2020 Final Countdown, Task Three

Posted on December 31, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges, Organizing, Studio Organizing Challenge

Loving all the photos you are sharing ( mainly because I love getting peeks into other people’s sewing spaces)! Here are a few more photos . . .

Some afters from yesterday’s befores:

Amazing differences, right? Like a breath of fresh air, I always say . . .

Some befores, and I’m showing you these, not because they’re before pictures, but because they’re really good ideas for fabric storage! They actually look fairly organized already, to me. And how handy is it to have your fabric all so accessible? Also, note the great lighting in this space!

Another before, and this is a closet, so in my estimation, it’s allowed to be a little messy. I’m particularly amused at how she’s using the ladder as a shelf — teehee! That’s something I can see myself doing, easily!

Here are some befores and afters of work surfaces:

An after of a neat fabric stash:

Before and after of a corner of a sewing room — again, amazing difference!

And me, well . . .

I haven’t tackled the boxes yet (you can see them taunting me in the background), but I decided I’d first tackle all the scraps that were residing on my cutting table, because that would help me with both tasks at the same time.

I had 2 baskets, 1 bin, and 1 large baggie full of scraps, and I’m down to the last basket, which I hope to finish today. Then I can start tackling the pile of boxes and try to stuff some more fabric into my bins. I already know it’s not going to fit, so I need to come up with a good temporary solution to store it neatly till its turn to be used comes up, but also not such a good temporary solution that I feel comfortable with it becoming permanent — how’s that for some requirements? I have until the 7th to make this all look neater.

The one last major thing (trust me, there are many minor things, too, but for this, I’m concentrating on major issues) that is plaguing organizational efforts in my studio is the myriad of UFOs and WIPs I have laying around. So for our last Final Countdown task, we will:

Take stock/organize/deal with unfinished projects

This can take any form you want it to.

You can:

  • • Make a list of your projects
  • • Reorganize the way you store your projects
  • • Finish some close-to-completion projects
  • • Do an assessment of your unfinished projects
  • • Make plans for what to do with/about those projects

It’s been my goal for several years to make the number of projects on my list go DOWN, but sadly, as I’ve been unpacking boxes, cleaning up, and reorganizing, I’ve found so many more projects I had stashed away that my list has actually grown exponentially larger! Eek!

And I finished 71 projects this year! And still my list got larger, not smaller, even tho I did not start very many new projects at all. I’m seriously afraid to keep looking through boxes! But then, too, I need to know what I’m dealing with, and get it under control, so that’s part of my plan. And I fully intend to make a list and do some ruminating on it, so that I can at least finish some of the quickest-to-finish projects on that list and get that horrendous number whittled down — a LOT! Even after getting rid of some I don’t like, and downsizing others, I realize that I really LIKE the projects I have started, and want to finish them — so there’s that, too.

Here are some options for that:

  • • Find your oldest UFO and do something about it.
  • • Pick one sewing task you’ve been putting off, and just do it already!
  • • Locate your project that is closest to being done, and see how quickly you can finish it.
  • • Choose a certain number of projects that you want to finish, and put them at the top of your list to be the first ones you work on in 2021.

One of the main things I’m going to do is make some categories for my projects. I have a to-be-quilted pile, a pile of vintage quilt tops and projects, personal projects, and business projects. I’m going to try to sort them each into their own areas and get them organized within the categories, and see if that helps.

For example, I’m going to get all my to-be-quilted quilts into one area, then I can see if there are any that need backings prepared, make sure I have bindings ready, and have the sizes listed, so I know what batting pieces I will need. That will make it much easier for me to throw one on the frame if I have a free weekend spot, rather than spending the entire weekend having to prep a backing, make binding, find batting, and then run out of time before I ever get it loaded on the frame. My Cowboy always preaches: “Be Prepared!”

I’m also going to sort all my vintage stuff so that I know which projects only need quilting, which ones are in progress, which ones need help, and which ones I simply will never have time to do anything with and need to get rid of. (I started this to some degree a couple months ago, and have listed some pieces I’m reluctantly parting with in Hazel’s Mercantile. I’m sure I’ll find a few more things to add as I get time to list them.) I also have a stash of vintage fabric that I need to re-organize, since it’s starting to become scattered in places it shouldn’t be. I really have my work cut out for me, and I’m sure I won’t be completely done by the 7th!

