February Studio Organizing Challenge

Posted on February 16, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Studio Organizing Challenge

So, January got away from me, and here we are already halfway through February. 2020 has been a blur so far. But it IS my year to get organized, and I’ve been working pretty diligently toward that, even tho it’s going a lot slower than I’d like.

It might be safe to say that I’m never going to have one of those oh-so-photogenic, perfectly-organized, color-coordinated studios like you see on Pinterest (and really — who can work like that???). But I would like to have mine a bit clearer . . . (yep, still watching past episodes of Hoarders and cringing!)

My paper situation has only slightly changed. I guess I’m done with the trash part, and the paper that is left is stuff I have to deal with, and I haven’t had much time to deal with it. I think that may end up on a tracker for March!

This is the pile I was going to tackle this month:

Here’s what it looks like now:

Not too much difference. I still have quite a mess. Part of this will involve finishing cleaning out the file cabinet. I’m halfway through the last drawer, and once I get that done, I can put a lot of this pile away. Have I ever mentioned how much I abhor filing?

I try to designate about 3-4 hours once a week to Desk Day. I try to make it Monday, but that doesn’t always work out, and some weeks I don’t get to do it at all, or it’s a few minutes here and there for the most absolutely necessary office tasks. I’m hoping to get better at scheduling that. And once I get organized, perhaps I can fit in everything I need to do in 2 hours instead of 4 — time will tell!

But here we are, mid-February, and it’s time for the next organizing challenge. This month, I want to:

Clear off my design wall

Here’s a current shot of it:

I can see from a quick count that there are at least 10 projects pinned up here, and it’s been this way for quite awhile. And that doesn’t count the 3 projects I removed from the wall before I remembered to take the photo!

My goal for this month is to either finish up or take down (and otherwise organize) those projects, and stop using my design wall as UFO storage.

How about you? Do you have a design wall? Is it clear? Does it only have your current project? Or are you using yours for project storage like I am?

If you don’t have a design wall, maybe now is the time to see if you can find a place for one, even a small one. They sure do come in handy — and I don’t mean for project storage — but as a place to lay out blocks and audition fabrics, etc.

My design wall is made of insulation board screwed to the wall, then covered with batting. While mine are permanently attached, you could make one that’s movable, so you can push it out of the way, if necessary. I’m getting ready to add another small one to the remaining clear wall in my sewing room. And I have plans to put up yet another small one in the room that’s not quite done being remodeled up here. One can never have enough design walls, right? Especially if you’re using them for UFO storage!

So there’s our task. Join me if you dare!

You can see all the Studio Organizing Challenges HERE.

18 responses to “February Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Christine Williams says:

    Have you considered hiring a teen or even a retiree to do the filing for you? The cost for a few hours would be worth every penny/dollar in timesaved/deadlines, self-imposed guilt, not missed/correspondence that really needs your attention, etc. Think how freeing it would be for you to know that things are organized and that you won’t be missing important mail/deadlines.
    I do understand where you are coming from, but think about it. People hire you to do quilting so they can have time to do other things. Nothing wrong to hire someone to file for you so you can do other things – quilt or even cook!

    • Bev hovis says:

      I like the way you think!!!
      Hiring a teen in Hi school or college would give them some experience working with a “mess” (like mine) and a good adult contact!
      Of course the training would take a bit of time at first!
      Can they think like I do in filing! I’d have to be organized! But that would help!!!
      Good idea!!

  2. Kerry says:

    My “design wall” was really blackout lining that we fixed up on a curtain rail to protect the fabrics from sunlight. Since moving here there isn’t a lot of room and I’d be constantly moving it as I wiggled around the small space! But the window faces east and so when (lately that’s an “if”) the sun shines, I pull the curtains for a while until it moves away – so design wall is double bed in the guest room!
    Since I started making a scrappy quilt, my tidy room looks awful – a few months getting it neat and a few seconds to become chaos!

  3. My approach to the filing is a bit different. Separate the papers currently on your desk in a pile into categories you will file together. Quickly make the files and stuff them. Now, remove everything you still want to go through in the bottom drawer, put your new files in the drawer and without reading each paper you just removed, a fast glance and put it in a pile with other papers it can be filed with. Again, if you don’t have a folder, make one, and back to the drawer it goes. Leave purging files and putting them in a logical order/drawer for a project another month when you finish that month early! Paper piles only grow.

    Once you are caught up, train yourself to only touch a paper once – file it, respond to it, toss it, or pay it – then continue to what you were going to do. Within seconds or minutes you have eliminated the need for a pile. I actually taught this routine to insurance adjusters and the clerical department I supervised. Once it became a “natural” thing to do, they were amazed at the amount of time they really gained and the less stressed they felt at the end of the day.

