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Our sewing space can easily get cluttered sometimes.

I get it. Creative people are sometimes (or always) messy. For a fact, I know that some people feel more productive and creative working in a messy space. But messy is not exactly equivalent to clutters.

You can have a mess of your favourite things laying around your space yet still be efficient and creative.

On the other hand, you can  have a lot of clutters, meaning, unnecessary things that might be a hindrance while you are being creative because you have to waste time going through them to look for what you actually need. 

I think we need to check in with reality sometimes, and just take the time to declutter without hesitation to clear the spaces that are occupied unnecessarily by some things that are no longer important.

In this post, I am recommending 10 days for each decluttering task so you can declutter your sewing space and make room for what really matters.

 

10 DAYS to a better sewing space-  a more creative space.

I am applying a little bit of Marie Kondo’s Idea of decluttering. If you haven’t read the book – you ought to. I reviewed it HERE>

and if you haven’t watched it on Netflix yet, go and watch that first, because it’s really motivating and life-changing.

In this decluttering session, we’ll focus on decluttering and organizing the sewing space.

And I have broken it down to 10 steps, 10 things or 10 days, which I recommend doing in sequence. 

The number one thing that sticks to me from Marie’s book was:

“Only keep things that bring you JOY” – Marie Kondo-

and we’ll use it for our decluttering days. So, I’ll say it upfront, I’ll be using the word JOY a lot in this post!! 😛

 

 

Decluttering Process is Not about Going Minimalist

Since Minimalism seems to be trending now, it’s good to note that decluttering is not similar to being a minimalist by any means. I know that we crafters in general find it hard to be minimalistic because we love crafty things, and we love being surrounded by lots of craft supplies. 

I totally get it.

Even if you are not aiming for minimalism, decluttering process is still a must. It basically removes all the negative vibes coming from guilts and things that no longer bring us joy.

We can keep the things that we still love though, no matter how much of a pile they are.

It is just a process to understand what is supposed to be in the creative space, and what isn’t.

So are you ready?

Craft Space can get messy. Supplies can be hoarded. This 10 steps challenge will get you started to get the best of your craft space

Let’s start!

Day 1: Check on your Current Projects and Unfinished projects (UFOs)

Go around your space or even outside your sewing space if you happen to store craft items all over the house (I know I do) and gather them in a single place. Separate them into two piles; current active projects, and the other one for Unfinished Projects (UFOs)

This is how we are going to tackle them and really declutter.

Sort them into 3 piles:

A keep pile, A donate pile and A trash pile.

Look at your current projects:

Are there any that you feel may not meet the end? When looking at each of them, ask yourself. Does it still bring me joy? Will it bring me joy continuing the project? If it does, it’s a keeper.

If you don’t see yourself going forward with it, or if you see yourself struggling trying to just get it done, put it aside. You can have another go looking at it, or just put it straight in the ‘donate’ pile.

Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself. Crafting is supposed to bring joy, and so does this process.

Pile of Quilt UFO and WIP

Look at your UFO piles:

In this pile, there may be projects that you have long forgotten. I know.

When looking through them, you can start deciding or planning on which project you would want to begin progressing again. For these projects, you may allow them to stay in the UFO pile a little longer, as long as they still bring you joy and continue to do so. 

I think every quilter needs a UFO pile. Because you never know when the ‘once abandoned’ project might turn into your best creation ever. 

However, you do need to think it thoroughly. If something went wrong with the project or you stopped loving it, it is okay to let it go.

It is not a waste. You’ve learned something from it, so just let it go.

Thank it,

Donate it.

If you are reading this in the early 2019, you may want to join in APQ UFO challenge and list down all of your projects. Otherwise, just take a notebook to list them down, and just try to make a little progress on them this year. 


Day 2: Magazines and books

Moving on to books. We can easily be collecting books and magazines.

Books that only functions to occupy the space on your shelf are not okay to keep. Even if you have a home for them, it is always good to check in with how you feel about each of the books you own.

So, take a look at those craft books you have on the shelf. If it still brings you joy, then keep it.

