Decide what to be and go be it.


The following images may not be pretty!  They are a peek inside my sewing palace.  If my husband (aka Felix Unger, neat freak supreme!) knew I was sharing these images with you he would probably turn purple and pass out.  Before you view this little slide show, please know that the rest of my house does not look like this.  I’m truly not a slob.  Only in this room.  My issue seems to be organization.  I do not have a place for everything and everything in its place.  I have too many “things” for each thing to have its own place.   Which brings me to the reason why I’m even letting you glimpse the chaos in which I create!  I need help!

I’m planning to purchase this baby here at the end of May.  To be able to assemble it in the room, everything must come out.  This seems like a good time to organize…maybe find a different method of storage.  I’m getting a headache thinking about it.  I may have to lie down for a while!  🙂  I know I’m not the only one of us who has an extensive fabric stash and too many books and tools that just can’t be thrown away.  My question is this…how in the world do you organize your space?  How do you store your rulers and cutters and scissors?  Where do you put your books and patterns?  How do you hide your UFOs?

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present my chaotic sewing palace!  Please don’t judge me!  🙂

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46 thoughts on “Warning!

  1. To tell you that I feel your pain really wouldn’t help….would it??? The day I moved my sewing shop from a rented space in our little town (a large commercial space that had room for a changing area, my huge sewing table unit-‘L’ shaped and everything I had collected in those years) to the second floor bedroom that had been our boys’ room at one point, was a real “eye-opener”! What looked to be a ‘reasonable’ amount in one space became insurmountable in our little Midwest farmhome!! Parts of that stash still reside in one garage and on the second floor of another!!!! To say I work better in chaos is just to sidestep the situation completely! Fairly often I do step back and marvel that such large quilts come from such a space!! The area was really quite good for bridal gowns, prom dresses, etc. because the location of the sewing table & walls worked together well to keep all that fabric “contained”!! Now, when FMQ, I need expansive, flat, slippery surfaces which are non-existent as things set right now. So I make do and it’s ok.
    That unit you will be getting is awesome!!!! DH built my unit and it’s great, too. Lacking, though, is the wonderful storage that is integrated into it. What lies ahead (in the short term) is so worth what you will have in the end! Wish I lived close enough to be of some help!!!!! Hugs, Doreen

    • I went from small to larger…my space was the smaller bedroom and when Number 2 son left the nest, I took his room. I can’t imagine going from bigger to smaller! I think it was the fmq that made me realize I needed some more room. Can we get Leah to kick in for some of the expense? 🙂

      • Genius!!! And she has access to Ikea!!! My DH says that when the lottery is won THEN I can have the room of my dreams!! (Course, I have never bought a ticket!!). Am seriously looking at getting rid of one piece of furniture/desk the boys’ used and I have been using as a book/magazine area. Very poor arrangement, though. Would never have any room for a longarm and don’t have any interest that direction but have been exploring an HQ Sweet Sixteen sit down quilter. I love to move the quilt under the machine (call me ‘weird’) so that would be a great solution. We’ll see. In no hurry as my Juki2010TL is a great machine for FMQ!!!

  2. Your space looks pretty organised to me… LOL! You don’t even want to see my space (and it’s set up in the dining room!). Obviously I’m not the best person to help! Regardless, good luck to you! 🙂

  3. Too funny – I was expecting it to look a lot worse than that from they way you described it!! You’ll have so much fun organizing – the cabinet looks awesome! Can’t wait to see some before and after pics… 😉

  4. Sybil on said:

    I was SO looking forward to a HUGE mess and really, it’s only a moderate mess. 🙂 Wish I lived closer as I love organizing. It looks like you’ve got the basics in place (I find project totes are ideal).

    Is time an issue? I find breaking things down into 15 minute segments helps….either 15 minutes each hour or 15 minutes while a load of clothes are washing or 15 minutes before starting dinner…….And maybe just start in one corner or one surface.

    I’m jealous of the cabinet!

    • that’s what I do…set the timer and whatever I can get done in that 15 minutes is all I do. Take a break go back for 15 minutes. It is amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.

      @Candy–is that the best you can do for a mess? Please, do I need to post up my pictures? lol

      and, I know there’s more fabric than that. Where you hiding it? lol
      Did we see the closet? The top of the ironing board? lol 🙂

      • Mary, my dear…you know I can do better than that. I didn’t want my dearest husband to have a stroke! The closet as you know is a hard hat area!

        • I knew better. My room is not too far off from your room =) It will be fun to reorganize and prepare for your Kangaroo Aussie. I’m still tweaking that smaller room of mine. I’m sewing as hard as I can, and I’m not putting a dent in any of that wall of fabric either.

          My closet suffers from that tug of war between prims and quilts. It is piled high. Oh wait-then there is the stash of school stuff my grown kids don’t want to throw away but cant seem to take with them either. lol

    • Sybil…Geesh…sorry to disapoint you! 🙂 But I can make a bigger mess than that and often do!! I didn’t post a picture of the closet. That could be a whole other post!!

  5. I like shelves like your bookcase so I can see all of my books, patterns and tools. Most rulers etc. have a hole so you can hang them on a hook (or nail) on the wall. I like your storage boxes too. Just pile them higher 🙂 Sybil’s idea of using totes is great. I’m now going to get a coat rack with some hooks for my wall so I can hang mine up 🙂 I love organising other people’s things……shame about my own! Avis x

  6. I can’t help with your organisation as all my materials are hidden on shelves behind some pull down blinds my husband installed, to hide the mess!

