CLEANING THE ATTIC #16: Remember the Rewards

So crunch time is coming–my parents and my open studio event arrive weekend after this. I’m running out of time, steam, and boxes.

It helps today to remember the rewards I’ve received to date from such a massive cleanup:

#1 It got hard yesterday. So I decided to simply focus on clearing out top shelves. I figured these mostly already held stuff I couldn’t reach, so I didn’t use the stuff.

Sure enough, it was pretty easy to make decisions about those items. Including two little nondescript boxes.

One of which held $150 in cash.

I don’t remember stuffing the cash in there. I have no idea why I put it way up on a shelf near the ceiling.

But I am grateful a) the mice didn’t find it first. And that b) I looked inside the boxes first.

#2 When we found two huge bags of baby clothes, my first thought was, “I’ve already gone through those twice, I know I have. I know I want to keep it all!”

But time had worked its magic. Sure enough, I was able to let go of 90% of those baby clothes, keeping only a precious few items that really meant something to me.

And that’s when I found the handmade dresses a dear family friend of my husband’s had made for my daughter when she was 18 months old. The were the sweetest, prettiest dresses she ever had, and some of the few she ever agreed to wear. I had “lost” them for years. And there they were.

#3 I found a photo portfolio of very early work I did when I was first starting out. I just took one quick glance–time for nostalgia later! But some of the pieces were things I’d forgotten completely about. It was nice to see them again.

#4 By being brutal in some of my choices, I think I’ll have enough room to set up important new things–like the jeweler’s variable spped drill set I bought (and forgot I had) two years ago.

#5 It looks like the bag lady in my studio who hoarded magazines has finally moved out. The piles are slowly receding. I can actually walk around my studio without knocking over anything too much.

#6 Simply because I’ve moved stuff around, I can now “see” things in my studio I haven’t seen in years. It’s a simple trick–store owners use it all the time. Move things around periodically, and something that’s sat for ages will be “discovered” by a customer–and go out the door.

#7 I have room for more new stuff! I have some open shelves.

#8 I have made many, many people happy with my cast-offs and donations. There are people in waiting rooms around the city who will thank me for all the magazines I left for them. Someone in a nursing home is watching our donated TV. Various organizations raised money with the items we donated to their yard sales. And some people are having too much fun with all the goodies they got through Freecycle.

#8.a Hopefully, there will soon be many, many people who are happy that I’m back to work making beautiful new work and writing a new book.

#9 And maybe I’ll have a nice little tax write-off, too.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

3 thoughts on “CLEANING THE ATTIC #16: Remember the Rewards”

  1. thanks to you i joined our local freecyle and want to get busy posting things there. everytime i do laundry, like right now, i’m reminded that the dryer we’ve been using for 13 years is something that someone gave us. it needed an investment of about $10 in old parts that i easily managed to fix…of course, i love those adds for the beautiful matched sets but do i really NEED a new one. i am so glad i found you to keep me motivated. non-packrats, non-creatives really can’t relate to the “pain” involved in getting rid of certain things.


  2. Luann, your studio cleanup has reaped even more rewards than you realize. You inspired me to clean up MY studio too! And thanks to you I joined my local FreeCycle, and have made many people very happy with my garage sale leftovers. My sister just reminded me about Vietnam Vets of America, which will get all my unsold clothes.

    My studio, my neighbors, and many worthy charities have all benefited from your pain and hard work.

    Keep up the good work! I especially like #5 and #7. Now that’s some real progress!


  3. Am reading (and re-reading)your Cleaning the Attic entries….in anticipation of my own studio excavation. I may just have to print these out and post them on the walls…or perhaps record them on a never ending loop to be played while I sleep…waking each day with the urgent need to shovel my way back to creativity. Keep it coming…


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