January Studio Organizing Challenge

Posted on January 21, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Studio Organizing Challenge

I didn’t get as much done during The Final Countdown as I would have liked, due to some tight deadlines. Those deadlines are met and passed, but now I have more deadlines to meet by the end of this month, so it’s really not getting better for me, as far as finding time to get more organized.

I still have lots of piles of stuff everywhere, and I think in the efforts I did make to work on the Final Countdown tasks, I might actually have made things worse in some areas!

So our organizing task for this month, should you care to join me, is:

Get rid of at least one pile

I am a pile maker. I have stacks and piles of stuff everywhere. Piles of paper, piles of projects, piles of fabric. I’m working on whittling all those piles down to nothing, so that’s what I’ll be working on this month, when I can find a bit of time to spare for organizing.

My Cowboy and I have been watching episodes of “Hoarders” on the internet — scary! — and I’ve also been reading a lot on THIS site, both of which are helping me look at lots of things with new eyes.

Yesterday, I went to put something away, and found a mystery box. I opened it up, and it was full of unquilted tops (some with their backings and bindings with them), so that just upped my to-be-quilted number! Oops! But now that I know about them, I can deal with them. Baby steps.

Here’s the pile I intend to tackle with this challenge, one of the piles I never got to during The Final Countdown:

Wish me luck! Do you have a pile that needs work?

Also . . . I have an additional challenge for you this month . . .

Have I ever mentioned how much I love trackers? I love getting to check something off my list and make progress. I also like to see how long I can keep a streak going without messing up. A few weeks ago, I made a goal of getting rid of 5 things every day. I knew I’d only have about a week of being able to do that because of deadlines and travel, but I did it, and it made me feel good.

I didn’t make a tracker for January because I knew I’d be gone too much, so why punish myself?

But for the remainder of the year, I’d like to work on building some new habits. So I’ve made myself a tracker chart. I’m challenging you to do this with me. I even made a free printable, so you can have a tracker chart like mine, if you want! Click here to download it: Habittracker2020

The challenge is to:

Develop a new habit

The chart is set up so that you can do one habit a month and just work your way across one line each month, or . . . you can track up to 27 different habits each month (yikes!). Simply list as many as you want to work on, and use one sheet for each month. Here’s what it looks like:

Your habit doesn’t have to pertain to sewing and quilting, but that’s my main goal with mine. Making myself get more organized and be able to stay that way, devote some time to things I’ve been ignoring or putting off, and be more consistent with things I’m working on, rather than flitting around so much.

For February, I’m setting up a tracker for the following task:

Machine piece for at least 30 minutes every day

I have a hard time making myself work on my own things because I’m so busy quilting for others. I’m trying to make it a priority, so I have two choices here.

1) Get it done early in the day, and have it out of the way, then I can concentrate on the longarm. Or . . .

2) Do all the longarming I can stand for the day, then sit down and machine piece for a half hour in the evening.

Either way, it should help me make lots of progress on the pile of UFOs. And next month, I can work on something else. Who knows? I may have developed this one into such a good habit, that I’ll just keep going with it, and add in something else.

You, of course, can pick your own task for this — you don’t have to do the same task as me. Pick one that will do you the most good. If you prefer to work on only one habit each month, or if you want to work on one habit each week for the entire year, I posted a tracker a couple years ago that will work for that. You can get it here: HabitTracker

Here’s what the previous tracker looks like:

Here are a few ideas of some things I may work on throughout this year:

Scrap processing X amount of time per day
Paper processing X amount of time per day
Clear my cutting table every day
Handwork X amount of time per day
Clean up one shelf/drawer/pile/space/etc. every day

By the time we’ve done some of these tasks faithfully for an entire month, they won’t need doing again, or at least they won’t need doing every day in the future — we can get it under control, and then keep it that way with the new habits we develop. For example, once I get all my paper under control, I can back off to only having to deal with it once or twice a week, and it will stay under control (theoretically).

