May Studio Organizing Challenge

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

I’ll warn you right now . . . this post is gonna get a bit long-winded! I have a lot of organizing to talk about today. (Cos it’s easier to talk about it than actually do it, right? Haha!)

I got my cabinet from last month’s challenge cleaned out:

I removed several tops waiting to be quilted, and took out that box that was on the bottom shelf. I still need to find a good place for the box, but it won’t be inside the cabinet . . .

You guys were right — there’s a lot of pretty fabric in here! And I’m so anxious to cut into some of it, but so far this year, I have not yet started one single new project, and I’m trying to keep that going for as long as I can. I have a few more big projects to get off my cutting table, and maybe then — we’ll see.

Speaking of the cutting table, here’s its current state as of the writing of this post:

It’s a little better than last month, but not a whole lot. Four large projects have disappeared from its surface, and I’ve done a lot of scrap processing, but I still have a long way to go for it to be cleared.

And once again this month, that’s not what I’m tackling!

This month’s challenge is brought to us by reader, Susie. She wants us to:

Get ‘that fabric’ out of our stash

Susie elaborates: “The one that you just hang on to, really don’t know what to do with it, there isn’t enough to do anything with it … and in my case — the sentimental attachment I placed on it. What was it? Finding Nemo flannel remnants from the pajama pants my daughter made in high school. She graduated in 2006. I will spare you the novel of memories I associated with the pile of scraps. I took a deep breath. And I started cutting squares to add to a rag quilt. Those little fishees are going to make someone smile, hopefully bring some comfort and joy. And that is a much better and more noble use for the fabric than just sitting on the shelf and being the object of my sentimental attachment!”

And here’s what she did with “that fabric”!

Susie went on to add: “Quick note about the rag quilt — I had a bag of 4 1/2 inch flannel squares cut out and waiting in a zip top bag.  I think I was going to just sew them into a Trip Around The World style quilt. Who knows. I thought it would be a great idea to use them in a rag quilt with the Finding Nemo flannel because there really wasn’t enough fabric of either and I wasn’t going to buy more fabric to finish the project.

Note to self and others. Do not make a rag quilt with blocks of 4 1/2 inches. It takes forever, I mean FOREVER to clip all those seams. And on top of that, it makes a HUGE, I mean HUMONGOUS amount of fuzz. Areas of my house look like I spilled colored cupcake sprinkles all over the floor. Hahaha!”

So not only did she use up “that fabric”, she also used up a bag of cut squares she had laying around, and now she has a cute finished quilt to gift to someone. Win win! Thank you, Susie, for the challenge!

So how about you? Do you have a “that fabric”? A piece you’ve been procrastinating on using or cutting into because of a sentimental attachment or some other reason? I’m gonna have to look around — I probably do. And as My Cowboy always says: “Why??? You know, they make more!” And really, using the old one up and having it out of the way will only make room for something new and more fabulous, right? Plus, if you throw in some extras like Susie did, you’ll get rid of even more stuff taking up space, and have a finished project to show for it! I think it’s a great idea. Now, to see if I can actually pull this off without starting something new — that’ll be the trick!

Before I go, I have a couple more things . . .

Jeni Baker, of In Color Order, has been doing a series on Studio Organizing on her blog, and she has a couple articles out already, with more on the way. Her first post was “Tips for Keeping Your Sewing Table Organized and Clutter Free” (which I guess I should pay special attention to!), and her second article was “Tips for Storing Projects in Progress (WIPs)” (guess I could kinda sorta use that one, too, huh?). LOTS of good ideas and suggestions, so you might want to go check it out, and bookmark it so you can find her upcoming articles on organizing as well.

And I said last month that I’d talk a little about my trackers, so here’s my take on that. I have learned a lot! I’ve said before how I have to turn things into a game for myself, or they won’t get done. This is a good game for me. I keep trying to see how much I can get done every month.

Here’s my last 3 months worth:

You can see I started off all gung-ho, then it sort of tapered off. Evidence suggests that I’m really having a hard time with the paper clutter! Haha! But I will say that even with only accomplishing 27-29% on the paper issues for the last two months, I’ve made some progress!

The knitting challenge was because I was trying to finish my Temperature Scarf, but I ran out of one of the colors and had to reorder, and the mail is slower than usual right now, so that got me all stymied, then I missed the challenge deadline (it’s on my APQ Resolution list), so I kinda gave up on it in favor of more important things. And because I took it off the list, I don’t think I’ve knitted a single stitch the entire month of May so far! So the trackers do work for me. They keep things top of mind, even if I can’t always get to them every day.

I’ve been doing the best on scrap processing — I’m on a mission to get rid of all the random boxes and bags of scraps around my studio, and I have sure made a dent in them, with more to go (but I also keep unearthing bags I didn’t know I had). This is still on my tracker because, even if it takes me all year, I want to accomplish this huge thing for myself. It’s on my 2020 Project List to get my fabric stash under control once and for all.

Let’s talk about that second item from February for a minute — the “get rid of 5 things a day” one — I did pretty good with that, and let’s do the math. I did 23 days of this one. 23 days — 5 things a day — I got rid of 115 things out of my house! It made a big difference! And it was contagious, because My Cowboy also started to get rid of some things he doesn’t need, too. We have a pile ready to go to a farm auction this summer, we’ve given things away, sold some things, and I’m sure there were weeks the trash man probably wondered what the heck we’d been doing around here! I’m happy about that one, and I may do it again in a future tracker. And here’s one big thing I learned: It’s easy at first, but the longer you do it, the harder it is to keep finding things to get rid of!

