Friday 25 March 2016

Decluttering the Sewing Room ~ A Work in Progress

At the beginning of this month, I wrote a post sharing my thoughts and progress on decluttering. Since then, I've been working my way through various parts of the house. 

Decluttering the kitchen pantry has had the most effect on me. Seems the back of the pantry was used purely to store out of date items - so much wastage!!! Hence, I've decided there should be no back section of the pantry and on most shelves I've achieved this.

I knew cleaning out my sewing room wouldn't be easy. My rather large stash continues to grow, no matter how much I sew. Even if I don't like fabric, I tend to keep is, because you never know when that piece of fabric might come in handy, even if it's just as a practice piece.

The photo above shows the top of my IKEA bookcase, with bags balanced precariously. I rarely use anything from the bags and boxes, as it takes quite a bit of effort to unpack and pack again. A bit like the kitchen pantry, there should only be one layer up on top of that shelf.

The pile of things behind my sewing machine are recent works in progress, or projects kitted up ready to start. Not only does it look messy, it's not a good solution either.

While we're at it, I thought I'd show you my ironing board cover - a sheet pinned over onto the old cover. I really do need to get more organised. Seriously, it couldn't take me more than an hour to make a new cover. The ironing board tends to live in my sewing room, not that I iron much, but it makes great storage. Yep - gotta change that, too.

Today I went through almost every box, basket and storage area in my sewing room. The photo above shows the resulting pile that will be making it's way to the Op Shop. It's not a huge amount of fabric, but it's more than I can usually manage. There's at least two Michael Miller fabrics in there - don't care who manufactured them, I don't like them and will never use them. The rest is a mixed bag of poly/cottons, quilting cottons, flannelette and fabrics that are just plain fugly.

As I sorted through, I rearranged to try and maximise the space, without creating too many hiding spots. Yes, I know, I won't be able to find anything for a while, till I get used to the new functions of each spot.

And this is my sewing desk now. Only the bits and pieces of my current project (library bags), are out on my table. All my kitted projects and works in progress and now contained in two baskets. Theoretically, I'll now be able to pull out the baskets and easily get to them.

I didn't get the top of the IKEA shelves down to one layer, but it's a start. Two of those bags contain cushion inserts. I'm an impulsive sewist, and like to have everything on hand when I decide to start a project. That's fine for small items such as thread, zippers and interfacing, etc, but not practical for larger items like cushion inserts. Who knows if they'll even be the right size when I get to them. 

At least it's more manageable now!!! Next time I cull, I know I'll find it easier.

This is the view from my sewing room. As I sit at my computer desk, I can see this wonderful picture by slightly turning my head to the left. Not bad, is it?

Both my sewing and computer desks are from IKEA. They're quite deep and allow for storage underneath. The filing cabinets are also from IKEA and they work well. 

The plastic blanket cubes hold most of my refashioning stash. Originally they were jam packed and it was quite hard to reposition the top one after looking for something. A couple of months ago I culled it to one and a half. I'm determined to either sew, or give away more. I think a third filing cabinet would work better.

There's another filing cabinet under my sewing desk, as well as two laundry hampers, where I keep batting and polyester filling. I have to admit I didn't go through them today, but I need to, as I'm not totally sure what else is in there.

Rolls of interfacing, calico, etc are kept in a cane basket. It's not a perfect solution, but it works OK.

There are no quilted wall hangings or sewing items on my walls. There's not a lot of wall space, but what there is, is covered with photos, photos and more photos, as well as other sentimental items.

Metal IKEA noticeboards, above both my computer and sewing desks, have photos, etc, attached with magnets, so I can readily swap them out. In reality, I don't change them often.

To the left of my computer desk, is a 36" tall frame. It originally belonged to one of the kids and contained a poster. When said child no longer wanted it, they put it in the bin, from whence I rescued it, many moons ago.

Out came the poster and with a bit of a clean, the frame was a good as new. I spent hours and hours creating the collage. Photos from when Mr TMW and I started going out together are at the bottom. Above that, our wedding photos, leading on to photos of the addition of each of our three kids.

This was in the days before digital cameras. Each photo was cut out with scissors and stuck on with double sided sticky tape. Yes, a huge project, but one which I LOVE - lots of memories!!!

When I need a break from sewing or working on my computer, I can often be found just staring at sentimental items on my walls. Everything means something special to me...

... whether it be something made for and given to me by one of the kids...

... or a signed photograph of my all time favourite performer.

