purge. breathe. create.

A guest post by Wendy Brightbill of A Girl and Her Brush.

screen-printed lung t-shirt unisex

i kept tripping over the huge pile of laundry in my room as i stumbled out of bed in the morning. the clutter was starting to wear on my brain and stifle my creativity. i knew it was time to purge. this was me last week.

have you ever been to that place? the place where the clutter and disarray makes a permanent home in your head. it makes it hard for you to think, plan, create. when you are a creator, this can be a problem.

over the weekend i tackled my seemingly insurmountable mountain of laundry. this pile of dirty clothes was my nemesis and needed to be conquered in superhero fashion. it was seriously taking over my room, and likewise my brain and concentration. how did the laundry pile grow so large? i had let it go because i was inspired to paint and create, not stopping to even breathe. i had broken up with my washing machine because it was no longer a priority. this was all part of my cycle.

purge. breathe. create.

purging is the process by which you declutter your life, heart and mind.

purging can take many forms. it can be reorganizing your studio, getting rid of old and unneeded supplies, throwing out the old paintbrushes, putting everything back into it’s place, finding a new place for all of your supplies. don’t you feel so much more inspired to create when you have a clean work space?

purging can be freeing up your schedule so that you have more time to create. sometimes you need to prioritize your life and get rid of all the little activities that are not bringing you closer to your dreams. cut out all of those little trips to the grocery store. stop saying yes to every phone call and little interruption. find more ways to say no so you can say yes to your business.

purging can even be letting go of old patterns of thinking that are cluttering up your mind. those pesky thoughts that you are not talented enough, smart enough or (fill-in-the-blank) enough are only taking up valuable space in your brain. why not let these thoughts go? out with the thinking that is not going to get you where you want to go.

it doesn’t matter what your purging looks like, it is critical in the cycle of creating. and that brings me to my next step.


i so love that feeling after a good purge. i feel lighter, happier, free. now i can finally breathe. i can let go of all of the things that were weighing me down. i can stop and focus on my art in a space of quiet and calm. i get myself a cup of tea, put on my favorite song. i can now get reacquainted with my heart. and this allows the inspiration to start flowing again. starting the cycle all over again. taking the time to stop and breathe really gets me to the point where i am ready to…


creating is almost like a drug for me. when inspiration hits, i can’t seem to get enough. my paintbrush starts moving and i can’t seem to create fast enough. i make a mess. i let things go. i can’t seem to focus on anything other than creating. the dishes pile up. the dirty laundry turns into a mountain. and i ride the wave of inspiration for as long as it will take me. sometimes it’s a day, sometimes it’s a week, sometimes it’s a month. it doesn’t matter. i go with the flow.

until one day i wake up and the clutter is taking over again. the mess from creating is starting to get under my skin. i can’t take another second looking at that pile of dishes. the laundry pile is taunting me. the scraps of paper on the floor of my dining room are laughing at me. i can’t think straight because all i see is the clutter everywhere. i know that it is time for the next stage in my cycle. it is time to purge again.

purge. breathe. create.

that is my cycle and i bet you do it too without even realizing it. so the next time you see the laundry pile creeping across the floor, don’t be dismayed. simply conquer it and move on with your life. then you can get back to doing what you do best, creating.

{lung t-shirt by vivisectapparel}

Wendy Brightbill is a girl and her brush. She blogs about her life, family, and artistic journey to find hope, life & joy through her brush. Visit her Etsy shop to purchase her original works & prints.

16 thoughts on “purge. breathe. create.

  1. Ugh – you’ve talked about my number 1 least favorite thing: STUFF! I used to be a “stuff” person, but that all changed a few years ago when I started moving cross-country. You quickly figure out what is taking with you & what is just wasting space – both in boxes & in your life in general!

  2. I’m still a *stuff* person, my stuff makes me happy because I create from my stuff.

    I recently purged a bunch of the chaff, though (5 lawn & leaf bags worth, I think), painted the back wall a deep pink, added another shelving unit and rearranged the ones I had to make the space more useful.

