10th Annual Final Countdown Winners

Posted on January 7, 2019 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges, Studio Organizing Challenge

You guys are chock full of organizing ideas, funny stories and admissions, and comforting statements about how I’m so not alone in my disorganized state! And it’s good to hear from those of you who are ahead of the game — it gives me hope! Thank you all for playing along and chiming in.

As of noon yesterday, my big pile and my cutting table didn’t look any better than they did the first time I showed them to you. In fact, the cutting table looked worse, because I was dragging stuff out of the pile on the floor and putting it on the table! It brought on a bit of panic because I gave us this same task last year, and I was unable to do it. That means my cutting table has not been clean in probably TWO years!

I was bound and determined to get it cleared off, so I gave myself a good talking to, turned on the classic rock, and dove in.

First, I had to clean out a chest of drawers, some shelves, and a closet, so I would have places to put the things I took out of the pile and off the cutting table. I also got rid of quite a few things and a couple other piles in the process, so it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I also found projects I had forgotten about that were not previously on my list . . . ahem! Feeling completely overwhelmed by 2:30, I had to go take a nap, and then try again!

And as of this morning, here is my cutting table! I’m so amazed with it, I just want to keep staring at it — it really feels very weird to walk into this room and have the large pile in the floor gone and this table so clear — it’s like something’s missing, or I’m not in the right room! Only two projects out — a pile of pillowcases I’ll be sewing up real soon, and the t-shirt quilt I’m working on for my daughter’s best friend. So organized — haha!

Below you can see the area where the pile used to be. I’m quite impressed with myself — just give me this moment to gloat about it a bit — haha! I have plans to mount another smaller design wall on this empty wall, but first this pile needed to be gone, so now I’m ready. The sheer size of the dust bunnies I uncovered was frightening! I raised so much dust I started sneezing.

While that was quite a gargantuan task (two tasks, actually), the more difficult task over the next year will be to keep it this way. My friend, Barb, says “Just clean it off every night when you’re done,” but I’m not sure I can do that. I at least hope I can clean it off after every project.

I need to learn to put the leftover pieces and tools from a finished project away before I start on the next one. However, given that I work on many projects all at once, this might prove difficult for me, too. My current plan is to post a photo of my cutting table once a month and see if that bit of accountability will keep me in line, and to only keep two (OK, maybe 3) projects out at a time, rather than 40. Wish me luck!

I also have some other piles that need to go, and several other areas to clean up, but having this bit of organization under my belt is inspiring me to tackle those very soon. I will admit that I did move a few things from one pile to another — for example, all my un-quilted tops went into the to-be-quilted pile; but that’s allowed, since I can’t quilt them all at the same time, and now they’re all together in one place.

As for my Project Assessment, I updated all my lists. I also picked my 12 main projects and put them on the list I keep on the wall at my desk. I’ll tell you about those in a separate post coming up.

And do you remember me saying that my UFO list had 137 things on it, just like the year before? Well, while I was going through all the piles, cleaning out drawers and closets, and clearing off my cutting table, the list grew to 197. Shameful! And that’s after getting rid of some! And I’m not sure I’ve found them all yet!

To clarify, I call everything a UFO, so some have been languishing in piles, and some are actively being worked on. And 55 of them are finished tops waiting to be quilted! Several of the older ones I have chosen to downsize considerably, using the parts I have completed already to simply get them finished. Others I’m actually combining, disassembling, or giving away. They have to go. And I’m still going through piles. And I desperately want to start a new project — I am a sick person!

I’m telling myself that for every new project I start, I have to finish 3 projects first. So . . . before I can start cutting pieces for this new project, I have to choose three others to finish first. I have several that are close, but still . . . Do you know how hard this is gonna be for me? Yikes! And I’m afraid to go through any more piles until I’ve finished a few things, or the list might go over 200, and I can’t let that happen.

So now, I wanna hear from you again . . .

What did you learn from doing these tasks?

Did you find some things you’ve been looking for or forgot you had?

Did your UFO list get longer? or shorter?

Does your clean sewing space feel wonderful and inspiring now?

Did you start a new project? Are you fixin’ to?

Did you make any new rules for yourself to keep yourself in line this year?

Should I be embarrassed and ashamed of my above revelations? (Yes!)

And now, how about those prizes?

As usual, I’m giving prizes that are meant to help you get more organized and not add to your clutter, since you just worked so hard to clean things up. There’s a prize for each task, so here we go . . .

Task #1: Pam Chinn
Task #2: Diane Jarvis
Task #3: Sandy

Congratulations to the winners, a HUGE thank you to everyone who played along, and we’ll certainly do it again at the end of this year!