My sewing room is one of my happy places. It's not magazine perfect with lots of light and white furniture, but it has a great deal of character and is just the way I want it - well, it will be when I reduce the stash a little more. Mr TMW often comes in to just look at the things on the walls, and talk to me, of course - good memories for both of us.

I'll keep you updated on my decluttering progress. It really is a good feeling getting rid of unnecessary items. Makes me feel more organised!

... Pam


  1. You did a great job getting everything cleaned out and more organized! My sewing space is getting out of hand- it is a corner of my bedroom and has been oozing out into the rest of the room. :) I have a really hard time letting go of fabric and trims, too! I love all of your memories in the room. The perfect decor!

  2. I cleaned my space before I left for Japan for a month. Today I plan on sewing which means cluttering again! I'd love to sew without cluttering Pam.

  3. I'm in need of a clean-out, but I also know, lately, I find everything in stash. As the nearest fabric store (good) is at least 30 minutes away, I find it necessary to 'hoard'. I also never know when the urge to sew will hit with my busy work schedule, so hoarding seems to be a good solution right now. However, I do need to corral the UFO's better. Gallon ziploc bags to the rescue and they need to go into another room. Or the thrift store.

  4. Your messy sewing room makes me Smile, you should see mine, too!
    I do a lot of sewing for Charity so people give me all kinds of fabric, if I lived three lifetimes I couldn't use it all, so I decided to pack up all the upholstery fabric and the knits and pass it on to my friend who is part of a sewing group, also for Charity! What luck! I have 15 garbage bags full! I feel much better ;)
    Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Ha, ha... I always say I'd have to live several lifetimes to use all my fabric. Good idea to part with the knits and upholstery fabric - 15 bags would make you feel really good!!! Well done.

  5. Well done on getting through it. Declutter or even just reorganisation can be so difficult physically and emotionally. Good luck with the rest.

    1. Thanks so much. I'm sure it's going to be two steps forward, one step back, but at least that's in the right direction.

  6. My hat's off to you, Pam. I hope to do the same thing soon. I am such a fabric and crafting hoarder! The overwhelmingness(is that a word?) sometimes gets in the way of my creativity, if you know what I mean. I don't always feel in control of things in there. Gotta do better! You give me hope, as your creative space looks very good!

  7. Well done Pam! I need to do the same!

  8. That's great!!:) I have been decluttering last week and reorganising things at home. It is nice when we see that the home has lost its unwanted weight but then again it is just like body, if not maintained, it tends to show up again. It's an ongoing process. The moment I complete organising, a few weeks later I start seeing the clutter again. But still, reducing things give some space for breathing. Last year we switched to organic foods and since it is costlier than regular food, I have achieved minimal wastage in kitchen.

  9. Doesn't it feel FREEING to declutter and give away stuff ... and then to have a less cluttered working area after that? Well done - it's a hard job, and it's one that needs to be done rather regularly to keep things in check! I call my sewing room the dungeon - it's not very cheerful down there, but I have the things I like - a TV and DVD player and family pictures on the wall ... and then masses of fairly organized sewing/crafting supplies. It's not a pretty place, and I'm not happy with how it looks, but even just thinking about a redo stresses me out, so I'll just continue to try to declutter to a reasonable level, at which time I can think about doing something PRETTY down there :)

  10. We have similar furniture Pam! I love having the Ikea tables; they are great and give lots of storage area underneath. I'm trying to better organize my fabrics. I have those cube storage things too. I LOVE the collage of family photos. I really need to stop sewing and sit down and do something like that. With our years in Germany and the wonderful places we traveled with our children, I would like to select some of those memories to display.

  11. You've been busy. Yep, for me out of sight is out of mind and that's not a good thing. So I have to have everything where I can see it and things I use often in easy reach. So I know my space looks cluttered to most. However, I must say, if it gets too messy, then I don't work well. I bet you are excited to get some work done now?

  12. I'm currently spending this drizzly Saturday wandering through your blog, so I might pop up with a weird comment on some old post here and there. In my sewing room, I find if I can't see things I forget about them, so I have banned myself from using boxes. Everything, well almost everything, is now stored in glass jars or wire baskets where I can see what I have. I'm hoping it's going to work!

    1. I have too much stuff not to use boxes, Libby, but every now and then I have to go through the boxes, or I'll totally forget what's in there. Hope your system works for you.

  13. Your sewing room looks very real to me, which I really like! Well done with the decluttering and especially getting rid of some fabric, tough I know!


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