No More Baby Wipes! Minimalist Monday/Konmari Craft Room Series

Hi friends! A little over a month ago I ran out of baby wipes in the craft room. I used them to wipe ink and paint off stamps and tools and to wipe down my table after I was done a project. After one really messy project I realized I had used about 8 wipes and suddenly I felt like I had a problem! When I reached the end of the pack of wipes I decided to see if I could go a month without them. Find out what I learned in today’s Konmari craft room video!

Video!

I learned that it wasn’t just about the baby wipes, it’s never just about the stuff. It wasn’t about the price of the baby wipes ($1 a pack at the dollar tree) but it was about the COST of buying the baby wipes.

  • The environmental cost, think of 12 bricks of wipes going into the landfill.
  • The time cost-I have to go to the store and buy these.
  • The additional cost of the other things I impulse buy (or my kids impulse buy) when I am in the store. By not buying the $1 pack of wipes I am saving $20 on the other crap I (or my kids) would have picked up without thinking and these unimportant items would be thrown away or break soon thereafter.
  • The storage cost- Hey I’ll grab a few packs so I won’t have to return as often but I must have a place to put them…oh and if they dry out I’ll have use water with them and in that case I might as well use a rag.

I took a couple of weeks to not reach under my table for that pack of wipes. But now I barely think of them. I keep a spray bottle of water under my table and several small cloths hanging from the side. Using a cloth is now second nature.  If I need a stronger cleaner I use 1 part simple green to 10 parts water in a spray bottle for wiping my table or rubber stamps or 1 part baby shampoo and 10 parts water for clear (or rubber) stamps and it works better than wipes. You just need to change the habit. Notice I said “change” and not “kick.” We are not depriving ourselves, we are just being more mindful of our consumption.

I don’t think baby wipes are bad and that you shouldn’t use them. It wasn’t really about the baby wipes remember? Getting in the habit of looking at the things we use and the real cost of the item will save you not only money but time, effort and stress. Let me know what you think in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

PS “Konmari” refers to the Konmari Method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It was the framework I used to declutter my craft room and home. I found a great deal of value from it. I have also started listening to the Audiobook How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie and am finding value in that as well. Links above are amazon affiliate links where I earn a small commission of the sale at no cost to you. You can also likely find these book from your local library for free.

 

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Sharpen the Saw & The Difference Time, Good Paper and Reading can Make

Hi freinds! I hope you are having a pleasant weekend.  I took some time this morning to paint while listening to an audiobook, I started listening the The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. I thought since I am listening to the Peach keeper I might as well challenge myself and paint a peach in water color. My first attempt was a quick sketch in a lightweight watercolor journal (the Jane Davenport journal that I HAD to have but the more I use it the less I like the paper. I am not knocking it, it is great for mixed media but not as robust as I would like for straight watercolor.) Painting on paper I am not crazy about can be a positive and a negative. On the plus side it is fairly inexpensive and I can be free because I am not afraid of wasting it, heck, I’d love to use it up! I can paint til the cows come home and not give a care about using up my “precious” paper. On the downside the paper is flimsy, it tends to ripple, it can’t take much scrubbing and I really don’t want to put much time or effort onto anything in this book because I know if I come up with something really great the paper won’t handle me working on it with watercolor for that long. Because of this I don’t work on anything too serious in this book.

pach_example

That said, working out a design on “practice” paper or in a journal can make you realize if it’s something you want to dive deeper in. Did you know many “old masters” would use watercolor for their on location studies and then paint their “real” painting back in the studio with oils. In the above example the peach on the left is painted on a sample of 300lb CP (oh so precious) Stone Henge Aqua paper and the one on the right was done in my Jane Davenport mixed media journal. Both were done with Rembrandt watercolors, I will have a review on that paint later:) Because I knew what I wanted to achieve with this painting after I “played” in my journal I was able to confidently dedicate time and effort on a nice piece of paper. The sketch took about 20 minutes, the final painting took about 2 hours which was a pleasure to spend while I listed to my audiobook. I didn’t film it. When I was about halfway through I thought “Oh shucks, I should have turned on my video camera!” but then I realized that if I was taping this I would have taken safe routes and tried to paint this in the quickest amount of time and not try new things to stretch my skills. I would have fallen back on my tried and true techniques instead of pushing myself to discover something new. I needed to sharpen the saw.

Like I said I like to listen to audiobooks when I am working and not filming. Earlier this year when I was working on my latest children’s book illustration project (more on that later) I listened to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. He lists 7 habits that we should adopt to be more effective people and leaders:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. Seek First to Understand, and Then to be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

I am not going to get into the first 6 habits, you can read the book (it is a popular one and your local library should have it) but the 7th habit was one I had been neglecting and it was really starting to bother me. For the three years leading up to about last February I had posted a tutorial a day. I certainly had daily practice in my craft but when you are focused on producing something decent continuously you don’t take risks, you repeat the same things that you know will yield predictable result. Well, you know what? Predictability does not yield exciting art and I had felt stuck, like I plateaued. Meanwhile my house was a mess and I was stressed! I got my home under control with the Konmari method (the decluttering method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo) and I vowed to make progress in my art as well.

The “Sharpen the Saw” analogy goes something like this:

There are 2 woodcutters, the first one works non stop for a week cutting wood from sunrise to sunset. He looks over to the second woodcutter who seems to always be taking breaks and resting. At the end of the week the second woodcutter has three times the wood cut than the first woodcutter does. The first woodcutter says “How have you cut so much more wood than me? Every time I look over you are resting!” The second woodcutter replies “I was not resting, I was sharpening my saw.”

Deep huh? But so true, we spend our time running at top speed to keep up and not questioning the way we do things. Like the cleaning for instance, I would spend so much time trying to organize, dust and manage my junk and it did not occur to me to get rid of a bunch of stuff and you will have less you have to manage. If you feel like you are just repeating yourself in your art because you know how this will turn out and it is becoming repetitive why not take a risk and try something new? After all, precious or cheap, it’s just a piece of paper. Happy crafting:)

 

PS, I bet you can find most of the books I mentioned for free at your local library. Compensated affiliate links to amazon are provided in the post if you wish to own any of the books I mentioned.

 

 

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