So that’s my grand plan for this year (when I start my year over on February 1st!) — how about you? Do you need to develop a new habit, to make your future life a bit easier?

24 responses to “January Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Aileen Kline says:

    Sounds great! I am in. Just have to get my daughter to tclean up after herself. She is 36! Just learning to sew.

  2. Elizabeth Otto says:

    Nice to know someone else likes to make piles. My husband found an item at the store that was designed to put toys in. It hangs and has four shelves and openings. I have put projects in them from the bottom to top. This is the order I plan to finish them. One big pile conquered.

  3. Leslie says:

    Good for you, little steps
    I had already organized WIP’s, so I felt I was one step ahead. Next, my 10 inch stack of printed crochet/knitted patterns got put in page protecters my pattern, now to put in binders. As I was sorting papers, I went through quilt patterns in plastic packaging, books, and the last of magazines.
    Good start to New Year, I’m happy.

  4. Wendy O. says:

    My Task for the YEAR is, tend to the Scraps! For each new project, that is. lol
    Other task is, when one project is Done, work a day on tending the Tub of Scraps!
    Guess I’ve joined your Challenge!

  5. Liz Morgan says:

    That is a definite “YES!” I need a “NEW” habit.

    I’ve already started decluttering all the containers and every drawer in my studio. I did get rid of 20 large plastic containers out of the studio and 25 smaller containers. I just got rid of stuff! Now all the drawers are clean and organize. Stuff that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep, I have them all on top of tables and any flat surface to rummage through and decide whether or not to keep. That is my next task.

    I am in with you this year! (8

  6. Christopher Thomas says:

    sounds like a great ideal….i am printing mine now and will start at the first of the month with is a new year for some of us….lol

  7. Sharon Gratz says:

    I’m in. I’m not a fast ‘doer’ but I can do something each day…..which I have started doing since I started reading your Organizing Challenge blog. It’s far from looking really good, but it’s better than it was, and I’ll take that.

  8. Marianne says:

    I really like the idea of this! I need to reestablish habits…after I deal with some piles! I used to cut my scraps as I made them. I started saving them for my granddaughter to play with when she visited but she was more interested in cutting head and arm holes in big pieces of yardage for * dresses*.

    Now I have a backlog. I can think of other habits to establish or reestablish..like a little hand sewing daily. But first piles need to disappear. I rarely had them and now I have oh so many! Most should take only minutes to an hour…so why did they suddenly develop? I know, I know! Health greatly reduced sewing time last year so when I could sew, I did…..and I let piles build up while sewing instead of clearing the boards in the studio firstSometimes you need to know what crashed good habits!

  9. Cindy Wienstroer says:

    I did some piles. My mom is 92 and she cleaned out her sewing space. I took it and sorted into what i wanted, to a woman who makes hospice hearts, and another whose church makes quilts for the homeless. Now on way to daughter’s for a month to see our nee granddaughter. Not much sewing expected for awhile so left my space cleaner!😃

  10. Emma says:

    Ooh! On Sunday I finished up my current WIP into a top and after that…I heavily cleaned quilting stuff off of my desk. All the scraps made from cutting pieces for that quilt (it’s made out of 1.5″ squares/HSTs, in what I guess you could call a pieced art quilt design? A flower garden I drafted up to fit in my youngest niece’s nursery theme) and also all of the crumb blocks I’ve been working on. The 1.5″ strips all got put away into their containers, crumbs into theirs, some 2.5″ strips got put away finally…I can see white space!

    Now to start cutting pieces for the next quilt (the 9 patches for it are left over from another project but I need to get the HSTs they’ll alternate with done) until I get one of the two tops/backings I have ready loaded onto the longarm…

  11. PAULA M MORGAN says:

    I love your tracker idea, I started the Keto diet end of April last year used a free carb. manager on my phone to track daily carb intake. Total weight lost was over 40 lbs by the end of October….but Egg Nog season started…17 found their way home! So having to write it down and be accountable between you and a piece of paper in this case is a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing!

