Friday, January 7, 2022

Cut the clutter

Oh my --- just like that - I went from languishing around binge-watching The Great British Baking Show, and now I'm up to my ears with deadlines! Oops -- I shouldn't have taken quite that much time off! But I accomplished a lot in that time with the decluttering, so I don't mind. And I have loads of pictures to share, so I'll eke them out over the next week or so. 

No - I won't share my cutting table with you. One half is clear because I'm cutting a project and the other half has a few things I need to deal with. That goes for both upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs, I'm in the process of sorting the bits of batting that I found when I moved the closets, and I should take a few minutes and finish that job; otherwise, it won't get done. The same thing with downstairs. 

At least, the cutting table is no longer a storage area and hasn't been for years. Before I get to the cutting tables, let's look at something that happened at our house yesterday. 

MOM  -- Lexi did that!

If you can't see what it is -- that is the heat register (vent) that sits on my lovely wood floor under one of the windows in the living room. It appears someone was bouncing up and down on the vent and pushed all the slats out of their slots. The plastic facing underneath was dislodged as well. Hmmm -- now who do I know that bounces in front of the window? Murphy --- thank goodness you are super cute and loveable because I don't think Lexi did this! 

I'm sure it can be reassembled relatively quickly, but it will take a bit of time to push the plastic back into place and then reinsert the wooden slats. Oh, Murphy --- Mom is busy this week! Now we have a hole in the floor, and I've moved something over it, so she doesn't fall in. I'd have loved to see her face when she went through the register! I doubt there was any remorse for breaking it! 

I had a great massage yesterday, and I know I nodded off a time or two. It's so relaxing - well, it was at one point. I asked the masseuse to tackle my tailbone, and well, that was a lot of pressure, but it feels good today. That's the area I MUST keep stretched, or I'm in trouble. My funky left leg isn't funky if I stretch my lower back. My knee also feels great with the stretching. And the best part -- it takes maybe a minute of stretching each day. No more than that. 

OK -- let's look at some of the pictures I received. 

Remember Susan's messy cutting table and sewing table from a couple of days ago? Look at it now! 

Susan's clean sewing and cutting table

Wow -- that sure looks a whole lot more inviting to sew. Stuff isn't going to fall on the floor. It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but she found a great storage system from IKEA on the wall behind the cutting table. It's great for storing all those bits and tools you need handy! Great job, Susan!!! 

Her next job is to tackle her quilt rack! Yep --- it's easy for anything to get out of control if we don't watch it. Good luck!
The overflowing quilt rack

Next up is Cathie. This is Cathie with the BRIGHTLY colored room. You have to love those purple walls! And the red accents -- well, very cool. I wonder if she painted those shelves? Or if she got them that way? So this table is large, but no extra room for stuff!!

Cathie's before on the cutting table

And that looks a whole lot more exciting to cut. All the rulers are placed in a holder at the back. I LOVE that. Keep only the rulers you use handy! That's one of the reasons I don't use a lot of specialty rulers. I have some, and there isn't room on the cutting table. So I start trimming or cutting with the regular rulers and then remember the specialty rulers. 

Cathie's after

Let's see what Gail sent. Hmm -- looks like many little things to the right of her sewing machine. She's got a cutting mat right there, but not very useable. 

Gail's before

I notice that many people have cutting mats near their sewing machines. I've never done that, except for paper piecing. I'm not sure why, but I get up if I want to trim something. It's just how different we are when we work. But I know that if I leave my rotary cutter or scrap bucket beside the sewing machine, the next thing I know - I'll have knocked it on the floor! And I find I have to twist too much to cut or trim properly, so I use my cutting table. 

Anyway, here is Gail's tidied-up sewing space. Lots of little containers and such are still there, but if it works for her, then that's OK. And there's another one of those gorgeous sewing chairs! OK -- I might have to break down and get one, as I love them. 

Gail's after

This is a shot of Gail's ironing station. OK -- she has the Cadillac of ironing stations. Do you see all that storage underneath? That really is a good use of space. YES -- I love a portable ironing board, but there really is a lot of wasted space beneath. For me, I'd love to have a station like that, but on wheels, so I could move it around. 

Gail's before 

She also has a wool pressing mat. HEY -- everyone has a wool pressing mat. I have a small one, and I use it for pressing decorative stitches and embroidery. But that space looks a whole lot better. And you have to love those windows!!!

Gail's after

Here's are the pressing supplies!! I have the pattern for that figure -- not made!

Storage for the pressing supplies

Let's look at what Susie sent me. I love the repurposing here. A piece of MDF on a piece of furniture makes a handy top for the sewing machine and cutting table. I LOVE the idea of keeping things on trays, whether it's your supplies or your project. If you need to move it, it's easy! 

Susie's sewing and cutting area

And a cover for the sewing machine. This is actually an excellent idea. I don't because I tend to sew every day, but well -- I don't really, and you'd be SHOCKED at how much lint collects every day. Keeping that out of your sewing machine is a great idea. If you don't have a fancy cover, use a bag or buy one. I also love the idea of sewing on a stool -- I often use a small stool to sew on. I know the ergonomists would be protesting, but in a cramped space, it's great. And seriously, how many of you really sit back in your chair versus perching your butt on the edge? 

Stool for sewing

Another repurposing idea. The base ironing board belonged to her grandmother, and she placed a big board on top with TWO wool press mats! Again -- look at that giant window!! 

Pressing station

That's pretty exciting to see people getting into the groove of tidying up your main sewing areas. The trick is going to be keeping them that way.  

Here are some tips for the cutting area:

  • Keep only those rulers you regularly use near the cutting table.
  • Use a rack (or holder) to keep them off your cutting mat
  • If you don't have room, can they be attached to the side of the table or wall with hooks or a pegboard?
  • If one side of your mat is getting worn, you can flip it over and use the other side.
  • I never use the lines on my mat -- because I use the lines on the ruler! 
  • Keep a sharp blade in your rotary cutter. Maybe put a label on the rotary cutter with the date you last changed the blade. How often to change depends on how much you cut. 
  • Make it a habit that once a week, you schedule some time to tidy up these three areas -- the sewing table, the cutting table, and the ironing station. 
  • Identify WHAT you are cleaning off every week. The fabric you were auditioning for a new project? The tools that didn't get put back? Extra projects?? How can you prevent that from happening, so you don't need to move things before you sew? And wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to keep decluttering? 
  • Take a few minutes before closing up for the day to put away what you can, so it's somewhat tidy when you start the next day. Even if you don't get it completely clean, try putting away a couple of things each day and any future things you bring out - deal with them immediately. 

It's going to be time to move on to sorting and storing scraps. So if you have some good ideas, let me know. I'll share how I sort and keep my scraps with you, but it's always fun to see what others have done!

I've got a few things to put away today - I also have an urgent deadline, so when I take a break, I'll try to tidy a bit. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a great day!!!


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