Art Journal Idea: Hoarding vs Harmony

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For this art journal prompt you are going to make a list of your collections.. This could be things you like to collect or things that you are collecting because you don’t want to throw them out– in other words, you are hoarding them.

The genesis of this idea

This summer, one of my personal goals is to get rid of clutter. My husband and I are really determined. We even set a date on our calendar to purge the house of unwanted books.  We had to do this together since he doesn’t trust me not to throw out books that he still wants and vice versa. As we went through the shelves my husband would say, this is yours or this is mine so the owner could make a decision whether to keep or to donate to the library. I joked that we sounded like a divorcing couple trying to split up our belongings.


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my finished art journal spread

Getting rid of guilt

One reason I hold onto things even when I don’t want them anymore is because of guilt. For example, there is the 700 page Stephen King novel I purchased on amazon but decided it was too heavy to lug around and I wasn’t really that interested in reading it. So I was keeping it around because I thought maybe someday I would read it… but every time I looked at it it made me feel guilty. So when my husband and I did this purge I realized I was hanging on to a guilt trip and who wants to keep guilt around their house?


Art book collections

I decided that it was absolutely one hundred percent okay for me to collect art books and believe you me, I have a large collection. I also decided it was okay to keep a handful of finance textbooks because even though I never ever open them, I like seeing them on my shelves because it reminds me of how I used to be. I also decided it is okay to keep a limited number of magazines… or at least admit that I am collecting them and need to keep an eye out before this collection becomes a problem.

The pastel colors were filled in with Sanford Sharpie Extra-Fine Pastel Paint Pens.
The neon green came from Elmer’s Painters Paint Markers

Letting go

In addition to the book purge, we ordered a dumpster because even though I don’t think we have enough stuff to fill it I can’t tell you how much junk we have in the basement because my husband says “It is too big to throw out” or “the garbage men won’t take that” This week I have been slowly throwing things out like the sand art kits in the basement and the curtain rods of decorating past. I can not bring myself to throw out the Lego’s even though they fill (I kid you not) five plastic stackable storage drawers from the container store.


Dumpster Divers

Each night my husband takes a peek into the dumpster to make sure I haven’t thrown anything away he wants. On the other hand he has forbidden my mother, a world class “collector”, from coming over while the dumpster is parked in our driveway. Don’t worry mom, I am still saving my scarf collection for you. You can have it next time I see you. I won’t need the scarves for another 20 years when I assume I will want to cover my neck.. You see, that was the only reason I was allowing all those scarves to take up residency in my underwear drawer.

My husband has ridiculous reasons for hoarding weird items too. When questioned why he had been saving his old day planner sheets wrapped in rubber bands on a shelf in his closet he said “I need them in case I write a novel about my life” Of course, he is not a writer… he is a real estate developer… but I suppose he likes to fantasize about being a writer. By the way, the day planner sheets are from the year 2000- now he used his smart phone to write down appointments like everyone else.

So, is this a journal prompt that speaks to you?

I would love to see your version of this prompt, whether you are doing some blog writing about controlling your clutter or creating an art journal page that you share on a blog or flickr.
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FREE art journal inspirations ebook

I also just published a free ebook which I am offering in a new online art journal class (which is free) for all Inspiration Place members (which is also free to join!) So, hope to connect with you there.

0 thoughts on “Art Journal Idea: Hoarding vs Harmony”

  1. Miriam, this is a great post. And you're right–why would the artists in a book for girls be men? That is shocking to me! Some of these artists I did not know about–thank you for introducing them to me (and by extension my students will hear of them).

  2. I will be moving in about 6 weeks, so can really relate to this prompt! I am going through things, throwing stuff away that has sat around for five years, pruning my large collection of papers and fabrics. There are just some things that, if I'm honest with myself, I will never use, so they're going to new homes. I think a clear-out on a regular basis is a good thing 🙂


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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