Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How to KEEP Your Quilt Room Organized

You look around your newly organized quilt room / sewing area with pride. Your zones are established and everything has a place. Your fabric is sorted and folded and easily accessible. Your room gives you a good feeling as soon as you walk in, and you know you can once again be creative.

But what will this beautiful room look like a month from now or even a week from now? How do you KEEP your newly organized space as decluttered as it is at this moment? Here are some suggestions:

-- Remember your zones. Your rulers have a place now -- probably in your Cutting Zone. Don't walk across the room with a ruler in hand and put it down on another surface... not even temporarily! Don't put new spools of thread on your cutting table to be put away "later". Put it in it's proper zone now. Create a habit of putting things away as soon as you're done with them.

-- Have duplicates where it makes sense. Need scissors at the sewing machine and at your cutting table? Have two pair and keep each one in it's own place.

-- Create WIP (work in progress) storage. Baskets, boxes, tote bags -- create WIP storage for EACH project you start. Before your day is done in your quilt room, take everything you're working on and place it in a WIP container. Include thread, instructions, fabric, fusibles, templates. Label your container and place it in a WIP shelf.

-- Plan Ahead. If you know you need to stop sewing by 5:00pm so you can pick up your child at soccer, plan ahead. Stop 10 minutes early and put things away that need to be returned to their home. Place your current project in a WIP box, even if you plan on returning to it in the near future. We all know "life happens" and time doesn't always go as planned.

-- Fold before cutting. Once you have auditioned fabrics for a new project, fold all fabric that will NOT be used in your project and return it to it's proper storage.

-- Schedule "room maintenance". Empty your trash can, dust furniture and shelves, vac the floor. If you're in your creative space every day, you will need to do this once a week.

-- Acknowledge your storage limitations. Don't bring in new items if you don't have room for them. Now that you've organized your space, you know what storage you have available. If your fabric storage is full, don't bring in more until you've created empty space. Try to get out of the "buy because I want it, not because I need it" thought process.

-- Declutter on a regular basis. Adopt the FlyLady method of decluttering. Once a month, grab a trash bag, and find 27 things in your quilt room/sewing area to throw away. Don't stop until you find all 27. Or check out the downloadable "Declutter Calendar" on My Simpler Life web site. Apply her daily quick decluttering techniques to your quilt room! For example, if the calendar says "declutter one dresser drawer" -- apply it to your quilt room by decluttering one drawer in your sewing table. Most of her daily tasks take just a few minutes.

-- Fine tune your zones. After you've worked on a project or two with your newly established zones, look at what consistently moves away from it's zone and into another. You may either need two of this item, or move it to a new zone entirely. Keep rearranging until it makes sense to you.

-- Find your personal "comfort zone". You may not need every piece of fabric in it's place, or every ruler arranged according to size, or every piece of fabric in color coordinated order. Your Quilt Room doesn't have to be a Show Room -- it has to be what's comfortable for YOU and what allows you to feel creative and be productive. Find your personal comfort level, and set that level as your permanent goal for maintenance of your room. Accept no less.

Congratulations on all your hard work! Give yourself a big pat on the back when you finish this organizational project. Feel the new found creative energy and the sense of peacefulness you have when you first enter your newly decluttered and organized space.

Consider this:

"Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do." -- Denzel Washington's Mom

BEGINNING NEXT MONTH, this blog will have more information on storage items useful in organizing the quilt / sewing room, as well as frequent notices of sales on fabric, notions, and books and FREE patterns from around the Internet.

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