    Ever since then I’ve felt much more in control of my space, needing only to clear a single area (my worktable–it gets cluttered between big projects). Like you, I find the act of purging or clearing or whatever you want to call it cathartic, a jump-start to the process, and the mindless activities like laundry give the fragmented ideas time to come together before pen touches paper, bead joins wire or a needle is threaded.

  3. i completely relate to this. you’ve got to get while the creating is good. there’s nothing better than falling down the creative rabbit hole. i get into this trance like state where all i can see is the item i’m working on coming together piece by piece. my hands and mind are outside of myself. it feels so good to let it flow.

    when i step outside of my studio dizzy, happy, and finished with said project, i attempt to tame the mused destruction of my house. i can’t complain though, this leads me to another mode of swiftness and purpose, because i get to fall down that rabbit hole all over again.

    round and round i go.

    purge.breath.create. REPEAT!

  4. Your post reflects exactly where I am this week! So tired of the clutter in my studio and the clutter and unorganization that has cropped up all over the house. I’ve been working like crazy for the last few days… from things as simple as straightening up my workspace to the very satisfying task of organizing my closets. Momentum is my secret weapon. Once I get going, I just keep going!

    Love your thoughts! Thanks so much!

  5. This is a definite reflection of what rules my life! I am currently in the clutter doing my head in and must be purged argh!

  6. “purging can even be letting go of old patterns of thinking that are cluttering up your mind. those pesky thoughts that you are not talented enough, smart enough or (fill-in-the-blank) enough are only taking up valuable space in your brain. why not let these thoughts go? out with the thinking that is not going to get you where you want to go.”

    Yes. THIS is where I’m at right now. I need to purge so many preconceived thoughts out of my head, the thoughts that are dragging me down, holding me back, keeping me from letting go and pursuing what I want to. I need to purge my brain and my heart, to gather up the cobwebs of negativity, to pack away the clutter of the “can’t” and “shouldn’t,” and to redecorate my mind with a calm breath and a fresh dose of “you can so do this.”

    Sitting on the edge of deciding to go freelance, looking over the cliff, staring at my toes and the ground far below, I’m so weighed down with mental clutter—baggage from 10 years of comfortable, salaried office life, souvenirs from a life of being told some risks weren’t for me.

    I’ve got the boxes open and waiting. I just need to get packing!

  7. It’s definitely a cycle I can relate to – physically and emotionally.

    I tend to be super-organised in every other aspect of my life – I think having children (for me at least) has made me be.
    But, for the life of me, I can’t make it flow over to my business. I’m a master of procrastination here.

    “sometimes you need to prioritize your life and get rid of all the little activities that are not bringing you closer to your dreams.”

    Thank you for the reminder of ‘purge.breathe.create.’ – and thank you to the other responses – it really is nice to know that you are never alone in life.

  8. Great post Wendy! Whenever I’m feeling stuck creatively I find myself decluttering stuff to get back on track and refocus. So I totally resonate with the purge.breathe.create cycle you’ve described. For me it’s easy to get rid of physical stuff. It’s mental clutter that’s the big challenge.

  9. Excellent post! Sometimes it takes having someone tell you, “You need to take a break and organize your life!” for it to really sink in. I hate taking breaks from making artwork/crafting so much so that I normally forget to eat, or have reduced myself to only microwave meals. Ugh.

    I’ve never been an organized person (most would call me “messy”), but running a business requires that you have a system for everything, so I’m working on it. Thanks for the kickstart – I’m going to clean my desk right now! :)

  10. yup yup yup. Cluttered spaces make for cluttered minds! I totally agree. I feel immensely stressed out & weighed down when I come home/wake up and there are piles of clothes on the floor, or a stack of dirty dishes in the sink. Once I have a little more open space I feel so much better.

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