What YOU can Learn From MY Art Group and OUR “Chip A Chunk” Challenge

I belong to an online art group. In addition to helping me learn how to paint, it provides me with a community of people who share my interests, my challenges and who can offer a wealth of information and support for me. (And by the way, I do love them, but this has got nothing to do with cookies).

We have an annual January tradition we’ve coined the “Chip A Chunk Challenge”. We all have spaces that we repurpose for doing art and we buy a LOT of supplies. Quite commonly, our art spaces are filled with half finished projects, bins of collage scraps, failed art pieces, bottles of paint, glue and glitter. Clutter. For me, it often means multiple tubes of the same paint color. And in my art practice, it limits creativity. But for Independent Business Owners, it can mean unnecessary stress, anxiety, wasted time, operational and customer service issues. What happens when your employees can find the tools they need to do their jobs effectively? Or when you or your manager can’t make their way through inventory to make effective purchasing decisions?

Each January, the art group challenges us to “chip a chunk” off the mess and clutter every day. And today, I challenge you. If you’re ready to declutter your business, your office, a specific area of your business or home, here are some tips to help you get started.

Take Action – Decluttering can be a daunting task so start with one area. Remember… just chip off a little chunk – the shelving unit, the file cabinet, the top of your desk, the pile on the chair. Clear your spot entirely, then go through each item one by one. By taking things out of their normal spot, they take on a different feel. Do you REALLY need to put it back where it was? Did it serve a purpose or just take up space?

Keep ONLY What Is Necessary – Focus on purging items that are no longer needed or used. Donate, recycle, sell, repurpose or throw away. Detach yourself. Of the people that have shared in our online group, two themes are common: “It might be needed someday” and “It has sentimental value”. Override those thoughts in all but a few cases.

Create An Organizing System – Help yourself and create a system for keeping items organized. Create labels, folders, or bins so that everything has its own place. As I’ve faced this challenge, the dollar store has been my saviour.

Set Goals – Decide what decluttering goals you want to achieve and create a timeline to help you stay on track. Is it your entire office? Or just your desk? The back storage room, or just one shelf? And when do you want it done by?

Ask for Help – Decluttering is often more manageable when done with a partner. Ask your spouse, partner or key staff to help declutter and make it a collaborative effort. Especially if what is being decluttered is an area they use.

My art room contains a hutch that was full of old photo albums, boxes of negatives, old magazines, etc. It was PRIME storage space that I NEEDED for art supplies. That was the first chip of the chunk I tackled. My goal was to get all the items in the picture I am sharing, down to ONE bin to go in the attic by the end of January. I am happy to report it is done. It was a challenge. Photos are so sentimental, and I got caught up in looking through every one of them.

But I asked myself, “Do I REALLY need 3 dozen pictures my dad took of me and my high school prom date?” The answer is No. And now, every time I open the hutch to grab some paper or a blank canvas, I feel victorious. Take a run at it and chip off a chunk.