So all the above drivel is to say . . . the trackers make it into a game for me, and it keeps me on track to do certain things that I might not do otherwise. Have you tried trackers? Do they help you? (If you want a copy of my tracker sheet I’m using, you can find it HERE.)

So there you have it for this month . . . a new challenge, thanks to Susie, and a few things to mull over. I hope your May is going well — have a great rest of the month — it’s gonna be JUNE before we can blink! Yikes!

And if you have a suggestion for an organizing challenge we should tackle in the future, let me know!

10 responses to “May Studio Organizing Challenge”

  1. Angela Neese says:

    I try to never invite my H upstairs into my sewing room – but I had to because he’s the guy willing to disassemble the furnace filters for all these masks I’m sewing. He mildly asked, “when do you think you’re going to put the Christmas decorations away?” Yes, THAT is my dirty little sewing room secret…. I still have all the ornaments, greenery, new purchases (HobbyLobby post-Christmas 75% off), bag and wrapping paper containers EVERYWHERE in the upstairs room. The only visible surfaces are my sewing and cutting tables and ironing board. My goal – putting all of it away in the Christmas storage closet that is in the corner. I feel like I’ve been to Confession.

    • Marlene says:

      Trust me, I am NOT the person to give good advice on organizing anything! I did find something that works for me when it comes to the Christmas stuff. Those HUGE shopping bags (or maybe gift?? bags) for $1 at Tuesday Morning are great to hold all wrapping paper, even the big tubes I buy for next to nothing immediately after Christmas, gift bags/flattened boxes, etc. I am fortunate to have floor space UNDER my clothes rack in my closet and they sit nicely there up against the wall. Out of my way, out of sight.

  2. Diane says:

    Thanks for sharing the “In Color Order” blog about organization. The pictures of her studio says it all. She is organized. I will be working towards this, but it is going to take a very long time.
    It never occurred to me to use the Habit Tracker to help keep track of my sewing room “habits”. For a couple of weeks I used it to track my walking and diet stuff, but that didn’t last long. I’m going to try it again with a creative slant. And it is wonderfully convenient that you included the how and where to find it in your blog. No excuses! I make lists. Many lists, some detailed, some not, and then I might not look at the list for a week or a month, or I might lose a list – or a page of it (page 4 of my Finishalong list).
    Susies challenge is something to ponder. I KNOW I have some of “those” emotional attachments.
    Thank you for all that food for thought. Now I should probably get busy filing in this tracker!

  3. Randy Menninghaus says:

    Just get it done quilts from Canada has me doing after quilts … talking ALL the remnants from th front and crafting a back. I am on my second. I have two more rows. I am currently procrastinating..lol

    Peace out.

  4. Joan says:

    Like your comments about using up stash. As I go through stash, if the piece is big enough to make a mask I use it for that. Found a local senior living center that has 400 employees and residents. They are thrilled to take any masks I make for them. It’s fun making these designer masks out of fabrics that could be a quilt, but is now going for a better cause during this pandemic!
    Also thank you for the tracker. It’s been useful although I have been slacking off. This is a good reminder to get back at it! And I agree–once someone in the household starts to declutter others follow their lead–funny how that work! My husband keeps adding books to the boxes–with all this laid-off time, we are both finding that some of those books will never be read!

  5. Angie in SoCal says:

    I posted on the January post for this.

  6. Sharon Gratz says:

    Gung-ho describes January and part of February for me working on the tracker. Then got the flu plus had to leave town for awhile and when I got back home, that was it! All done…..ka-put! Although, I did try to get back on ‘track’……really I did. The thing that really bothers me are the pieces of fabric laying around. I try putting them in a good place and somehow I need another good place………larger? good place. Or, maybe, do something with those pieces! I think that will be my project tomorrow…..put them all together.

  7. Marlene Clausen says:

    Just a quick comment re:rag quilts. They are my least favorite quilt and I have made many because they are a big hit w/men and kids! I prefer to work w/12″ squares that finish to 10″. I have more flannel pieces than a flannel shirt factory!! Sometimes I end up w/those small pieces and have found just sew them together like regular piecing (rst) so they match the size of the rest of the squares and then treat them exactly as the “whole” squares. No extra clipping, no extra fuzz, and good bye flannel scraps! Another use for larger flannel scraps are cat carrier pads given to cat rescue places. They are cut 12 x 18 w/two same-size batting (scrap) pieces. I have two bins of cat fabric (what can I say??) and have been using those on the top and the flannel on the back. Sew tog pillow case style, turn, stitch opening closed, and stitch all around 1/4″ or 1/2″ from edge. I use use them as practice to try out fmq motifs before I start a quilt, but a simple, large loop or stipple also works. Win. Win. Win. Get rid of scraps. Practice fmq. Happy cats.

  8. Debbi says:

    Great progress Shelly! Thank you for the trackers. I must have missed that post. I’m going to start my year over, ha ha! I’ve been reading Atomic habits and evaluating my habits that include lots of procrastination. I’m going to post the tracker on my fridge and see if I can make some changes.

  9. Well I think you are making great progress Shelly. I lost over a week with the flu this month so I am just now getting caught Up with emails and reading blogs. When I saw your post today I was doing a happy dance because I just gave a bin of fat quarters to a friend and her Mom who are still getting requests for masks. They have cleaned out most of their stash and have contributed over 600 masks to members of our community and surrounding area. I have made over 150 masks myself, a dozen scrub caps, and 24 scrub bags for friends and family, using up a couple of bins of fabric. I also am cleaning out my storage space and have 13 bins of fabric and craft supplies to take to a friend when we are allowed to travel within our province.

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