  7. Candy, See me blog post about a year ago here: http://meylah.com/dragonflyquiltworks/page/4
    After a year, I am still trying to get organized, but I am almost there and will post pictures soon. I just got everything out of the room and gradually brought stuff back in, taking one area at a time and sorted like items together. I still have my “office” area that is kind of a mess and need to work on my filing system. The sewing part of the room is fairly organized, but only because most of my stash isn’t at the house. Seriously, when I say I am going to shop my stash, I have a whole climatized storage unit full of fabric to shop from. As I bring fabric back to the house, I wash, iron and fold neatly and place on the shelf. Good luck, your new Kangaroo unit looks great. I have Horn Cabinets. Glad to know that you are a Bernina girl too! Lora

    • I’m afraid if I told my husband I needed to rent a storage unit he’d tell me to store the stuff on the curb on trash day! 🙂 I’m hoping that when the room is empty I can part with some of the things. Not likely, though!
      I love my Bernina!!

  8. basildonkitchens on said:

    That is sooooo totally not a mess. I feel your pain though. When we moved to the country, we downsized and my former quilt room was a whopping 10′ x 22′. I am now in a tiny little spare bedroom only 8′ x 9′.

    Love the cabinet though – you will have fun organizing…just take it one step at a time!

    Thanks for sharing – maybe we all should and then compare! 🙂

  9. pearlygirly03 on said:

    Check out this brilliant idea for Ikea Hack: Expedit cutting table. I haven’t made one yet, but it’s on my list! http://littlecornerhouse.blogspot.com/2011/11/ikea-hack-expedit-cutting-table.html

  10. You are too hard on yourself! I recently renovated my sewing room so can offer a few tips on what I learned. Mind you, I did not actually take my own advice, but I learned a few things. 1. There is no way to change the fact that you have more stuff than space unless you are willing to part with some stuff. 2. Remove all decorative stuff that will just become clutter. (My Red Sox bobbleheads are still in my room, however…). 3. Storage containers that are pretty will help you feel more organized. 4. Despite #3 you cannot have enough big plastic storage bins. These are great for keeping projects dust-free. 5. No matter how many bookshelves you have, you will not have room for all your books! Take the time to go through them and give some away to your local library, your quit guild, etc. Good luck!!!

    • Very good ideas! Number one is key. I can accept that fact because I find it difficult to part with things I may need later.
      Bobbleheads (if I had any) would definitely stay…even though my Sox are a different color!
      Believe it or not, I have just sorted out books and things and given some to my guild for our resale table at our quilt show in October.
      Thanks for the tips!

  11. I’m with everyone else here…. didn’t think your space looked that bad! So at least you are in good company? Seems all quilters have too much stuff and struggle with organizing it all. I have written several posts about the “piles” at my place. Feels like I just shuffle them around too much. Need the ironing board? Move the piles to the cutting table. Then need the cutting table? Move the piles to the sewing machine table. Need the sewing machine? You get the drift. It’s a never ending problem for me too! HELP!

    • Yeah…I do the Quilt Room Shuffle on a daily basis. I wonder how many calories we burn just moving stuff around!
      You’re right…I feel better now knowing I’m in good company

  12. Looks pretty regular to me. I stop in between projects to tidy up a bit, but it only keeps it minimally neat, and only for a day or two… Glad to know I am not the only one! ~ Lynda

  13. I think it looks fairly orderly compared to several I could mention – including mine! Love the craft. Just wish it didn’t required so much storage!

  14. My first reaction is to envy that much SPACE! I just don’t have that much space — a whole room for crafts in NYC is just not going to happen. I can completely understand where you’re coming from, though. Flat surfaces just seem to accumulate stuff, no matter how much I mean to keep things organized. (And let me just say, your fabric stash looks lovely, and very organized.)

    • I guess it’s all relative to what you’re used to! I see some of these studios from converted garages or actual additions and my space looks so dinky. But I try to remember that I used to have to sew in the dining room ro reegain some perspective.
      When I first began to quilt, my instructor said “Nature abhors a vacuum”. (Me, too…but the machine kind!) She was referring to the amount of quilting you would use. Now, I think it also means the amount of “flat” space you have. If something can sit on it..it will! “Nature” will swoop in and fill that space!

      • It’s so easy to get accustomed to what we’re used to and to take it for granted! But I think it also depends on what you do with the space: I know myself well enough to know that if I had a whole room, it would be packed to the gills with more STUFF than I could possibly ever use, so I’m just as happy not to have that much space. Well, most of the time. Those beautiful garage or add-on rooms are lovely.

        Nature definitely abhors a vacuum around here: if something can be put down on top of it and forgotten? That’s gonna happen. Eventually it gets bad enough that I need to stop and clean everything off — about every few months, that is. (And, er, judging by the fabric and thread bits on the rug, apparently I also abhor vacuuming…)

  15. fortquilt on said:

    How did you get the slide show to work in Word Press?

    • I think I lost my reply to you. You upload your photos for the post. Go to the gallery for the post. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a button to add gallery and add slideshow. If you click on the gallery button, it will add the photos in that gallery in a row to your post. If you click on the slideshow button it will create a slideshow from the photos in that gallery. Be aware that it’s all or nothing with it. WordPress will use all of the photos in that gallery for the slideshow. You can’t pick and choose. Hope that helps!

  16. Oh it could be worse!!! I like the idea of a box for every project. Seriously, I have a limited number of boxes (like 8) and a different project in each one. Anything more than that gets put in big tubs out of sight. That way I cannot see it!!! Hang up what you can, and just have fun… or better yet shut the door!

  17. Pingback: At long last… « buriedinscraps

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