Posts Tagged ‘bins’

An Abundance of Bins

December 9, 2015

I have reached a point in consolidating my stuff that I’m accumulating empty bins, boxes and crates.

Free agent bins, waiting for a better offer

Free agent bins, waiting for a better offer

The good news is organizing is getting easier. I’m seeing how I work in a different light, and how to store things so I will remember where I put them (even the things that don’t get used often). The bad news is I’ve collected a boatload of bins over the years.

One advantage to having empty bins is cleaning the table for the holidays this year will be a snap. My husband made me a beautiful desk, which is filled with stuff, which is why I collect the mail on the kitchen table, and other items that need to find someplace else to live. As you can imagine, it takes longer for me to clear off my end of the table than it does to cook a holiday dinner. After Thanksgiving, I decided to get a head start on a New Year resolution to keep up with the mail. “Self,” I said, “You already keep up with the bills, so why can’t you keep up with the rest?” So far, I’ve put almost everything in this one little bin.

Lani Longshore kitchen bin

A lovely consequence of my resolution to keep on top of things was deciding to get my Progressive project done now. I already knew the quilt only needed a simple border on the top, bottom and right because the last person did the fabulous applique of monkeys and bananas in the jungle. Now if only I can keep this momentum going throughout the holidays.

Lani Longshore Progressive quilt

Luck and wisdom!

Remembering a Lost Empire

November 11, 2015

Today is Veteran’s Day, which used to be Armistice Day, which got me thinking about lost empires, which is why I’m going to compare my sewing room to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My husband’s to-do list and mine hit a rare convergence, where he wanted to install shelves in my sewing room just when I was considering how I could persuade him to let me pull out the various bins and bags to re-organize them. This is certainly more positive than the inciting incident of World War I, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, but equally as unexpected. It also resulted in a total restructuring of the sewing room as significant (to me at least) as what happened in Central Europe. This was the shape of my Empire of Piles on the eve of the great change.

Chaos

Chaos

I moved bins and stacks and bags and piles and heaven only knows what into the living room, then attacked the dust. The battle was long and fierce. Seriously, I think some of those dust bunnies were on the verge of developing language skills. When the battlefield was clean, we imposed the new structure.

New borders

New borders

Once the shelves were up, I had to reorganize. My bins were supposed to resolve themselves into autonomous units, but as with the fallen empire the reality proved far different. Some bins were practically empty, hollow cases that I imagined held treasure but which ended up being filled with something else. The mixing in the bins and bags surprised me. Labels meant nothing. I found florals with the stripes, orphan blocks hiding under fat quarters, beads where you would never expect them. Eventually, I managed to set up several sovereign states.

Accurately labeled bins

Accurately labeled bins

Even better, I managed to clear a corridor for easy navigation to the sewing machine.

Now I can move my chair with ease

Now I can move my chair with ease

Of course, there were some casualties – and some refugees. Although I grieved over every scrap, some fabrics could not be saved. Other items have found their way into a holding bin, and I hope to relocate them soon.

Luck and wisdom!

The Great Sort-Out

November 13, 2013

You know the warning about making a new pillow for the couch and the curtains look dingy, so you clean the curtains and the walls look dated, so you paint the walls and the rug looks horrible . . . and eventually you’ve redecorated the whole house? That’s where I am. I started a sort-out of the sewing room, and now all the other piles that need organizing are calling my name.

 

This is where it all started.

 

Abby the dog and the bins

Abby the dog and the bins

 

The last of the supplies for the prison quilting program went to their new home. I had a plan for using that new-found space, but I made the mistake of looking in the bins.

 

Part of my collection of reusable stuff

Part of my collection of reusable stuff

 

This is one of two bins that hold my mint tin collection. The Trader Joe’s mints (which are delicious) come in a cute square tin with a clear panel in the lid, perfect for holding beads. I’ve been collecting them for quite a while. Usually I open the bin and toss the tin inside without looking at how many are in there. Now I’m looking. Oy.

Then I went into the kitchen and really looked at the overflow spice stash.

 

The overflow spice site

The overflow spice site

 

I love having herbs and spices on hand, but when the kids moved back home with their spice collections things spiraled out of control. No matter how much cooking and baking I do, the spice stash seems to grow, not contract. Woe to me.

 

As a final exercise in self-punishment, I scanned my collection of notes for books and stories I want to write (or have started writing but put aside for one reason or another).

 

Secret burial ground of many Great American Novels

Secret burial ground of many Great American Novels

 

Attending to these piles will take a lot of time and energy. It isn’t enough to organize the stacks of stuff, I have to do something with them. Organizing – for me, anyway – works really well when I rarely touch the pile again; attending, not so much.

