Monday, August 12, 2019

Studio Reboot Part 1

Have you ever walked into your space and just turned around and walked out?

That has been me the last couple of weeks, only I couldn't walk out, because I still needed to work. I don't know about you, but I struggle to accomplish much when I feel overwhelmed in my space. I also struggle at good organization. I'm on a mission to fix that, and to keep myself motivated, I'm sharing with you!

Don't expect pretty, bright, colorful pictures from me as the process moves along. I share my space with our laundry room in our basement. There are no windows, and no where to put a window in, so I have nick named it "The Dungeon."  It may be dark, but it's a big room and I am blessed to have a separate space to work in. My problem is my lack of organizational skills and, believe it or not, space. Or maybe the space issue is because of my lack of organizational skills.... Feel free to share your ideas as I go along, because I am currently fitting fabric storage, shipping products, inventory and sewing space within the laundry room. This is going to be a slow process, because I think I want to see how each change works before moving on to the next, plus I'm waiting for our second child to move to their new apartment so I can store some stuff in their room.  Shhhhhh......

Part of the problem with this is having so many shoebox sized boxes to move and get to. In the blue storage container are the Studio 180 Design rulers I sell.

Fabric. Quilts. Envelopes. Batting. Project boxes. Etc.

My current set up leaves so much to be desired. The drawers on the right are full of knit fabrics for clothing. I either need to get sewing or sell some of this, because  the suitcases are also full of knits. Ugh. The drawers to the left of that are quilting cottons. Then project boxes on top of envelope and box storage, and then more drawers of "stuff." Behind all of that (you can see the bins to the left and the sunflower table cloth sits over the two totes of rolled up quilts) are my quilts and bins of batting, class supplies, etc.

First step was to organize the patterns. I bought Bankers Boxes and moved all of the patterns into these three boxes. I left the rulers in the blue bin and then moved boxes that were sitting on my cutting table, and the large envelopes into this area as well.  I'm still not super thrilled with this, because it's still hard to get at everything, but at least I'm not taking out twelve shoe boxes to get to one pattern.

This doesn't look like much, but I did go through and clean out my bins of quilting cottons. When I switched my patterns to the Bankers Boxes I emptied out a lot of the shoe box containers. Now they hold separated colors, a few kits and a few years, yes years, of BOM from my LQS.  Yikes. PS. Did you notice the TWO laundry baskets of socks in the first shot? If you ever hear anyone in my family complain that they don't have any socks, you can show them that picture. Ha! Down to one basket with just a few socks missing their partners.

The next step will be to label the colors (yes I only kept enough of each color to maybe fill one shoe box), move the quilts upstairs to the soon to be empty room, move the drawers back against the wall (can't wait for the extra floor space) and go through those knits. They are driving me batty. I'm going to ignore the mess behind me and take it one slow step at a time.

If you have organizational tips feel free to leave them in the comments!

Happy Stitching!

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  1. Oh, I feel ya here. I am super grateful to finally have space, but it is hard to work with the "stuff". Luckily, I have a huge new closet with doors. :P I bought some shelves and they are filling up fast.

  2. Have you considered setting up zones? Like all of your shipping/mailing supplies in one designated area or shelf? Your quilting fabrics, tools, etc. in one area/shelf? Do you need to purge a lot of fabric or other items you just know you're never going to use?
    I'm thinking you might need a few more shelves to help with the organizing.
    I share my sewing space with the guest room, so I have just a corner and one wall to keep all of my stuff on/in. I'm currently working on a couple of projects and the corner that holds most of my supplies has fabric and instructions all piled up on it. I looked at it a little bit ago and sighed in exasperation because the mess was bothering me, BUT I know I can't fix it until I get those projects out of the way.
    What do you want your space to look like? How big is the area?

  3. I agree with Robin and Jen, shelves are most important. Lots of them! You don't say how much space there is, but I have positioned two dressers of the same height back to back, and then covered them with plywood, and then covered that with a piece of laminate for a smooth surface. Works great for layout and cutting, and is also a better height. Sorting color and fabric type will work well for you, keep up the good work. Don't try to tackle it all in one day, you'll get discouraged quickly. Once you get everything organized the way you want it, take a picture, and post it somewhere visible so you can be encouraged to keep it that way.

  4. I just got the patterns I have acquired filed away. (Excluding the ones I got this past weekend ). I have Breast Cancer pillows I am preparing for a ladies group I am part of. We will make these at our Sept gathering. I am sooo ready to get those huge boxes of stuffing out of the room. I have fabric in project boxes, but I need to organize it a bit better.... someday. I struggle with my rulers and my doo-dads (seam ripper/clips/small scissors/ stylist/ pencils/ rotary cutters ) just collecting around my machine. That will most likely be my next area of work

  5. What about pegboard on one wall? It is easy to store rulers etc and see what you have in one glance. I have one and it is a big help to keep my floors clear and stuff accessible at the same time.

  6. My husband made me a cutting table with storage space under and with flaps on the side so that when I need lots of space Ican open one or more flaps and when I am done I can close it and still have the top of the table to work on.

  7. I can't work if my sewing area is cluttered but I have a knack for organization. It's the accountant in me, I think. Please get yourself to Ikea! If there's not one near, get the catalog. I'm saving up to get the Billy shelves with doors. They can go right to your ceiling in the space you have. They are super easy to put together. I do it by myself with a granddaughter helping. They will save your life. I like the doors to prevent fading of my fabrics. Your storage boxes would look so nice all lined up on shelves. Label them and you will know where everything is. I also have rolling carts. One for my sizzix and cutting dies; and one for machine embroidery supplies.

  8. One thing I had to do when we reworked my dungeon (I also work in the lower level with a patio door, but it's only a 10 x 10 space) was to spend some time just sitting and thinking about how I could rearrange the space. My husband and I tossed ideas around until I settled on what I wanted. If that wall behind the bins isn't being used, sit and think about how that could look. Shelves? Design wall? Both (if so, how?) -- that type of thing. Ikea is great, but you might also be able to make do with simple shelving from Menards (not pretty, but they do the task). Hubs ended up making me a shelf/bin unit that I use and it's working well. Sometimes settling on a direction of where you want to go helps set the plan for what needs to be done first/next.


I love to get your comments and hear your ideas. I always respond to comments (though it may take me a few days), if you haven't heard from me it might mean you are a no reply commenter. If you haven't heard back from me, check back here, because I will reply to the comment.