CREATING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS?

pic Pinterest: from Eclecticallyvintage.com

pic Pinterest: from Eclecticallyvintage.com

Well, it sure is that time of the year where we take stock of our lives, what we do, and what we’d like to do moving forward. There is often the making of all sorts of New Year’s resolutions. Have you managed to stick to yours if you made some? Mmmmmm……maybe not? …….. I know I suck at that. Not because I don’t mean them when I make them. Just because life is so busy that things get crowded out. Perhaps one of my resolutions needs to be to simplify and downsize my work and activities?

I am currently downsizing my home, so with moving to something smaller, came the dire necessity for decluttering; sorting, donating to charities and local thrift stores, etc. While it has been a lot of work, it has been (still is) a good feeling to rid myself of a lot of stuff that, in all honesty,  I have no idea why I was keeping anyway!

No, this is not my sewing room. This is a pic on Pinterest: Cloud9fabrics.com featuring Fabric designer Holly Degroot.

No, this is not my sewing room. This is a pic on Pinterest: Cloud9fabrics.com featuring Fabric designer Holly Degroot.

I am planning a new sewing room – of course. The room will be renovated prior to us moving in and it will be a good deal smaller than my current sewing room. I have had to think in terms of how I wish to store my sewing and quilting stashes and tools moving forward. I have been researching to try to gain some ideas and it has been enlightening. I thought I would share some of my discoveries:

  • Pinterest is just wonderful for seeing how other people store their sewing and crafting supplies.  Amazing how clever some people are! It is quick and easy to “pin” a bunch of ideas and sewing room arrangements that might work for you – to return later to hone the ideas and select the ones to implement. It struck me, while doing this, that  prior to Pinterest, I had pulled articles or pictures out of magazines and kept these in folders or binders – mostly these were hardly ever looked at again…….and just used up space and gathered dust!  Trust me, my paper recycling bin is overflowing. It is SO much easier and takes up a whole lot less space to have a Pinterest Board devoted to storage ideas. Brilliant!
  • Pic on Pinterest: chabbychicideas

      Pic on Pinterest: chabbychicideas.com
  • I plan on trying very hard (If I call this a resolution, am I doomed to failure?) to keep working surfaces clear of clutter. Instead of the current tins and containers holding scissors and pens etc on my work surface, I am going to put these on a shelf away from – but within easy reach – of my working surfaces.  Along this line, I think I might finally get to making a fabric & clear plastic vinyl pocket system to hang in front of my sewing tables so that all the clutter next to my sewing machines is more manageable. Lots of lovely ideas for these on Pinterest and the beauty is that this sewing/storage mat can be customized to exactly what I need at my sewing/quilting and my serger/coverhem machine tables. (no, I don’t have fancy cabinets).
  • Another option might be to hang one of those over the door or closet organizers with pockets on the wall next to these tables to keep all these things handy? The trick is to declutter but not have to get up out of my chair to go get a pair of scissors or a tape measure…….so it does require some thought and planning.
Pic on Pinterest: kate-showandtell.blogspot.com.br

Pic on Pinterest: kate-showandtell.blogspot.com

Part # is SS-200B for the blue Over the Door Organizer. If you prefer a red one, part # is SS-200R. Both of these storage items are available through your local Jnaome or Elna dealer in Canada. I have just checked - we have inventory of both colours!

Part # is SS-200B for the blue Over the Door Organizer. If you prefer a red one, part # is SS-200R. Both of these storage items are available through your local Janome or Elna Dealer in Canada. I have just checked – we have inventory of both colours (Contents of the pockets in this pic are obviously not inlcuded)

door-org

I have both a red and a blue one of these over the door storage organizers. I have scarves stored in 1  behind a bedroom door and the other is empty for over the back of my sewingroom door at my new house…..ready to be filled with all those miscellaneous pieces of equipment and sewing supplies which I need to get at easily but don’t want cluttering up my work surfaces. Like these Organizers? Ask your local Janome or Elna Dealer in Canada to order for you.

  • I like to have a separate work station for my various sewing activities: pressing, cutting, serging, sewing, quilting, and storage.
  • The space under cutting and pressing tables is often a wasted area so I have put this to very good use with banks of those plastic drawers on wheels for various things like: ribbon, zippers, buttons, elastic, etc. They are not in my way, cluttering up working space but are close by when I need to dip into them.
pic on Pinterest: closetcasefiles.com Great idea to use kitchen style hooks for pots kitchen utensils to hand sewing supplies at the side of the cutting table.

pic on Pinterest: closetcasefiles.com    What a great idea to use kitchen style hooks for pots and kitchen utensils to hand sewing supplies at the end of the cutting table.