And . . . if you’d like some organizing challenges in between, stay tuned for a post coming soon about that!

19 responses to “10th Annual Final Countdown Winners”

  1. Ok, so I’m still working on my tasks, even if I didn’t make the deadline….. 🙂 Just finished #2 and moving on with #3. I’ll let you know when I finish. This has been a great motivator, so thanks again!
    Congrats to the winners, and for finishing on time!

  2. Cathy Wight says:

    I continued cleaning around my long arm machine which included a tub I thought I knew the contents of…nope, found a finished quilt top I’ve been looking for for a couple of years! Had purchased a perfect back for it and then couldn’t find it! LOL. So, yes my UFO list has continued to grow the more I dig and organize. Think it is now at about 42-45. Thanks for the push Shelly!

  3. Darlene says:

    WOW! Shelly that cutting table is quite the accomplishment & a lot of hard work. I have had no time to touch mine yet. I love your idea about finish a few projects before starting another. I am itching to start and actually cut 3 strips and told myself don’t do it! Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. Kate Barbieri says:

    So, this entire blog post of the three tasks gave me pause and time to think about getting more organized in order for my creative ideas to take flight. In the spirit of organizing and tidying up, I read some articles and watched a few you tubes on the KonMari method of organization. While I appreciate her enthusiasm and her talent having made herself a huge success over this problem that many of us have, I decided that her method will not work for me. Her idea is to take all of the fabric and things from my sewing area and pile it in the middle of the room in order to begin tidying. Not only is that a completely terrible idea, in so much as my husband would undoubtably see just how much I have, but I would have to stop and thank each item for its service (why would I do that when because I am being messy it all has been NO service at all), and then stroke all of it and fold it all in the KonMari method. Ridding myself of the items that weigh me down is a wonderful thought, but because I am a fabricholic, I know that I would just go out and buy more again, because thats what we do and the cycle would repeat again and again. So, thank you Marie Kondo, but I am just going to bring small amounts out at a time, so that I am not unmasked from my secret and spend some time in this winter month of January to tidy up and be a little honest with myself about what items I AM REALISTICALLY never going to use and get ‘er done.

  5. Tia says:

    Because of these tasks, I realized I needed to completely relocate my sewing room from the basement to my dining room and living room. I will start this process in February… And I’m sure I’ll find even more UFOs and lost tools and notions. But that’s a good thing!

    I can’t believe you found SIXTY more UFOs! Lol!!

  6. Virginia Smith says:

    I am so guilty in so many areas that it is a overwhelming thought process. Yes, not only did I buy a new project but it is a long way to done. Now the hard and slow part: a number of very tiny flying geese that are to be paper pieced on way to thin tissue paper that is part of the pattern. That may have to change to make me happy. Larger maybe on thing that happens. Thanks for the challenges; I have ever had so many project on my UFO list and I know they are not all there because not all the boxes are open and I keep remembering one that need to be added.

  7. Sandy Weber says:

    I am impressed with your clean cutting table, and you have reason to be proud!! Just clean up after each project or when you start something new. I found that for these tasks, I already had things under control. I am not nearly as productive or as ambitious as you!

  8. Mary D. says:

    I got tired just reading your post! LOL
    But I did gain some hope for myself because I
    can’t seem to accomplish what I set out to do.
    Maybe I CAN.

  9. Meloney says:

    Looks really great.
    You are not alone! I keep finding UFOs and adding them to my list. I have completed 2 this year, so I’m OK with that. I think that as long as we are not stressing over these things and we and encouraged by them, that it is ok to have them.
    I think you should just finish those completed tops and think of how many you will have off your list.
    I’m working along with you.

  10. Rose Marie says:

    I shouldn’t even comment here as I don’t like these kinds of Final Countdowns. At my age any list I have may be a “final” list. I do have a list of unfinished projects and move them to another finished list. What is not so easy to admit is that I have UFOs that are not on any list. Most of them because they were started long before I became aware (hanging out with you caused a lot of this) that a list was a good thing. I will only vow to get every one of those on my project list. We’ll see how I make it by the end of 2019.

  11. Bonnie Epperson says:

    Congratulations, your cutting table looks great. Feel proud not ashamed!! I am especially grateful for the task to make a list and prioritize UFO,s. I had never done this before and I cannot believe how comforting it is. I hope to keep all three tasks up to date and add lots more cleaning and organizing tasks through out the year.

