Final Countdown Task One

Posted on December 29, 2014 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges

Here we go!

Are you all set to dig in on your first task?

I’m excited! I need these challenges probably more than any of you do, and I’ll be doing them right along with you.

Our first task is:

Clear off one flat surface

It could be your desk, your sewing machine table, your cutting table, your ironing board . . . whatever flat surface seems to be a catch-all for stuff you just don’t deal with while you’re in the throes of creating.

Do you have piles of fabric scraps left over from making those last-minute Christmas gifts? I do.

Do you have piles of papers on your desk because you’ve been too busy with the holidays to do any paperwork or file any receipts? I do.

Do you use your ironing board for the overflow? I do . . .

While my sewing machine area is actually quite tidy (for whatever freaky reason), and my ironing board is clear at the moment (also very strange), my cutting table is an entirely different story.

So I have chosen to clean up this mess:


Folks, this is my NEW sewing room, that I’ve only been using since October! HOW does this happen????

Please don’t nominate me for Hoarders . . . just yet. Especially since I am actually admitting that I have a problem!

Now the trick here is to clean off this surface, but NOT just pile the stuff elsewhere. We must deal with it and put it away properly or organize it — otherwise, it will just come back next week to plague us.

So first, I’m going to sort the piles that are on here into their various projects or purposes.

Then I’m going to put them away or find a home for each project.

Your task is to do the same . . .

And then leave a comment here telling me you did it and how wonderful it made you feel!

If all your surfaces are already clean, then I’m sure we’re all happy for you, and seriously wondering how you do it — and you can still leave a comment to that effect to be eligible for the prizes at the end. We can probably all use some über-organized person to model ourselves after.

My grandmother was one of those people, and try as I might, I just can’t get as organized as she always was. Why did I not get that gene?

I’ll update this post later with some after pictures, once I get my cutting table back under control. Maybe some “during” pictures, too . . .

Good luck to all of us . . . I’m heading in . . .

Well, here’s my update, and I sure do feel better!


You might argue that it’s still piled, but . . .

The piles that are left are my 4 current projects. The 4 that have to be done soonest.


And my tool caddies are always out on top, keeping all my most-used utensils right at hand:


And my sketchbooks and notebooks are always at the ready. The two on the left are for ideas. I use the top one for doodling, and the bottom one for sketching out more concrete plans. The two on the right are for pattern writing. I use the top one for drafting the pattern pieces, and the bottom one is where I write out the instructions and make notes. (I don’t design on the computer. These 4 books are my “Design Central”.)


I’m really hoping this increases productivity. Thanks for all the comments letting me know how you did with this task. We can all get some good ideas from each other, and letting you all shame me into cleaning up the inspiration and motivation always helps, doesn’t it?

24 responses to “Final Countdown Task One”

  1. Rose Marie says:

    The only flat surface in my sewing area is the desk and the floor. (well there’s a bed but that is cleared all the time) I guess I’ll work on the floor. How many UFO bins does one actually need???
    Hey, as a side note I started the Hexie quilt this morning. I love to start a new UFO more than I like clearing up. Just sayin’.

  2. mary c says:

    I have a tendency to stack “stuff” in my sewing space over the holidays. Things that need attention after the hub-bub is over. I spent the last 4 days putting things away. I have 6 boxes tagged for a garage sale and 2 more boxes tagged for sharing with family. I was tired but immensely proud of the clean room. Now I can start another quilt!!

  3. Maxine says:

    I had to clear my kitchen table, my main sewing table, for all the food that had to be made for the holidays. My dining room table is my cutting table and that is also clear because we had to sit somewhere to eat. We had company so we had to be “proper”. I have yet to resume any quilting because I have family obligations! WHY!! Don’t they know I HAVE to quilt or I’ll go crazy???

  4. Done to a certain extent. The cutting area is clear. I did get several little freezer containers and put tags on them; one is for 1.5 inch squares; one 2″; 2 3/4″; and 3 1/2″ squares as I had some small scraps so cut them into those sizes and virtually used them up; these will be used for future scrappy projects.

  5. Deanna says:

    Flat surface cleaned! I feel much better–the big culprit was little things out of pockets (my sewing space is also the laundry room) and DUST!

    Thanks for the nudge. Now I will go sew as a reward.

    • Janet Volz says:

      Had to clean mine up with 25 people coming for
      Christmas eve and my house being small needed
      everything in its proper place. It is time to get back to sewing I am having withdrawal pains.

