Yikes! I cleaned out a file drawer, started on another one, went through a pile of magazines, gathered all the paperwork I need to send to my accountant, sorted through a box of old patterns and passed the ones I didn’t want on to a friend, and found a place for the ones I want to keep — and let me just say: I. Have. So. Much. Further. To go. Uff!
I LOVE all the comments you’ve been leaving. So many of you already have a system, and that’s the point I’m trying to get to. Soon, I hope! I will keep chipping away at this over the next week, but it’s also time for Task Two.
For Task Two, we will:
I hesitated about this one, because I don’t mean tear your entire studio apart and rearrange/reconfigure all your project storage (unless that’s what you really want to do — then by all means have at it!).
I recently helped a dear friend move, and there is NOTHING that makes you take stock of all your own stuff like helping a friend move! Haha! (And she isn’t even a quilter. See related story at the end.) I came home after two days, and just sat in my chair looking around at all the crap, and realized something has to change, and way faster than it’s been changing. I’m starting with the studio.
What I do mean with this task is to take stock of what projects you have going on, and if you’re stuck on a project because of something, then take care of that something and get it to where you can work on it again.
On my cutting table alone (refer to yesterday’s photo), I have this embarrassing number of projects in progress (29– ahem — again, don’t judge!), and the pieces and parts of them are obviously scattered everywhere and commingling with each other.
On the table beside my sewing machine, I have 5 more; there’s one on my ironing board, 11 on my design wall, and 58 tops in my to-be-quilted pile, which is scattered all over, and does not count the large collection of vintage quilt tops that I have purchased over the years and want to get quilted.
And I have LOTS of projects in their proper bins that are already organized and just waiting to be worked on. I’m never gonna live long enough to get all this done, am I?
OK, after that confession, I’d like to go hide somewhere.
So if you, too, have a “few” projects all going at once, ask yourself these questions:
Are all the pieces and parts of this project here and ready to go? Or do I need to find something/buy something/cut something/learn something in order to finish it?
Do I even want to finish it? Or would I rather have bamboo shoots driven under my fingernails rather than look at it one more time? Can I/Should I downsize it/make it simpler just to get it finished?
And as I said before, I don’t want you to tear your entire studio apart (unless you want to), I just mean for you to gather up and take stock of the ones that are bothering you, or not currently organized properly (as in strung all over your sewing room in bits and pieces).
Gather up just those projects, add what you need, or make a note to get it as soon as you can, and put it all together — pizza box, basket, bin, however you store your projects. (And speaking of that, I’ve heard that Michael’s stores have THESE for only $5 each, and they stack really great and can hold an entire project! Or wouldn’t you love to have THIS? Only $15!) Or get rid of them, if that’s what you deem necessary.
Me, personally, I have these great rolling carts with drawers (Amazon) . . .
. . . and this nice cabinet:
And I also added shelves to one of my closets, where I’m now able to stack the projects that are already organized in their little bins. My goal is to have fewer bins so that I can fit them all in the storage areas I have without any overflow. It’s also my goal to have all my fabric fit in the designated bins with the lids CLOSED, but that’s a task for some other time — uff!
I need to clean my drawers and cabinet out and reorganize all the projects into them properly (instead of just pitching and stashing like I do throughout the year) and get all the parts and pieces of all my projects back together. It has to be done in order to work on them, so it’ll help start my year off right, if I have the projects all organized a little bit better. We can concentrate on the older ones later on. For now, just worry about the ones that are out and unorganized and bothering you.
And if you don’t work like this, and you are already all organized with every single project — again, my hat is off to you. I don’t know how you keep it all straight. In some ways, I’m doing better than I was a year ago, and in some ways, it might actually be worse — Eek!
I have one stack of quilts on my table, and all they need is borders. The pile had five quilts in it, and it’s now down to three, but still — just the borders? I need to decide what I want to do, shop my stash for border fabrics, and put it all together, so that it can be easily done the next time I have some sewing time for myself. And that’s just one example . . .
How about you? What projects are bothering you, if any? Look at each one, and decide:
What needs to be done with it to make it easier for me to finish?
Am I missing any parts and pieces?
Need to decide on borders?
Need to prepare a backing and binding?
Do I just need to donate it and get rid of it?
Take it all apart and put the fabric back in my stash and forget it?
Do I need to look up a tutorial or video to learn something to finish it?
Can I downsize it to make it quicker/easier to finish?
Let me know if you have any problems of this sort, and what you are going to do about it. The suggestions in yesterday’s comments were wonderful idea starters, so I hope we can continue that! If you haven’t already, go back and read those comments — there are lots of good ideas and suggestions.
To be eligible for the prizes, just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the final task. Good luck to us all!
And I’ll leave you with one funny from when we moved in here seven years ago:
We moved here from Nebraska. All our stuff was loaded into a 53′ trailer hauled by a semi, and the farm stuff was loaded into two livestock trailers, including our 3 horses, five head of cattle, and all our dogs and cats. And my own pickup was loaded full. The truck driver we hired had hired several college students to help us who were on break for the holidays and wanted to earn a little extra money.
We loaded it all up in Nebraska, drove it all down here to Missouri (8 hours away), and unloaded it on a bitter cold day with lots of snow and ice on the ground. And My Cowboy couldn’t help with one single thing because he had just had heart surgery, and has his arm in a sling! So he stood on the porch and opened and closed the door with his good arm for all of us as we worked.
About 2/3 of the way through unloading the 53′ trailer, after packing in several bins of fabric, multiple stacks of quilts, and so many little project boxes, one of the boys stopped beside My Cowboy on the porch, rolled his eyes, and said: “I am NEVER. Getting married.”
We all burst out laughing, as My Cowboy told him: “It’s OK. Just don’t marry a quilter!”