Again, this is a repeat task, because it’s one that plagues me constantly, so here are links to some past posts where we’ve done this task, or a similar task that will help finish up projects. Look through them for some more ideas, things to consider, options for dealing with them, etc.

2009, Task One

2010, Task One

2011, Task Two

2012, Task One

2013, Task One

2013, Task Three

2015, Task Two

2017, Task Three

2018, Task Three

2019, Task Two

Whew! I’ve addressed this one many, many times, obviously, and my situation is really not any better after all this time! Will 2021 be the year I can get this under control? Time will tell.

I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster and have been pulling to the top of a big hill, and I’m hovering at the crest, just about to finally start rolling down the other side. I hope I’m in for a smooth ride!

How about you? Are your projects as out of control as mine are?

I’ve been on a serious finishing mission for the last two years, trying very hard not to start anything new, and working hard to finish up things I have going. I plan to continue that throughout 2021, to see if I can finally make that list smaller. I do still have some boxes to unpack, so I may yet find more projects that I’ve forgotten to add to the list, but hopefully, not too many more. (I even ended up with an empty project box after cleaning off my cutting table! Woohoo!)

I participated in American Patchwork & Quilting’s UFO Challenge last year, and didn’t do so well, but I’m joining in again this year, and hope to do better. You can join in, too — find the information HERE. This is just one of the ways I’m planning to deal with more of my projects this year.

My list is so large that I used Random Number Generator to choose the ones I’d put on this list, because, really, with so many, how was I ever gonna decide? Thankfully, it chose several that only need to be quilted and bound, and some of them are small. Maybe I’ll find some time to finally put a few of my own quilts on the longarm this year. Because I really can’t make my number go down, if I never actually finish the quilts!

Don’t forget to leave a comment (and read the comments from others) to give and get some more good ideas for dealing with UFOs and other projects. I’m excited to be more organized about mine heading into the new year. Are you?

Remember, you have until the 7th to complete your tasks (I know mine are going to take a few more days), and leave your comments for the prizes. I’ll draw for the winners on the 7th. And I’ll also have some more announcements about some (hopefully fun) things that are coming up this year, so be sure and stay tuned!

43 responses to “2020 Final Countdown, Task Three”

  1. Deanna says:

    I had fun yesterday, though I didn’t actually clean much, but I did reduce stash by making things…does that count? Blog post coming shortly…

    Anyway, I am now off to make a list of projects. YAY! 2021 will be better because of you and this challenge.

    Thank you!

  2. The list of projects is made and I will start a page on my blog that shows pictures. There are about 42. And I am not proud. But I know what I have!

  3. Debra Freese says:

    Well first I’m going to review last years UFO list to see what needs to be moved to this year.
    I know there are a couple of projects in labeled bins that I just don’t like but have been reluctant to get rid of. But, I’m thinking that I could give them to Nana’s (our guild’s resale booth during the Quilt Show). I’m sure another quilter would appreciate them. Then I would have a few empty bins to hold this year’s UFOS!

  4. Wendy says:

    I have large quilts to be quilted in one bin, small in another. I don’t have the desire or space to quilt the larger quilts, so I take them to a friend who is a long arm quilter. The smaller ones can be done by me. I need to go through them and refresh my lists, so that will be my task for this week.

  5. Randy Menninghaus says:

    I got the closet sorted. Than I side tracked into winding bobbins and sorting thread. Then I started playing with scraps. I will have the list revised tonight. Afraid to look at the 2020 list as I am off task for sure.

  6. Jane Kennedy says:

    I have three quilts I would like to work on:
    A hand appliqué lady slipper orchid, a half-square triangle aka: “the damn quilt” and a hunter’s star. Those are the only ones I have come across but I’m sure something is hidden in my safe keeping place. I just have to remember where that is.

