2020 Final Countdown, Task Two

Posted on December 30, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges, Organizing, Studio Organizing Challenge

How are you doing with your main work surface? Have you unearthed it yet? Still working on it?

Several of you sent me pictures, and it really comforts me to know I’m not alone in this mess-making habit of mine! Wanna see some of them?

Here are a couple before shots. I’m withholding names to protect the guilty!

Here are some afters:

And here are a couple of before AND afters. I just keep flipping back and forth between them, because the difference just amazes me!

And I do have to tell you that this one is Macy’s. Only 13, and she’s making messes like the professional she is! I’m so proud of her! Before:

And after:

And you can see and read all about Deanna’s progress HERE.

I’ve made a bit of progress my ownself:

But not near enough yet. Let me just state, for the record, that the feeling of overwhelm that washed over me when I first started, nearly made me run to bed and pull the covers over my head (especially since it was snowing outside), but I managed to grab hold of the waistband of my big girl panties just in the nick of time!

First, I had to clean out the chest of drawers under my ironing table, so I could put away some projects in the drawers. As I did that, I made a list of what I’m putting in each drawer, so I can easily find the projects when I need to. If I just cram stuff in the drawers, and then try to remember later where I put it, I end up making my studio look like a cyclone hit while searching for it. The list will direct me to the exact place the project is stored, without me having to ransack the studio — I hope. I’m amazed at how many projects that little chest will hold! And even more amazed that I still have too many projects to fit them all into that chest!

The projects left on my cutting table are either ones I will deal with before the deadline on the 7th, or are the current ones I’m leaving out to work on. Then I need to make some rules for myself. I’ll be thinking on that while I’m cleaning the rest of it off. I’m always baffled by some of the things I find on my cutting table, and think to myself, “WHY?”

So . . . moving on to our next task, I’ve picked the next biggest issue I have in my own studio — fabric storage! Is fabric storage and stash control an issue for you? This is another one that may cause me a bit of anxious overwhelm.

Today’s task is to:

Clean up the fabric storage and stray fabric piles

I have piles and boxes of fabric everywhere! And every time I clean up a spot, I find more!

Here’s a pile of boxes, bins, and bags on the floor beside my cutting table:

Here’s a pile I made on my ironing board. Half of this came from cleaning off the cutting table yesterday!

I did not purchase much fabric over the last year. Truth be told, I’m not a huge online shopper, and with trying to stay in as much as possible, my shopping consisted of calling in my order to Sew Sweet Quilt Shop, and then dropping in just to pick it up and pay for it. And when I did that, it was to buy things I absolutely HAD to have to finish something I was working on. And backing — I bought quite a bit of backing fabric, when it was for something I couldn’t piece a backing from my stash for. And I did use up a LOT of my stash for scrap quilt backings, and pillowcases for our guild’s community service projects.

Which allowed me to clean off a shelf in my storage closet and put away a bunch of yardage that needed a home. And I also went through the bins under my cutting table and cleaned those out and neatly refolded the messed-up bits. But I was unable to put away much more fabric into those bins because they’re all still pretty full!

So that’s what I will be working on for this task: getting as much of the homeless fabric put away as possible.

While I’m at it, I may piece some more backings, and cut out more pillowcases, just to use up some more of it. I also want all of my scraps to fit into one big bin until I can get them dealt with, and so I can use out of them when a project calls for it, but honestly, I don’t think they will just yet.

I worked on all of this quite a bit over the past year, so I’ve made some progress, but I’d like to make some more progress before I start 2021 — just to make myself feel better. How about you?

It’s the time of year where lots of people are talking about getting organized, and I ran across this article from Missouri Star Quilt Company. As you work on your stash, they have some good suggestions for organizing your fabric (among other things), so you might want to read it before you start. The one problem I would have is their first suggestion: dragging it all out into one pile before you start. There’s no way I can do that! But I might be able to at least make one pile of all the fabric that still needs to be put away. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted. That will probably mean messing up my cutting table again — I can’t win for losing!

This is, again, a repeat of a task we’ve done before, so you can revisit those posts for more ideas on things to consider, ways to store your fabric, how to deal with your scraps, and many other ideas. And don’t forget to read the comments on those posts, where others have offered up good suggestions as well!

2009, Task Two

2010, Task Three

2014, Task Two

2015, Task One

2016, Task One

Again, if you peruse those posts, you can see how unsuccessful I’ve been at handling this over the years, which is why I’m once again challenging myself to get it under control. Hey, it’s at least good for a laugh!

So . . . I’d love to hear your fabric storage dilemmas and ideas, so be sure and leave a comment to be eligible for the prizes. If you want to send me pictures to post, just email them to me, and I’ll include them tomorrow (anonymously).

