Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Messy spaces makes my thinking messy


I cleaned my office yesterday.

Over the holidays, it had become the repository of all things not Christmas. After the holidays, it remained the repository of all things not Christmas and everything else that had nowhere to reside in the house.

Having a messy office stunts my creativity. It inhibits my time spent at the keyboard. It gives me anxiety. Makes my mind feel chaotic.

It was time to make it stop.

And I finally figured out, after one month of allowing it to stay messy, that the office fairies were not going to magically appear and make it all better.

It was up to me.

What do you do with all those papers and ephemera that sit about? Mail. Flyers. Cards I want to keep because I like the image and won’t that be just so perfect for a painting?

Well… I can tell you what I did. I created three piles. One for trash — and that got piled in the garbage bag. One for ‘need to keep to look at’ and one for ‘artful ideas’. If it didn’t fit in 2 or 3, it went into 1. No questions asked.

Unless of course, it had C.C.s name on it or one of my daughters.

They got their own piles.

photo (53)If I’d taken before and after photos you’d be amazed that I could even find my desk before I cleaned it up. I was. Between piles of books, mail, papers, and an assortment of unidentified objects, other than the space where my laptop sits, there was little room for working.

No wonder I was feeling so creatively stunted on the page. I was all boxed in with mess!

I told C.C. afterwards that I don’t create well in chaos. Even in the studio, while it is designed to be able to leave ‘the mess’ in place, I don’t like it to be chaotic messy. I like it to be orderly enough that I can find what I’m looking for and have space to put things as I work. When it’s messy and chaotic, I feel edgy, my skin itches and my nerves are all jangly inside my body.

I create more freely when the space around me is tidy.

It doesn’t mean there’s no clutter, or excess. It just means that what is there is not randomly strewn across every surface.

Which is interesting given that in colour personality typing, Gold is not very prominent in my personality. (You can take a colour test HERE)

I’m fairly balanced in Green, Blue, Orange —  I like to think my way through problems, create out-of-the-box solutions and go with the flow. I do not like routine nor structure, and I definitely don’t like rules.

Which is a good thing because when it comes to art-making, I tend to work from that space that says — there are no rules. And if I find one, curiosity will always drive me to want to see what happens if I break it, stretch it, reconfigure it, adapt it. Usually, what happens is, I find myself immersed in the creative process, feeling alive and enlivened by the very act of creation.

Which is what I love to do most.

So, yesterday, after I had cleaned up my office, I spent a few hours at my newly uncovered desk and created….THIS!  (click on the link and see what the Basement Bombshells Art Collective is up to) 🙂

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

14 thoughts on “Messy spaces makes my thinking messy

  1. Morristown woke to a veil of sanitizing “white as snow” snow. Schools closed and roads unplowed.
    What better time, since I was clearly not going anywhere today, to clear out the cluttered top kitchen drawer. Your desk is clear, my drawer is organized, and we both face the world with an accomplished feeling on this snowy day.


  2. Messy stresses me out too. That’s why I keep getting rid of stuff!
    Diana xo


  3. Wonderful post, very helpful for me today, Louise. Thank you!


  4. I cleaned my study awhile ago. Threw out, organized, etc. Somehow the piles have grown back! I’m working on the attic bit by bit, tossing out old teacher stuff that I’ll never use and can’t pass on. Tough to do. Happy clean desk!


    • I know! The piles grow back — unbidden. Where do they come from? 🙂 Good luck with the attic. I have a room downstairs full of all the stuff I cleared out of the big room in the basement when I made my studio — I got rid of 4 boxes of junk, 5 bags of clothes — and there’s still stuff! 🙂


  5. I get stressed over mess at times myself there have been many times when I have come home from shopping and had a melt down due to the mess of the house


    • I so relate Joanne. I’ve felt it too. That meltdown mania when i walk into chaos after leaving the house clean. without my daughters at home — it’s not as often because the house tends to stay the way I left it — I miss their presence, but not their mess! 🙂


  6. i love your desk area!! good job sifting through all of the papers & such. it definitely can get overwhelming, i agree. and, let me just say, i am so excited about the color test! yay.


    • Isn’t the colours test amazing? There are several great books about colours as well — one is: Living Your Colors — really helps explain how we are in our lives — and how we react with people of others colours too.


  7. The true artist has a “creative” desk! Though some may call it a mess…. I see it as a sign of a genuine artist! 🙂


  8. I have the same pattern as you, my desk gets messier and messier and then I cannot think and have a big clean-up. The only difference is that I have (no joke) about 20 different categories of things-on-the-go, now in neat piles on a side table. Organising them into their categories keeps me sane. 🙂


This conversation needs your brilliance to shine. Please share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s