February Studio Organizing Challenge

Posted on February 15, 2019 by prairiemoonquilts in Studio Organizing Challenge

Did having an entire month to tackle an annoying and bothersome pile make a difference in your life?

I have to admit, it feels so much better in my longarm room with all the batting scraps put away.

I’ve already dipped into them for a few pieces to use on small projects, and it was so easy to just read those tags and know exactly which size pieces I could use! You can read more about how I tackled my mess HERE.

I’ve done a lot of other types of cleaning, sorting, and purging as well, and it’s slowly making a difference. Things are starting to feel better. Other times, I get discouraged because it’s going slower than I’d like, but it didn’t get out of control in just a week — I can’t expect to get it reclaimed that fast! I still have some major piles to deal with.

If you haven’t yet, I’d like to recommend that you go back to January’s Studio Organizing Challenge post, and read the comments. It’s so interesting to see what you guys decided to tackle, and where your problem areas are. And some were downright funny! My favorite quote, from reader Leona:

“I’m so far behind that I think I’m ahead.” LOL!

Several of you are doing some considerable downsizing, some of you are still dealing with flat surface issues (still a constant battle for me), and sooo many of you decided to deal with all the paper. I hope you were all able to make some progress with your chosen problem area.

So are you ready for this month’s challenge? For me, it’s a big one:

Get the fabric organized

Sounds simple enough, right? And I’ve made huge strides in doing exactly that over the last couple years, but it’s still not the way I want it. Some of you may have a head start on this, since you chose to start dealing with it last month.

My main problem here is simply that I have too much. Still. And I’ve used a LOT of fabric just this year already, trying to finish up some quilts. Making backings from my stash has helped a lot!

Here’s the current situation with mine:

But then there’s this:

All of this fabric still needs to be put away in those bins, but those bins are all full. I want my entire stash to fit into these bins — that’s my ultimate goal. And eventually, I’d like to have fewer bins, too. And this will also help me with my goal of having clear floors in my entire house!

Furthermore, I’ve also discovered that when I’m looking for background fabrics, I still have to look through every bin because I’ve sorted them that way. I need a bin that’s dedicated to pieces I would most likely use as backgrounds — a low-volume bin, if you will — I think that will make me much more productive and less annoyed with my storage situation.

So I’m giving myself a month to work on this. Is this also a problem for you? I’m starting here:

Read this post for some questions to ask yourself as you tackle this task

That should get us started on getting the fabric in some sort of order, because really — how can you use it, if you aren’t even sure what you have?

Leave a comment and let us all know what you’re dealing with, and if you have any good ideas on how to deal with it — those are especially welcome. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing with mine!

12 responses to “February Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Moira says:

    Like you I need to get my fabric back into order and their proper labeled boxes and/or totes (I have oodles of both!). I’d like to start this month……..but with all that is going on it isn’t looking likely. However, I will start on it this year! Need to downsize some of the categories drastically as well as I do the reorg.

  2. Tia says:

    I use the comic book boards that are discussed in the Cut to Pieces link from your 2015 post. They work great for all my larger cuts of fabric. And I also fold my smaller cuts in the same manner discussed for fat quarters in that link, too! However, I’m going to try the ruler method that is talked about in the Happy Zombie post just to try something new.

    Regarding the organization of my sewing room. All that I have gotten accomplished is removing and putting the dining room chairs in a storage room. I’ve also started to bring up some of my fabric from the basement and place on the dining room table. It will eventually be on storage shelves, but that involves moving them upstairs. UG.

    So basically, I’ve created that huge pile of fabric this month that everyone else worked so hard to get rid of! 🙁

  3. Tonia says:

    Wow! What a great idea to go back and see what I thought I would do…..and I did it!!!! Well, then I started pulling fun things for sampler quilts…But! I put them into bags by color and put the whole shebang into a tub. Shout out to me! I may just stay on the track that says..keep what you have done and don’t make a new mess! And, I need to sweep more.:( I have been working on a “workable for me” scrap saver system. And that is part of my studio organizing when I just want to play with fabric! Have a great month!

  4. Marlene Clausen says:

    You know all those UFO tops that need to be quilted? I have (sigh) a lot. They actually helped me tackle the fabric sorting issue. As I went through organizing my UFO’s, I went through my stash and pulled backing for each one and folded it w/the top. I also pulled all likely backing fabric for future use. They are in a separate bin and, so far, I’ve gone there first for backing. That has made a small difference. Each step might be little, but it does move me forward.

  5. Meloney says:

    I’ve actually sorted my fabric the way I use it. I love that it is mostly on shelving. I do have my scraps that get a bit unruly. I find right now I have lots of white scraps. I think that means I need to use them on a background. I might even do some crumb blocks and use the what as an alternate square or something. If I have anywhere that needs help with fabric it would be the scrap drawers.

