Tuesday, December 29, 2020

If I could dispense one piece of advice..................

 I know that no one likes to be told what to do. I know that for a personal fact. However, I would like to dispense one piece of advice to you all. I'm not asking you to act upon it - I want you to reflect on it and if your conscience says you should heed the advice, then do so. If your conscience says - "who cares?" then let it go. 

The advice will apply to EVERYONE regardless of your age, your job, or your hobby. So what is this amazing piece of advice? It's simple. 

CLEAN UP your crap! 

Are you laughing? I'm not! This is a serious issue. For the last five years or so, I've been struggling to go through the crap that I've accumulated, and I can't imagine a family member or a friend having to deal with everything that I've amassed. It's daunting for me, the person who created the mess. Imagine someone else having to deal with it? They'd open a box - see paper or fabric and wonder - what was it all about? Is it good? They have no way of knowing. 

I'm happy to report that I'm ALMOST done with the mess in Studio B. Let me qualify that - I'm almost through that pile of stuff sitting in the middle of the floor. 

The remainder of the pile to deal with

I found a few places to put some of the projects, found lots of fabric that just needed to be put away. I haven't had to pack anything into a cardboard box. Imagine how much extra time I'm going to have by NOT having to manage this mess. 

Since I'm in the mood, here's my top ten list of dealing with clutter. 

  1. Do NOT buy anything unless you have an immediate need for it - doesn't matter what it is - don't buy it unless you need it. 
  2. Do NOT gift things to people unless you know 100% that they want that item. Cash works great! How many "gifted" things are amongst your possessions that you don't want or never used? 
  3. If you do buy something, ensure that it has a home BEFORE you buy it. No home - don't buy it. 
  4. Depending on the item, if it's something that you already have a lot of (like clothes), perhaps you get rid of one item before you put the new one away. 
  5. When you buy something, buy only what you need. There's no need to stockpile fabric for when you retire - you already have way more than you'll ever get around to sewing in your lifetime!
  6. Avoid impulse purchases. How many things in your sewing room were impulse purchases and that you've never used? These tend to be the cute items that are located right by the cash. 
  7. When you bring the item into your house/studio - make sure that you put it away! 
  8. While it's OK to work on a few things, try to avoid spreading things out everywhere. 
  9. Think twice before starting a new project. Are you almost done with the previous one, or are you shelving the previous one? That's just going to become a UFO if you shelve it!
  10. Keep like-things together. 

I never used to heed any of the above. I didn't care - I flitted from one project to another, easily shelving anything I didn't have time to finish. 

When we had the water issue (twice) in the basement, I realized that I was in over my head. Should anyone have to clean up that mess, it would be a sad day with much of it going into the landfill because projects weren't together, pieces were missing, and the mess was overwhelming. You pick the theme - it was all there. 

I'm happy to report that I'm getting there. I've made HUGE leaps and bounds in the decluttering and organizing area. I've got a LONG way to go yet. But what I accomplished this year was to get rid of the last of the junk, grouped like things together,  and got things off the floor and into their homes. What I have to focus on in the coming year will be to sort through the various areas to see if I can further cull or sort or finish. 

For instance, the threads are in one area, but what do I have? Can it be better organized so I will use it faster? I did that with the backings a while back, and OH MY - what a difference that made. No need to run out and buy backing fabrics when I already had so much. And now that the pieces are neatly folded and labeled, it's a snap to find something. 

So I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm getting close. 

I just do NOT want anyone to have to deal with my mess like my mother left for us. Yes - I know the office has to be dealt with and I'm very slowly working on it. It's much better than it was. 

What did I find as I sorted through those last few baskets of stuff? I found a bag of stuff from my trip to PEI in 2015!!!!  I know - we rented a house for a month, so I took my sewing machine and lots of stuff to work on. This is a bag of stuff that needs to be sorted and put away. Seriously??? Five years??? 

Leftovers from projects worked on five years ago

I found my bell! I was looking for this a while back so it could go to a quilting retreat - there's nothing like the sound of a bell to announce a finished project! By the way, I rang that bell yesterday. Why? My Cherrywood challenge is DONE!!! The binding is on - stitched by hand even. Today, I need to write the artist's statement and upload the pictures and the statement. 

Ring that bell

I now have quite a collection of IKEA bags. Should anyone need a bag, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be hanging onto them - I guess if I ever have to move all those quilts, these will come in handy. But note how neat and tidy that shelf is. Well, except for those power bars hanging off the side. That closet in the basement got sorted out a while back. 

A storage closet filled with IKEA bags

What else did I find? I found this rug, which I think is finished. It was a class with Al Cote. It's made by layering fabrics, stitching through the layers, and cutting away. 

