July Studio Organizing Challenge

Posted on July 15, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Studio Organizing Challenge

Well, indeed it took me the entire month to clean off my cutting table, and it’s not really clean. Not very clean at all. But I did clean it off enough to be able to put down my new cutting mats.

The new mats are so wonderful, but when I first unwrapped them, they stinked up the place! My Cowboy came up to help me with something one day, stepped through the door and said, “What died in here?” It seriously smells faintly like I had a visit from a skunk (which wouldn’t be so unusual around here, but not in the house)! But after a week or so, that’s gone, and it was worth it.

The mats are reversible — you can use either side, depending on if you want red or blue. I chose one of each for right now. They’re very thick and sooo nice. If you’re in need of a new cutting mat, I would highly recommend this one. It’s the Lori Holt mat, and I got mine from Fat Quarter Shop online. I got the 24″ x 36″ size. Be warned — it’ll smell bad for a few days! But it’s worth it.

As for the cutting table, I still have a lot of work to do. I’m hoping by the end of the year, most of these projects are finished. I’m sure I’ll try to replace them with others, but my hope is to once again keep from starting anything new, and continue to work on finishing things up. And finally get the table clean and keep it that way.

Oh, and I had thought that I would try to count the projects on the table as I cleaned it off, but I forgot to, so I have no idea how many projects were there or how many still remain. I really don’t think I want to know!

Meanwhile, it’s time for a new organizing challenge, and this month I’ve simply chosen to:

Clean up a pile

And here’s why:

I need to get rid of this mountainous pile beside my sewing machine. I can barely work! And don’t judge — I’m fully aware that I have serious issues! haha!

This surface should be slicked clean and only be holding the immediate pieces I’m working with. Why it has become a catch-all, I don’t know.

I’m a pile maker — obviously — are you? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.

But this is what I’ll be trying to get rid of this month. What pile of stuff do you need to deal with? Share in the comments — we might all get some new ideas on how to keep after our messes!

27 responses to “July Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Karen Beigh says:

    I am definitey a pile maker….much more than I see in your photo.

  2. PymaQuilter says:

    I’m a pile maker, also. My recent goal is to make neat piles!

  3. Amanda M. says:

    I’m in hopes of getting the project piles that are on the edge of my cutting table turned into at least quilt tops aka flimsy’s but hopefully I can get them done and gifted. I’m not sure how many projects are in the piles but less than a dozen I think. At least I have variety to keep me from getting bored and enough to chain piece to keep the sewing machine happy.

  4. suzanne Yerks says:

    Oh yea the piles! I have been bad about the scrap piles and tend to put them in a bigger vessel until that topples. My last cutting mat purchase was from havels. They are pink and much thicker and somehow did not smell.

  5. Margie says:

    My cutting table usually looks like yours but mine isn’t that big so you can probably get more projects! My current problem is what I call Chronic Mask Making. I thought it was an acute problem but have resigned myself to Covid 19 not going away any time soon.

  6. Wendy says:

    Oh, you and I would get along famously if we shared a quilting space. I have stacks all over, in progress, not in progress, stacked to be ignored (for now). So my dilemma – I clean one area and I come upon stuff I don’t quite know where to store, so I move it to another area (it becomes a stack in a new place). Then I go to clear that area, and move the stack back. I’m trying to think on some new storage in my little space so I can change that habit. I had the small 7 x 9″ (?) Lori Holt mat and loved it. I just handed it off to my daughter to use, since I had kinda worn it out. She’ll use it for her projects (non-quilting) and should be able to get some good use out of it too.

  7. Angie in SoCal says:

    Guilty – I’m definitely a pile maker. I put in a third table in my studio to set up a machine dedicated to applique. Never got it cleared enough to put the machine up. Sigh. I’m going to continue to clean my cutting area.

  8. cathy lynch says:

    I,m in the same boat, a pile maker like you!!! I don’t know why, it would be so nice to have a clean work area but if it still works why clear it off??? I took 6 vacation days and hope to make more room on my cutting table one of the days!
    Happy quilting

  9. Kerry says:

    Hah! My daughter came to stop over last weekend and I had to clear off her wedding quilt from the guest bed and hide it all! Most went under the cutting table! Then I made them some masks for her and her other half. I can see the cutting mat. Almost. I tried so hard to tidy it but all that happens is I shift the piles around. On the plus side my daughter chose some of the fabrics in her quilt (unbeknown to her!) and so I only have a small bit left to use up. Swings and roundabouts.
    Nice cutting mat! Even if it ponged to high heaven!! LOL!

  10. Crystal says:

    I wish you lots of luck with your organization project. I find that when I put things away I spend all my time searching for them. I probably need a better system. A place for everything and everything in its place….one can dream.

  11. Kate in CT says:

    Guilty pile maker here! Its line an AA meeting here. I feel better cause I said it.

  12. Marlene Clausen says:

    So, did you go around singing, “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” for a couple days?

  13. Meloney Funk says:

    I have to many piles. It is the way I live.
    Here is what I’ve decided to focus on first.