  6. Marianne says:

    I am not promised tomorrow. I need to just plain downsize. Again. I am doing fairly well with very low buying for the last several years. But. I want all my fabric except 30’s, kiddie novelties and stripes to fit in the stupidly too deep cupboards that my husband built. That is Goal #1. The 30’s and kiddie stuff I want to use myself and not have hanging around when I die. I started switching to using the good stuff years ago. This is a continuation of that.
    I have a rattan bookcase with plastic shoeboxes to hold my stripes and a couple of other things. I use the stripes for bindings so I want to be able to grab them easily. Sorting bycolor will not do it.
    Next I want to use other special fabrics myself like my DeGama indigos. More and more I am feeling that I can part with hand dyes but I am keeping them while I mull that over.
    Long term I want my entire stash to turn over in 3 years but I will maintain a three year stash. That amount will not be a burden for my son to get rid of. My husband will not allow people in the house to go thru my stuff other than our son. I do not want to abuse my son. I have helped get rid of what others have left behind when they died. A horror. I have downsized once a decade in my 30+ years of quilting. This time I need to be brutal. I am not promised tomorrow

  7. Beverly Vendt says:

    I have changed my sewing room twice in the last four months. I thought I had it the way that would work for me and it did, except I was having to lift totes to get to material. Some one offered me a cabinet with four shelves. I thought about where I could put it as all wall space was gone. However, I came up with a plan. I was able to get rid of all the cardboard boxes by putting material on the shelves and then put batting scraps and things into the totes. The totes are only a couple high instead of to the ceiling, so much easier to move when I need to.
    I have worked hard on organizing material and have it under control for now except for the scraps. I have them sorted, but have so many they are overflowing their container. I need to cut some more scraps into pieces and make a few more scrap quilts.

  8. My focus on this next month will be my rolls of stabilizers and other similar stuff that I had stored in a re-cycled wooden wine rack that has since fallen apart and is half falling off the shelf.
    So I started storing them in a wire waste basket that’s square in shape,…. and now it’s all over the place.
    It’s bugging me and I’m resolved to get that area fixed better for retrieval when needed. Thanks for the incentive .

  9. KarrinHurd says:

    I did organize my 3 shelves of patterns/papers and labeled them. I was thinking about reorganizing my fabric shelves and cupboards. Might take me more than a month though!

  10. Sherry V. says:

    My fabric is completely out of control…..in boxes, tote bags, baskets, etc.

    But I have been working on completing UFO’s so that I can clear those out of the “brain trap”.

    Due to back issues I need to take frequent breaks from quilting and I am using that time to work on the fabrics in my scrap basket.

    Thank you for all the inspiration and encouragement you give!

  11. Rose Marie says:

    I have a bin of “low volume fabrics.” I have had it for quiet awhile. I use it often but I also add to it often. It is not a little bin.
    Since my quilting area is also a bedroom used daily and my computer area, I have to keep it put away. What I struggle with is putting a partly completed project in a bin and then stacking it with the others. I am working diligently to get those finished faster than I make new ones. It is a race in which I often fall behind. Did I learn that from you???

  12. Margaret (Peggy) Long says:

    I’m not complaining, but here is my problem with organizing and putting things away…I used to be a clean, organized person. Dishes were done on a daily basis, vacuuming and dusting was accomplished at least monthly. Back then, I had visitors, therapists, grandchildren, and energy. Then, therapists were no longer needed, grandchildren grew up and became busy with their schedules. Visitors are few and far between and won’t judge if my house isn’t clean. But mostly, the energy is gone. Reactions to heat, and bugs and cold are better avoided altogether. The dogs are allowed all over the house and dog hair just doesn’t bother me anymore. Neither do dirty floors and dusty shelves. Right now, the only activities that holds my interest is sewing, and trolling IG. My “sewing room” has spilled into the living room (where I can easily view the tv), and into my bedroom where I can use the bed to lay out blocks. (Where do I sleep? On the couch with the dogs).
    When I do put things away out of sight, I can’t remember what I have. (I recently spent 2-3 weeks lamenting and shopping for a counter scraper for picking up chopped foods, only to open a drawer one day to discover that I already had one!) Yesterday I went stash diving in totes to look for a fabric I was sure would be suitable for backing the quilt I’m working on. I knew exactly which tote to find it in, but did not remember it was only a measly 3 yards of 44″ width. But to my glee, there was a 3 yard wide backing (110″) of an even better color I could not recall having at all.
    Yes, I really need to get things better organized to save some sanity, but because it’s just me (and the dogs don’t mind), why not just have it all out in the open where I can see it.

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