Marie Kondo Your DAW And Declutter Your Home Studio

After the Bird Box challenge luckily came and went, the latest Netflix craze doing the rounds is making homes around the world a bit tidier.

Thanks to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, homeowners are taking a minimalistic approach to declutter their wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and garages to help them live a more organised and less materialistic life.

Kondo’s KonMari method is based on Japanese philosophy and a heavy dose of minimalism. The simple approach means that any object that doesn’t “spark joy” should be thrown away, recycled or donated.

After discarding all the objects that don’t “spark joy”, we should be surrounded by things that inspire us, delight us and make our lives more organised and productive.

For some of us, a chaotic and messy environment can be inspiring, triggering all kinds of creative possibilities from the discarded note papers and random doodles left on your desk.

Others prefer a ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ approach and to that end having an organised workspace can be the difference between hours of procrastination and a productive day’s work.

A great example of this comes from Four Tet, whose 2017 album New Energy was created with a streamlined backline of equipment and in a workspace that had barely any distractions.

Using only a Novation MIDI controller, a set of Mackie monitors and a Prism Sound interface, the album was created entirely with Ableton Live at Four Tet’s home studio with a streamlined set of plugins.

Four Tet used Arturia V Collection synths for pads and lads, Spectrasonics Omnisphere and Native Instrument’s Kontakt for samples and also created ambient audio recordings using his own iPhone.

So it goes to show that you don’t need racks of gear to make a great record, and by focusing and taking a minimalistic approach to your music production you can create all new possibilities.

With that in mind, here are 8 tips on bringing the KonMari technique to your home music studio:

Tidy up your music plugins

1 - Tidy up your plugins

Too much choice can drive us all to distraction, and having a huge range of plugins to hand at any given moment can make selecting the one you want a chore. Be selective and hide the plugins which you’re least likely to use on a regular basis or any that don’t “spark joy”. Better still, if there are plugins that you downloaded on a whim but never use, bite the bullet and get rid. Not only will this free up precious RAM but will leave you with fewer distractions to worry about.

2 - Update your remaining plugins

For the remainder of plugins that still “spark joy” and survived the cull, bookmark your favourites so that you can access them quickly, and make sure they’re up to date. Plugin update notifications can pop up at the most inconvenient time, disrupting your flow and stopping you working. Schedule time in to update your plugins, making sure that you don’t have to waste time at the start of your next session and delay your creativity taking shape.

Create Your Own Custom Templates

3 - Create your own project templates

Setting up your own project templates helps you to avoid having to use default templates which don’t match the needs of your current project, or even worse, starting with a blank template that you have to spend ages setting up. By configuring default templates with ready patched instruments, effects routings, MIDI, audio and buss channels and your newly bookmarked plugins you’ll be able to get recording within minutes of firing up your DAW.

Sell unused hardware

4 - Sell unused hardware

Although it might look cool having that retro condenser mic on display, think about when was the last time you actually used it? If your studio is full of unused instruments or gear that’s gathering dust rather than sparking joy, consider selling them on sites such as eBay or Reverb. Not only do you clear up space, but you get a bit of extra cash in your wallet (or to buy more gear).

5 - Organise and declutter your sound library

Having thousands of loops and samples at your disposal might mean you’ve got a huge wealth of inspiration to pick from but they’re useless if you can’t find them quickly and easily. While music samples from Prime Loops come with a tempo and key in the filename to organise more accurately, you might want to look at splitting out your sample packs even further. This could be by instrument type (vocals, bass, snares etc) by one-shots or loops, or even into a favourites folder where you can grab your most used samples straight away.

Stickers for music production keyboard

6 - Use command stickers for your keyboard

It can take time to get to know all the quick keyboard shortcuts on your DAW, but once you’ve done so you can easily streamline your production process. For a quick win, invest in some keyboard stickers for your chosen DAW and have all the answers to the shortcuts at your fingertips. If you use several DAWs, buy a keyboard cover and use the stickers on that to save you having to keep switching hardware.

Marie Kondo Your DAW And Declutter Your Home Studio Cable Organisation

7 - Organise your cables

There’s nothing worse than spending ages untangling cables that were carelessly stashed away after the last recording session. Not only does it waste your time but it’s potentially damaging for your leads too. Make sure you've got a good system for storing all your mic, MIDI and instrument cables, patch leads and power cables and your untangling days are gone. Use storage boxes or hangers to store your leads and make sure each is clearly labelled.

Marie Kondo Your DAW And Declutter Your Home Studio Header

8 - Clear your desktop - both of them!

As mentioned earlier - a tidy desk = a tidy mind! This means get ridding of those plates and mugs that have been piling up, clear out the stacks of papers full of old notes and give your desk a good clean. Once you’ve done that, move to your virtual desktop. Make sure your files are all organised into folders and keep only essential shortcuts on your desktop and in your taskbar to stop you getting distracted.

Summary

The key element of taking on a KonMari approach to declutter your home studio is to help you make your recording sessions as streamlined as possible, so you can spend more time making music and less time worrying about finding the right cables, trawling through folder after folder for that one sample or getting held up by updates.

This will allow you to get creating quicker, with a clearer mind that’s free of distractions and with a toolkit that is set up for your exact needs.

If you’ve got your own tips for streamlining your production process, share with us on our Facebook page or check out our preset DAW templates for a starting point.

Download music sample packs from Prime Loops here
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Need more inspiration? Create a Prime Loops account and get a free welcome pack of loops and samples




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