  14. Randy Menninghaus says:

    yes madam…. I took a how to the lest side of my sewing room collapsed the ironing board which was serving as a host for piles… Moved the spare wheelie chair to another room and took to it. I need to sweep now that I have found the floor

  15. PAULA M says:

    Pile maker in all aspects…dishes, clothes, cleaning products….not to mention my sewing area….that alone has 5 locations of piles, and I just cleared off the desk last week! Piled high again! I have been sorting and tossing ( to my sister) no where near being finished. I am about to move furniture around again, I find my hips are tired of side moves. This month furniture move, have to do it on the sly, as my husband has had back surgery, I prefer he not think I need help. I prefer to surprise him! hahah

  16. Kate says:

    I have to clear my cutting table AGAIN. I have a young friend coming tomorrow to make a skirt (I think it’s a skirt. ) I would like to share a saying another friend’s daughter lives by: if it will take less than two minutes DO IT. That means if I am placing a dish in the sink wash it. If it’s a tool in the sewing room put it back. It’s amazing how incorporating this into daily living makes a difference. I went to the dollar store a few months ago and bought a couple drawer dividers (like silverware tray but a little bigger). I used it to sort strips of fabric. I marked the sections by width because I am annoyed if I have to repeat measurements.
    Sounds like I am organized but I am not. Just staying satisfied with progress not perfection.

    • Sharon Gratz says:

      Kate, I really like the drawer divider idea! I usually trim up a piece to the square/strip I keep, but just add it to the pile to put it away later. By marking the divider, it will be easy to put it there and just pick up the pieces and put in the proper container at the end of the day/week…..whenever. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Donna says:

    I can relate to the smelly mats. Before I retired from teaching, I had purchased several mats to use in my classroom. They smelled so badly that it gave me migraines when I was in the area where they were stored. I contacted the company, was told that they hadn’t been cured correctly, and received replacements (which smelled only a little less). Eventually, the original mats lost the odor. I’ve test-smelled the ones in the stores, and they have the odor also, but they’re in a larger area so customers aren’t aware of the odor. I think leaving the mats outdoors helps get rid of the odor, but be careful to not let them warp in the hot sun.

  18. Karen E. says:

    I am also a piler and wish I could break the habit. I’ve made a 30-day list which includes UFOs to be completed as well as getting rid of some stacks of things either by completing them or giving them up. Our free table will surely collapse if we’re ever able to have guild meetings again!

  19. Sharon Gratz says:

    Oh goodness, Shelly, I have all kinds of piles ……. everywhere. I’m so happy to see I’m not alone. Does my heart good. 🙂

  20. Deanna says:

    I live with two “pile makers.” We have decided the technical term is “visual organizers.” Some people seem to do better when they can see the things they are “working” on. The key, as far as I can tell, is to keep it within boundaries. Visual organizers really can’t help themselves beyond a certain point.

  21. Joan says:

    Many piles in this house. Guess I will remove one thing from at least one pile a day for the month–to complete, file, or recyle, give away, donate. Seems like when I start to tackle a pile I am able to remove more than one thing. Kind of like my goal to make a quilt block a day!

  22. Shirley Guier says:

    We make piles to stay organized. When I have piles I can always find stuff. It has been a while since I bought a mat and they do stink terrible! I think it took a couple of months to get rid if the smell here.

  23. Ginny says:

    Piles are the bain of everyday. I do manage to keep my big cutting table clear unless I am doing accounting. Then it is filled with paper piles. The cutting table by my machine which is the one I use most usually only has the parts of the current project on it. I seem to figure out how to add small tables here and there for the overflow. My biggest pile issue is the new fabric I but that I don’t have a home for. Now I have drawers in the guest room filling with fabric. OUCH! Need to not but and finish more quilts. Boxes or drawers of kits, boughten as kit or put together by me is a real issue. More sewing, more sewing needed coupled with no buying.

  24. Karen says:

    I don’t pile things, but dump things into bins where I can’t see them. But it’s very non-motivating that way! So I have set a goal of going through every bin and storage bag and getting rid of most of them, so I can see more of what I do have. Just yesterday, 3 big garbage bags of fabrics and clothes I was going to re-purpose, went to the charity store. Felt great! I’ve also looked at every UFO I have started and decided if I wanted to keep going on it or scrap it, and labeling things and making notes as I go along. I’m really hoping by the end of the year, I’ll have most of these UFO’s done…well one can dream, right?!

  25. Marsha Y. says:

    I am guilty as well. Had just finished cleaning cutting area from granddaughter’s quilt when I cluttered it again with material for masks. Friends are requesting them faster than I can keep up. then had to trim quilt for my sister after quilting it so moved the pile of material and cut out masks to another area. Now back to making masks. The only problem is that I seem to lose something every time I move a pile.

  26. I’m guilty as charged! I confess to having a pile of leftover fabric from my last 5 or 6 projects piled on my cutting table. I need to organize them for cutting into my scrap boxes or bank in my stash. Then I have the pile on the top of my cart; an upcoming project (or three) and the finished stack of blocks that will be used in upcoming projects. This week I will sort it out to get ready for 3 days of non stop sewing time while DH is in hospital for knee replacement surgery.

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