The Art of Curation

For the last two months, I’ve been working on a new skill — curation — and I’ve been applying it to everything. I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in our information rich world and with new content being created and stories being told everyday, just consuming it all can feel like a full time job. Since beginning to practice curating everything in my life, I’ve noticed I have more time for myself and for other people. But it’s really hard to live the adage “less is more” because, well, doesn’t more always feel like more? Of course, in reducing the amount of stuff both physically and mentally in my life, I have found there is more space in my life for intangibles: laughter, creativity, serenity, time.

Here are the questions I asked myself to help me manage my three biggest curations as of late.

My Closet

1. Do I love it? If not, into the bag it went.

2. Does it look awesome on me? No? Bye! I don’t want to live my life in clothing that doesn’t make me look and feel like a goddess.

3. Does it reflect the style I want to have in my life right now? It may be cute and comfortable and I might even love it in some ways, but if the hoodie I bought 5 years ago doesn’t reflect me now, it doesn’t get to stay.

4. Have I worn it in the last year (or two)? I often seen the question asked “Have I worn this in the last 6 months?” I think all those people must be Californians because anyone who lives in a place with four seasons knows it may be a year before you wear something again. I’m not donning any winter sweaters in summer just to justify keeping them.

My Google Reader

Oh, this one was positively torturous to do. I love reading blogs, but my Reader had gotten out of control and I found that I was frequently so overwhelmed, I would just hit the “Mark All As Read” button and spend the rest of the day trying to convince myself I wasn’t a bad person.

1. Does this blog feed my creativity? Does it give me new ideas? These questions have very individualized answers. I’m not crafty, so looking at blogs that show me how to make pillows myself doesn’t really thrill me. But ones that spark writing ideas? Yes, please.

2. Does this inspire me? Inspiration is the key. I want to feel like I’m a more knowledgeable, more capable person after reading a post. I want posts that set me on fire, that make me want to go out and do awesome things.

3. Do I know the blogger? While there are many bloggers who I have met in person, there are many others I haven’t but feel we would be fast friends if we did meet. It’s not about face to face time for me, but how much people inject themselves into their blog. My favorite thing about blogging has been the connections with people I make, from reading blogs to email conversations that have started in comments. So I didn’t feel like I knew the blogger in some way, I asked myself to let it go.

My projects

After returning from the World Domination Summit, I realized I had an overabundance of projects I was working on. And having so many meant that I never succeeded in doing real work on any single one. I would just flit from one thing to the next. I decided if I wanted to be successful with the ones that mattered, something needed to change.

1. Does it light my fire? If I wasn’t excited to do it, it went. That included exercise I didn’t enjoy, side employment that made me a bit of extra cash, and even (gulp) my food blog. (While food does light my fire in some ways, trying to blog about it 5 days a week never did.)

2. Does it feed into my purpose? If it didn’t resonate with what I’m meant to do in the world or what I want to be doing in a year or in 5+ years, it went or at least was tabled for the future. I needed a cupcake by the time I was done, but prioritizing my projects has really helped me manage my time better.

Do you curate on a regular basis? What are you an expert at? What type of curating do you know you need to do but wish you had help with? I always get pumped when I hear stories about how people have simplified, don’t you?

{split image of Laurel Denise’s 2013 planner — a super awesome way to curate your time}

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Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.