Rose's Quilting Blog

How to become incredibly creative when you've de-cluttered

How to become incredibly creative when you've de-cluttered

Are you a clutter-er in your sewing room?
Do you often feel like you’re working in a muddle?
Does your sewing room have a sense of chaos?

Maybe you feel like you can never make progress within your sewing?
You used to feel more creative than you do now, and maybe you sort of wonder why, or hadn’t actually realised.

Clutter my dear friend, can be more debilitating to progress than most people realise.

I’m a very organised type of person and do not like having a mess around me, although on saying this there are times that I do have so much mess around me, due to the nature of the particular thing that I’m working on at the time, but once this is over then I must clean it up.

When you’re deep into working with colours of fabric to make things work, 
then there’s always lots of fabric around you, so of course it’ll quickly become a mess. With my exhibition quilts, I can often be working with up to 60 to 80 different fabrics at a time, due to the amount of appliqué that I do within these quilts. I do have a system for making this work for me, which I’ll show you at another time.

It’s very counterproductive to be always working with total mess and 
dis-organisation? I know lots of you will say, “I would rather be sewing then cleaning up”. I hear it said so often.

Now I’m not saying it’s better to be working in a perfectly sterile 
environment, but once you’ve finished what you’re working with, clean it up, put it away, and then move onto the next part of your project. By doing this, you’ll not be forever shuffling through layers of mess and fabric to find that lost bottle of glue or your iron,
or worse still,
your purse, to buy more fabric!!!

Everything needs to have its own home so you can easily put things away 
once you’re finished with it. For example, you need to starch several pieces of fabric.
Place the starching board on top of your ironing board.
Pull out the tin of spray starch.
Spray your fabric,
Iron it.
Put away your tin of spray starch.
Put away your starching board.
There you have it, no mess.
So easy....

It’s funny how it can take just a second or two to pull something out, but seems to take soooo long to put it back.

For many people right at this moment in time, your life might have 
changed somewhat & for most of us we are having more time at home so this is the perfect time to de-clutter your sewing room.
I hear you say... “I don’t know where to start”

Let me give you a helping hand.

First have a couple of different rubbish bags, bins, baskets etc.
Go through your room quickly, without a lot of thought to this first part of the process & throw into these bags, bins etc things that are very obvious that they are rubbish for the bin, fabric laying around to be sorted in a while into a basket, all the odd glues, notions, marking pens etc into another box etc.

Once you've made a bit of headway like this and you can see your actual 
sewing table, desk or floor then your well on your way.

Now stand back and see if you need to take out any objects that are in your sewing area that don’t belong there, you know those things that don’t seem to have a home of their own,but for some reason end up in your sewing room. Please do NOT take your “magic wand” out of your sewing area as you may need it before you’re through this. (Smile)..

Next look to see if you feel that you may need more storage containers, tins, small boxes or baskets, maybe a small set of draws, or a large cabinet if you have the room.

Make a pile for any UFO’s that you “may” come across during this process. 
Get some cleaning cloths, so as you start you’ll also be able to clean? Only you can decided what you really really need, what you think you need & what you do actually need.

As you really start this process you’ll possibly get into a bigger mess as 
you work your way through all those draws, cupboards, shelves etc, but if you start in one area first, you’ll find that you just start working your way through your area or room.

Make sure to have your rubbish bin close, and if you have anything that
you umm & arh on, have a box for that as well, because later when you’ve finished going right through your room, and everything has a home, is tidy, room smells nice, it’ll be easier to make a decision on those umm & arh sewing & quilting items.

Try not to get too distracted when you come across things that you’ve 
forgotten about or hadn’t seen for years, otherwise it’ll take you way longer than you ever anticipated.

Spending time sorting out your sewing threads and rewinding them on the 
spools, is very time consuming, but very worthwhile later on, and then there’s the draws with all those stabilisers in them... are they too old to use where they’ve lost their glue or just maybe need to be re rolled or refolded neatly.

What about all those fabric scraps?
What do I do with mine?

I throw them out?
Really how many times are you going to need a 2 inch odd shaped piece of fabric? How many containers do tiny fabric scraps fill up? Besides we love shopping for fabrics. New fabrics will keep our creative juices flowing; sorting through old tiny scraps of fabrics will just close our creativeness down.