  4. Beverly says:

    No design wall. I have hung quilt in progress from drop ceiling with hanging hangers from ceiling and clipping corners to hangers. Especially helpful if making quilt in section and need to repeat section for the next section.
    Cannot use for UFO’s.

  5. Karen says:

    I do have a design board. Mine is on two pink insulation boards taped together, that I can move about to access the shelves behind it. I usually just have my current project on it. But I can’t finish it right now because I broke my wrist in two places; slipped on ice. So I’m using the time that I would be sewing, trying to file papers. I abhor filing, too! I really like Christine’s idea! If I had a home business, I think that would be a great way to stay on top of the paper clutter.

  6. My filing is done and my design wall (a 2’ x 4’ felt covered board) is empty and sitting in the storage room which I just spent the past 2 days emptying. I purged and sorted everything in bins and now have 4 bins to go to my Guild for the annual fundraiser and several boxes for the thrift store (did DH really need 87 pairs of pants that no longer fit him?). It came from the need to keep busy since I really can’t see well enough with only 1 cataract surgery done. Can’t wait until the right eye is done on the 26th and I will be able to see without trying to remember to close one eye! 🥴 Carol

  7. Diana S says:

    I have a design wall as well. 2 insulation boards taped together. Sometimes there may be more than one project on it. I have gone through a lot of printed out patterns. Will get those filed once we get home. We are in Rockport TX for most of this week. Whooping Cranes are here so we are too! Brought 4 quilts along to bind!

  8. Wendy says:

    I have a small design wall made from a large painter’s canvas that I covered with batting. It hangs on my wall, but I can take it down and move it around. It is large enough to hold a baby sized quilt design. Someday I’d like to have a full-sized design wall. Sometimes when I clear papers, I do it while I watch a show. It makes it less tedious.

  9. Angie in SoCal says:

    I have two design walls, and sadly one is a UFO storage. However they are so pretty I enjoy glimpsing them as I pass by. The other is a piece of flannel that I had DH staple to the top of my stash bookcase to keep it from fading as it faces two large South windows. Your stack of paper does look better. I can see more of the desk and less papers. Think positive. It will make you feel good and productive.

  10. Carolyn S says:

    I’m movin from house where I had a large sewing area in basement (equivalent to two large rooms) to a small 10×11 bedroom. Hope to be able to set up another area in basement soon. Had to get rid of stuff and will probably have to purge again. I have piece of pink Insulation board to use for display wall. What kind of batting works best, all cotton or 80/20 blend?

  11. I just did a purge of the design wall around the beginning of the month.
    I hung the things from my trip that I wanted a photo of on the design wall, but have taken all but the two I’m still working on.
    I really need to get the one on my second design wall done and off there. It is being used as a leader/ender and I’ve been sewing away from home more than at home.

  12. Suelynn Williams says:

    As usual, I enjoy reading your challenges…I have one of the design walls that adheres to the wall. My husband put it up behind a door. There is always STUFF if front of the door (why???) so the never-ending problem of why is it so hard to sort through a pile/box/stack of things to clear the way for doing something more creative with my time? I made a small portable design wall, too, and as I just learned, it is storing a UFO because I’ve started another project that doesn’t need a design wall.

  13. Judy S. says:

    I do have a design wall made from ceiling panels covered with white flannel. I would love to have it larger but no wall space. It will hold a small lap. After that I have to work in sections.

  14. Elle says:

    My design wall is 72″ square. 2 yards of craft felt from the J store. Hubby is a woodworker and made a frame for it. I have a few blocks that live there as inspiration for scrap. And currently a UFO under construction has some rows up there.

    I don’t have paper piles. I deal with paper when it comes in the door. A lifelong habit.

  15. Darlene says:

    I also have the paper stacks of patterns quilting/ knitting/crocheting I have large binders for filing….they are full as well as large decorative boxes. I really need to purge. No design wall ,a flannel backed table cloth held w/ hubbies spring wood clamps he gave me. I attach it to wall shelf when needed. I guess the good thing is it can’t store UFO’s if it isn’t hung up!

  16. Candice says:

    “Not much difference”??? Are you kidding me? I see a big difference from the earlier photo. Reminder: we need to take pleasure in small steps not just big ones. My quilting room doubles as the guest bedroom – so my “design wall” is the futon folded out to a double bed. There’s also a double closet with a frame around the outside I use to hang quilts in progress from on skirt hangers. Here’s a suggestion on help- a master quilter needs help piecing stuff together for upcoming books. I need to learn how to use all those feet that came with my machine. So we are bartering – I go to his studio and sew and he gives me a private lesson while I’m there. We all have skills we could barter. Plus using another quilter to help with filing, etc. would greatly reduce training time.

  17. Rose Marie Smith says:

    I have stacks of fabric containers and stacks of folded quilts. I just need to find more homes for all those quilts or else the fabric containers may not be emptied!! Oh woe is me!! That is my organizing challenge for this year!!

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