“The best studio tidying is a kind of exploring — I’m re-discovering spaces as I sift through the objects that occupy them. The reason I tidy is not to clean, but to come into contact with something special that I’ve forgotten that I can now use. This is a slow, dreamy, ruminative, reminiscent form of tidying.”
— Austin Kleon
I’ve learnt never to start with the stack of art books in my studio if I’m to have any hope of getting anything tidied. No pretending I’ll just straighten them. No telling myself I’m just checking what’s there. I need to leave it as a reward, to be touched only after I’ve sorted out at least a bit of the rest.
I can rapidly thrust paintbrushes back into the jar, one for “much loved” brushes and another for “the good ones”). I can be efficient tidying up tubes of paint, sorting them into “often used” vs “seldom used” and “current favourites” vs “why are you still here” colours. (I also have a box that is mentally labelled “try again” or “use more often” colours, where ultramarine blue is currently living.) It gets a bit slower with sorting out paper, and works-in-progress or abandoned-for-now. But once I’ve done enough (how this is defined is a slippery slope), I can sit with a cuppa in my art-library corner and tidy a book.