  12. Paula says:

    Shelly, your article has me thinking of how something becomes a habit. I have heard/read it takes 30 days for a behavior to become a habit if you do it everyday. So, in February I will turn off my computer by 8 PM each night. Amazing how time flies when searching, studying, or writing. Going to bed at 3 or 4 AM and getting up at 8 AM is not working for me on a consistent basis.

    And Shelly, I am so late saying thank you for the lovely items you sent me as a prize for organizing. It is like you know the things I like and use. Thank you so much!

  13. Hi Shelly. This challenge is right in my wheelhouse. I’ve been really good about having files, drawers and patterns organized, but……
    I have a pile on the filing cabinet and my bin with orphan blocks needs to be emptied and used.
    I used to be good about dealing with my scraps regularly, but have noticed the scrap bin has overflowed into another bin.
    I need to deal with scraps as I finish each project and get the bins emptied again. I’m sure the tracker and 15 minutes a day will get me back to having good scrap organization. The pile on the filing cabinet needs to be dealt with. Another 15 minutes a day tidying should take care of this bad habit before I get piles everywhere! Trackers will be printed and posted on my board as soon as I post this.

  14. Karrin Hurd says:

    I’ll join you. I need to get in the habit of cutting up my scraps regularly, get rid of some piles, and clean out some cupboards.

  15. Patricia says:

    My paper piles are always there😔. I get it organized, and before you know it, I have a huge pile. Working on it this month.

  16. Paula in NE OH says:

    Thanks for the habit trackers. I will definitely give them a try. Now to decide on which of the many habits I need to develop. Hope you and your cowboy are both feeling better.

  17. Marlene says:

    Want scary?? Take a photo of your sewing room from any direction. You only need one! Don’t ask!! I keep thinking, I will devote just one hour to working at ANYTHING . . . and sometimes I do and, yes agree, sometimes it actually make it worse!!

  18. Beverly says:

    I’m in. Piles and piles everywhere. Already started earlier this month. Scanning and shredding. Cutting scraps and putting in box to make scrappy quilt. Finishing up a quilt hopefully by end of month. February finish up another quilt that I inherited from another quilter. Working a little everyday on piles.

  19. Raewyn says:

    Two habits I want to develop – keep on top of my paper pile(s) and deal with my scraps as I make them…… I like the idea of devoting a bit of time to each thing every day so that a habit forms – thanks for the wee push!

  20. Rose Marie Smith says:

    When I finish the Snowball quilt, I am taking all my scrap pieces and putting them separately in a box and taking it to the basement. I will be making a few things from leftover blocks. I will be cutting out all new projects from yardage. Yippee. By this time next year I will have a new scrap bin!! Wait and see.

  21. Marcia in TX says:

    Thank you for the habit trackers. I’m working on walking or other exercise, decluttering at least 10 to 15 minutes each day, and sewing on UFOs. I’m going to have to put that sewing first thing in the day since I am having a problem getting around to it.

  22. Leona Rice says:

    Glad to hear that other quilters have a mess like mine. I don’t feel so alone/bad any more that I’m such a bad housekeeper. Thank goodness I’m pretty much keeping up on my customer orders. And I’ve actually made a small Strip ‘n Flip cover from scraps. I got hooked on those when our Guild started making them for our Community Quilt Giveaway that we have every October. I’m hooked on them–8″ blocks. Already made a quilt for a customer using some of them. And now making 2 or 3 blocks almost every day. Such fun.

  23. Angie in SoCal says:

    Okay, I’ll give it a try. I’m so bad right now in this pandemic. Sometimes I wonder where the whole day went. Likewise for hubby. As we were getting ready for bed, we were astounded that the next day was Friday!
    Off to pring a couple of sheets. What I’m going to put on them will require some thinking.

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