. . . and how it relates to quilting . . .
I’m not really giving us a new organizing challenge today, since we’re supposed to still be working on getting rid of one thing a day for now. What I’m here for today is to give you a little food for thought.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to work on my own version of minimalism. At the same time, I absolutely hate to throw out perfectly good usable items. If I can find good homes for things, I have no problem with it, but my grandmother (who lived through the Great Depression) taught me not to be wasteful.
So about the soap . . .
In my bathroom linen closet, I keep a basket with extras of toiletries, like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, and the like. You know, it’s a place to keep the new ones you buy until you’ve used up the old ones. When we run out of something we’re using, the rule is to check the basket and make sure we don’t already have what we need before adding it to the shopping list.
Well, the basket had lots of random little bars of soap in it. Where do random bars of soap even come from? And yet, I was occasionally buying soap. So in my efforts to downsize our possessions, yet not be wasteful in the process, I announced that I was no longer buying any soap until all the soap we had was nearly gone. (This did not include the soap My Cowboy uses in the shower, or he would have rebelled.) And it’s not like soap is a high-dollar item on the shopping list every month, but still . . .
What I DID buy was a soap dish.
I plunked it on the bathroom counter, and we started using up all the little odds and ends of bars of soap we had here. Guess how long that soap lasted? FOURTEEN MONTHS! (And we live on a farm and wash our hands a LOT.) I’m happy to say that we are down to our one last bar of soap, so last time I went to the store, I bought My Cowboy a bottle of liquid hand soap, and I will soon retire the soap dish, and he will be very happy. And I’m very happy that the linen closet basket is more organized and we don’t have all that extra soap hanging around.
While we were at it, we used up all the extra body wash, shampoo, and conditioner, too.
What’s next? Lotion . . . so many bottles and tubes of lotion. I’ve slowly been working my way through those, too. But I do have to keep extra bottles of this on hand during the winter . . .
. . . because it’s seriously the only thing that works for My Cowboy, so it’s the only one I’m buying until all the rest of the odds and ends are gone. And when they are, I’ll have an empty basket that I can completely remove from my linen closet and free up some space.
It’s the little things that make me happy!
And how does this relate to quilting?
Well . . . you know I’m always talking about getting our studio spaces organized.
And how it’s difficult to organize things when you have too much stuff.
And if you don’t have space to store all the things you have, then it’s time to downsize.
So I did the soap thing with my thread.
I used to have THREE of these hanging on my studio walls.
Sure, they’re pretty, and I really never thought too much about it. But when I decided I’d rather use my wall space for something else, they needed to go.
So I went on a mission to use up all the little odds and ends of random kinds of thread, so I could downsize the entire collection and get down to just one wall rack. And I did! I now have just this one, and it hangs near my sewing machine area. And I’m now in the habit of using up odds and ends regularly, rather than letting them languish in my space.
I also went through all my longarm thread, got rid of the types my machine refuses to use, and sold or gave away all the others. It’s so nice to know that all the thread I have left is thread I can (and probably will) use up.
It’s easy to let the little things get out of control, while you’re worrying about the larger things, like the fabric stash, or the UFO pile. But I realized it ALL needs to be dealt with, and it frees up space for other things (in my mind as well as my studio).
So what’s next in the studio?
Well, I have several things to choose from:
• Masking tape: I had about 8 rolls of tape. (Why??)
I vowed not to buy any more until all of these are nearly gone. I use the tape for marking quilting designs (both machine and hand quilting), and it obviously has other uses as well. If masking tape gets old, it becomes difficult to tear off the roll, so it becomes useless, anyway, so I’m planning to use up what I have while it still works, and only buy more when I really need it. And I’ll keep that one roll on the pegboard in my longarm room where it’s handy to use, and it’ll free up drawer space.
• Needles: Look at this!
I should never have to buy another hand sewing needle as long as I live, right? I’m not even sure why I kept buying more, knowing I have so many here at home. Sure, the packages are cute, and they’re a different brand, or a different size, but seriously! This is ridiculous. And I do use lots of different types of needles, so I’m sure I will still have a collection, but I don’t need so many of each type. I’m on a needle-buying moratorium for the present time.
I have also read that a hand-sewing needle has a life span of approximately 11 hours of sewing, but I’ve never tested that theory. I usually wait until I’ve bent one to get out another. And we won’t talk about the ones that I just lose somewhere randomly! Yikes!
• Marking pencils: I have some odds and ends that need to be used up, which will free up some drawer space. Then, if necessary, I can replace them only with the ones that are my favorites and that I use all the time. Again, I use a lot of different types, but I’m trying to downsize the types and the amounts I keep on hand.
There are probably many more things I could list, but this is a good start. I’m dreaming of all the empty drawer space I’ll soon have!
So how about you?
Do you have any stashes of little things that you want to clean up and use up? Things that you don’t even realize are out of control? I’m interested in hearing what types of items you have this problem with. It might remind me of something I haven’t even thought of yet that I still need to work on!
What item(s) are you going to start using up so that you can downsize your “collection”?
Or am I alone in this tendency to stockpile more supplies than I can ever use? (I think I’m probably not, but it sure helps to know when I’m in good company!)