my mind!

But I allowed myself to be stopped. A lot of times, I would just postpone my work, or forget it altogether until very much later.

Obstacles for me are unfinished chores — yeah, that’s a great one. Moms, come on, back me up on this. This is a real obstacle. And chores don’t get DONE, ever.

Another obstacle is the clutter — a cramped up space with too much stuff is to blame, and maybe as much as its sisters — laziness, lack of focus and lack of determination to be productive.

What Clutter Does to Creativity

And if you have something you really want to do — paint, crochet, sew, write, cook, etc. and if nothing gets done, it sort of enervates you. Have you experienced this?

If you are a work-from-home mom or a stay-at-home mom, I’m sure you understand the challenges present when your house is cluttered and messy. You can go to my post entitled When Stuff Kills to learn more.

To reduce your stress level, I guess my suggestion (which worked for me) is to promise yourself you’ll be KIND TO YOURSELF. You can’t possibly do everything at once. Knowing your limitations is self-care.

The chores are there, yes, but we can control them. Maybe not 100% control but we have enough control to avert household disasters. Plus, we can schedule. We can postpone. We can prioritize. And then, we can delegate.

But when it comes to your own clutter — only YOU can sort that out. Not Marie Kondo. Not Lisa Woodruff. Not Emilie Barnes. Not expert organizers. Not even your husband. It’s ONLY YOU!

Why? Because only YOU can determine which must stay and which must go, but do take your time, as I pointed out in this post.

Seeking Help From Experts

I have been helped by reading books like Emilie Barnes’s More Hours in My Day and Survival for Busy Women. I also love going back time and again to the wisdom of Edith Schaeffer in The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

And let us not forget Marie Kondo and her Netflix show. 🙂

Being surrounded and taking notes when a super mom in action comes into view also helps to give me inspiration to keep on doing what the Lord has given me to do in my home!

I don’t have a super sure formula to determine whether you are a creative soul or not, or convince you of my belief that we are all created to be creative in some way.

But I believe this, humans were made in the image of God. And in the beginning, God “created”… — things were created and did not come to be without divine action, or more appropriately, art.

The Uncaused Cause — God is a creative being! That to me says so much about ourselves who are made in His image. It also says tons about what you and I can do because of our ability to create beautiful.

As beings created in the image of God, we can go to Him through His Word and prayer to find out what facet of his creative image we can display in our lives, in our homes, and among the people within our circle of influence.

Serving With our Creativity

So what happens when we, created to be creative, fail to discover or practice our creative powers?

In my experience, suppressing my creative feelings and impulses affected me, my health, my relationships, etc.

And instead of blessing the Lord with the talents He gave, and instead of gifting others with the fruits of creativity (whatever the genre or the medium), a suppressed creative will wallow in the unmet desire to SERVE others with her gifts.

Yes, creativity, I believe has a higher purpose other than release oneself from the haunting of “the project that will never be”. Creativity ultimately is for the glory of God and for the service of man.

If you are uplifted for every creative job done, think also of how others can benefit from and be encouraged by your gifts!

What is your creative gift? What do you intend to do with it and WHEN? (Note to self.)

Cafe or Your Very Own?

Of course, I am still working on my creative space but here are lessons I have learned in the process. Here’s my tiny story.

I wallowed in helplessness as I looked at what I have. Every table is occupied! My daughter uses the dining table as her study table while I use a console table to pound words on my laptop.

I can only do something productive if the conditions are right.

Wrong!

We can do what we believe in if we believe in it hard enough and invest time and dedication to make things happen! And this is hard to do, for some have done it (Roald Dahl comes to mind) and I envy them —- EVEN WHEN YOU ARE SWIMMING IN CLUTTER! (There, I said it. Whew.)

For me, nah.

I used to say: Coffee shop! Let me go to the coffee shop. That’s where those cool kids go, right?

Well, some people go to coffee shops to drink coffee, but for me, the coffee could turn cold before I touch it. I wasn’t there for the coffee. I was there for the rest and peace and quiet that a coffee shop can give somewhat.

But going to coffee shops OFTEN will dry up your cash. Coffee, cocoa and tea in coffee shops will strain your budget. Too much of the sweet cakes and goodies will make you sick. It didn’t seem right to me to keep on going to coffee shops to work…

So I thought, why not do it at home?

So I took an honest and brutal assessment — my home is my ONLY creative space during this season of my life — I have to make it WORK for me.

There’s just one little problem. If you’ve read my previous posts, you already know the reason why!

Now when I looked at my obstacles I found this on top: Clutter! Too much things I am keeping that are cramping up my space and draining my creative juices down the drain.

Clutter is not only physical clutter. We have clutter in our hearts, too. And certainly, we have clutter in our minds. 

(I didn’t wake up with this thought. I had to learn this the hard way. You can read my turning point story here.)

And as long as it is clutter, it will not help us, it will hinder us.

What kinds of clutter are you wrestling against?

Too much stuff in your home? Declutter and manage them!

Too much stuff in your heart, those baggages? Unload and liberate yourself!

Too much stuff in your mind, a to-do-list as long as a mile? Begin by taking one step after another!

Having determined your major obstacles, it will be easier to move, breathe and soar.

