Over the past two years, I have worked with many quilters to help them declutter and organize their sewing spaces. Consistently, one of the biggest issues keeping them from having a neater and more orderly workspace– is not knowing where to put things. Today we’re breaking down the top 5 reasons quilters don’t know where to put things in their sewing rooms — and what to do about it.
1. Improper Storage
Improper storage can be a real pain. If your fat quarters are spilling onto the floor, yardage is crammed inside cabinet doors that won’t close, or bins are exploding with the lids popping off, then you know you have a storage problem.
What to do about it: Getting your fabric storage right is going to make a world of difference in your space. Start by sorting through all of your fabrics to determine what you love and want to use. Let go of the rest. Once you have an accurate idea of how much fabric you own, you can purchase storage solutions that will contain your stash properly. Clear or labeled bins; shelves; cubes; or mesh drawers all can provide ample storage for your stash. Once you choose a container, the key is to use this container as a boundary. Don’t let your stash expand beyond the containers that you set for it. Do periodic maintenance to keep things in check.
2. Buying for the Space They Wish They Had
Our sewing spaces can only contain so much. If your space is small, then your stash should be sized accordingly. Buying more fabric than your sewing space can handle is a recipe for frustration and overwhelm.
What to do about it: Declutter and evaluate. Maximize the storage potential of the space you actually have and commit to purchasing only enough fabric, projects, and supplies that your space can hold. Having respect for your workspace will enable your creativity to flourish.
3. Everything is Useable
When everything is useable (which most fabric is — right down to the teeniest, tiniest scrap), the question is no longer, “Can I use it?” but instead becomes “Will I use it?”. If the answer is “no”, it’s time to let it go. But making this decision can be hard! And when we own lots of scraps and pieces of fabric, it’s a lot of decisions to make at once.
What to do about it: Take your time. Give yourself grace. But be diligent about letting go of fabric you do not have the time or inspiration to use. Ask yourself questions like the following to help you pare down:
- Is it dated?
- Do I plan to use this in the next year?
- Does it reflect my current or a past aesthetic?
- Did I even remember I owned it?
4. Not Understanding How They Work
Not understanding how you work can lead to impulse purchases and the purchase of things that you won’t be inspired to use. When you don’t want to use things they just sit taking up valuable space in your workroom.
What to do about it: Before you head to the store or click submit on that purchase, take a few moments to think about how you work and the types of projects that you like to make. If you don’t like to make quilts from fat quarters, then it might be time to stop buying fat quarters! If you like to make improv quilts with irregular, organic shapes it might be time to stop purchasing precuts. Knowing how you work and the types of projects that you enjoy making will help you to make better purchasing decisions in the future.
5. Wanting It to Be Perfect Right Away
Finally, one of the biggest misconceptions that I see with clients is that they want to get their organizing process perfected on the first try. This is, unfortunately, often not how it works.
What to do about it: Just start. Even though your brain is telling you that you might be wasting your time. Even though you might have to reconfigure things or move things around a bit after the first try. Just do it — Sort. Sell. Donate. Swap. Do what you need to do to make space for your creativity to flow. The more that you accomplish, the easier it will get. But just get started, and don’t worry about it being perfect yet.