Creating space for creativity: storage hacks and tips

At the last count, I have lived in 20 different homes.


That’s 20 lots of packing, unpacking, de-cluttering, re-arranging, re-creating. That’s at least 10 “Daaaad can you help me move house again” phone calls, definitely 5 or 6 “why I did get drunk last night when I still haven’t packed avoidance crises”, and a whole memory book full of housemates, friends, stories, laughter and tears.

Every home re-invention has required me to create my creative area to work in.

I have been self employed for the last 9 years, but often worked from home in my Design Manager roles (yes I did have actual jobs once!).

creating space

Nothing kills creativity for me like clutter.

Clutter makes me feel encroached upon, unorganised and totally unproductive. I am also a sucker for procrastination when I see Piles of Stuff (us Type A’s flit don’t ya know).

Having two five year olds careering around the place currently means my home working space isn’t exactly streamlined right now and it’s something I am targeting in the next few weeks.

I love having a creative environment with inspiration boards, mementos, art by the kids and photos around, but it can so easily feel a little..



From the queen of house moving and boxes, here are some tips for creative space for storage and creativity.

1. Work in small chunks

When a pace feels cluttered it can be really hard to know where to start. I am prone to having a meltdown in the middle of a room full of STUFF (just as my partner who has rescued me from many such scenes), so working small and often is a life saver. Whilst there is a lot to be said for blasting a room or an area, if you are like me and juggling work and a family, that time is very hard to find.

Like my #divasdaily10 business and social slices, working on a room by attacking it in Pomodoro style timed segments can really help make a headstart on the job in hand.

2. Get it out before you bring it back in

This can be SO handy to do and is something I have done often before in my life re-inventions.

Boxing all your stuff up and getting it out so you have a clear area really makes you question what you bring back in, and you will find yourself being FAR more ruthless.

If you have a spare room or garage space to decant your clutter into box it all up and sort one box at a time.

If you are in between places to live and have more belongings than space, using self storage is a brilliant way to save your sanity. When I left London to move back to the sticks I did this, and had a flat load of furniture, clothes, books and belongings to “park” for a while. I ended up eBaying a vast amount of my clothes and belongings, and I didn’t have to move into my next abode with nearly as many items had I not.

Just finding a neutral ground to hold everything while you travel, stay with friends, or find your next home can be such a lifesaver.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris

3. Use QR codes and Google docs for archiving

Ok, this really does reveal my inner geek here. I have found it useful to create inventories of items in boxes in a Google doc, and then to create a QR code of the link. I can then number the codes and tape the code to the box.


4. Store creative clutter safely (+ use Evernote to archive)

As a 37 year old creative industries bod I have decades of sketchbooks, books, portfolios, craft materials, scrapbooks and so forth that I treasure. They don’t really have a place in the house, but I don’t want to get rid either

Safely storing them away from small people/pets/damp / damage means your works of creative genius are safe for when you need them or want them later.

I often photograph my artwork and the girls’ treasures from nursery and school etc into Evernote so I have an easily accessed visual reference whilst the originals are in a safe place.

I just got some creative space making hacks from @dexdiva

This post is a sponsored post by the guys over at Big Yellow Storage, and I happen to be a huge fan of the facilities on offer (see how they can help with business here).

Rent storage space for your belongings while you travel (as us non-location dependant entrepreneurs are prone to do), store away your stuff while you re-create your creative space at home, or even use their space as a storeroom for any physical goods you are selling in your empire.

I would love to hear how you deal with your creative clutter in the comments. Share with us your storage hacks and tips, and if you have beaten me on house moves, let me know (I have already been in my current house FAR too long, itchy feet ahoy!)

Stay super + sorted,

jo gifford



Jo Gifford

My work is about helping people work in smarter, creative ways + getting their message out to the world via killer content—blogs, copy, images + social. I am a designer, writer, blogger, mentor, author, creativity addict + prolific geek. You could call it a portfolio career of multi-potential multi-passions. I call it being me.
Work with me, Shop with me, and Chat with me!


  • Helena Heart

    Hi Jo, very timely post as I just narrowly escaped a meltdown about clutter myself yesterday :) Have started to tackle little things today and your tip of putting things in boxes is a good one, but I will force myself to also deal with the boxes when I am in a better space about all this stuff :))

    • Jo Gifford

      Hey Helena! Ahhh, good job with meltdown aversion! Let me know how you get on, thanks for reading x