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Clean Up, Clean Out!

a colorful cluttered desk

Life is funny, sometimes you move about, sometimes you get nailed down. We purchased our home in 1993, just over 25 years ago. I never thought I would follow in my grandmother’s footsteps by being in one place for so long, but it’s happened. Twenty five years has slipped away in one place.

Now the good news is our home has been great, and greater still, my studio has been here the whole time and it has been a pleasure producing and creating from this space. This home has also been ground zero, smack in the middle of the area I’ve most loved painting.

The flip side of the coin is we’ve settled in, maybe even a little too much. Settling in not only means getting comfortable, it means years of “stuff acquisition”. I’m not talking about hoarding here. I’m just talking about life and the stuff 25 years of life brings. And not only life, but over 25 years of living an artful life, filled with art supplies, picture frames, old prints, just stuff, lots of stuff. So, this past week as been one of purging! Freeing ourselves of the weight of things.

But here’s the thing. What happens is that we place values on stuff. Emotional and financial value, and that makes it hard to part with. But I’ve noticed it goes like this as you go along. You look at ten things and out of the ten, you are ready to part with three, but seven are keepers or things you feel you really must sell. Then, a few weeks later, after feeling good from clearing out some things, you review your decision and find that you can part with two more of those first ten things after all. Then in time, you find only a couple of the things have any value. Multiply this by hundreds of things and the process can be slow. But each time we fill our good old Ranger pick up and a load leaves, it is almost euphoric.

As we’ve decided it’s also time for a change, we just got a storage unit to assist in clearing what we want to keep from being here, and the really cool thing is, the dump drop off and the Middleburg Humane Foundation’s thrift shop are all 10 minutes away. This means with most items we can easily choose to donate, throw out, or store, with very little frustration.

What I’ve been finding is my life as an artist has had a bit of pack-rat-itis - the greek god of stuff. But I’m curing that quickly, one little pick-up truck load at a time and it feels great! Perhaps you too may need to experience some of this happiness! It’s never too late!

Live an artful life,


Read Tom's blog every Tuesday!