Final Countdown Task Two

Posted on December 30, 2014 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges

Are you on an organizing roll?

You did great yesterday!

I also see that several of you succumbed to the “Oh, look! Squirrel!” syndrome, and got distracted by starting new projects — ahem — Rose Marie. It’s OK — I’m with you — I have to admit, I started a new one my ownself. And I’ll repeat what a wise old friend of mine used to say: “There’s a fine line between hobby and mental illness!”

You can see my progress at the tail end of yesterday’s post. I went back and updated it with what I got accomplished. And I am feeling very accomplished. Doesn’t a clean work surface always inspire better creativity and productivity? It does for me, so you’d think I’d learn to just keep it that way. And it’s why I couldn’t resist starting a new project — that clean space was just begging for it!

I think part of the problem is that creativity is also very messy, at least for me!

Are you ready for today’s task?

It is:

Organize part of your stash

Let me elaborate, though, on what “stash” can include . . .

It’s not just fabric, although that may be the first thing that comes to mind — it’s usually the first thing I think of when I hear the word stash, and when it does, it usually makes me cringe!

But stash can also be . . .

A stash of thread . . .

A stash of books or magazines . . .

A stash of notions, tools, or supplies . . .

A stash of office supplies . . .

And yes, a stash of fabric, in whatever form it takes.

So today, just pick one of those things to work on. I’m choosing the one that is bothering me the most today — and yes, that does happen to be my fabric stash. But if I get myself in motion, it just might cover an extra thing or two.

I got my thread stash organized back when I moved into my new sewing room in October. My longarm thread is on this big pegboard:


You’ll notice that there is no pink, purple, or red on this rack, and that’s because I need a second one, which I will install when I move all this upstairs into the new room I am preparing for the longarm. Right now, the extra is in a drawer, but it IS organized.

My applique thread is in this box:


OK, OK, these boxes — I have to be truthful, and admit that it takes more than one box to hold all my applique thread:


My embroidery thread is in these boxes (yes, it takes 4 of them):


Right now, these are all stashed beside my cozy chair downstairs where I do all my hand stitching, but they will eventually move upstairs, too.

And my miscellaneous thread is on this rack beside my sewing machine area in my new sewing room:


My books and magazines are scattered everywhere right now. Lots of them are still packed in boxes from when we moved in here exactly 2 years ago. I’m still waiting to get the upstairs finished and rearranged before I unpack them and decide what to do with them.


I’ve really missed some of the ones I use for reference, and did dig through some of the boxes to find certain ones, but there are others I could and should probably part with, if I haven’t used them in this long!

I’ve been planning to organize my drawers of tools and notions ever since I moved into the new sewing room, but just haven’t taken the time yet. Maybe I’ll tackle these today, too.


Office supplies . . . well . . . there is a horrible aftermath of the holiday shipping season in my office, but I’m too embarrassed to show it to you. Just take my word for it. My sister even commented on it when she was here last. I could only nod in agreement. Pathetic . . .

I may have to deal with that today, too. It’s bothering me.

But back to the fabric stash . . .

I have my fabric sorted into tubs by color. I’m going through them all, one by one, and sorting and refolding it, and getting it organized. Because . . . when you are working, and you are looking through your stash for fabric over the course of the year, and you remove the lid from an organized bin . . .

The contents expand! Have you noticed that? It’s like the air gets to it, and it just balloons up, and then the lid never fits back on. How does it work like that? I can’t understand it.

But my goal is to get the lids to all fasten back on, even after putting away all the stray pieces that are hanging out around the studio. I’m also cutting up all the smaller pieces to fit into my pre-cut shapes bins, or into my strings bucket, or into my “pieces for tiny applique” baskets, which are all neatly organized right here in the shelves in the end of my cutting table:


I won’t get it all done in one day, but I hope to create some momentum that helps me get it done sometime soon.

My purples are finished and fit neatly into their tub (and the lid fits):


The greens are another matter entirely — they are taking up a tub and a half, and the lids won’t fit on either one! These may be the ones I tackle today.