We all have many different ideas & thoughts on how to group our fabrics. 
How ever you decide to group your fabrics, is the perfect way for you & your quilting fabrics... Colour, shades, design, brights, dull, stripes & dots, etc to infinity

Look at how and where you store your sewing notions, scissors, fabric
pens, fabric cutters & rulers, buttons, threads, fabric glues and anything else that you yourself personally use.

What about all those quilting & sewing patterns, what do you do with them, 
where do you keep them, how do you sort them. Once again this is a personal choice. Think about, will I use this in the next 12 months or within a month or so, is it a quilting pattern, a large quilt or a simple quick quilt, is it a bag pattern, or a pin cushion or maybe dress making. Once again you get the idea. Categorizing is fantastic. Most of all though giving everything a home, a place of knowing where it belongs and that you can easily put your hands on it when needed is what's important.

Don’t get too caught up in needing the perfect containers either. Yes we’d 
all love to have everything perfect with beautiful containers, but in reality a stack of shoe boxes can make really good storage containers. 
Shoe shopping.... hmmm ... maybe that‘s what we need to do?
Then there are the chocolate boxes that can be very handy.

Hmmm ... chocolate shopping as well as shoe shopping, now that’s a treat we all need to do.

Now while doing all this sorting & cleaning you may feel like you’re in a bigger mess than when you started, but possibly totally enjoying the process as well. I have to admit that I like doing this type of thing as after I’m finished I feel amazing, fresh, uplifted and ready to really start projects again as the whole energy of the room/area has totally changed. Just ask my children how I like to clean. Why, because it makes me feel energized & it’s like a breath of fresh air.

Another thing to do while in this process is to give your sewing machines a 
good clean, oil if needed, a new sewing machine needle etc. Take the bobbins out, use a small brush and clean out all the built up lint, use something like a Mr Sheen to freshen up your machine... even your machine likes to be a little polished up, let’s face it, it’s the star of your sewing room other than yourself that is.

Maybe go through your bobbins, and remove all those wound on cottons that you’re not likely to be using again, or you’ve got 6 different coloured threads on the one bobbin.

Don’t forget to wipe down your skirting boards as they so often seem to accumulate lots of fabric type dust etc on them, then there are the windows that could do with a good clean & the curtains. Whew nearly there.

Do you have a pin board in your sewing room & like me pin all sorts of things onto it? These need a going over as well, as most of what you pinned onto it, is no longer relevant or needed. Clearing the space allows more good things to come in.

Have we forgotten anything?
Time to give the floor a good vacuum.

WOW... your sewing room/area is now looking & feeling absolutely
amazing, you yourself feel incredibly lightened, and ready to get back into that sewing room with brand new ideas & creativeness.

Maybe a cuppa or two first. You’ve worked hard and deserve one.

But Before you actually go back into your nice clean & organised sewing
room, do something with those bags of rubbish... put them straight into the bin, take things to the local charity shop, or donate things you don’t want and put all those UFO’s in one place only, with the one that needs the least amount of work on top, because then you’ll start to finish them. 

Any that you no longer like or want, donate to your local guild and 
someone will finish them and they’ll be donated to those in need, plus what good are they to anyone when sitting half finished in a cupboard for years. You've already paid for the fabric, you had some form of enjoyment out of it, now let it go, move it on and keep the energy flowing.
Someone else can then have enjoyment out of this UFO.

Now if you don’t have the time to do your whole sewing room/area in one go, then just start with a couple of draws and do something every day. Some people feel quite overwhelmed when it comes to de cluttering so by just doing one or two draws a day, is a fantastic way to start.

Did you know that the majority of entrepreneurs never finish their day without clearing off everything that is on their desk? Why? Because they know that when they walk back into their office the following morning, if they see a "stack of stuff” or paperwork on their desks, their energy level drops dramatically even without them really realising it as your body just sees “a pile of stuff”, “clutter” that needs to be worked through, before you can actually start your days work.

So with all the changes that we are going through at the moment, don’t 
waste this time, but instead be pro active, and when we come out at the other 
end, don’t regret that you just wasted all that time that you were in some form of isolation.

Also now that you’ve sorted through all your fabrics, and some of those 
fabrics you may not know what to do with them, well I can show you a whole new way of looking at and working your fabrics. It’s so simple once you know how to do this, so please do yourself a favour and check this out.

Remember to leave a comment below, as this is so often where others also learn.

Have a beautiful, creative & inspiring day
Rose