Otherwise, donate it.

For me personally, I love vintage magazines and old books. I used to get lots of inspiration from magazines too, but nowadays a lot of creativity and ideas can be obtained from scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest and Blogs.

So, I am thanking them for all the joy they have brought me and letting them go.

Sewing room books declutter konmari style


Day 3: Patterns

Paper Clutters.

Gather all the patterns you can find and pile them up. 

Sort through them while truly asking yourself, “do I really see myself creating with this pattern in the future?”

Sometimes style can be obsolete. And our taste in style gradually changes too.

So those that you feel are out-of-style can be placed in the trash or donate. 

Sewing room organization declutter sewing room paper patterns


Day 4: Check on stash

This is probably going to be the hardest, especially if you have quite a collection. 

I have gone through this process a couple of times, and let me tell you that it is definitely game-changing.

I gather all of the fabrics that I own (not fabric scraps) in one pile, and thoroughly go through them. 

Don’t get distracted. Just sort through them separating the ones you truly love, the ‘maybe’ pile and the ‘donate’ pile.

For the ‘maybe’ pile, you’ll have fabrics that you feel like “I am not sure I like this, but I think I will be able to use it in…..”

With those fabrics, I suggest that you pile them together and later chop them into smaller pieces – ready to be used for scrappy quilts.

 

This process is going to be different for you.

Some people are at the beginning of the stash-building process, and they might have less to throw out as they are still learning their style.

If you are a seasoned quilter, you probably already know your style and you should be confident to donate or de-stash some of the out-of-your-style fabrics.

I am pretty sure the ones you keep will last a life time. 🙂

De-stash, make room for more of what you love. Creating should be fun and exciting. If you don’t find a fabric exciting anymore, let it go. Make your time worth sewing with the ones that you love.

I love de-stashing on Instagram, but I think a facebook group is also a great place to de-stash.


Day 5: Check on fabric scraps

 

Now that you’ve looked through all the full-sized fabrics, let’s go through your scraps.

You can also chop some of those larger pieces into this pile now.

You should go through scrap piles quickly. 

If you love making scrappy quilts, then you can probably keep most of them.

But… if you are not into that kind of thing, pass it on. A scrappy quilter will find more joy with it.

It is okay to not love piecing or going through the scrap-organising process.

If you don’t find joy in it, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a waster. You have found joy piecing with them in the first project.


Day 6: Check on tools and machines

Now look through your tools for any that you don’t use anymore, like the old blades. And those that you may have more than plenty of. 

I know most quilters have lots of duplicates. Some even have more than one sewing machine.

It’s okay to have many of them. As long as they STILL bring you joy.

What once brought you JOY may not continue to do so anymore. And that is where you need to look into. 

I once owned 5 machines. 2 of them I loved, but they were not working as I’d like them to be, and I decided to let them go.

REGRET?

Well, we often think that letting go will make us regret that decision one day. But honestly, once you let go, it doesn’t really happen. In fact, you’ll have one less thing to think about. For me, before letting go of those machines, I would always have this thought of “I need to get this machine fixed someday” passing in my head every time I see them. And it makes me feel sad and guilty. 

Once I let them go, I feel lightened. And can focus on the ones that I truly use.


Day 7: Threads

They don’t last long, let them go and remember not to buy any of the colours that you rarely use.

Maybe purchasing bobbins of different colours like this would be more appropriate.

Look through your stash, are there any threads that you once bought because you thought you would use, but end up still not using them? 

Be realistic. If you really do need them one day, then as long it is easily accessible, you can buy them again later – but chances are, you won’t need to! Because you’re probably never going to use them anyway.


Day 8: Leftover battings / binding tape

Pile it all in one place. Throw the ones that won’t be useful, trim them, pass them on or patch them.

This one should be quick. 

Some people can’t be bothered to piece together leftover battings, and they don’t find joy in doing so.

Some people don’t like to make small projects.

and some people love them all.

Just analyse which one you are, and really put your thoughts into it.