  7. Kerry says:

    When we moved, I had to make do with a back bedroom. It isn’t laid out as I would like as there is a big mirror sliding door wardrobe taking up a lot of room. But there are shelves that are utilised for things. A big expanse where some tall things are housed (like my painting easel). On the other side there are boxes with ahem, dolls house items and teddy bears that will be taking pride of place when I get my sewing room (to be built) – but on those are finished tops, together with their backings and batting ready to be quilted. Once I’ve finished the wedding quilt, then I’ll be tackling those – some are smaller. The window ledge definitely needs clearing as it has been an if in doubt shove it there surface. A lot of my cupboard space house my lovely vintage hand cranks still bubble wrapped and these will be on open shelves eventually – then I’ll have space in the cupboards for general quilting things! I also have a gardening trug – it was hand crafted and I didn’t want to get it dirty in the garden! Ooooh dear! It needs to go out in the barn!

  8. I have made my yearly list. I have a few less UFO for 2021 than last year but it is still too long. I am scare I may find more hiding somewhere. With my quilting ladies I have asked them to select 4 projects to work on between Jan-April and I will select a number for each month. Blog post will be up 1st January.

  9. candy says:

    LOL I started a list this morning before I read your post. Universe is working again. I do tend to “curate” my lists with only the projects I really want to do. This year I am going to try to list them all and try to work on checking them off as I finish. Thanks and Happy New year

  10. Sharon Gratz says:

    UFOs abound, in various stages. 🙂 That is not a detriment, in my opinion. It gives options of what do I feel like doing today? Sew blocks together? Decide on borders? Sandwich? Start a new quilt top? Make crumb block fabric? However, yes, I do work on them, eventually, but contemplate constantly of how to do it. I had already decided on 6 for 2021 so this ‘challenge’ is right up my alley. lol

  11. Fran says:

    I made a list of the 12 Sew Alongs that I am doing in 2021. One is a block every day. Most are blocks weekly with a few monthly. I also listed 12 quilts, that I want to start and where the pattern and material are located, on the UFO list. Hopefully, I can work the quilts on the UFO list in among all of the sew along blocks. I didn’t do a very good job of doing that in 2020. I am not going to do so many Sew Alongs in 2022.

  12. christopher thomas says:

    well i am glad to report that I got all but one of my ufo done while i was layed off due to covid……so i have that one my list to finish tonight as i am drinking wine and watching this year go and the new one come on in and take over……

    i am making a list of some of the projects that i would like to do this year…..

    have sewing and quilting to everyone…..


  13. Angela Neese says:

    You’re making me feel a little virtuous today! I actually don’t have any UFOs. I tend to do one quilt at a time – start to finish. I did finish a twin “I Spy” quilt for the 3 yr old grandson and have a 30’s quilt (for myself!!) in the frame to hand quilt. Other than that, just lots of fabric stash, in little totes, organized by possible future projects. My biggest challenge right now is yesterday’s – organizing my scraps. Work in progress…

  14. Cindy Wienstroer says:

    While finish piecing a top (still needs borders) started thinking of UFO & WIP. So have 15 to quilt but mostly small runners so i can give them away. But tops that have some parts done -13. Not too bad but then baggies in drawers or boxes with fabric for ideas – found at least 16 and didn’t try to find the box i know had more. So still working on scraps, and working. Hope to have done by 7th.

  15. Tonia says:

    Well…..I finally got out there to the land where dreams become projects….Oh goodness it was fun to see folk’s pictures! If I had taken a before and an after I fear you would wonder if I just moved things around. And, yes, I did! But there are clear spaces to use rotary cutter, ruler and scissors without mistakenly cutting something intended for another project! I have lost some things: Where is the black and green fabric? I found it for the daughter who loves all things Irish! Now I have a tote for it and some things that might go with it……but where is the illusive “it?” And, I found things– a piece of fabric used for oldest daughters Easter dress in 1974 ! There might be enough for something for her 4mo old granddaughter!!! I learned something I should have learned a long time ago, (and heard in my head as I left the Chateau D’Oeuf headed for Hobby house)…….Don’t put the eggs in your pocket! Yup…they broke…yup, its a mess….lesson learned (maybe). Coat is in the wash as I write. Thankful I keep water and rags out there.
    Honestly, I think I am concerned about THE LIST. My dreams and visions are way more ambitious than my ambitions. But, I only see two left overs from last year (2019) and they are on the “do these next, OR ELSE pile) One nearly finished 2019 Countdown top (#3 on above mentioned list) and blocks on the wall for Granddaughter #2 Graduation next spring–I would call it halfway done 🙂 So tomorrow I will go over the lists from the last few years that Shelley has helped me get organized and begin fresh in January. You have really been an encourager to be more focused. I still have dreams (a house quilt with lots of different house blocks!) Finishing the fourth block of needle turn applique and somehow make it useful–I am thinking table topper?) Graduation quilts (two next year), and maybe some wedding quilts–I mean they will need wedding quilts some day, right?! Its my excuse for making Countdown quilts starting in January–I am deliberately behind each year on that one) And, I have blocks for many Hidden 9’s or other simple quilts to make for folks who need them. So Happy New Year fellow quilters……May we be wildly productive and maybe even use the good systems we have set up over each year’s last three days……

