Posts Tagged ‘sorting’

Sorting

January 14, 2019

I have found that I remember things better if I write them – really write, not just type (although that helps as well). I have also found that I love notebooks and repositionable tabs. The latter are impulse buys for me, much like candy bars at the grocery checkout stand. Finding a packet in a stack of scraps of paper inspired me to start organizing my writing space by sorting through my instructional notes-to-self.

I will use one of my lovely notebooks and a packet of tabs to write my own personal, private user manual for programs, apps, troubleshooting, and general useful information. In the process, I may actually remember how to make things work when they aren’t (rather than whining to the more technologically savvy people around me).

Luck and wisdom!

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!

Muddle in the Middle

November 18, 2015

Writers are familiar with the term “muddle in the middle.” It means the hash you’ve made of your story while you were getting from the grab-them-by-the-throat beginning to the eye-popping ending. This week, I created a visual for that phenomenon in my sewing room.

My messy, muddled middle of the room

My messy, muddled middle of the room

I’ve made great progress organizing my two walls of shelves, but in the process I’ve pushed everything to the center of the room. This is a bad thing – not the Cuban Missile Crisis bad, but still not good. I have a project with a deadline, so I have to sort enough stuff to make space at the sewing machine to work on it. More important, I have to avoid the impulse to pile things up in front of my newly organized shelves.

What I cleared out while organizing the other shelves

What I cleared out while organizing the other shelves

All of this happened because I was able to open up some space on the shelves pictured above. I decided to be sensible about filling the holes, and put all of the like things together. That’s when I discovered that the bead collection I thought I had consolidated somehow grew. A lot. It now takes up nearly an entire shelf all on its own.

The second row holds my bead collection

The second row holds my bead collection

Even with the muddle in the middle, I consider my efforts a win. This is the most floor space I’ve had in ages. I’m not saying being able to vacuum the carpet will help my creativity, but it might cut down on the sneezing.

Luck and wisdom!

Defining Well Begun

January 28, 2015

Well begun is not half done if you forget that you’ve made that first step – which I did with my bead collection. I thought I had squirreled all my beads in one bin.

Lani Longshore project bin

The bin wasn’t labeled, and there were bits and bobs of old projects among the tubes and boxes of beads. I took a lidded plastic box and prepared to sort things out.

Lani Longshore bead box

I thought I had plenty of room to store my beads as well as some old jewelry that I take apart for embellishments in this box. As I separated the beads from all the other clutter, however, I realized I had more beads than were in the bin.

The impetus to sort the bin came from the Challenge project.

Lani Longshore challenge project

My art critique group gave me permission to smother the piece with beads, especially black ones. I started with the one tube of black beads I found in an abandoned project bag.

Lani Longshore beading detail

The thing is, I knew I had more black beads. When they didn’t appear in the first bin, I started looking through others. Imagine my surprise when I found three other bins holding bead collections. Imagine how red my face was when I realized that I had started sorting beads many times and forgot.

The good news is I found my black beads.

Lani Longshore black beads

The better news is I re-labeled the box.

Lani Longshore bead box

The best news is I cleared out all the other bins and put my entire bead collection in this box. At least, I hope it’s my entire collection.

Luck and wisdom!

Labels

January 14, 2015

Labels for people are rarely useful, unless you are planning a potluck. In that case, making sure you invite the people known for their signature dishes – The Fruit Salad Lady (my mom) and The Deviled Egg Lady (my friend Ann), for example – guarantees the rest of your guests are happy. Aside from that, save the labels for your boxes. It should go without saying that you should use the labels you save, but here’s the evidence that I don’t always follow my own advice.

Manufacturer's labels - useless after you've bought the item

Manufacturer’s labels – useless after you’ve bought the item

When I cleared away the piles in front of these bins, I realized I had no idea what was in them. Worse, I couldn’t remember when I had put those bins at the bottom of the stack (which I removed before I took this picture). Clearly, whenever it was I had already decided I didn’t need to get to the bins in a timely fashion.

So, I bit the bullet, pulled out the bins and filled that hole with fabric that I hope to use in the near future.

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric - both are open to view

The box holds pillow forms, the crate fabric – both are open to view

The bins held a pleasing variety of treasure and trash. I’ve put the treasure in bins with like items and tossed most of the trash (well, you never know when you’re going to need something to embellish a trashy quilt).

A side benefit of pulling out the bins was I managed to unearth some forgotten fabric collections.

Lani Longshore fabric

It is possible that I collected these black-and-gold fabrics for high school quilts for my kids. Given that my youngest graduated in 2005, I’m guessing I can use the fabric for something else.

There were several other fabric collections that had outlived their project deadlines, but I’m certain I’ll find something to do with them. If all else fails, I’ve got stuff to make backs.

Luck and wisdom!

Treasures At The Bottom Of The Bin

October 8, 2014

The studio is still a shambles, but I am making progress on the to-do piles. This week, I got to the Progressive Party tree project and found a treasure – a surprising border and backing at the bottom of the tree collection bin.

A top for me

A top for me

This quilt will sit on the upstairs day bed – when we get it. In the meantime, it will sit on the cot and be available for me to admire whenever I like.

Lani Longshore palm tree

The tree project had only two requirements – an 8″ finished block with a tree on it. The color choices were totally up to the individual. To my mind, the blocks complemented each other as if they had been planned. I found a package of 5″ squares (I believe Stonehenge Stone Chips) for the interior.

Lani Longshore tree quilt detail

As I was pawing through my tree fabrics, I found the pink tree fabric which I probably bought for a back. While I had thought of using a green for a border, this piece begged me to audition it. There was enough to fussy cut the border and and still have a good chunk for the back. I think it works, and since it’s for me that’s all that counts.

Luck and wisdom!

I Spy The Floor

July 9, 2014

 

I may have mentioned bidding on every embroidery package at the last Amador Valley Quilters silent auction because I can never find embroidery supplies when I need them. My plan was to sprinkle the packets around the sewing room so no matter what corner was currently blocked with too much stuff, I could still find some floss and needles. This week I was looking for something else – zippers, in fact, for a friend to use in a sewing class – and I cleared out an entire bin’s worth of random supplies. Then I put all my embroidery supplies in the extra bin.

Not sorted, but stored

Not sorted, but stored

This is a double victory, if you don’t count not finding the zippers. First, I know where my embroidery supplies are. Second, I can see more of the floor.

Another path to more piles

Another path to more piles

I don’t often get to see my floor, so I revel in the experience. I don’t even mind the extra vacuuming.

The other experience worth reveling in this week was my beading project. I started the pearl and bead strands on some hand-dyed silk. This week I finished enough of the beading that I can audition fabric to quilt and use behind the silk piece.

Lani Longshore silk beading

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.