Day 9: Other craft items

These are miscellaneous items and probably items for other crafts that you’ve tried or are into.

I know most quilters, are not just quilters. They probably knit or make scrapbooks too.

If it is no longer something that you do on a regular basis, you can let go of most of the things from that craft section. 

You don’t have to do everything even if you can.

 

I personally have a hard time letting go of all of my crochet items. I have loved it before and do find joy in them. But, having piles of yarns in my space made me anxious and guilty as I don’t think I’ll have time to crochet anymore. And I prefer quilting. 

Priority is also something that you need to consider when sorting these items.

If you let one craft go, another will have more of your attention. And that will bring more joy.

So, this year I am letting go of these yarns.

 

If I ever caught the bug again, I know I’ll find joy in selecting new supplies to use. But for now, these are going to be donated and someone will continue to find joy in them.

I’ll keep a few for my rarely ever crochet/knitting time. Only a few. 


Day 10: Sentimental Items

We all get caught up keeping sentimental items that are hard to pass. Now, I am not talking about the ones you have on display. Those are probably the ones you definitely should keep. These are the ones that could have been buried under the pile of other clutters or stocked away in boxes, never to be seen again until you start to declutter.

It is one of the hardest to let go.

Maybe you have something that was passed on from your grandmother who also crafts. But possibly a different style of craft. If you are not using the things that she passed on, pass it on to someone else. Let it be more useful for the ones who will actually use it.

If you have items like handmades by a friend, but are no longer serving its purpose, say a nice goodbye to them; knowing that your friend will always be in your heart and prayers.

We sometimes feel like keeping sentimental items will bring us joy, but in reality it can sometimes bring guilt, especially when we can’t really use them or display them.

So it’s okay, we can still keep the memories, even if we let go of these sentimental items.

“Only keep things that bring you JOY” – Marie Kondo-

 

Decluttering can be therapeutic, allows for more joy and creative space.

Not to mention it is a process of being mindful which makes the following buying process more meaningful.
 
You may find it difficult at first, but a few rounds of this process every once in a while will make the process easier and you will surely feel lightened after each session.
 

 

Promise me you’ll try it if you’ve never decluttered or de-stashed before.

Let me know how it goes.

Pin this page for reference. Share it with your Quilty friends too :). –>

Craft Space can get messy. Supplies can be hoarded. This 10 steps challenge will get you started to get the best of your craft space


35 Comments

  1. Great ideas and very manageable. Thanks ! May I ask where you purchased the white decorate plastic baskets in the first pic ?

    • littlemushroomcap@gmail.com Reply

      Hi Karen, I bought those from a local dollar store, maybe you can find one too at any dollar store nearby you?

  2. I have not had time to read this whole post about de-cluttering in 10 days, but you have some of the best ideas here I’ve seen yet. I have permission. Yea! Permission to let go of what I don’t like, won’t use, or won’t fix. Best advice ever! Yea!! Now to do it.

  3. Neldaknitter Reply

    As a retired educator I’m commenting to help not tear down. I think your ideas are so very helpful, however, I could not read all the way through. It needs some serious proofreading and correcting grammatical errors.

    • littlemushroomcap@gmail.com Reply

      Hi Nelda, Thank you for your comment, I will update the blogpost from time to time to improve it. The blog takes up a lot of my time and while I wish to always present the best out there, sometimes it does the opposite instead – which is limiting me from posting at all. Since English is my second language, I am not yet the best at it. And hiring a proofwriter for this is not yet an affordable things for the blog.

      • Sharon Wikstrom Reply

        I agree! I’m not concerned with the grammar, it didn’t cause any misunderstanding! Carry on! ☺️

        • Deryl Lynn Reply

          I’m with you! Iam a retired educator also. I picked up on second language immediately. I have two family members who are not English background, I applaud them & (oops) their families for doing their best to communicate with me & teach me some of their own skills. HOWEVER, I am not reading this for grammar, I am reading for the WONDERFUL ideas presented. It is inspiring for me and I have been doing many of these things in any order for the last several months, a few minutes at a time. I am sitting here surrounded by fabric scraps which are now sorted & (oops again) ready for the next step. Keep up the good work!