My other goal is to not spend so much time on this that I end up doing only that, and never get any sewing done — it’s a delicate balance . . .

What is your goal for this task?

Which stash will you choose to organize today?

Which one is really bothering you?

What part of your stash would you like to have organized to start out 2015 with?

Pick a stash, any stash, and work on it today. Then leave a comment letting us all know how it went.

I wish us all luck, and speedy stash organizing. I’ll be back with some updates, and can’t wait to see what you all get accomplished today!

And there’s still one more task tomorrow!

Here’s my update:

I did not tackle my green fabric bins at all — even though I meant to!

The thing that was most bothering me was the pile of shipping supplies in the office. They were everywhere. And I didn’t get any before pictures.

But here’s my after picture:


Take my word for it, that entire corner was piled with boxes and packing material, gift bags, tissue paper, and all number of other things I’d just pitched into the pile.

There were even lots of boxes scattered in other places up here, so I gathered those up, too, and have them all neatly stacked and ready to use now. (I need to get a door on that storage closet — I’m planning to hang a curtain across the opening to hide it all.)

I also did a quick once-over and made a list of things I need to re-stock, such as padded envelopes and packing tape. This feels so much better!

And . . . I’m still going to tackle those green fabric bins before the 5th!

21 responses to “Final Countdown Task Two”

  1. Donna says:

    Yep, I agree; once a storage box is opened, the contents expand. I went through my copier paper box of patterns for doll clothes yesterday, and by nightfall the box was fuller than it was when I opened it even though I sorted through each pattern envelope and IRONED all the patterns pieces before putting them back in the envelopes. Maybe the plastic bags I put the envelopes caused the growing phenomenon.

  2. Cathy Poyner says:

    I think I did that yesterday. My resolution for next year is not to buy any new fabric for quilts for me. That doesn’t mean I can’t buy new fabric for projects that I make for other people. I also organized my stash into my mother’s blanket chest. The chest still has a lot of room left, but no new fabric for me until I get many of the 36 UFOs done. Maybe I can get it down into the 20s by the end of 2015.

  3. Deanna says:

    Decided to work on the thread stash. It has to fit in that same dresser I worked on yesterday and that situation needed help. Much better now. Thank you.

  4. katie z. says:

    I managed to clean up my scraps. I try to keep them trimmed to particular sizes, but in my cutting and cleaning up of miscellaneous bags, I found/created a shoebox of scraps needing trimming. Now they’re all cut down and even put away! I wasn’t sure I could conquer this box, as it was boring and tedious, but now I’m squared away for at least another month.

  5. Rose Marie says:

    I got a head start on today’s challenge last night. In trying to clear the UFO’s off the floor, I realized that the fabric and scrap bins were all full and the fabric for wip’s was sitting all around as well as the UFO bins. In other words, this was gonna take more than just sorting back into assigned spaces. I started going through thread, fabric, magazine and pattern stashes. I have a place to give away lots of stuff to beginner quilts in Edina – need a box for that.

  6. Rose Marie says:

    This additional comment may get me thrown out of the prize drawing. Shelly has 4 rooms for all her stuff, I have one half a room and some bookshelves downstairs. Whine, whine, whine.

  7. Kathy says:

    Thread? You did say thread, right? Oh how I hate thread! It seems to unroll even when you do organize it. I have tried tape, elastics, ribbon, whatever. Nothing keeps it from unrolling. SIGH! I guess it’s a cross I have to bear. As a matter of fact I just redid my bobbin case this morning. I couldn’t get a bobbin out without cutting the clump of thread, I really think they mate. Not sure, but I have a hunch that something sneaky goes on in that box for sure.

  8. Beth Strand says:

    I guess I’m a day behind…today, I cleared my big cutting table and spent some time stacking and sorting through all the miscelaneous pieces that accumulate. I have about four big boxes of scraps (actually closer to six now that I think on it) and my 2015 goal is to cut it all into useable pieces – strips, strings, squares, etc. and get to using them!

