Sunday Sewcial #9 – Help me organize!


Wow, #9! Hard to believe!

I have a sneaking suspicion that this year is going to fly by. If YOU have the secret to slowing time down, let me know, will you? Please?

So, come on in and pull up a chair. Welcome to Sunday Sewcial #9! Coffee’s on. Want a cup?

Yesterday, as you may know, I was digging around in my workroom, trying desperately to clean it and bring some order to the chaos. The cutting table was so covered in different projects that I could barely see what I was doing. I won’t tell you I got it all cleaned up because, well, it’s going to take a bit longer than just one Saturday, but I did bring a little sanity to it.

I got some great responses to the how of organizing (via email and Instagram). Today I have a slightly different angle. I want to be more specific. What tools do you use to sort your stuff? Boxes, baskets, bins, what?

I’m curious how you organize all the smaller things. Do you keep all the parts for one quilt together (including thread, pattern, etc.)? Or do you keep things with like things (patterns with patterns, thread with thread). And, assuming you, like me, work on more than one project at a time, how do you keep things separate?

I have tried all sorts of ways to separate things. I’ve used ZipLoc bags to store all the pieces of a quilt in. Stack a few full bags up together and what happens? They slide off into the floor.

For a while I had some opaque plastic bins I used, but they drove me crazy because I couldn’t see what was in them. I tried labeling them, but found that more effort than it was worth. I have to see those colors!

One of the things I did a couple of years ago, that I still use, was to repurpose a milk glass compote for pins. The holes around the edges hold my seam rippers (Jack, Jack, Jack, and Jack), an awl, and sometimes, small scissors.

Fun, huh?

How do you store your thread? Bobbins? I store thread in cracker jars, by type. It’s not necessarily ideal, but I can always find what I’m looking for. Bobbins go in a clear plastic box OR, if they are “everyday” colors, they get tossed in a little ceramic pot I made several years ago. Along with odd sewing machine feet. It would drive most people crazy, I think, but it works for me.

Please ignore the dust and lint on the table. Isn’t it a never-ending thing?

Every so often, I hop on Pinterest for inspiration.Yeah, I know, Pinterest should come with an addiction warning label. I am pretty careful and don’t allow myself to spend too much time on there, but it is a great source of ideas. Usually, I just need to see one or two things to send me running off with a solution to something, Or at least the potential for solutions. But have you ever noticed that in all of those sleek, pretty craft or sewing rooms, there is no stuff! Well, sheesh. We could all have great work spaces if not for the supplies to make things with.

Actually, this seamstress has tons of stuff…and made over her family room to store it all!
See more here.

Several years ago, I read an article that talked about the difference between closed storage and open storage. I realized that I need open storage. I need to be able to see what I have, and then be able to just toss things back into it when if I take time to organize. For this reason, most of my fabric lives on open shelves where I can see it all at once. One of these days I’ll show you what I mean. Not today, though…there’s still a bit of mayhem happening there.

Share your best studio organizing tips with me! Maybe I’ll be able to use some of them. Heaven knows I have LOTS of organizing still to do! And the truth, I’m afraid, is that I’m a slob.

Do you struggle with this too? What solutions have you found?

  • cindy parry

    The best organizational tip I ever heard was from David Taylor. I couldn’t wait to get home to put that idea to work. He uses several (me? one) spinning CD towers to store fat quarters. It is fabulous! I love it! I store my fat quarters fold side out of course by color more or less. Mine is as tall as I could find; almost 5 feet high. It’s four sided so it holds a lot o’ fat quarters. It only takes about a square foot of floor space for all that storage AND easy access. I put padded felt feet on the bottom before loading it up so even if the thing is loaded I can, with relative ease, slide it a bit if/when needed … you know, for that ever so rare cleaning binge or to retrieve the dropped pin that rolled under it.
    I ALSO fold my 1/2 to 2 yd pcs on comic book cardboard “plates”. They are the perfect size. I pin on the end then store them fold up so you can see at a glance what you have in a drawer. (check your drawer clearance before purchasing. There are a couple of sizes available) Anything 2yds and under is on a cardboard and it’s easy enough to pull them out and keep them organized. I store them by theme in each drawer; Asian, bird, garden, texture, sewing. You could easily do by colors of course or perhaps by type of fabric.

    • That is a great idea!! I used to use those shoe cubby things (like from Target), and they worked well until I started filling them up. Then, because they’re so deep, I would end up with fabrics pushed to the back behind all the others.

      The CD tower is brilliant. I will have to go hunt one down!

      I like the idea of keeping fabric in a drawer. It would stay cleaned up but you could still SEE it quickly…

      Thanks for your ideas!

  • Bill V.

    no specific suggestions for a sewing space, but I can say decluttering is working for me right now 🙂

    • Do you even HAVE clutter, Bill? Somehow, I doubt it. 🙂

      • Bill V.

        Yes, but a lot of it is stored away in boxes and becomes clutter when I’m sorting through it. The ball is in motion now, though. 🙂