  4. Wonderful ideas. I enjoyed your article…. Unlike “Nasty Nelda”

    • Couldn’t agree more. Edit it for her and email it to her, or accept it as it is written. Either way, your public commentary is unnecessary. Gentling your language makes your language gentle. It does not make your criticism constructive.

    • I agree with Nelda. If a person wants to create a blog, at least take pride in what is posted. Posts such as this one are frustrating and very difficult to follow. If a person would just proofread their own post a couple of times, the reader will be more apt to complete the reading. I don’t think the criticism is nasty at all. We all need to be open to making posts the best they can be. I found this post difficult to read and follow ( I’m a very well educated person so it could have been much better).

  5. I thought the same thing, it needs to be proofread. I did realize after a while that English was not your native language. You don’t necessarily have to hire someone. You could do it yourself. I really do want to put time into making the best vlog you can

  6. Catherine Ann Woodward Reply

    These tips are fantastic. I can’t wait to declutter my craft room.

  7. I will start next week….. that’s when my grand children are back with their mom. The youngest has her crib in my sewing room!
    Great ideas to take into consideration while purging.
    “PIGS” aka projects in grocery store bags….. do need a close review.
    Happy sewing,,,,!

  8. Thank you for the well thought out suggestions. I especially appreciated your attitude that all of us feel differently about or creative supplies and that this is individual. You presented in a kind and gentle encouraging way. The spirit of what you presented came across just fine. I have recently moved and am feeling overwhelmed with supplies from 50 years of collecting. I loved your idea of the 10 point breakdown. For me it will need to be each suggestion a week at a time. I am going to use your wonderful list for each of my interests. Thank you.

  9. Charmelle Watkins Reply

    Looking forward to learning more every day!

    Not sure if you use the wooden drawers in the photographs but the wood can adversely affect your fabric. Line them in acid free paper to protect them.

  10. No language problem here as far as I am concerned! I also have reorganized some of my fabric since we talked last !
    Good words for food!

  11. I have gone thru my sewing room a couple of times donating quilt items & fabric. You made me see that there are still more stuff I need to let go. Old UFOs are the hardest. I don’t even like them anymore but hate to toss the fabric as my favorite quilting is scrappy. Also, I only buy high quality fabric so that makes it tougher to just donate. But you’re right, all they are is a reminder of what I have never & will never finish. I’ve come to realize that the reason I haven’t quilted much is because I’m basically avoiding (my once kind of cute) sewing room. However, you have motivated me. I’m heading to the cluttered mess now.

    Thanks!!!

    • RE: PIGS

      You can make crate mats for animal shelters. 12 x 18 inches finished. Or make placemats for your local Meals On Wheels. Google either of these FMI.

  12. Oops grammer police, I forgot to change *are still more stuff to IS still more stuff!

  13. Just found your blog as I was searching for how to declutter my sewing space and YES I love your ideas and suggestions and simply your attitude about it all. Gave me a solid plan to use over the next 8 days as I go through all my sewing items and keep what brings me joy and let go of what is getting in the way of really enjoying my sewing room. Thank you so much for posting this all those years ago – still useful!!

  14. Thank you for a guide for decluttering my craft room and crafts.
    I have decluttered at different times and found that I had many books worth only one article that interested me. SO. I scanned the article to my computer and am in the process of deleting some projects and downloading the remainder to external storage. I also had trophies and other sentimental items, so these I photographed and will join the above scanned items. Books and other items have been given away. I found that this was a great way to ‘let go’ of things but still keep them .

  15. I understood your article perfectly. It is well written and well thought out and I appreciate the tips! Thanks so much for posting this. I will try some of these ideas, and I shared this post on my Facebook page too.
    I’ve never tried quilting, but I love to sew, and my fabric has gotten out of hand. Tee hee…
    I will check out the rest of your blog now. I found your post on Pinterest.

