Drowning in your own artwork? What to do with what you make

A very common question asked by artists – often in slightly panicked tones – is, what do I do with it all?!


I know.

When you love what you do and you’re endlessly curious, those creations can stack up in your creative space until you find yourself squeezed into a corner, working on a tiny section of an overloaded table, and tripping over both finished and half finished works.

Now mostly the ‘solutions’ to this are common sense, in that any suggestions I might make are not going to be rocket science.

You may have considered all of them.

You’ll almost certainly have used some of them.

You may have further suggestions or ideas – if so, please share them in the comments to make this a useful resource!

But sometimes a reminder, or a particular nuance, is what we need to hear to spark an idea or get us excited about trying something, or even simply to galvanise us to Just Effing Decide and then Do The Thing. 😉

These ideas come from a lesson inside the Happy Artist Studio, my membership for artists looking for guidance to make their own art, their own way. {That means making more art, more often, with greater clarity about what you’re doing, less ‘demons’ or blocks, and a great deal more purpose and pleasure.}

In the lesson, we look at organising your creative space {and it doesn’t have to be a studio}, and making it work for you and how you want to make your art.

Including what you’ll do with it once you’ve made it.

So here are seven options to stop drowning in your own artwork and decide what to do with what you make:


Keep as much as you want; don’t force yourself to throw things away if that doesn’t feel right to you.

Think about how you can file and store it though so it doesn’t overtake your creative space!

You could create portfolios for different collections, or by year, for work on paper, or stack canvases in groupings that make sense to you.


Photograph work you don’t want to keep but would like to have a record of.

If there’s a lot, make separate folders on your computer so you can find them easily later if you want to refer back.


It’s totally fine to throw away old work {or put it in the recycling 😉}.

You’re keeping the best, and making a photographic record of the rest, so if you want to get rid of some then consider this your sign/permission to do it!


Paint over, rework, or otherwise reconfigure.

Old works on paper can be cut and torn up, repurposed for collage, made into cards, or used to create art books like member Gina Axlund does, for example.

Here are some more ideas for what to do with those ‘failed’ paintings.


Donate old works to auctions or give to charity shops {thrift stores}.

If you can find causes that align with your values and/or the work itself, this can be a great way to release older work in a positive way that benefits others too.


Have a Studio Sale.

This could either be an open studio, or you could run a ‘Secret Sale’ exclusively for your email list. {Share on social media that it’s coming up as a way to drum up new subscribers! This is something you can get help with inside the Happy Artist Studio.}

You can also expand this onto social media and/or your website, after giving your subscribers priority access. Explain that you’re clearing space for new work and have some pieces you’d love to find new homes for, at lower prices than you’d usually offer it. Frame it such that it’s not as if you’re trying to just ‘get rid of’ it, but that this is work you value and are looking for homes for. Bear in mind that this work will represent you once it’s out in the world so if that feels uncomfortable, maybe don’t offer those pieces.


Give it away.

Offer a selection to friends and family members who love your work.


In the lesson inside the Happy Artist Studio, I also share an exercise to help you get clarity on what to keep and what to do with the rest, including the supplies that can also get out of hand!

For access to the complete lesson, plus an absolute wealth of courses, guidance, support, and our lovely private community, all devoted to getting you making the art that feels most like you, click the button below!

The Happy Artist Studio - clikc here to find out more and join us