And check back tomorrow for our third and final organizing task on the last day of 2020!

43 responses to “2020 Final Countdown, Task Two”

  1. Barb D. says:

    This one isn’t bad. I haven’t bought much fabric this year either. I have also worked on using up some of my stash. I will probably have to add something else in with this task.

  2. Jane says:

    Oh MY! I’m still working on Task One. I did get my iron (a small one that is) surface cleared off and useable and now am onto the sewing table. Just thinking of my stacks of fabric I’m wondering which room you’re talkin about. lol
    Guess when I finish the top of the sewing table I can use a “wild card” and just select the easiest pile first, right?

  3. Wendy says:

    My sewing area and cutting board get cleaned up at the end of each quilting day. I can’t stand coming in to a messy area unless it’s a work in process that I know I’ll work on the next day. That being said, I tend to stack and pile things on other surfaces, so today’s prompt is a good one. I’ve been working on this a bit, but I still have some surfaces that need organizing. I’ll try tackling that today.

  4. Amanda M. says:

    I found my cutting table and an odd assortment of stuff. Organizing the fabric stash is desperately needed but will be a longer time commitment. If you don’t hear anything out of me for a bit I’m probably buried under a pile of fabric.

  5. Diane says:

    I had to decide what my main work surface was. It’s a toss up between the cutting table and the ironing board. I’ve made progress on the cutting table, but need another hour or so to make it presentable. Oh now my ironing board looks worse than ever! Baby steps right.

  6. Angela Neese says:

    OK… NOW you’re hurting me! I will make an attempt

  7. Patricia says:

    This task will be hard, I have so much here and there. In the sewing/laundry room, bedrooms and closets.

  8. Kerry says:

    Deanna’s doing really well! Some super progress with other peeps!
    For the most part my spare sortings in boxes are under the table, some already in groups for partial quilts in progress. They are mainly pulled from my stash. Not purchased much fabric either – the comic book boards are emptying! On the table – the quilt is being quilted – I have made a start and it felt good. I did have a practice session for fmc first and dived in.

  9. Nancy Sinise says:

    This task is easier since I moved not quite 2 years ago. I filled my SUV totally – had to keep a hand on the pile in the front seat while I drove to a guild meeting where I spread it all over the counters in the church kitchen, aka ‘give-away’ space. I got there early (didn’t leave much room for others to put their stuff) and it was fun to see others taking things to enjoy. Since then I’ve bought very little new and have finished many old projects. I do have the closet, and that stuff on the floor… maybe I need another guild meeting?

  10. Fran says:

    Before Christmas, I cleaned most of my fabric storage overflow and arranged it on shelves in another closet. I have one shelf in my sewing room that I need to go through. I will go do that now.

  11. Candy says:

    After lots of tries I have put all (well most) of my fabric in metal wire drawers. They are in a closet on racks. I took the doors off the closet so I can see everything. Once or twice a year I go thru a couple of drawers and refold, sort get rid of etc. I use smaller drawers to put project fabric in. I store current projects in plastic boxes that I think are for scrapbooking. They stack easily and I can drag them around to retreats (what a wonderful idea right now)I organized my fabric drawers mostly by color and then fabrics (ie batiks, Africans, polka dots, black and white etc) I think I like looking at them as much as I do playing with them. LOL

  12. Randy Menninghaus says:

    okay , my change this year was to work the Tula pink and Fassett fabric into the color baskets. I tend to forget that I have it. all most Done I will be by dusk

  13. christopher thomas says:

    well the good news is that my area is all cleaned and since I had to take everything out of the bastment because of the termits this spring when i put it all back i organized all the fabric so i do have all that put away nice and neat…..i did buy some fabric and some came in the mail so i will put that away later today……so this challange is all done…..so i took a ladys t-shirts that she dropped of yesterday and got them all washed and layed out so that tomorrow i can cut them and iron on the backing to begin laying them out in the quilt that she would like made

  14. Jane Kennedy says:

    I found the floor in the corner! It is surprising how much bigger my studio is getting.

  15. Kathi B says:

    Cutting table and ironing board are clean. As for fabric – I have piles everywhere, on the floor, in bins (not organized-just thrown in), on shelves -again, not organized, just piles and piles. I decided to find the floor and give it a good sweep and a mopping.

  16. Deanna says:

    My quilting fabric is in pretty good condition, but my other fabric does need attention. And, coincidently, I need to dig through it to get materials for doll clothes. Wish me luck!