  16. Judy S. says:

    Task 3 completed! A UFO list was compiled for 2021. I only count the ones with pieces cut, so it doesn’t look very big. I would hate to have to count the FQ packs, jelly rolls and layer cakes.

  17. Diane says:

    Task 3 is completed. I participated in the Finish A Long last year as well as the APQ UFO Challenge. I got the impression that the FAL wasn’t as well organized as it was in previous years because there was difficulty getting corporate sponsors. Truth be told I don’t participate for the prizes, but to help hold myself somewhat accountable, and to be inspired by what others creatives do. I love the APQ Challenge, it’s manageable. What I loved about the FAL was the spread sheet to fill out. Although I can’t find information about this years participation I printed off last years sheets and made a new list of my projects to get current. There are 84 “quilting” UFO’s and 14 “craft” projects. And then there are the Wannado’s because there always are projects beckonning us! I’m going to finish clearing my “work surface”, and hopefully my ironing board too which is where an amazing amount of my work surface stuff landed. I love a good challenge.

  18. Joan says:

    Long ago I decided that it would be a nightmare making a list of all of my unfinished projects, so I started a notebook where I list all of the quilts I work on each month. If I start a new project, I write NEW next to it. If I finish a top I write TOP DONE. If the whole quilt is done I write DONE.
    Inside of each project tote I keep a written record of the dates I worked on it, what was accomplished and general notes in case the project was put away so long I would not know what my plan for the quilt was, as some of them are made without patterns, or I have modified the quilt in some way…
    I guess for this challenge, I ought to dig out at least one of those totes that has not seen the light of day for a long while and work on it… If I finish a top I’ll keep going on that same path until our deadline of the 7th. It will be interesting to see how old some of those things are! Maybe I too will end up with some empty totes!
    Thank you so much for motivating all of us. Happy New Year!

  19. Rose Marie Smith says:

    Wow. I started to tackle Task 2 from yesterday and realized that I could put away just a bit of fabric in some boxes that had been emptied. Dead end after that. But I found two scrappy table runners that I had pieced quite awhile ago for donation to a quilt show (which didn’t happen in 2020). I decided to quilt both of them. Got only one of them done, but the second one is ready to go tomorrow. Turns out that was Task 3. I have been working on getting more and more and more unfinished projects done. So far quite a bit of progress in 2020. This week should also be a bit of help.

  20. Stephanie says:

    I like to redo my UFO list on NYE every year. I start a new notebook, and change the order of the UFOs. This time I did separate categories, and listed them in age order within each category.
    Ahem, there are 80 … but at least I know where almost all of them are this time. Yay – job done!
    So the rest of the final countdown time will be spent on Task 2.

  21. Meloney Funk says:

    I joined APQ in 2020 and only finished 2 of the 12. 🙁
    But, I’ll join again.
    I took stock of my UFOs this week. I have 196 and some are fairly large. Many I think I’ll be making pillows because I found 3 boxes of pillow forms in the extra bedroom. This will get rid of some of my problems. I rearrange my UFOs. This year I took about 10 off the list and put them into 1 UFO. I made some crumb fabric and am making totes out of them for the guild leaders to keep their guild stuff in.
    MY cutting and pressing tables stay clean, except when I’m working on a project. Since the first time I did your challenges, they have stayed clean. Thank you!
    I wish you would do a weekly or monthly challenge to help us focus on getting our space into better order.
    Thank you for all you do.

