To Hoard or to Hustle? That is the question.

Do you find unique ways to “upcycle” random objects by accumulating a collection of items? Do you have a desktop so cluttered with screenshots and files that you can’t see your wallpaper? Do you have multiple Chrome browsers with hundreds of tabs open?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tab.
It’s not news to anyone that creative people have messy minds. Google ‘creative minds’ and you’ll find a slew of articles that teach creatives to “declutter their mind” in order to think through the mess. 

Why can’t we be organised, you ask? There are many reasons why creatives hoard, one of which is to ensure they never lose an opportunity to create something amazing. They are inspired by the sheer potential of information; which they would park in their browser tabs or stash away in a storage area for later use.

As an inspiration hoarder, I swing back and forth between hoarding and brutal, self-imposed editing. I don’t know about you, but that is how I hustle. This occurs most often when I am pressured to produce more content, better content, original content, within a short span of time. My day job as a creative doesn’t allow me the luxury of doing nothing until inspiration hits me, which, funny enough, is every self-help article’s prescribed antidote to creative blocks.

If you have the same problem as me, you know that doing nothing isn’t the answer. You fire up the Google search bar with the wrath of a thousand Conservatives protesting outside an abortion clinic. You speed read article after article on everything remotely relevant to the topic at hand, trying to locate that tingling thrill of inspiration. Suddenly, you’ve amassed a mountain of material, most of which you don’t need. Here is where your hoarding becomes beneficial – let me break it down for you:

Step 1: Give yourself a time limit to stop looking for new material. Set the alarm. Don’t procrastinate here. 

Step 2: Take a step back and identify the objectives of your project. Re-read every article, re-watch every video in your collection, and sift out the ones you can use.

Step 3: Here’s the brutal part: delete everything else. Put your files in the right order. Re-organise your downloads folder to stablise your mind. 

Step 4: Trust yourself and acknowledge that creativity works subconsciously. Use whatever you’ve saved and map it till you make it.


Don’t underestimate the importance of Step 3. If you skip it, you’ll likely find yourself in the deep, dark recesses of the Internet a week later, having made no progress. Think about it this way: will you use the material again? Maybe. Will you try to find newer, more improved versions of the material next time? Definitely. That’s the beauty of the Internet. 

We don’t need to stop hoarding to hustle. The only way to get through a creative block effectively is to find a method in the madness. Create processes, form habits and coping mechanisms that get you through these these tough times, even if it means allowing your mind to be cluttered for a brief moment. 

Encourage clutter. Embrace your hoarding behaviour. Don’t let organised chumps tell you otherwise. 

fiona chong
creative executive

when she’s not reading, fiona is either slogging away at her day job as a creative maniac or (over)indulging in her favourite tv shows and films, usually with a bottle of sake in hand.


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