  • In a similar way: make use of all available space: vertical space for thread racks, pin boards, etc. And horizontal space for shelves, drawers and working surfaces.
Pic on Pinterest: M J Trimming

Pic on Pinterest:  from M& J Trimming

  • Drawer dividers are very useful for keeping things in one spot for easy access. It is annoying to have to empty out an entire drawer just to find one thing –  I think rummaging is counter productive to creativity.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on custom made draw dividers either: Figure out what you need divided up and repurpose kitchen boxes and containers. Even chocolate boxes work great. Also scout out your local $ store or thrift store which often has really cool and inexpensive tins, plastic boxes & trays etc which might work well for this purpose. For example, a desk tin for pens & pencils might become a great place to stand all your scissors or marking pens. Pinterest also has some great tutorials for making your own custom drawer dividers.
Pic on Pinterest: quiltingboard.com

Pic on Pinterest: quiltingboard.com

  • Photo Storage boxes are attractive and inexpensive and often have a little slot on the end so you can label what is in the box. Stack these up on a shelf or in a closet……everything neatly in its place? I have already started collecting a bunch of these photo boxes to line up on shelves. Not sure my new sewing room will be quite as pretty and colour co-ordinated as the first pic in this post, but it will still look nice and tidy. Well, that is the plan.
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Pic on Pinterest: smilas.blogspot.com

  • Clear glass or plastic containers are a great way to store buttons, ribbons and so on. I have quite a few clear plastic or glass jars in my sewing room holding a wide range of items. (These were previously kitchen items >> look at thrift and $ stores – you might be amazed at what you will find that will work perfectly for a fraction of the cost). Lined up on a shelf, these can be a neat design feature…….like a candy store for sewers?
Pic: hometreeatlas.com

Pic: hometreeatlas.com

  • This one is a bit of a double edged sword:  Keep your projects in separate bags or boxes. Mmmmm, well yes, I have already done that for many years but if the UFO situation gets a bit out of control, there can be a danger of becoming (literally) buried under too many boxes. But the good news is: Not every project should be completed. Do I need to repeat that? Seriously, in this great purge currently under way in my home, I have been pretty ruthless. If I can’t remember why I stashed certain fabric and thread together in a box, it got culled. Fabric was dealt with as follows: keep/thrift store/give away/sell online and thread was put back into circulation.  One rather good New Year’s resolution should/could be: Limit the number of UFO’s/project boxes at any one time to …….?  If you are feeling very smug round about now because you only ever have ONE project on the go and only ever buy fabric & supplies for that one project…..well, it might be wise to keep that to yourself or a project box might come flying towards you! LOL.
  • pic: Keepingitsimplecrafts.com

    pic: Keepingitsimplecrafts.com

  • One thing I recently discovered was that I had boxes and Rubbermaid storage tubs containing fabric that I had forgotten I purchased. Seriously. When people talk quietly behind their hands about those TV shows about hoarders, I get a little uncomfortable. I am nowhere near as bad as those poor folk on the TV shows, but it starts somewhere, does it not? So this trend is currently being radically nipped in the bud! Lots of fabric and other stuff  has already left my home and more is on its way out the door.  So here is a possible plan for moving forward: store the fabric stash in plain sight. On shelves or in wire basket drawers or neatly stacked in one of those pigeon hole type shelf systems (pic above).  If you see it, the theory is you won’t forget you have it and may be tempted to actually sew it up into a project!
  • Work out some sort of storage system for your fabric: there are great ideas on Pinterest and many books available on this subject. Colours? Fabric types (cotton, knits, poly’s, minkee, etc) Styles (batiks, panels, novelty print fabrics)? Whatever works for you. But be sure it is a system that allows you to be creative and not get stopped in your tracks because you cannot find what you need. Avoid having to empty the entire closet to get to the fabric at the bottom! Figure out a good way to store.
  • 6338530097_97cb4ce27e

      pic: piecemealquilts.com

     

  • If you have a closet in the sewing room, fabrics and other sewing supplies can be hung/pegged onto hangers and kept on the garment rail. Hang suitable patterns over the hanger hook for projects-in-the-making.
pic: babble.com

pic: babble.com

OK, I’m about to load up the car with another load for the thrift store.  Been a double whammy as I did the same process at the office and tossed mounds of stuff there too. I’m feeling pretty good about all this radical decluttering and reorganization. 

Do you do this purging on a regular basis? Or do you not need to do anything as your space is tidy and organized already? Or do you, like me, think that it is high time to do something about the (minor!) chaos in the sewing room? 

About lizafrica

I work in the Education Dept at Janome & Elna, Canada and LOVE to sew. I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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2 Responses to CREATING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS?

  1. Linda Fielding says:

    These are super ideas! I have a big sewing room and I am always looking for great ways to organize. This article is printing as I type. LOL!

    Like

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