  6. Barb Bevell says:

    Ooo, I hope some of those scraps make it into my bag of “Shelly’s treasures”. (I just raided a pile of Selvedges you gave me of Riley Blake designs and made a great bag for someone for Christmas.)

    Got my cutting table and ironing surface cleaned off. Thanks for the challenge!

  7. Barbara Ensor says:

    Removed all the displaced by Christmas decor from my quilt frame table. New to your blog and needed this nudge!

  8. Meloney says:

    I found things I was missing. Found rulers I’d forgot about. Thanks for suggesting this so I can start the year with less clutter.

  9. Kathy says:

    Well, I seem to always have clutter in my sewing room. I just cut out 10 rag crib size flannel baby quilts. Each one has 30 blocks at 9×9″. Now to stop sneezing and clean up the scraps. Hey I got an idea from someone for using up all the tiny scraps that we have no more use for. I save them in a big plastic bag and when it gets full I combine them and some left over poly and make a dog pillow with them. Really it takes about 15 minutes to make one and my dog loves it. She is a Jack Russell/Cairn mic. She weighs about 25 pounds. I put it in her kennel where she sleeps at night. When it gets dirty I throw it in the washer and dryer and it comes out fluffy again. I have made several for friends pets also. And yes my cat has one in her kennel too. Just saying. Great inexpensive gifts.

    • Joy Sleeman says:

      Could you please post a pic of the dog pillow,as I wasn’t sure if the poly you mentioned was filler for the cushion or fabric used as a base for crazy patchwork.

  10. Kathy says:

    Oh yah, I did clean my sewing area so I can start sewing these quilts. My New year resolution is to finish all I have started. 16 quilts now. All cut out and ready to be sewed. 3 all by hand. SIGH!!!

  11. Cathy Poyner says:

    I was inspired to clean off four flat surfaces if you count the floor. My mother gave me her blanket chest, and I organized my stash in it. I have an empty drawer box and large plastic tote. My resolution for next year is to finish some of my 36 UFOs. I want to try to finish my oldest UFO as well.

  12. Mary says:

    I made several pillows, zip bags, aprons and potholders for Christmas gifts. The remainders of those projects were lingering on my cutting table making a big mess. I finally got things folded and back to their places. I can finally see the cutting mat! The ironing area needs attention next.

  13. Karen says:

    I got it done and it does feel good. You can read about it here:
    Now it’s got me moving everything around in my sewing space, so bit of a mess still, but working on it.

  14. Cindy says:

    It has taken me pretty much all day, but I have cleaned off the ironing board, the big table I work on and the cutting table! I still need to do the desk, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I am now tired!!!!! Plus I didn’t get this quilt done that I wanted to get done today. But, I do feel better about my space. Thanks for the nudge!!!! How did you do?

  15. Carol Smith says:

    Well I actually cleared off the table where my cutting mat is. I need to finish the quilt and get it marked and the paper taking off before Wednesday. Because my name is up next on the quilting list. Feeling the time crunch but it was nice to get back to sewing I have been goofing around too much! Today was a day for the chiropractor for me at urgent care for my oldest son because he couldn’t get into the chiropractor until Wednesday. So being able to sit down and sew really did feel good tonight!

  16. Sue H says:

    I started cleaning off my cutting table this weekend. I still have five projects to complete. I told myself I could not start anything else until they were finished. Plan to have completed by the weekend. So my new year of sewing will start on the 5th but at least a few UFOs out of the way.

  17. katie z. says:

    Oh, perfect! We had an insane amount of Christmas presents given to the kids this year, so I’ve been very intent on them purging/tidying. At the same time, I felt l should clean up my fabric storage/creative side of the utility room. The other side is for the kids, I put away a large stack of fabric, buttons, rulers, and odds and ends. Three bags later (trash, recycle, and donate), I had my side AND the kids’ side cleaned up. whoohoo!

  18. Pam in KC says:

    Well, task #1 is a work in progress. Hopefully tonight I’ll finish it and today’s task.

  19. Bobbi says:

    I cleaned off my cutting table and ironing board. They weren’t the surfaces in the most dire need of attention, but they are the ones that make me crazy when they aren’t clean. I feel like I can’t do anything when there is clutter on my work space. Strange how it always seems to pile so quickly.

  20. Linda Knight says:

    Didn’t get task one completed until today. Better late than never.

  21. denniele says:

    Does it count if I cleaned before you posted? LOL I have 7 floor to ceiling bookcases….3 of them have been cleaned out……:)

  22. Joy Sleeman says:

    Ironing board cleaned off, and all fabric in the right colour tub, scraps in the lunch boxes

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