  17. Task 2 is the one the scares me the most. Boxes of scraps need to be sorted and something needs to happen with them. Last year when I sorted my unfinished projects out I sort my fabric stash in to crates depending on what it was. I ended up with a box of each precuts, reproduction fabrics, batiks, brights, and 2 boxes of scraps. Now 2 boxes of scraps are 3 1/2 boxes, so I am going to do something with them. I am open to suggestions. I think I will have to do a blog post on the subject.

  18. PAULA M M says:

    Oh wait just fabric piles….hahha I have several types going at the moment…I will send just the fabric piles…I do enjoy seeing both areas cleaned off! Thank you for the encouragement!

  19. Sandi says:

    My problem is that I only have 2 cupboards in my sewing room and they are packed with fabric and kits. I can’t go into a quilt shop and not buy anything which has led to a lot that doesn’t fit in the cupboards. I have to flat plastic bins under the spare bed with fat quarters, a pretty decorative box with fabric that I want to use for an applique` that I haven’t started yet and in another room a rolling 3 drawer plastic chest that has some fabric in it. I’m going to try to go no buy except for backings when I need them and use what I have.

  20. Cindy Wienstroer says:

    My fabric is in pretty good shape. My 93+ mom decided to stop sewing so i got it all. Shared what i did not think i could use. Also made 20 small quilts (50×60) tops for some groups my cousin knows so used up orphan blocks & scraps. This year being home, i have been better on organizing. But still need to trim down my scraps to sizes i can use. Maybe with tv tonight.

  21. Angie in SoCal says:

    I cleaned off my ironing board, so I could iron my Arrow Rock top. The cutting area only has my next project. What I need to clean now is my sewing chair which got all the stuff from the ironing board – LOL.
    The fabric?? That will take me another year.

  22. Stephanie says:

    Most of my fabric is stored in a separate room, and is in reasonable shape.
    However I will admit to a “floor pile” of fabric in my sewing room, which at first glance also appears to include some mending, some bean bag fill, and a vintage badminton racquet! Seriously, what is that doing there!

  23. Worked on organizing all batiks. I’m getting there.

  24. Ginabeth says:

    This is the one I really need to work on. I have a lot of my stash neatly in closet hanging sweater bins. I can easily open the double bi-fold door to see it (Mostly they stay open.) then I have a bin of 30s; a bin of Lori Holt’s, a box of Kaffe; a box of blue & white; a box of red; a bin of Christmas X2; a bin of Reproduction X3 well you get the picture.

    So my fabric is out of control. But I just had an idea while I was writing this. I’ll see if I can make it work, tomorrow.

  25. Joan says:

    For me, piles of fabric begin because of purchasing without a plan. These piles keep growing when they are fabrics that don’t seem to work with others.
    I started tackling fabric piles earlier this month as a daily task. Some days this leads to cutting at least one piece if not more down to nothing for scrap quilting.
    I am also tackling the brown fabric stash. I have made good progress on three major projects this month that use a lot of browns… And I keep discovering more projects I would like to start that use brown–which is surprising, as it’s not a color I would think of as a favorite. My lastest purchases have for the most part been surprisingly browns! It’s nice to have a go to choice when supporting local quilt shops.

  26. Debra Freese says:

    Been without internet most of the day. So I guess I’ll have two chores tomorrow.
    My fabric storage is in pretty good shape, but there are a couple of bins out of place waiting for attention!

  27. Sharon Gratz says:

    Stray fabric piles……….sigh. A continual problem …… I may not get total control, but I will work on it. Sharing your ideas is good for me. lol

  28. Marcia in TX says:

    I got task one done and it helped with today’s task because I had pulled out my cubby of children’s fabrics to cut for a quilt. That was a mess. So today I cut all the children’s fabrics up piece by piece for several Quilts. Only a few large pieces left for borders or backings went back in that cubby. It will take me weeks, if not months to clean out the other cubbies and the 2 large piles on a chair and a small table.
    Thank you for these challenges.

  29. Beverly says:

    Well I finished cleaning off the tables where I cut. It is also my project table, so tomorrow I hope I can start a new project and get my husband to help me. I also need to cut a piece of foam for the trailer to help it stay warmer. I also need to cut some vinyl. Good thing I got the tables cleaned off. I worked on fabric control a lot this year. I cut a lot up for scrap quilts. I store them in shoe boxes with different sizes, then all I have to do is pull the size scrap I want to use. I also have a box of scraps that I am making into a quilt. I still had some to pick up, so I got that done. I will see if I missed any after I get Christmas stuff put away, as the boxes are in my way. I only bought fabric this year when I needed it for a project, so that was helpful. Plan on not buying again this year, just using what I have. Thanks for helping us get organized.