 

Filed and forgotten

Filed and forgotten

 

I organized this small shelf months ago and it is still tidy. Of course, the fact that I haven’t been able to reach it for months might have a lot to do with it being orderly.

 

Perhaps, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I should be grateful for the Great Sort-Out. If I turn this into an early New Year’s resolution, then I can check something off the 2014 to-do list right now. We take our victories where we can.

 

 

Thank Heavens For Little Bins

September 4, 2013

We had a four-day party at our house last weekend. Between the Scottish Games, family and friends, there wasn’t a dull moment. The best part was I could completely enjoy the celebrations because I turned my studio into a guest room.

 

The floor! The floor!

The floor! The floor!

 

True, a cot in the sewing room doesn’t rival the Hilton, but considering all the stuff I had to move around, I was thrilled to recover as much space as I did. Thank heavens for little bins, and totes, and hampers. After a week of sorting, consolidating and tossing, I had some things squirrled away.

 

Bins in the corner of my bedroom

Bins in the corner of my bedroom

 

Two days before company arrived, this is what I faced:

 

Lani Longshore totes

 

I also found a never-used collapsible clothes hamper that I bought for one of the kids heading off to college (I won’t comment on why the child didn’t bring it along).

 

A great place to put piles of fabric

A great place to put piles of fabric

 

My husband gave me dispensation to bring the stuff out to the garage for the duration of the visit.

 

Colonizing the garage

Colonizing the garage

 

I have to bring everything back, and the sooner the better, but at least I’ve had one sort out. If I’m clever (and my husband is patient about reclaiming his garage space), I’ll bring in one bag, tote, or bin at a time and put the contents where it belongs, not where it fits. If I’m clever . . .

 

 

Spring Sorting

March 27, 2013

I celebrated spring with another skirmish in the scrap wars. The dedicated scrap bins had long ago overflowed, so I replaced them with a large woven basket.

Some labled, some not

Some labled, some not

Then friends gifted me with lots of cut squares for kits for the prison program.

Gifts from friends, waiting to be filed

Gifts from friends, waiting to be filed

I vowed the next time there was a lull in the rhythm of creative chaos I would do some sorting. That day came over the weekend, when I was caught up with friendship group deadlines, had enough kits for the prison class to take a brief rest, and didn’t have enough brain power to start a project on my “some day I really want to make this” list.

The sorting went well enough, but the real discovery was how much stuff I had tossed into the woven basket. It was worse than realizing you ate the entire bag of cookies while watching that silly TV movie, and you didn’t like either the cookies or the film! Having no brain power for creative thought worked to my advantage, since I didn’t have the energy to get bored cutting scraps. I worked until one of the family poked a head in the sewing room to ask about dinner, then returned to put things away.

Labeled, sorted, tidy - for now

Labeled, sorted, tidy – for now

The woven basket is awaiting repurposing now, and I will use the clear(ish) bins to hold the scraps. They may fill up sooner, but knowing what I’m really squirreling away is essential to keeping up the effort of taming the piles.

Hidden Victories

September 19, 2012

The good news about having the kids in the house is that I feel obligated to be busy. You know, make sure I’m being a good example. The bad news is, I can’t always be creatively busy. So I do the next best thing – I putter. What I learned about puttering this week is that momentum can be your friend. After tidying up the obvious stuff in the sewing room, I started tidying up the stuff that I had been ignoring for weeks.

The scrap pile is almost gone. I cut, sorted and put fabric away. While putting fabric away, I noticed some of the bins could be consolidated. When I consolidated some of the bins, I sorted larger pieces of fabric that had been in piles and put that in the now-empty bins. When I got to the bottom of a couple of piles I discovered a bin of fabric that I knew I wouldn’t need soon. That went in the garage, because there was a tiny bit of room from the consolidation project. The empty space in the storage unit was filled with books and patterns for the prison program, and that bought me a foot of floor space:

 

I can stand in front of the closet again!

No one else in the family will even notice, but I do. They also won’t notice that getting the scraps under control gave me a bit of clearance on the cutting table:

 

I can see over the stacks!

The piles are still there, but now they are low walls, not the foothills of the Himalayas.

While all this was going on, my eye fell on some leather cording. To be precise, my eye fell on the cording as it fell on my foot. Repeatedly. After the third or fourth time it fell from someplace that I had put it down (as opposed to putting it away), I remembered my tree quilt. It still needed a binding; the fabric bowls and vases I made last week used piping as a binding before zig-zagging the sections together. The technique worked well, and the leather cording was exactly the right color for the quilt, so I used it:

Almost done

 

I couldn’t have made a better match if I dyed it myself

So, in the end keeping busy resulted in creativity. Who knew.