The Free Motion Quilting Project: Clean Sweep

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clean Sweep

Yes, I'm cleaning and clearing out yet again. I seem to do this every 6 months, but this time I'm going for a spartan look.

quilting yard sale
I was so pleased to see three whole shelves of my bookshelf cleared off completely. These have previously been packed to the hilt with craft books on knitting, quilting, embroidery and art. Many were purchased years ago and I haven't flipped through them in a long time.

While it sort of hurts to get rid of books, I have to be practical and a bit cut throat. My issue is I have so many different interests and skills and very little time to enjoy all of them. Am I going to ever have time to knit a jacket? Probably not. Am I ever going to complete that complicated drawing kit? No.

quilted art journal | quilted journal
I hate admitting that running a creative business saps your time to pursue every craft and art you're interested in. I feel like this year I've been far more creative on small, quick-to-finish quilted journal pages. I can work on one page a month and try new ideas without feeling overwhelmed by a massive project.

But many of these books and a lot of my gear - yarn, fiber, beads, buttons, tools, fabric - were purchased out of some optimistic dreamland fantasy that I actually have time to play with all this stuff. I don't. I have the space to STORE all this stuff, but that isn't the same thing.

I'm tired of keeping things because I wanted it before. Yes, I wanted it, I bought it, it sat on my shelf and took up space for many years, and somehow it makes me feel guilty to get rid of it.

I once heard this advice for getting rid of creative gear - pull everything out and set it on your table and go "shopping" through all the stuff. What would you buy today if you saw it in a shop? Would you take it home and put it on a shelf or immediately start working on a cool new project?

That mentality really helps when deciding what to keep and what needs to go. And thankfully it's going to go quick because we're having a yard sale tomorrow!

If you happen to live in the area and are needing more crafty gear, swing by S Clay Street in Gastonia, NC from 7 am to 12 pm on Saturday the 23rd. I'll have loads of creative gear for you to play with, plus it's only a few minutes from Mary Jo's Cloth Store!

Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. It is so hard to let go of craft stuff; I applaud you. My husband and I started Six on Sunday two weeks ago on our blog, where every Sunday we each select six items to pitch, sell or donate. I am really liking it so far, but I think it is going to be REALLY hard to give up my craft "dream-only" project gear. So far, my master closet has been a sufficiently target rich environment for purging. lol

    Take care,
    Susan in Texas

  2. Weird, I'm doing this right now with my studio closet. Giving away 3 boxes of scrap upholstery fabric this weekend on our local Yahoo Freecycle Group. Felt so good to see all the empty storage bins--which I'll gradually fill with fabric I can actually use. Kudos! And I love the shop-in-your-own-stuff idea. Makes perfect sense and would cut down on a lot of wavering and hesitation as to what to let go and what to keep.

  3. I love the idea to pull out everything and shop it again, I may just give this a try. If I was up visiting my mom, who lives in Belmont, I would totally see you Sat morn...I also need to unload my bookshelves, they are loaded to the limit. I love books and magazines, I too feel guilty about wanting them, reading them then stashing them on a shelve, but what else to do with them. Good luck on the yard sale...

  4. My room needs your kind of treatment, my bookshelves look like yours did ; I should be brave and do exactly what you have done (oh, how painful, LOL). Will need to think about it, but have a drink of something strong first! :-)

  5. Good on ya for making a decision to clear out the "stuff" you aren't actually ever going to use. We all have the same bookshelf somewhere in the world. Those pattern books were great and inspiring when we brought them with wills to make them one day, but that day never happens. I bet you aren't even missing them now!


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