  22. Sharon says:

    Wow Shelly! Finishing 71 projects is amazing! I made 129 placemats for Meals on Wheels this year, but I can’t really consider them “projects”.
    I have quite a large UFO list, too, and I always use the Random Number Generator to determine what I will work on depending on the Stashbusters UFO random number challenge. That’s done for 2021. I only have two things that need quilting, and I have been procrastinating on them for years, because they are applique’, and I can’t decide if I should just do an edge to edge over the top of the applique’ or what. I am binding two donation quilts now. Everything else is not even finished tops yet.
    Have a healthy and safe New Year.

  23. Nancy Sinise says:

    OMG!! You finished 71 projects this year? Very impressive! Making a list of my projects is a great task but it will take a bit of time – hopefully tomorrow. I had to help my daughter today by holding her newborn while she gave attention to the 2 and 4 year olds. It’s was a tough job but I did say I’d help.

  24. Amanda M. says:

    I always do a year end tally of my projects including UFO’S. I also participate in APQ’s UFO Challenge which helps. I’m glad to have this challenge already completed and I’m keeping my cutting surface cleaned off. The dealing with bags of fabric will be the biggest challenge. Since the ground is ice covered here and I walk like a penguin when I’m outside I’m in the house a lot more. I’ve also been working toward a personal goal of 1,000+ blocks made in 2020. If I get the pile pressed and trimmed before midnight I’ll be above the goal.

  25. Shirley Guier says:

    I always start the year with a new list and check off of my old list. It really helps me get organized. Hopefully in the next week I can get that done and spend a little time organizing!

  26. Pamela Avara says:

    Decisions have been made. I have a quilt which has been waiting since October to be bound, and I think I’m finally ready to let go of a few of my UFOs.

  27. KT says:

    I update my list quarterly–not sure why, since it doesn’t change much! My biggest challenge is quilting the quilts–my list of finished tops just keeps growing! Now that I am working 70+ hours a week I have been focusing on smaller projects that I can start and finish in a month or so. As of today I have 31 projects on my UFO list–same number I started the year with!

  28. Patricia says:

    I am going to work on my UFO. I saw my post for 2019 challenge. Sadly it was the same goal. I need to stay focused.

    • Patricia says:

      I messed up on my response.
      I did not work on UFO.
      I organized one closet of fabric. It took too long because I would items and started organize them. Need to staff focused.

  29. Marlene Clausen says:

    My biggest “UFO” pile consists of my unquilted tops. Last year I made a list of those, noting which ones had the backing with them, did backing need piecing, etc. I made quite a dent in them last year and am continuing on the road to making tops into quilts. Yesterday, instead of clearing my counters (which are going to be torn down and tossed in a week or so), I decided to inventory my accumulated projects. They are already sorted and organized. Having a written list and where, exactly they are, on my project shelving they are located will help me decide “what’s next.” Years ago, I made the rule, quilt a top before starting a new one. Last year, Rule 2, if I made something new FINISH it! This year, Rule 3, no new projects unless I finish one already on the shelf. Right now it sounds good. We will see . . .

  30. Beverly says:

    I made a list of 8 UFO’S. I have already decided on finishing one. Hopefully I will get it finished by the end of March. Now that my table is cleared I should be able to sandwich the finished top and another quilt project will be finished. I have one more that I have to decide how big I want it (found more material to go with it), cut out those pieces, sew those blocks together, and be ready to sandwich that one. Maybe finish all of those by the end of March also. I might decide I need to finish another one before starting any new one and I will have finished half of UFO’S. That is a good goal for me in 2021.
    Thank you for keeping me motivated. I did not get a lot of blocks made in 2020, so here is to a better 2021. However, I did use a lot of scraps in 2020 making masks.

