Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Today is the first day of our Quilt Room Organizational Challenge! Are you excited? Are you looking forward to the end result? Do you have a vision of a clean, well organized, creativity-inspiring space? Do you have a vision of what your quilt room/sewing space will feel like when it's neat and organized? Or what it will feel like to start a new project and know where everything is that you need to complete that project? Imagine your fabric sorted by color, your rotary cutters and rulers at your cutting table and within arm's reach when you need them. Perhaps your vision includes some favorite music in the background, or an audio book playing as you sew.

What? No vision?! Then that's where you need to start. With a vision.


Take some time to look on the Internet at other people's quilting rooms/sewing spaces. Here is a link to many photos of quilting and sewing rooms.

Make notes about what you like and dislike about some of these rooms. Is there one room in particular that "speaks" to you? What rooms make you say "Oh, I could be creative in there!" and WHY? Do you see storage solutions or room lay-outs that would work for you? Write them down!

After you've looked at these rooms, come up with a vision of what you want your room to look like at the end of this challenge process. How will your fabric be stored? Where will your sewing machine, cutting table and ironing board be located? How can you store your books and patterns?

If there are one or two rooms that truly appeal to you, print off the photos so you can use it as a reference.


This week you need to get everything out of your room/space that doesn't belong there. The dog's food, the kids' toys, your husband's papers, the books you want to read but haven't had time. Declare to the world (or at least your family) that your quilting room/space is no longer a drop-off or storage area. And while you're at it, say it out loud to yourself!

Bring 3 containers (boxes, laundry baskets, paper bags, trash bags -- whatever you have!) into the room and mark them THROW AWAY, GIVEAWAY/SELL, OTHER ROOMS. Start at a point closest to the entry to your space and go through every square inch of the room and remove things that don't belong, need to be thrown out, or that you just plain know you will never use. Get them out!

If you plan on selling items at a flea market or yard sale, I strongly suggest you grab some price stickers and put prices on them BEFORE putting them in a box. This will save you hours of time later when you do have your yard sale!

Go through every drawer, every shelf, the closet, and sort sort sort. This is YOUR space and it's time to take it back.

As you work, keep your vision (long range goal) in mind! Yes, it's a pain to have to sort through that overflowing closet, but remember what the end result will be! If you printed off a picture of a room you love, tack it up on your wall where you can see it as you work to remind yourself of what you're working towards.

As you fill boxes - GET THEM OUT OF THE ROOM. Take the Trash box out to the trash, if you're giving items away, post them on Freecycle or put them in your car to drop off at Goodwill. If you're having a yard sale, mark the box YARD SALE and store it in your garage or basement. Take your OTHER ROOMS box and drop items off where they belong.


The first few days of this challenge are always the easiest, because it's when you are the most motivated. If you're like me, by day three, you are starting to create excuses why you don't have time to declutter your quilt room today... it's too hot, I have to take my child to xxx practice, I have to take my dog to the vet, I have to... I have to...

When you find yourself starting to make excuses - STOP. Look at the photo. Close your eyes and remind yourself what it would feel like to walk into your quilt room and feel creative, instead of overwhelmed by the disorganization and clutter.

Schedule time to do this! Make organizing your space a priority in your life and set aside a time each day to work on it. Maybe you need to give up 30 minutes TV time or Internet time! Maybe you even need to get up 30 minutes earlier. But schedule a set time each day (I suggest a minimum of 30 minutes) where the family knows you're officially "busy" and not available. Put on some music. Keep your vision in mind. Don't answer the phone. Tell the kids not to knock on the door unless they're broken or bleeding. Tell your husband to find the mustard himself.

You deserve to have this time!


When the challenges are great, so are the possibilities for making real progress. Accept that those challenges exist, and yet do not be resigned to them.

Be clear and honest about where you are. Then begin moving boldly toward where you wish to go.

Look realistically at the difficulties you face. In every single one of them, there is opportunity.

No one is better positioned than you to make the most of those unique and meaningful opportunities. For you know exactly where you are, where you intend to be, and what you have to work with.

The road to real accomplishment leads directly through the challenges. Right now, you have what it takes to begin moving forward on that road.

You know what must be done, and more importantly, you know why you must do it. Step confidently into the challenges, and keep going until you reach the success that is on the other side.

-- Ralph Marston