Make room for a new you

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Even more so than January, springtime signals to me a time of new beginnings. The dreadful dreariness of winter lifts and the promise of flowers, warm weather and sandals awaits me. It’s no wonder that as we come out of hibernation, we want to clear out our nests.

Declutter Art Journal Prompt

In this blog post, I share with you my “declutter” list as well as the declutter lists of some of the students in my Painting with Words online class.
art journal ideas on
For this art journal page, I covered my entire page with patterned washi tape. Using paint pens, I titled the page “Declutter” in a three dimensional Times Roman font. Then I added rose flower embellishments to each letter. 

art journal pages

Problem Areas

The rest of this I did on the couch while watching junky reality shows. I want to share with you a few more details of my junk… the confessional is good for me and will hold me accountable. Maybe some of you will recognize yourself in my “problem areas.”

1. Underwear Drawer

I need to declutter my underwear drawer. I firmly believe that all women should do this on a regular basis. No granny panties allowed.. If you are over 40, then maybe it is time to get rid of your maternity underwear. If you do get pregnant again, you can always buy new ones. Ditto for anything with a rip or stain.  As an artist, you know that the first layers may not be seen but you know they are there. Those first layers should make you feel good and happy. The first thing you put on during the day should bring a smile to your face.

2. Under the bathroom sinks:

This is a problem area in both of our bathrooms. I started doing this yesterday in my kids’ bathroom and there were over seven tubes of toothpaste, and multiples of things like bug spray, soap, half used sunscreen, bug bite cream. We keep buying more because no one seems to know how much we have. Under my own sink is the worst as there are expensive facial masks that I bought and never used. I should just dump them so I won’t feel guilty every time I see them. The other confession I have is that I keep tossing my “hand wash” only shirts under my sink too. I think I should just send these to my mother… she’ll know what to do with them.


3. Craft Closet:

I am proud to say that I did clean out my craft closet a week ago and now it is functional once again… Of course, it took 8 hours and the help of a professional organizer to get it that way…

4. Behind Piano:

So in my living room, we have an upright piano. It is angled in a corner to make it seem more like a grand piano. The front of the piano is literally covered with a foot high stack of piano music. That is the visible problem. The worst of it is BEHIND the piano. You can only see it if you peer over the piano to look in the corner. I have no idea what is in that foot high pile… and I just can’t toss it because it is intermingled with photographs.

5. Garage:

The problem with my garage is slightly different than you might think. I actually park my car in this one car garage so there is minimal clutter. The problem is that my cat recently decided that she prefers peeing in the garage. It is a constant battle and I have to fix the door from the basement to the garage to cut off her access. There is nothing that annoys me more than making “service appointments” for people who never show up when they say they will and you end up waiting around all day for someone who finally shows up in the minute you are leaving to pick up your kids from someplace. So that is why I procrastinate service appointments the most.

6. Dining Room:

Sometimes I treat the dining room as the “kitchen’s closet.” Whenever I have something in the kitchen that I don’t know what to do with I just stick it on my dining room table….problem.

7. Basement:

The recycling area… yikes… plus there are the hundreds of boxes in various sizes I bought in bulk from uline that I spent a lot of money on and are taking up way too much room. After I bought them, my art sales slowed and now I have shelves full of empty cardboard boxes mocking me.

8. Kitchen Sink:

see bathroom sink.

9. Car:

I did take mine to the car wash and got a good vacuum.. Right now the problem is that “storage” space they give you between the driver and passenger seats.. A sampling of what you will find in that space: one hand warmer, lipstick with no top, tweezers for emergency plucking in parking lots, nail polish, a few raisins stuck to the bottom, water bottle caps and gum wrappers.

10. Gift Closet:

It is getting dangerous to open the closet where I stuff, I mean store, wrapping paper and other stuff having nothing to do with wrapping gifts. I believe my mother’s preserved wedding dress is also in that closet.

Art by students in Painting with Words

The idea and the techniques in this page are taught in my Painting with Words online class. I wanted to share the art of a few of my students so you could see how they took this idea and made their own statements with it in their art journals.


art journal pages
(all art reprinted with permission from the artists)

1. Art by Natasha Papousek: Notice how the roses are scattered about the letters and words…signaling spring.

2. Art by Tamara Hampton Meadows: Love the colored backgrounds… I also like the idea of decluttering jewelry…reminds me that I have a tangled nest of necklaces in my jewelry box.

3. Art by Patti Salvaggio: The Sol LeWitt stylized patterned background is awesome and I love the way she used white transparent boxes to make the letters pop. The three-dimensional letters are also cool as well as the flowers instead of periods.

4. Art by Victoria Freeman: Love the way the girl is holding up a banner and she chose to put her title on the side vertically.

Painting with Words

The art by students featured in this blog are from the Paintings with Words online ecourse. Missed your chance to sign up for Painting With Words? Join the waitlist to be notified when registration opens again!


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In Case We Haven’t Met Yet…

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Hello! I’m Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I’m not working on art in my studio, you’ll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at

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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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