Sunday, 25 August 2013

What would you do?

We have had a very mild winter and spring has begun early. Although we are officially still in the coldest month of the year (there was snow on the nearby mountains a couple of days ago), yesterday was warm, clear and bright -- not a cloud in the sky in the morning and only small puffs of white in the afternoon. A perfect day to be outside.

So where did WM and I choose to spend the day?

In my sewing room, where else?

Now, please don’t be shocked. You are going to see something that is quite awful. I’ll admit that I am a hoarder, a procrastinator and a bit lazy. But I’m working on improving in all those areas!

My sewing room was a bit of a mess. I really didn’t feel creative in there at all! Any horizontal surface, like my cutting table, my sewing table and the spare machine table that DD occasionally used, had become cluttered. The cutting table had mostly knitting projects from last weekend or those in progress but there’s also a finished quilt under all that. My sewing table has a pile of pre-washed but not ironed fabric on it plus a few other odds and ends. The old machine table had become the storage place for works in progress and more prewashed but unironed fabric, this time flannelette.

cutting table 2 cutting table 

sewing table machine table

To begin the clean up, I moved everything that wasn’t furniture but was on the floor from the sewing room to the family room:

family room - beginning 2 family room - beginning

Yes, all those boxes, bags and tubs (and a pile of batting scraps moved from a container because I needed it for something else) were on the floor of my sewing room, making it hard to get at anything else. Don't worry, it's all ordered so I know where it's going! That lounge with the two tubs in front of it is covered in quilting related things and everything there will be going back into the sewing room. The lounge with the two green shopping bags on it has knitting related stuff and everything there will be moved to the wardrobe in the spare bedroom.

The wardrobe in the sewing room had been a repository of all sorts of things. The room had been DD’s bedroom so there were still some clothes of hers plus at least one box of her things. The rest was either quilting related (fabric) or stuff I had packed in boxes for our renovation in 2007 and had not unpacked yet!

inside the wardrobe 2 

Encouraged by WM, I threw out some unneeded, long accumulated items. This is very hard for a hoarder who saves everything because I might be needed in the future. I emptied four of the five archive boxes (the other was DD’s) and the large white carton carton and WM re-packed what was left into one carton (to be rehoused at a later date)!

WM visited the local Reject Shop (a discount store) while I, supposedly, moved things back into my sewing room. Unlike others who enjoy this part of the process, I don't -- I find it very hard to work out where I want everything. Especially when we started on the task before I had thought it all through!

WM returned with four storage units -- five plastic drawers in each. Here are three of them:

 new drawers

At first we arranged three of them in the wardrobe like this, but then we moved the old ones into the wardrobe and put the new ones on display because they are all charcoal (the only colour they had), and the original two units, now hiding inside the wardrobe, are blue.

I like the uncluttered look that we have achieved so far but the family room now looks like a disaster zone!

There's still a way to go. Lots of ironing and folding of all that pre-washed fabrics to be done too.

However, the thing that is really holding me up concerns a lot of fabric that is not actually mine.

As many of you would know, I belong to an organisation that makes quilts for children in hospital and for palliative care patients. We make these mostly from donated fabric. Because we have minimal storage space in the Council-owned room where we meet, different members are storing the donated fabric at their homes. I am one of those. At the moment, some of the fabric at my place is stored in a large plastic tub which is crammed so full of pieces of fabric that I have no idea what's in the tub and so am not using it to his full potential. That tub, the larger of the two in the photograph below, has been in my home for fifteen months now, and no-one, not even the lady who packed it, has any idea what's in it!

family room - beginning

The big question is this: should I leave it all in the tub so that, in the unlikely event of our founder requiring it at a meeting, it will be packed and ready to go? Or should I unpack it and have much greater access to the fabric? If I do the latter, I lose space but gain precious time because I won't have to rummage around the overstuffed tub on the off-chance something inside might be just what I need. I may even become inspired when I see all those new fabrics to play with! ;-)

I'm inclined to unpack it -- but what would you do?


  1. First off...this project is never easy. It does take a lot of time, but is so worth it in the end. Kudos to you for tackling it.
    As for the big tub...unpack it, and use it. Discard un-useable items, repack the rest and put it on shelf or high up out of the way.
    I am always amazed at the things I keep, do not need, and yet can't seem to get rid of. One day, someone else will dispose of it!
    If it has been packed for 5 years and you did not miss do not need to keep it. That became my attitude on the last purge and helped create space.

  2. I would definitely unpack it! You never know what could be useful in there (or like you said, what could inspire you). Everything sounds good so far - those storage bins are great!

  3. I am so proud of you!!!!! It's going to be great. Yes, unpack so you know what's in there and can make good decisions. I'm so glad DH is helping!

  4. Oh heck, I will be no help to you here. I would be uncertain what to do
    with it too!! Maybe leave it in the boxes so you can grab it in a hurry?
    All I know is that you need all of that!!
    Cheers, Anita.

  5. Well done you for tackling this! I need to sort our spare room out to make some dedicated craft space for me, it definitely affects inspiration to have things accessible. Thanks for your kind words on my work decision. Sorry to hear you were poorly and glad you are feeling better now.

  6. Unpack and either photograph or list it so you and the next person will know what's in it. Put it on your shelf ot not, but at least have an idea of the contents!

  7. I like Leonie's idea about unpacking it, taking photos or inventorying it and then store it away somewhere (not in prime real estate!).

    I get overwhelmed like you with finding what works best and the only advice I can give is trial and error... I have some great systems and some not so great. In my new room it was wonderful to start with a clean slate and I only moved in what I wanted. This fall I need to go through the "leftovers" that are still in my old space and also give my stash closet a spruce up. One area at a time is all I can manage!

  8. Wow!! Big job with great work there. Love the drawer units. Yep - the photo idea, and repack. :D

  9. Your sewing area is going to be great when you get all done.
    I think I would leave the boxes just like they are and not worry what is inside. You have enough to do. That is what I would do.


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