Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


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We’re Moving Country…Again

A bridge over a lake in a park somewhere in Beijing

A park somewhere in Beijing taken by yours truly.

For those of you who are not aware, my husband and I currently live in China. It’s a fascinating place to live and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

However, after much deliberation, we have decided to move back to Australia. My health isn’t very good at the moment, and it has become a struggle to stay here. So we’ve decided to head back down to Oz to be closer to my family.

We haven’t ruled out the possibility of coming back to China sometime in the future. I’ve learned so much from being here and I’m always ready to learn more.

We plan to move in early May, so that gives me just over 6 weeks to prepare.

What is there to do?

  • Firstly I have to cull down our belongings so they (hopefully!) fit into three suitcases.
  • Then I have several items I want to buy before I leave. E.g. a nice traditional Chinese outfit, some new reading glasses.
  • I also have heaps of photos I want to take of life here. Unfortunately, our camera was damaged when someone tried to snatch our bags, so I currently can only take 10 photos at a time. I shall have to think before I shoot, like back in the good ol’ days of film.
  • And lastly, I want to savour these precious weeks in China by drinking in all the wonderful sights and sounds of this place.

I’ll do my best to keep posting to my blog, but forgive me if my posts wander off the topic of creative writing and into other areas…like creative packing and interesting things I see in my last few weeks.

Although I’ll miss living here, I’m looking forward to all sorts of new adventures back in Australia.


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Finding Space

 My new room

(I’m using a new method to post to my blog today so please forgive any hiccups along the way.)

Above you should, hopefully, see a photo of my new room. Not the best picture, I know, but you get the idea. I have moved in and I’m setting up my desk. It looks a little bare at the moment, but come back in a couple of weeks and it will be full of stuff.

I am just rolling in stuff. I’ve got the stuff I brought with me, the stuff my family and I have bought since we’ve been here, the stuff I left up here from my last visit and the stuff my friends have given me as housewarming/I-don’t-need-this-anymore-here-you-have-it presents. On top of that I’ve got the stuff my landlady has left behind. Lots and lots and lots of stuff.

So after 2 months of living out of a suitcase, I get to move into my new room and begin packing. Yes, packing. Finding ways of packing all this stuff into my little apartment.

Thankfully I have inherited the packing gene from my dad and pride myself on being able to fit just about anything anywhere. The past week has been a strain on my ability though and last night I failed miserably. But today I’m back to trying again.

I believe the trick is to view packing as a puzzle. It’s about finding the right piece for the right place. Usually this takes fiddling, creative thinking and several goes before you get things exactly right, but then that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

Here are a few more tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Add levels to your space. We all rely on cupboards and draws to store our things. Sometimes we have really big things (books or boxes) next to smaller things (knick knacks, cups, plates etc). This leaves ‘dead space’ above the smaller objects. If this situation occurs in a storage cupboard where things will not need to be moved often, then try first lining the bottom of the shelf with the boxes or books and then add the smaller objects on top. If this occurs in a place where you’ll need to access things regularly (kitchen cupboards) invest in some extra wire shelves which will provide you storage space in the ‘dead zone.’
  • Look for new packing places. It doesn’t take long to fill up cupboards and draws. Then what? There are actually many more places you can store things. Old boxes and suitcases can go on top of the wardrobe. There is, of course, always the space under the bed (for those fortunate enough to have it). In my case I have a table up against a side wall. It’s not for sitting at, so I’ve covered it with a tablecloth and used the space underneath for storage. Look around at spaces you’re not using and see if you can increase your storage area.
  • Prioritise. Even if objects fit better in a different order, sometimes snug packing is not the most efficient. Put often used objects towards the front and seldom used objects at the back. Don’t be afraid to unpack and try again if something is not working. Far better to spend half an hour repacking now than to waste time and build frustration every day because you have to move half a dozen things to get what you need.
  • Know when to throw out. Some things are just not worth storing. Half empty jars of that horrible hand cream your sister gave to you because she couldn’t stand it either. Disposable mirrors, brushes, soaps, shampoos, shower caps, toothbrush/toothpaste packs etc. Sure, you may use them one day. But would it be easier when that day comes to just go out and buy another one? (I stress at this point that I have yet to master knowing when to throw out.)

The Knick Knack Conundrum

What about all those little souvenirs, gifts from friends, gorgeous greeting cards collectable figurines which vie for shelf space? Here’s a trick I learned from a friend’s mum.

Instead of putting them all on shelves until they’re clumped so close you can’t make out one from the other, why not divide them up? Display some and store the unused set somewhere safe. Have summer knick knacks and winter knick knacks. Or change them around every year during spring cleaning.

This gives you the advantage of uncluttered knick knack space, as well as a change of scene whenever you get a little bored of what’s there now. Because a change is a good as a holiday…and usually a good deal cheaper.

So the trick to using space is finding the balance between efficiency, practicality and comfort – all with creativeness splashed liberally around.

Do you have any storage tips to add? I’d love to hear them.