The Free Motion Quilting Project: Stop with the Crazy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stop with the Crazy!

We've finally finished the last leg of the remodel - moving furniture around the house! I still need to hang some quilts and paintings, but this will do for now:

We also moved this cabinet downstairs next to my computer and I took the opportunity to clean and clear my desk. This is the cleanest it's looked in years!

I should have taken a "before" photo but I didn't think of it. Imagine plastic boxes piled up on the top shelf of the black desk right up to the ceiling. Each box was filled with designs, sketches, ideas, and diagrams. Basically if I wrote something down on a piece of paper and thought it was important, I saved it.

Yep, that's just nuts.

The issue with all this stuff is it's just that - stuff. I don't actually use it. I never went through these boxes searching for a missing design. I kept it mostly out of fear that one day I will run out of ideas and all these papers and drawings will somehow bring it all back.

I've also collected binders, clipboards, and plastic boxes:

Why so much of all of these things?

Typically I buy like this when I think I've stumbled across the perfect solution to organize my life and sort through all the stuff that's surrounding me and making me feel crazy. So I buy more stuff to fix a problem caused by having too much stuff.

Yeah...that makes a lot of sense Leah...

When I see these piles of stuff, I feel like a hoarder. That is definitely something I do not WANT to be, but I know the urge to save and stash is definitely in my DNA.

I can remember when I bought a particular bead or a bag of wool fiber on a fun trip. I can remember when I drew that design or planned that quilt.

These memories make me feel more connected to my stuff, but they also make it very hard to throw things away. What happens if I suddenly want that collection of fabric marbling supplies I bought at a show three years ago?

Many times I'll go through a purging rampage and toss tons of stuff out of my studio. Then in a few months I find myself searching for that stupid box of precut wool felt circles that I had in a drawer for five years and I CAN'T BELIEVE I THREW IT AWAY! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!!!

Um...yep, that sounds like me...

I want to get a handle on this. Going through my design boxes I realized I'm still drawing the same designs I was drawing four years ago. Why haven't I just made that quilt already?! Why haven't I taught that set of designs? Why haven't I shared that idea?

When I really think about it, it always comes back to time. I don't feel like I have enough time to do the things I want to do. I buy more stuff because it scratches the itch, but more stuff, and more stuff to organize the stuff, doesn't actually satisfy.

What I need is dedicated time to create. The original goal of my business was to have time to quilt every day. If my business isn't fulfilling that basic goal, it's a failure.

This might sound harsh, but sometimes being harsh is necessary to make change happen. Instead of buying more craft stuff on my next trip, I need to bring some craft stuff with me and do something fun with it. My vacation should be playing with the things I've bought and making something new and pretty with all of these materials.

My goal this year was to simplify and make my life easier. I have a tendency to get bogged down and to let things pile up until it's too overwhelming and crazy to deal with. Instead of letting it get that far out of control, I need to keep things under control every day.

So my starting goal? Just keep my desk clean.

Simple. Easy. Doable. Just keep your desk clean, girl!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. The best advice I ever got was to keep your dining room table cleared off -- and put a centerpiece - floral bouquet, or something there and keep it clean except for one pretty thing. It is hard at first but eventually it becomes a habit. Keeping surfaces clean is
    a constant goal.

  2. As I was reading your post I was thinking I could have written the exact same thing. I have many times dreamed of organizing and also have plastic bins and apple boxes. Please don't get so down on yourself. You get so much done...way more than I could ever hope to or think was possible to do as much as you every week. Buying less and using up what you have is a start. I hate the throwing out and waste time trying to find something I knew had to be there also. I think I could part with my old quilting magazines...not sure they are worth anything but wish I knew someone who wanted them!
    I think I feel and share your pain! {{Hugs}} Good luck on keeping your desk clean and remember all you do get done! If I find a great way to sort, purge and organize I will let you know.
    Sincerely, Another quilter/crafter overwhelmed with the job of organizing.

  3. could not agree more

  4. I hear you Leah! This reminds me of George Carlin's comedy routine about STUFF. Watch this:

  5. While I see the value in things and always want to save them, I really can't function when everything is out of place and everywhere. So I do keep it in check. If only the other people who lived at my house could understand that the out of place clutter makes my brain crazy and every flat surface is not, in fact, placed there just to store your junk.

  6. Um, also guilty of that! Also trying to remove things slowly but surely. Look at it, smile at the memory and keep it as a memory - remove the little torn piece of paper flower or whatever scrap from a magazine. It is crazy, but my dad also hoarded - wood - all sorts of timber for that just in case moment! LOL!

  7. What you said about taking your supplies on vacation and actually using them is so true! I need to do that!


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