  9. Bobbi says:

    This was just the motivation I needed! Lately I have found myself much more drawn to batiks than to regular cottons. This means my projects have generated quite the terrible pile of leftovers on one of my shelves because I don’t have a place for the batik scraps. My cotton scraps have been sorted by size and color. Since I don’t have very many scraps, that meant they were taking significantly more space than necessary. Combine that with the fact that I’m rarely using them now, and there wasn’t much reason to keep them that divided. I consolidated all of those scraps to be sorted just by size, and now I have space to put away the batik scraps! It’s going to take some time to tackle that shelf, but now I feel like I can actually do it. I can’t wait to have it clean.

  10. Cindy says:

    Well I have been pulling from my collection of Civil War reproduction fabric for months (plus adding to the collection more than using from it). It had really gotten out of hand and was definitely an eye sore. So that is what I worked on today. I am seeing an improvement! You know maybe you should do this more than once a year. Seemingly I could use a gentle nudge throughout the year.

  11. Mary says:

    I think I could spend the whole month of January working on this. I need to organize my fabric stash, getting the scrappy bits separated from the larger pieces, then cutting the scrappy pieces into usable squares and culling the odd pieces to the crumb box. I started it last year and got through they yellow, purple and rusts, but the biggest containers which have red, blue (there’s three with blue), green and black have not been touched. Today I’m going to try to do green.

  12. Barb Bevell says:

    Today’s task is done!

    I did what Shelly said to do: I looked around and put away whatever had been “bugging me” for a while that I hadn’t bothered to put away before.

    1. One neatly folded stack of fabric “rejects” for a current project that was sitting next to the ones I was going to use.
    2. I put away several project boxes that had somehow migrated out of their appointed homes under my long arm.
    3. I finished trimming a stack of 1/2 square triangles that I made today as “leaders and enders” and put them away.

    Fortunately, I had pretty well cleaned my studio last week, so I’m set. Spent most of the day sewing!

  13. I’ve been going through quilting books and magazines and giving away the ones that don’t hold projects that I will never do. Christmas tree goes down today and I’m planning on doing a lot of clean up around the house. I’m an interior decorator and a lot of stuff and deliveries stops at the front door. TIme to move it.

  14. Sue H says:

    Ok I finished project two. I am almost embrassed to share. Two years ago I went on the All Iowa shop hop. All the stuff I purchaed was in a box under my cutting table and not touched since I brought home. Cleaned out box and put everything in its place. I had some really cute things in there. Several things on in my do next pile. Thanks Shelly for giving us a push

  15. Maxine says:

    I have to take dad for his follow up appt after cataract surgery yesterday. but when I get home, I am going to organize my fabric, since I threw everything in tubs while I was clearing my sewing spaces (kitchen and dining room tables) I have to find a better way.. I am going to try by color this time around. Last time it was by cut. Not a very good way to organize, as I kept digging around for certain colors. I really need to move my sewing space to the basement or to one the bedrooms But that’s never going to happen..

  16. Karen says:

    I decided to work on my paper stash. You can read about it here:
    This has lead to lots of other reorganizing of my sewing space, which is great! I’m already loving the changes.

  17. Pam in KC says:

    The cutting table is cleared from Task 1 and I have the long-arm and travel boxes of notions are put back together. Pictures to follow task 3.

  18. Linda Knight says:

    Either I’m excessive compulsive or just don’t get enough time to quilt because my stash is all sorted and stays that way. It’s really because I don’t have a big space and it must stay sorted to find anything.

  19. denniele says:

    Those cleaned out bookcases now hold some of my quilting books & magazines that never made it into the studio. 🙂 Getting there!

  20. Joy Sleeman says:

    Did a lot of the stash in yesterdays post clearing surfaces, so today I put the project packs in one tub. I’d bought one on 50% sale and it was just sitting in the sewing room.I have plastic bags of fabric in sets, bought on a cruise to Noumea, purchased on a trip to New Zealand, a winding ways kit bought at a show, you get the picture , these are now all in the one tub, ready to go when I need to grab and start something.Also put all the loose overlocker threads in a beag in the cupboard.

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