  31. mimisdarlins says:

    I’ve combined tasks one and two since they flow into one another, made some real progress on my workspace yesterday. I’m eager to get back to it today. That’s the thing about organizing my sewing room…I dread it until I get started and then it’s actually fun.
    I like task three! I’ve always had an in-progress list of my projects as well as my top three or four priorities, so I’m going to copy your list of suggestions and work on all of them, my goal being to finish the UFO that’s closest to being done. I think I’ll print the APQ form to make it more official…actually, I’ll need about a dozen copies 🙂

  32. Kathi B says:

    Well, I got my floor swept and mopped. Cutting table, ironing board and sewing table are rearranged. Have prioritized my UFO’s. I, too, have been using American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge for 3 years now. In 2020, I completed 4 of the 12 projects, and just need binding on a 5th project. I find this challenge helps me focus on what needs to be done. I have a main list of UFO’s and the most urgent ones go into the challenge.
    Happy New Year everyone!

  33. I must have known you were going to challenge us with this one! The past couple of weeks I went through my To Be Quilted piles and placed each flimsy with binding, backing and the extra fabric for each project (in case I wanted to make the quilt larger, add another border) and put them in bins since my long arm should be delivered next week. I filled 3 large totes with these projects. I need to dig through my last bin in the storage room (and it’s extra large 😒) where my UFO’s for the last 3 decades are stored. I joined Quilting Gail’s PHD in 2021 for some accountability and plan on having the flimsies all quilted this year. I will sort through the bin and do the Marie Kondo approach. If I don’t love it enough to work on this month it will be re-homed.
    Here’s a link to my PHD in 2021 post:

  34. Debbi says:

    Shelly I can relate to your woes about organization…seems a lot like ground hog day here too. 2021 is going to be different!

    I am going to do some sew a longs for the next year…new projects, oh my! I have gone thru my planner and scheduled them and hope that will help me stay up to date. I have a few other new starts I’m looking forward too, but first to wrap up 2020 and cleanup…yes I’m still behind! I got to babysit my great niece (1 yr old) over New Years so was away from home a few days so that’s my excuse. But boy was it fun! Such a doll!

    Today I finished a top I had been working on. I have one more to do before I leave Christmas behind. Tomorrow I will make the backing and binding and move it to the quilting que. Since it’s a Christmas quilt it will linger there for a while I’m sure.

    I’m anxious and ready to go thru my UFOs and planned projects. I’m thinking of using the format of the UFO challenge and pick 12 of each to work on thru the year and 12 hand projects and 12 something else and leave room for 12 new starts. I was thinking that 5 different categories of projects to rotate might keep me motivated. Maybe too ambitious, but a plan to start with. It should be enough to keep me from getting bored. I’m considering pulling everything else into to archived storage somewhere (garage most likely) to help me focus. Of course the first step is deciding if those projects, beyond the 12 most desired projects, even deserve storage space or if it’s time to cut bait. I might just be looking for a way to defer decisions. I do know that I need to reduce what’s in my sewing space but parting with it completely feels like more than I can do. I know there is a technique with decluttering your closet or other space where you box up and date items you are having trouble parting with. They go into “time out” to see if you miss them. ??? Don’t know if it’ll work unless I try.

    Happy new year!

  35. Darlene says:

    Yesterday was a visiting w/daughter day. Today has been putting fabric away. Made some progress didn’t take to long. I am back to work on the cutting table & I need to put away all my embroidery thread pulled out for last min. Quilt labels. I have 2 boxes for this so. It will be relatively easy but time consuming as Rewinding & organize numerically.
    Happy organizing

  36. Ginabeth says:

    I made the AQS UFO list too! Have even made a block for it. Will keep a watch on how things go.

  37. Karen says:

    I got this one done. Thanks for the link on the printable. I filled up two pages of UFO’s that I’d love to finish. For the first time, I feel like I have a clear handle on what needs doing and really hope to make progress on them this year.

  38. Randy Menninghaus says:

    The list made. phew…

  39. Johnna Clarke says:

    I am such a novice. I only have five UFOs, and they are lined up on the bed headboard bookcase in order in which I want to finish them. I get bored or discouraged easily, so it’s taken me awhile to complete these. I’ve been dealing with some home remodeling the last year, and we are almost finished with the two bathrooms. Maybe I can get back into the groove soon. Thanks for the motivation.

  40. Nancy says:

    Well I didn’t make a list but I cleaned my table and straightened/organized the fabric on the shelves. Then I decided since it is a new year it needed a new project, so I put out my ‘pretties’ for a new quilt. I was going to add a photo but can’t figure it out…

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