  16. I love your ideas; they’re ALL such useful common sense.
    Last year I did a big scrap clean-out. I trimmed, sorted by color, and laid them neatly in Dollar Store bins. I have 9 bins, all labeled as reds/pinks, blues, greens, purples, oranges/yellows, brown/golds, and neutrals. I also have one bin for holiday scraps, and one for “strings”. Every now and them I make a string quilt – they’re fast, easy and always pretty, so the strings are handy to have.
    The bins sit on couple of shelves in my sewing closet where I can easily pick out whichever colors I chose and whip together something pretty in no time.
    Surprisingly, (to me anyway) I’ve managed to keep them neat and tidy! I just press, trim, and add my scraps to the appropriate color bins as I go.
    I DO need to check out my WIP’s and UFO’s, so that’s going to be my next challenge.
    I was quite perturbed that someone found it necessary to comment on your grammar. It was completely unnecessary! Initially, I was going to reply to her and “tell her off”, but changed my mind when I saw your gracious response. Even so, your English and your grammar are just fine as they are! We who love and respect you have no trouble understanding you. I know I would never dream of mentioning it, particularly as it doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is your kindness, your willingness to share and your gracious attitude. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt is usually credited with saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. I’m not suggesting it made you feel that way; I believe your stronger than that. Either way however, you didn’t deserve it and it was most definitely inappropriate. No one is inferior because God loves us all.

    • OOPS! Did you see my grammar error? “I believe your stronger….” Should have been “you’re stronger.” And I have no excuse as English was my first language!

  17. RuthSkinner Reply

    I am never deleting this, instead every year I will review it as a reminder. Thank you

  18. I agree with RuthSkinner, I am saving this article (and blog too!) to reread again! It lifts me up instead of feeling bad about my crafting! (What I didn’t finish, didn’t like working on, couldn’t understand how to do, changed my mind or just got bored with!)
    Thank you.

  19. Hello Amira. I found your blog thanks to Passwork to Quilting. What a lucky find!! I just read your latest email and saw the link to “10 Things. . .” Finally, a sewing/craft room organization plan that makes sense, focusing on one aspect of the “stuff” at a time. I could add an 11th one – Get things that don’t belong in the room out first! I started with that but recent knee replacement surgery has stopped me in my tracks. I look forward to following your plan once I’m able to. Thank you!!

  20. Amira, I found your article when researching how to declutter my sewing / quilting space. I find your 10 steps to be low stress and very comprehensive. I’m pretty organized but need to condense my “stuff.” I quilt, mend, and do counted cross stitch and wool applique. I want to keep everything so your tips will definitely help. BTW, I love proofing and would be happy to help with that at no charge. Let me know if you want to discuss it.

  21. Pingback: Friday Finish: Scrappy Quilt Finish - The Little Mushroom Cap: A Quilting Blog

  22. Eugenia Read Reply

    Did nobody notice the similarities to Karen Brown’s Just Get It Done Declutter Challenge? I am not sure how plagiarism works. Is it only for literary works? If not, you should not be claiming these ideas as your own.

    • Eugenia – so HAPPY you are doing web checks to make sure a seasoned quilter does NOT have similar ideas to someone else.

      I’m sure that YOU have never had an original thought!

      Just saying. I have a blog and have posted ‘similar’ ideas. I’ve been quilting since the late 70’s, and been in professional quilting since the early 2000’s. Are you implying that if I write something similar to ‘someone’ that I am plagiarizing? As a retired corporate web programmer, I have written content (mostly about quilting since 1998. Are you going to accuse me of plagiarizing, or maybe that person you thought was the source was the one plagiarizing.

      Check MY website. Will be sure that you will see similar posts elsewhere as I have seen some of posts repeated word for word. I’m not worried. It is the regular and consistent posting of blogger that I am interested in.

      Betty
      http://www.ShadywoodQuilts.com

  23. Pingback: How to tackle unfinished objects (UFOs) in your quilting pile - The Little Mushroom Cap: A Quilting Blog

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