Clearing and Clinging to Clutter

Hi Friends,

I’ve been cleaning out my studio and feeling overwhelmed by the volume of stuff I have. I think I could open my own art supply store! Here’s some of what you’ll find in my space:

House paints
Acrylic paints
Textile paints
Pens and colored pencils
Yarns for weaving
Embroidery floss and pearl cotton
Stacks of magazines for collage
Natural dyes
Synthetic dyes
Natural pigments
Rusty pieces of metal for rust dyeing
Found objects
Stretched canvas in all sizes
Rolls of unstretched canvas
Cradled wood panels
Large sheets of watercolor paper
Card blanks
Buckets and bottles
Pots and pans
Hot plates
Electric sander and drill
All sorts of tools
Brushes and rollers
Palette knives and plaster trowels
Kitchen tools for making marks
15 pairs of running shoes for shoe prints

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Cassandra Tondro art studio

The list goes on and on and on, and I can’t get rid of any of it, because I might need it some day! In fact I do switch around between a lot different materials, but the clutter is starting to get to me. It’s too much stuff.

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Sometimes I think it would be nice if I could hone in on one medium and stick with it to the exclusion of all others, but that doesn’t seem to suit my personality. I need to try and do a lot of different things.

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Cassandra Tondro art studio

Over the years all of the different materials, supplies, tools and equipment accumulate. At what point do you decide you don’t need something anymore?

I’m not like this in my house. I have no problem getting rid of clothes I no longer wear or books I’m never going to read again. But art supplies are another story. I can’t let go of any of it.

Where do you find yourself holding on? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. My grandparents saved everything; that’s how they got through the Depression and WWII. I was going to purge my quilting fabrics and then the Pandemic hit and I donated 120 yards of cotton meant for quilt making to a mask making collaborative started by my daughter and friends. We were able to make 30,000 masks in 2020 and deliver them to nursing homes, homeless shelters and many in need. You couldn’t buy sewing machines and no ready made masks were available in the beginning days. So although I would like to purge all the great stuff (clutter), it may be called upon in the future. Organization, as you have shown, may be the way to go forward.
    P.s. I never see other peoples comments. It would be nice to share with a caring group.

    1. Hi Corinne. Good point about the fabric and finding a use for it. A good argument for never getting rid of stuff! Is there a box you can tick to be notified of comments on the post? I’ll have to go check that out and see. It might be a limitation of WordPress.

      Update: I just checked, and at the bottom of the comment form there’s a checkbox that says “Notify me of new posts via email.” Have you tried ticking it? It might just be that there aren’t that many comments. I also post these articles to Facebook and Instagram, and sometimes there’s a little discussion there, but not much.

  2. Oh my gosh!! That was written about me!!
    I cannot get rid of anything ,that I believe I will use …’someday’ in my artwork !!

    1. Too funny, Jeannie! The thing is that once in a blue moon I do want that one obscure thing that I’ve been hoarding for ten years. So it makes it seem like I’m going to want everything that I’ve been hoarding eventually.

  3. HA! You are sooooooo organized with your “Stuff” Now imagine….all of that “stuff” unorganized….well……that’s my house/garage. I play a little game with myself…it starts by saying “Make believe you are moving….time to purge”….GO!!! Last week i gave away 7 pair of shoes on a buy nothing group…..small step but felt really good when they were “gone”
    I, too, look at things and say the minute it’s not here…i will need it….not a great formula.Maybe you want to rate your stuff and if there’s a few things at the very bottom…you might want to pass on…perhaps to a craft person?

  4. Actually I’m envious of your magazine stacks. I can’t get the range of mags here in Indonesia so I keep using the same ones for my collages. Plus I am totally impressed with your organizational skills! Everything looks so inviting to explore.

    1. Hi Linda. There isn’t an Indonesian Vogue? Just kidding! It seems like Vogue is available in so many different versions for different countries, but I guess Indonesia isn’t their market. When you come to the states you’ll have to stock up on magazines! Maybe raid some dentists’ offices and hair salons. Yes, I am kind of tidy, which helps when you’ve got a lot of stuff. It makes it look like there’s less than I actually have.

  5. Hi Cassie, I do not see CLUTTER anywhere, it is the most organized studio I have ever seen! You can see everything so when your mind wants to incorporate something it will pop out for you. Someday I will show you mine, I can not not get there today and have not really had time to play for a yr or so. I did have my left hip replaced last week so obviously this is consuming my time with PT. LIFE has slowed way down for sure when walking with a cane or walker.
    Otherwise, loving our spring and May grey and OMG the garden .

    1. Oooo . . . sorry to hear about your hip replacement, Linda. That sounds painful. I hope you recover quickly and are back on your feet soon. Yes, everyone’s garden is beautiful this year! Mine is lush in a way that I’ve never seen it before. I wish we had rain like this every year! Take good care.

  6. In your list everything sounds useful to me, useful to keep, except 15 pair of running shoes. Maybe 9 is enough? I’m laughing. I keep anything that is beautiful, even if I hardly use it, anything with memories attached or sentimental value especially (including 30 year old art by my then-toddler daughter), all my clothes because I hate to shop and am still wearing even a few from high school (now 55 years old), photos I’ve taken even though I never look at them (and that is photos good and bad), yarn and paintings. But when we moved from the Bay Area to SoCal I let go of all of my notes from 25 years of work in physics (including notes from classes I taught that took tons of hours to produce), and lots of books. I threw away too many things, and some of it I really regret. I wish I had a sample of my class notes to show my daughter, and there isn’t a one left. I think it is worse to throw away too much than too little– within bounds, I suppose. But somewhere in the garage is some yarn from the time when acrylic yarn felt awful and it was what I could afford. I really should find that and get rid of it somewhere.

    1. Each shoe has a unique tread. That’s why I have 15 of them! I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things that no longer fit who I am now, as well. Psychology and sociology textbooks. Those days are long gone. Computer programming manuals. The one thing I hang onto is my HP 16C hexidecimal caluculator. It was expensive at the time, and probably worthless now. I never need to do hexidecimal arithmetic anymore, and yet I can’t let it go. Kind of silly, really.

Leave a Reply