It's probably pretty obvious that I like to organize. It's not so much that I like the act of organizing itself, but I absolutely love being able to find what I want, exactly when I want it, and exactly in the place it's always supposed to be.
Just in case you've missed this line of posts, most recently I posted on organizing one specific space in my studio and weighing different drawer options to fill the space most efficiently. I then had so many requests for a sewing room tour I had to shoot one to show the whole space in one go. So click on those links if you're interested in learning about my organization feats so far.
But recently my sewing room and kitchen studio have been cluttered to the point of distraction. I have loads of space, I have invested many times in more storage, I have even built extra odds and ends into the place to make it hold far more than it could originally, but I still find myself tripping over bags of wool and bins of scrap fabric on the floor. WHY ISN'T MY ORGANIZATION WORKING?
Because I truly believe that if my space is properly organized, I WILL NOT have things to trip on. Everything will be put away. When I want to play with something I'll pull it out and play with it and at the end of my sewing time, put it away in its proper place.
So today I've been first trying to figure out WHY my sewing area is getting so messy. WHAT specific items are making it feel cluttered and why are they there and not put away properly?
Very quickly I realized that there's a lot of stuff in my studio with no specific space. Certain tools, materials, and even threads are haphazardly organized across many drawers with no rhyme or reason. I can't find a pair of scissors to save my life, but I have 3 different places I'm keeping needles. This is just weird.
So I have a new mantra: LABEL IT!
This morning I went through every drawer and labeled each one with what it specifically contained. This was both fun and will finally stop me from opening the wrong drawer 4 times before picking the correct one.
This also helped me to start cleaning up. Instead of needles in 3 places, I now keep new, unopened sewing needles in one drawer and the packs I've opened in another. All the rotary cutters have a special place, all the yoyo makers, everything that can be lumped into a set group is now together in one space and much easier to find.
I'm also finding from this experience that many things I've put in drawers should NOT be in drawers. Precut fabric is best put in artbins so I can pull the whole bin out and put it on the table while I'm laying out my fabric and planning a design. While most thread I use commonly works great in drawers, this thread in particular needs to move to an artbin:
Why? This is trash/art thread. It's several years old, some of it good, some bad, but none of it will ever be stitched into a quilt. I'm going to make stuff out of it, eventually, but for now this isn't a project I'm needing to jump into, so this thread needs to get out of a drawer that's in such a primary location and up on a shelf out of the way.
Of course, once I started organizing, I found more places I've not used wisely. Many times I'll finish a quilt and just shove all the scraps from the project in one big bin and shove it on the shelf. This is NOT a good way to organize scraps:
Which got me thinking - what IS a good way to organize scraps? I have yardage organization down as my hanging method is still working great, but scraps have never been my forte. This is just not working with so many colors all jumbled up!
I began pulling out red pieces and putting them all in one bag. As soon as I started pulling out the colors and sorting, I realized I would love a bin of just red scraps, a bin of blue, a bin of purple, and so on. Instead of cutting yardage I will be far more likely to use scraps if I know I have a bin of all one color ready to go.
But here's a question: should I keep prints and solids separate?
I use printed fabrics sparingly (i.e almost never) because they usually hide a pretty quilting design which never makes me happy. I use batiks that read as solids and solid colored fabrics far more. Should I keep these two different types of fabric separate or lump them all together so long as they are the same color? How do you organize this?
I'm leaning towards separate, but that would require 12 bins or more to organize all the colors of the rainbow by color AND by solid / print. So I need more bins...hmm...
Yes, I think I need to get back into the sewing room and look around and think some more. Unfortunately it's right about now that I'm feeling so overwhelmed by the problem that I usually just throw everything in the corner and walk out of the room. I'm trying hard not to do that today and to work through this step by step.
Here's to finding a place for everything, even when that means reorganizing the entire room!
Let's go quilt,