  12. J says:

    Your sense of humor about this issue so many of us have is wonderful… Learning great clues on how to keep on track with completing projects rather than starting new ones… I’m seeing results by writing down in a notebook all of the blocks I have completed since the beginning of the year–that’s very motivating (to do at least one a day, many days more than that). Because of this process, I have binding sewn on two quilts already this year… Thanks for the advice and your willingness to share what works for you.

  13. Randy Menninghaus says:

    I keep cleaning but than I find something and sit down and sew and the pile slides back wards.

  14. Suelynn Williams says:

    You are setting a great example for me. I feel happy to know you accomplished so much so quickly! Your year is off to a very good start.

  15. Tonia says:

    Oh Shelly and Prairie Moon Friends! Thank you! My list is longer this year 🙁 And not because it is in portrait orientation and not landscape–But! here is the great part: Because of your encouragement I have finished some tasks over the last couple of years that have been roosting buzzard-like over my Hobby House! Because of your end of year challenge I have honestly looked at what I accomplish each year–in some ways I am amazed at the amount of work done and in others…o my, did I really think I could do this? Your idea of one new for each 3 ufo….Looking forward to hearing how this works. I am a three quilts at a time gal and am trying to only have two going this year in hopes that some other creative sewing gets done in a reasonable length of time. Yes, I will try to clean up as I complete a task, too. I did finish my Grammi’s trip to Camp OdaMay yesterday–only 7 days late (the top only, and “quilting my own” is a goal) Oh, dear will I start accumulating Tops To Quilt (TTQ) ? Time will tell. But, I feel pretty good about the First Finish, even if it is 7 days late. And I am to the setting blocks in rows of my personal leader/ender for 2018.. First thing next week? Cutting out our Graduating Grandson’s Senior Quilt—–on a nicely cleaned cutting table! (so is that my First Start 2019?) WOW Thank you Shelly! Here’s to another great year of sharing our challenges and our hearts to create!

  16. Shirley Guier says:

    I used to clean up my cutting table after every project and that worked really well until I started working on multiple projects at a time. I love haveing diffetent things to work on instead of one project at a time now. I do live in piles though. That is a way for me to keep things organized. You know, it takes a while to collect all the fabric you need sometimes to start a project. I just need to reorganize my shelf space or add more shelves. I always feel great after I clean up too. So much more inspired to go to work on something. Grest task for the end of the year and my table is still ckean!

  17. Marlene Clausen says:

    Good for you, for not giving up! Now, out of bed from the flu, am picking up where I left off. I really like clean, just awful at accomplishing it. A couple comments about finishing those UFO’s from someone who (yippee!!!) has made inroads on completing them. I agree, even if all I’ve done is started cutting, it is a UFO . . . all the way to finished, but not quilted, top. First and second find an accessible home for UFO’s, even if it means buying another shelf (yard sale, Re:Store, Goodwill good, usable sources). HIDE all new projects (fabric, pattern, notes in containers of some sort) so they are not visible and tempting.

    Force yourself to complete just ONE before starting a new project, even if that project is a potholder (yes, I have done that!) and even if that new project is a gift you need. My rule is finish ONE UFO before I am free to start a new one. I also have some rules about starting new ones; but, address UFO’s first. I also have “finishing sprees.” One year, I did nothing but UFO’s in March. It was my snub at “spring cleaning.” It worked so well, the next year, I made March and August UFO months.

    I had UFO numbers that rivaled yours. After five years, about 90% of my UFO’s are large quilt tops. I don’t have a long arm and can’t afford checkbook quilting, so unless I get some help basting them, they go unfinished (for now). I try, really really hard to not create more (ahem).

    If you can make yourself finish three before starting a new one . . . good for you. For me, it would have been a self-defeating prophecy. It took 20+ years (and, yes, one of my unquilted quilts is my beloved Storm at Sea that has been a UFO for 24 years) to get me to my UFO crisis, and I wasn’t going to solve it in a year. I had to find a workable way to address the ones I have and not create more. I am a work in progress.

  18. Pam says:

    I have loved reading all these comments and suggestions! Congratulations on that awesome clean cutting table, Shelly! I am feeling so inspired by all the comments and encouragement.
    I don’t have a UFO list made, and thinking that if I make one, it may just scare
    Me to death!!!
    I know it will be a long one. I am going to keep plugging along on my organizing plans that are formulating from reading all the suggestions.
    It is comforting to know that I am not alone in my piling, stacking, and stop and start start processes!
    I am excited to start a Finished Project list for 2018!
    Happy sewing to all!!!

  19. Deanna says:

    Thanks to you, my UFO pile is quite small. It never reached the grand status of yours, but it was plenty. You may struggle with it yourself, but you have inspired me to really do something about it. Thank you.

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