From the basement to the attic – moving a creative mind

As stressful as house moves usually are, there’s something very comforting about them. We can finally sort out the things we no longer need. Some decisions are easier than others. It looks more organized, and we feel relieved to have parted with things. 

Every now and then, we need a move in our creative spirit. Over time, we accumulate so many thoughts, ideas, projects, plans, and resolutions that we lose track of them. What do we actually want? It feels like the phrase “getting in our own way” is born in this chaos. 

The only thing that helps now is cleaning out. Maybe not right here and right now. Sometimes we need some time to let it happen. Sometimes it helps us, as with a house move, to set a firm date for it, i.e., “Saturday at noon is the day to go.”

Until that day, we have some time to prepare for it and maybe already make first notes about projects we still want to do and things we should maybe throw out.  

We act like a mechanic who disassembles a motorcycle into all its parts

On the day of the move, we tackle it. All we need is a sheet of paper and a pen. We record the things we love, things we like to do, and skills we already have or would like to learn in words and pictures. We take a close look at our thoughts, wishes, and ideas for our future to understand what makes us tick. We act like a mechanic who disassembles a motorcycle into all its parts. He wants to know how it works, and he wants to find the defect. There is sand in the gears, and we have to get it out now. (Tip: The term Ikigai comes from the Japanese and is loosely translated as “that which is worth living for.” It describes helpful methods for decluttering and can be found online and in book form).  

In 2011, I made a conscious decision to freelance. While I knew the path was right for me, I struggled with jumping straight into my greatest passion, illustration. Looking back, it was because illustration had always taken up most of my mental “attic.” But it was simply covered up, and I had to clear it out first. There were still many boxes full of exciting alternatives and ideas that I would have liked to pursue further: book design, web design, logo design, t-shirt graphics… But I quickly realized that this is just too much in a world where a day is only 24 hours long. 

In our creative “move,” we look inside every box, bag, and carton and honestly ask ourselves what we want to take into our new life and what is just taking up space.