Taking Good Advice

I found some useful good advice (as opposed to good advice that really doesn’t apply) from Liz Voce of Sort It Canada and Russell Jander on managing the mess. Essentially it comes down to start decluttering and look for what really works for your situation. While I accepted the wisdom of the proposition, I realized this week that I hadn’t actually gone through the steps – or at least the last step, which is recognizing what kind of a mess you have.

My sewing room is both a studio and a warehouse. It contains my own supplies, for my own projects, but also supplies for a quilting outreach program at the local prison. Only half of the space is taken up with my personal private piles. The rest is fabric and instructions for kits that I bring to my class twice a month. The piles that belong to me can and should be dealt with in a stern fashion, with only a minimal nod to sentiment. The rest should be dealt with as inventory.

Okay, so I didn’t discover the secret of the universe, but it was a revelation to me. And I acted on it. The first thing I did was evaluate the way I store my inventory:

This is only part of the fabric donated to the quilting program. The rest is in similar boxes scattered wherever I can find an empty corner. When I get through the boxes here, I replace them with the boxes from another room. The problem is, I can’t see what I’ve got, and the boxes are too big.

“Self,” I said, “you just inherited a boat load of clear storage boxes. Why don’t you take the most unwieldy cardboard box and transfer the contents?”

Taking advantage of a Top Gear marathon and Liz’s reminder that I don’t need to keep everything that is given to me, I hauled the donated fabric into the family room. I also brought my tie-dye masking tape and an indelible marker to make labels for the storage boxes. Then I spent the rest of the day sorting.

This is what I ended up with:

While the closet might not look tidy, it is more functional. All the boxes are labeled, and they’re small enough to shift. Just the process of transferring the fabric from one large cardboard box to many smaller ones let me do two things:

  1. get rid of fabric that wasn’t suitable for quilting, and
  2. set up a system that will help me say no to unsuitable fabrics in the future.

My next goal for the warehouse side is to get all of the cardboard boxes squirreled around the house (and at Margaret Misegades’ house) sorted. That still leaves me the problem of the studio side, but that’s a subject for another blog.

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5 Responses to “Taking Good Advice”

  1. quiltfever Says:

    Congratulations, it sounds like a good start. You must feel terrific!

  2. Margaret Says:

    Good on you!

  3. TheaM Says:

    congrats, Lani, every bit of progress is still progress! Way to go!

    I have stacks of those plastic bins, too – I use them for ‘WIP’ and ‘special collections’ like hand dyes and silks. They stack nicely.

  4. Sort It Canada Says:

    Thanks for the “nod” πŸ™‚ It looks great! How do you feel? I tend to feel lighter when I’ve “regifted” or donated old craft supplies πŸ™‚

  5. Carol Boland Says:

    I like that you point out that it may not look tidy but it is organized in a way that works for YOU! My own philosophy is: “Tidy isn’t always organized and organized isn’t always tidy.” A job well done πŸ™‚

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