Clarity Encourages Creativity – It’s time to De-clutter!

De-Clutter you DJ Set-Up

It’s not the first time that a Traktor Tips article has been inspired by Leo Babuata from Zen Habits and this particular one fits that theme.

Following his recent article about de-cluttering the home, it became apparent to me that clutter, in all areas of life, can seriously constrict the flow of energy. As everything we can perceive is actually particles vibrating in space, it stands to reason that everything is a form of energy. Using this model, clutter can therefore be described as: stale energy that depletes your own energy and detracts from your focus.

By clearing up your clutter, you free up space for active energies to flow.

This doesn’t just relate to physical clutter, but mental clutter too.

We are all too familiar with those thoughts that keep bugging us, repeatedly re-appearing and provoking you with useless mental chatter that drains you. It’s those voices in your head that tell you “you should do this…” and “you should do that...“. Learning to remove this unnecessary commentary is extremely liberating and once you have figured out how to release what no longer serves you, you create space in your life to focus on what really matters to you.

Need to be Busy

There is so much going on in life and often it can feel overwhelming.

Many of us appear to be running from one place to the next and jumping from one thing to the other. When asked how we are, it’s often seen as a positive thing to answer with, “Really busy!”.

How have we made it so, that being ‘really busy‘ is a good thing, and something to be proud of?

The question remains, are we actually really busy, or just cluttered?

Being cluttered gives us the impression that we are busy, when in reality we are simply pushing pieces of paper around on a desk achieving very little. Without those pieces of paper and to do lists, we feel less important. As a part of us wants to feel important, we create things to do, so that we can tell people how busy we are.

Most of the stuff we create in our lives is unnecessary and often created to fill a void that is way deeper than the perception of need. It can be very hard to let go of things we don’t actually ‘need’. This is because we have emotional ties to them, or the item strengthens our ego in someway and makes us feel special.

Clearing out your mental clutter is a topic I will leave to the meditation gurus, however, you can begin in the physical realm with a simple gesture of clearing down your creative spaces.

Clearing your Creative Space

As this is a DJ website I am obviously going to turn this back on the DJ and the first part of the process is to figure out what you REALLY need.

Ryan Dejaegher wrote an awesome article a little while back about ‘Curing RGAS‘, a fictional, yet very real disease about the desire to buy more unnecessary gear. His piece delves into how DJ’s can get by with less gear and how to stand strong against the behemoth marketing giants, and to DJ with what you already have. This is a great place to start, but if you find yourself already with a ton of gear, then it might be time to put some of it away?

Due to my role as a Traktor tutor, I have felt the urge to deliver content about how lots of different gear works with Traktor and how to connect this and that, along with troubleshooting various Traktor compatible  DJ equipment. Well, this is great, but it has created a lot of confusion as to what gear I truly enjoy and what gear I use the most.

At one point, I had so much gear strewn about the place, that I looked like one of those disorganized, used electrical thrift stores, with crap everywhere!

No more my friend, times are a changing.

Cluttered DJ Set Up
Cluttered DJ Set Up

Following my desire to de-clutter, I took a long hard look at my DJ methods and focused down onto the essentials and the equipment I use the most.

Whilst I LOVE my Pioneer CDJ, I realised that my DJ style these days, doesn’t call for it as much as I would like. I hardly ever use my Kontrol X1 anymore, and the Audio 8 sees less use since I have upped the use of my Kontrol S4. Despite a recent month of going back to vinyl only and thoroughly enjoying it, I rarely ever play out on vinyl, it’s more of a luxury option to have at home now and again.

I own a Kontrol F1 and whilst I haven’t used it at much as I would have liked, I feel that this is a direction I want to explore more.

So the plan was hatched, I need to get rid of everything other than the Kontrol S4 and F1.

In doing this, it lessened the need for so much desk space, meaning I could place my speakers on the desk and therefore get rid of the speaker stands too. Getting rid of the speaker stands, meant I could get rid of the boxes they were on. And the butterfly effect continued…

De-Cluttered Fresh Creative DJ Space
De-Cluttered Fresh Creative DJ Space

Clarity, Focus and Desire to DJ

Having cleared down my creative space, it is more appealing to spend time there. Based on the pictures above, I’m sure you all agree!

There are no distractions, such as, “ooooh, what set up shall I use today?“.

I simply walk over to the DJ table, plug in one chord and start playing. Clarity and focus has taken over and the desire to play more, is at the forefront.

I recommend to any DJ’s out there who identify with my words above, to seriously consider a de-cluttering session. Not only will it score points with your partner, or parents, it will increase your desire to be creative and clear down a lot of stale energy.

For now, the items I removed from my set up are in storage, out of sight and stored as neatly as possible. I feel that I should sell them all before I start pulling them all back out of storage again, but we must carry out our goals one step at a time.

This is the first test in my de-clutter journey, it should also help me filter out what gear I really need and want to use as I go forward. Hopefully I will be making someone else happy when I do eventually get around to selling the items that are no longer serving me.

Good luck on your journey – feel free to post any images of your newly de-cluttered space below or send them to me in an email.

You might also like:
Ryan’s ‘Curing RGAS‘ post
Focus and become a better DJ
Keep it Simple – Focus on the Music

Take the Online Traktor Tips Basics Course


2 thoughts on “Clarity Encourages Creativity – It’s time to De-clutter!

  1. The decluttered version definitely looks better. I’m using only an S4 and F1 plus laptop and monitor speakers now, too. You might want to hold off selling your DJ mixer, though since the S4 works better running through one. I.E. booth monitor outputs, smooth transition to the next DJ, easy hookup of backup player device in a live setting, and split headphone cue and master channel EQ etc. at home. At some point I’m going to look for a 2nd-hand basic scratch mixer to get the above functionality.

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