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!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?