Friday, May 18, 2007

My Own "Mission: Organization"

Compared to the people on the HGTV show, my organization challenge is small. I took on this challenge for two reasons. First, my daughter played the guilt card and accused me of “cranking out” clothes for myself and not making the skirt and blouse she selected two weeks ago. Of course, she conveniently forgot she hasn’t made time to go fabric shopping or even look through my Vogue Fabric swatches. But, being the tremendously unselfish mother that I am, I decided the next thing I sew had better be DD’s skirt and blouse. Second, Sewl Sista’s New Rules got me thinking about all the stuff I’ve accumulated and how little I use most of it. So, out of my sense of commitment to my DD and in recognition of the fact that I’m getting closer and closer to the line between “hobbyist” and “mad stasher”, I decided, “It’s time to get organized.”

This is all my stuff. It doesn't look like much in this picture because it's all small stuff. When spread out, it covered more than half of the cutting table. The first task on “Mission: Organization” is always sorting stuff into piles, so that’s what I did. I sorted out the things I could safely throw away. Not surprisingly, there were very few things I felt I could safely throw away. ( I see myself getting closer to “Mad Stasher” territory.) Next, the “M: O” people categorize. I limited myself four plastic boxes in which to store my sewing supplies. There was no rhyme or reason as to why something was in a particular box. I came up with three categories to use when storing supplies into the four boxes. Soft Supplies contains things that can become part of the garment, i.e. zippers, buttons, care labels, bias tapes. The Hard Supplies box contains tools used in the construction process, i.e. tube turners, snap setters, needle-nose pliers. (Needle-nose pliers ?!?!?) The third box is for fabric paints, stamps, markers and other things used for Embellishments. The fourth box, Miscellaneous, is currently empty except for a few stray pieces of interfacing. The professional organizers always label their cute little boxes and I’ll do that , too. These boxes are kept in a bookcase. Most of the stuff hasn’t been used in years so the bookcase works. I keep the things I use most often within reach on the cutting table.

In case it takes DD too long to choose fabric, I have another non-sewing project in mind. I want to make an ironing surface that will allow me to iron lengths of fabric on my cutting table. A 2’ x 4’ piece of plywood with padding and a canvas cover should serve quite nicely. If I had an alternative ironing center I could take down my ironing board occasionally and the sewing room would feel less cramped. By the time I finish my over-sized ironing surface, DD should have selected her fabric. I plan to apply a little pressure so that she will pick out her fabric quickly! I can’t keep coming up with these “make-work” projects. I’d much rather be sewing.

Edited to add:

Finished Project - Labeled Boxes
I wish the rest of my life was this organized!


  1. Wow great job! You've inspired me! I like the idea of limiting your storage boxes that will help me a lot. Thanks!

    question: The ironing surface you're creating is that something static or can you can put it away easily until you need to use it?

  2. No, you inspired me.

    The ironing surface is just a piece of plywood covered with a beach towel and a piece of heat reflecting gray fabric used for some ironing board covers. I'd forgotten I even owned it until I started going through all the stuff I had. I just stapled the fabrics to the plywood and keep it under my cutting table until needed. I lay it on the cutting table when I want to use it. I used it for the first time this morning to iron a piece of linen I'd just pre-shrunk. Worked great!