Beth Meadows

Home Organization


Beth MeadowsComment

Last year, I began to let go. I managed a small gallery at Magpies Bakery, I was participating in First Friday shows in Knoxville at least every other month, and I was the Director 17th Street Studios.

I let go of all of these things.

It's August, eight months since, and I've been thinking about all of the other things I'd like to stop.

  • Twitter
  • Etsy
  • Showing in Knoxville every month
  • Pinterest
  • Possibly- multiple Instagram accounts
  • Snapchat

Oh yeah, I let go of Facebook last year, too.

I don't miss any of the things of which I've let go. However, there are little voices telling me I need to manage content on all social media platforms, especially if I want to represent myself as an artist. But I don't love social media. And I don't even use most of the outlets I listed above, except for Instagram.

I've thought about getting off of Instagram many times. When things get really dark, which happens on a consistent basis. But I inevitably feel better and my interest in Instagram is renewed. I'm grateful for how it gives me the ability to share.

I want to let go of all the superfluous stuff so that I can focus on a few things and do them well. So this project of streamlining continues.

There's so much clutter in our world digitally.  There's so much clutter physically. I am constantly getting rid of things. 

By the end of 2018, I'd like to be done with this process. I'm trying to get to the point where I can tackle organizing my computer files and photos, and to finally create inventory lists of all my artwork. There's a website called ArtworkArchive I want to check out. 

I'm sorting through my childhood boxes, brought up from my parent's home. This is hard. This little box of erasers that I've spent my whole life looking at, that meant something to me when I was little- how do I let go of that? (I have a way- in case you're curious.)

If I'm overwhelmed, I am paralyzed. I multitask a lot, but there's too much piling up right now. Not only the digital and the physical, but ideas, and things I want to do. Goals. 

So I've created spreadsheets to organize my ideas. There are three: One for my personal life, one for art, and one for my Home Organizing business. I have tabs where I put everything I can wait for, so that I know I've written it down, but I don't have to think about it right now. 

There's a lot of organizing that I'm doing, to cope with the influx of stuff. I get motivated often these days, to sort through the clutter. I get rid of as much as I can. I try to let go of ideas, too. Life it too short for this constant organizing of stuff that's just in the way.

There is all the piles of emotional stuff I'm working through, too. The lifetime of journals, the notes on scraps of paper, the books, the podcasts, the things I want to process, the phone calls I need to make.

With art, I'm not certain what I'm supposed to focus on. I think that a lot of times, I make certain artwork that is a distraction from the work I'm really supposed to make. I make work that feels easy to me and worry that it's keeping me form making the work that could be damaging if it was not accepted. The work that has been sitting in my brain, waiting for me to sit down and make it. 

I have to get rid of all the piles- the physical, the digital, the emotional- so I can get to the ideas. So I can make the most of my time. I am 34, and I hope to paint for the next 50 years at least. And there are at least ten bodies of work I'd like to start making right now. What if I only have 20 years. What if I only have 5, or 1. 

It's vital to me to find space, order, focus, and discipline, so that I can make the work I was made to make, for however long I'm granted life on this wonderful and cluttery earth.

In the year 2018: I am clutter free.

Beth MeadowsComment

I'm a big planner. Like, I think I'm probably addicted to it.

I love making lists and getting out my planner to outline my week or month. It's fun for me.

I do this all year long, but December is "The Show" because it's when I like to think about a whole year at once. What do I want to accomplish by next December?

Here is one of a few Goals:

I want to finish my several year-long Organizational Journey. 

When I turned 30, I started organizing my home. It was a much needed gift to myself.

Beyond being a semi-hoarder of sentimental and useful-to-me-possibly-one-day-in-the-future things, around that time, I had received a ton of furniture and objects from family members who had passed away or sold second homes. I was also really unorganized with papers. Just drowning in them.

At the beginning of my Organizational Journey (I don't know what else to call it. Let me at least make it sound like a great adventure!), I read Getting Things Done by David Allen, who my boyfriend at the time called my real boyfriend because I talked about him so much. I'd sort through some things and one of us would say, "GTD!" I really geeked out about it, which I feel like my imaginary bf David Allen would appreciate. 

And then last year I read The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Y'all, I know she's a little out there, but I LOVE her. Both books have helped me so much.

Three years in, I'm on round maybe 47 of purging and decluttering. I feel close to being finished but I still have to move my studio contents home, deal with stuff in my basement, and go through a last round of sentimental things.

For example, yesterday, I went through my grandfather's pin and cuff link collection. He passed away a few years ago, so it's not as easy as you'd think. My general rule was, I kept any with his initials on it or any with a "Tennessee" or "Memphis" theme, and put the rest in the "Goodwill" bag. I feel ok about it.

I have to tell myself that he was sensible enough of a man to say to me, if he could, "Beth, don't go wasting your time and energy holding on to something that didn't mean that much to me. Live out your life how you want to, just like I did mine!"

He was a good man who lived and full and interesting life, and I know I need to let some things go, but I want to keep some things that were his, just because they were his. 

I also have these ornately detailed, white porcelain Goddess statues from my other grandfather, also who has passed away. If I remember correctly, he brought them back from serving in the Navy in Japan during WWII.

I mean, how am I supposed to give those away?? He was serving in the war and picked those things out to bring back home! I cannot get rid of them. 

They are a little creepy (I kind of like them) and just sitting on the dresser by my bed. I had this thought recently that they might be bringing me bad juju. And then I have to remind myself that I don't really believe in that kind of thing. Not really. Anyway, I'm keeping them.

Anyway, that's where I am with this. I feel so close to being done. The papers are still plaguing me. I'm a collector of magazine pages (for art reasons) and I have all these handwritten notes from the past decade I need to go through, organize digitally, then toss. And then there's the bins of photos and letters from other people. And then, digital files and pictures. Phew, that's going to be a doozy. The photos on my computer and external harddrive are a disaster. 

Any tips would be helpful, especially for how to organize photos and back them up. Or if you're a friend and want to drink wine with me and make some scrapbooks. I'm not joking. I've been waiting to get to the scrapbooking level for many years now.

2018 is it! I had no idea getting old and boring would be this fun!