  30. Debbi says:

    Ok, yesterday’s task wasn’t too bad…my cutting area and sewing table combo are clear with just the current project on it. However, the rest of the room is not in such good shape my secondary sewing station is buried as well as the tv cabinet and there are boxes and bins on the floor. I’m feeling the overwhelm when I think about starting. To top it off, I want to move the furniture around to get a pressing station set up. It means that something has to give so there will be some decisions to make😱

  31. Elle says:

    Great work! Your spaces are looking fabulous.

  32. mimisdarlins says:

    I’m still working on Task 1….but today’s task is something that’s been nagging me for some time, so I’m ready to go! I like to read your comments…it seems we are all alike when it comes to managing our supplies 🙂

  33. Rose Marie Smith says:

    Yesterday was a big time clearing ice from the front door to the street and making some cookies for a thank you for neighbor. When I recovered from that and gave hubby lunch, I tried to find Task Two. The internet was down!!! So I didn’t know what to do. So I am doing Task Two today on Day 3.

  34. Mary Delia says:

    Didn’t make the progress I had hoped to. Oh well, today’s a new day – full if possibilities. Going to work on fabric organizing AND continue to work on the stuff adjacent to cutting table.

  35. Judy S. says:

    Task 2 completed a day late, but completed. A small pile on one of the sewing machine tables was cleared off, ( mostly thread to put away), then the big job tackled. A pile on the end of the ironing board was the step-outs from teaching a Mystery Quilt class at quilt camp for five years. I kept saving them, thinking I might teach the class again.
    I think there is enough units in similar colors to make a couple of scrap quilts, so finished some blocks and cut some sashings in preparation for hodgepodgeing them together. This should be interesting.

  36. Pamela says:

    In August I brought a ton of fabric into the house, so refolded everything to take up less space and shuffled stuff around, but there are still a few spots which need work, especially “the hole”. I’m going to work my way around the room for the next few days to see just how much I get done.

  37. Paula Mu in NE OH says:

    I moved a ton of fabric from my sewing room (upstairs bedroom) to my fabric storage area (basement) and put it all away. I also reorganized my Christmas stash, so it is sorted by lights, red, green, etc. That feels really good. Thanks for setting up these tasks. they are helping me get my mojo back. Now if I can just get over my paralysis when it comes to machine quilting.

  38. I think I’m luckier than most. I moved a couple of years ago from a 3500 sq ft house with a 16’x20’ studio to a 650 sq ft apartment where my sewing space is only approx 4 1/2 square feet. My fabric was put in bins in a storage room and one cupboard and 3 little plastic 3 drawer units. During this pandemic I have worked completely from my stash and no longer have any bins in my storage room. The drawers and cupboard are stuffed full. My problem is that with all of the making this year I have a bin and 2 cardboard boxes of scraps to deal with. I’m using this part of the challenge to start dealing with scraps since the weather is interfering with internet and my website has crashed and no help available until next week. I will email before and after pictures

  39. Darlene says:

    Love all the photos it is encouraging to know there is some hope! I have almost cleared the temporary table I had to set up to finish things because the cutting table was to full- now I am on to the cutting table or I will not be able to cut. Hubby built me a lot of shelves for fabric storage that I wrap on comic boards. Thru the holidays fabric was dragged out that needs to be put away. I am hopeful that should be fairly easy- yeah more time to spend on cutting table!

  40. Candice says:

    I have 3 3-drawer dressers in my quilt room. I have been using them to hold my fabric. But I have outgrown them. My daughter moved out the beginning of December. My husband plans to convert her old room into his man-cave, so those 3 dressers will be going in there.we have a long 3-shelf book shelf down in the basement my husband made. I want to move that up to my quilt room and store my fabric in clear bins on those shelves. Way easier to see what I have and easier to grab.

  41. Karen says:

    I got this one done. I had most of my stash put away in a cupboard, but decided that wasn’t working, and wanted to have them more in my view. So with the challenge, I moved them into one corner of my sewing room.
    I did a blog post on my progress with the challenges so far: https://fortheloveofneedleandthread.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-final-countdown-challenge.html
    This has been great, to read everyone’s comments and to share our progress. Thanks, Shelly, for doing this again!

  42. Randy Menninghaus says:

    Work area done. I have trashed it twice. Each time I am done I am trying to leave it clean. Noble goal eh? We will see. I lost 60 inches of a string border last night in my room. Turns out I had put some new fabric on it. Phew..

  43. Johnna Clarke says:

    I have my fabric already organized in bins according to theme such as Christmas or cats. The bags and baskets on the bed have scraps and orphan fabrics that I still need to organize.

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