And here’s more — which I have to remind myself a lot of times, too…

PRAISE GOD for every success, small it may seem.

CELEBRATE with others, and create connections with people who care. (In another post, I would love to write about toxic people we need to limit our interactions with, especially if going through a tough time. Soon!)

REST knowing you have done your best and give yourself a treat.

SERVE others with your successes.

LOVE what you do, and make it a goal to always do.

Having done those, we can all move together towards achieving our dreams.

How about you? What obstacles are stopping you from pursuing your creative dreams? What type of criticism keep you going, and taking that next step to your dreams?

I’d love to hear what you think! Share in the comment box below!

Next post: Why Perfectionism Slows You Down… See you!

Embrace Your Space

Living in a tiny house can be quite challenging especially when you can’t find joy in it.

For quite a while, I have not been joyful in my space. I was discontented and wanted more legroom, elbow room, just more room.

And because of that, my health, my faith and my productivity as a spiritual, social, creative and thinking being suffered.

I became a difficult person because I had a cluttered home.

And because of the clutter, I couldn’t do ANYTHING CREATIVE that could make me happy in my space.

I believe I am a creative person, but my creativity was hindered.

Yes, I was still doing the chores, loving my husband, homeschooling my child, but something was missing.

I neglected my poems, I neglected my music, I neglected my reading, I neglected my job.

Yes, I was giving out things now and then to reduce my stuff but nothing changed. I was feeling stuck in a space that I didn’t like with stuff that suffocated me but couldn’t let go of.

Change Did Come…Softly

But God changed my heart. God targeted my heart. Change started there.

It wasn’t some outward change that had happened. It was more of understanding God’s word in Luke 12:15. It was more of heart change. Only God can do that!

“Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.””

Fast forward now, I can truly say that I feel happy in my space, regardless of how tiny it would seem to some and it won’t be long for it to be a space where I can do what I am most passionate about!

By God’s grace, I was awakened, I chose to be happy, and with a little help from expert advice from YouTube and Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, I did it!

30 Square Meter Life

Yes, I live in a 30 square meter indoor space with a wide-enough area for gardening outside and I am loving it! But how did my mindset change from sad and discontented to elated and excited?

Let me tell you how.

The first time we moved in the house, we couldn’t move around. We needed to downsize, and we thought decluttering would come easy.

The space is tiny, and our apartment in the city where we were coming from was more or less three times bigger than what we have.

But at the end of the day, doing the math, we realized we could not afford it.

So from Timog Avenue, we moved to a small space which is being loaned to us with the obligation of upkeep.

So we said YES to our generous benefactor!

And aside from that, living in a semi-rural area overlooking the city is such an inducement I immediately had hopes of publishing a book idea that’s been there for years, raising organic vegetables and setting up a flower garden for my family while there.

And I did just that.

Well, wait a second, NOT YET.

I tried but the discontent that began to creep in stopped me in my tracks to growing living things in my life and in my backyard.

You see, I didn’t realize we had so much stuff. How in the world did we accumulate too much?

Downsizing is such a buzzword nowadays. We liked the idea at first. We thought well, if they could do it, WE could do it.

Hahaha.

Three years. It took me three years. Three Christmases. Three birthdays for three persons. Three Wedding Anniversaries. Three dragging long years to realize that to act on it.

When You Couldn’t Let Go

Possessions had to be considered in the equation. And boy, the problem was hard to solve.

It was hard to let go. I didn’t know how to process clutter. I didn’t want to start parting with things.

Looking at the blank space without our things in it proved enticing, but when the stuff had to be stuffed in there, my happiness level dwindled close to zero.

I was miserable. I was sad. For quite a while, I was just maintaining my space, moving things around, making room.

I was not creating BEAUTY in my home.

So I prayed to the Lord. I said: “Lord, help me! I’m stuck in this tiny house and I couldn’t breathe! I love you, Lord, but honestly, I find it hard to be thankful right now.”

My husband knows my dilemma. I love the location, but I didn’t love the abode.

And my constant source of stress is him reminding me to declutter, but that word for me was foreign, I couldn’t understand it!

We would argue about it, and I would eventually have my own way — keeping the stuff. But I knew in my heart he was right. My husband is right. And my home is a reflection of my hope. Where is my hope to be found?

The Lord dealt with my contentment issue. At the moment, I am proud to say that I have adulted and adulting is also responsible for the fact that early in the morning when I wake up, I love what I see. At night, before going to sleep, I pick up a broom and mop to clean my floors because I love my floors.

I love my bed, I love my table, I love my lamp, I love the soft rug, I love the art on the wall. I love my books on the shelves and I love being with the people I care for the most.

And for my daily morning routine, I go out and thank the Lord for the plants outside, hum a hymn of praise, smell the fresh air that surrounds me and enjoy the pleasure of listening to the repertoire of tropical birds who live in nearby trees.

But it was a long process. It was not a pressure cooker type of thing, but a slow cooker type of thing. This joy was not instantly found, but I fought for it, and God was good to give it to me IN HIS OWN TIME.

When He did, things changed. With a new perspective, ideas started to take shape. I began to embrace my space and feel, just feel, that as I love it, it loves me back.

To be continued… 🙂