Raw edge rug

Did anyone take that class? Were the edges finished? Or just left raw? I guess it doesn't really matter, although I think it would be nice if there was binding on it. So why wasn't it being used? Perhaps I should cut more of the larger yellow pieces away and leave the yellow as the focus. Yes - I might do that and then find some binding for it. So - this is going in the current project pile. I know - I shouldn't, but I'm going to. 

Raw edges or do they need binding?

And I found a box with all this thread that had been set aside for this class. Seriously??? I can't believe how irresponsible I was! But that's OK - I'm over it - I've changed my ways. But sheesh - you think I could clean up a bit more. And all the scraps from cutting away the layers were also in the box. They are now filed in their respective homes. 

Thread for a project

Then I found this container with tons of stuff to make zippered pouches. Seriously??? When am I going to make zippered pouches, and why would I make them? So the ribbon, patterns, fabric got filed in their respective places. 

Zippered pouch supplies

Yep - more thread, zippers, and bias tape. All is put away. 

More supplies that got put away

And then there are weird things. There's a black metal rod - what's it for? No idea. What about that large screw? It looks like a leveling screw for something - but what? The same with those grey caps - they are for the feet of something, but what? 

I might just keep a container for those odd things, but you have to know when to let it go! I might just have a quick peek around the house to see if I can find something that those things fit. And then, if no success, it's time to let them go. 

It's small stuff like that that create clutter. Lots and lots of clutter. Why do we hang onto it all???? 

I've got more treasures to share with you tomorrow. It just boggles my mind that I let this clutter accumulate. I guess I saw it but didn't think it was important. Now I realize how silly I was. I know there's lots of this kind of stuff to deal with in the office. The crap of life that accumulates, and somehow it's left for MOM to sort. 

But the best news of all this is that I realized about five years ago that I had created a monster and I'm dealing with it! I don't have a picture handy to show you how far I've come, but it's HUGE. And next year will be even better! I'm not adding to the mess - that's the big thing. If you can't deal with what you already have, why do you need more? 

One day, the fabric companies are going to realize that! But I doubt it - they are in it for the money after all! They just keep producing more and more pretty stuff. Well, I'm done with that random buying!

So you can take my advice to heart and have a serious look at your space/house. What would your family/friends do if you didn't come home? How much would be tossed into the landfill? How much would be rescued? And how long would it take them to find homes for the stuff? Remember - most of them probably are not quilters and would have NO IDEA what treasures you have!

Alternatively, you can toss my advice in the garbage. I just wouldn't want to be part of the team (yes - a team will be required!) to clean out the mess. 

And on that happy note, I've off to get some work done today. The next quilt is loaded, and I've got to fire up the embroidery machine—more computer work and, of course - more cleaning and sorting. 

Have a fabulous day!!!!



  1. Great job and great progress you've made this year. I've enjoyed following along.

    Yes, people really should follow your advice. I am grateful I did this more than 20 years ago. As 2020 ends, I have 16 UFOs to carryover. I also have 20 new starts (one being LongTimeGone I"m doing in your class ;-) so 2021 has a list of 36. I finished 52 this year, so I'm not at all concerned.

    Cheers to 2021 and finishing your excavation and the office! Won't you feel fabulous and proud!

  2. I'm of two minds, because I won't care after I'm dead -- Let someone else deal with it! But I have also specified in my will that a particular company will do the estate sale, knowing that those ladies will achieve good prices for my heirs. (Spoken like a person whose sewing room has stuff all over the floor since I'm reorganizing right now.)

  3. What a very timely post! I'm about to declutter an area of my crafty space that has become a dumping ground over the last nine months. I'll keep your advice in my mind!

  4. I love this! Between you and Annie Bikes (https://anniebikes.blogspot.com/2020/12/more-diy-stem-bags-get-creative.html), I just might start sewing. And I'll certainly take your advice about accumulating and organizing stuff: I can apply it to my drafts, manuscripts--and bike stuff!

  5. Wonderful post. I promise, I will start decluttering today. Even setting aside 10 minutes a day to do one box is helpful when it seems so overwhelming. I think all your same thoughts about landfills and all my things ending up there. I also find that I buy some things believing that I better buy it now while I have some money, rather than waiting till I retire and I might not have as much extra money to spend. Yet I do realize that is why there are banks. :) The biggest downfall to hording fabric and supplies is that I can't find them. I know I bought 6 yards of a lovely turquoise cotton, but where is it? Knowing that I have it, I tried to plan a project around it but since I can't find it, I have to buy more. It is an endless cycle. Clean up I will. I promise. Thanks for the motivation.

  6. Yes, I have much work to do to cleanup. Regarding the rug from the Al Cote class, I did bind mine. If I recall, Al suggested either binding it or facing it. Happy New Year!