Another busy month around here, and again, having just returned from my quilt cruise to the Caribbean, I considered yelling, “UNCLE!” and scrapping this month’s tidying article.
However, yesterday, I scheduled another hour in my day to tackle my stash tidying issues just like I did last month.
Last month, after my hour was up, I mentioned that I had a few more bits and pieces of batik fabric to finish up tidying my batik shelf. I said that I was going to put the short stack of miscellaneous pieces on my ironing board and tackle them (fold and store) over the course of the following couple weeks. This exemplifies one of the two tactics I employed this month on my stash tidying journey:
1. Make use of those little Snippets of time
Let me explain. My sewing machine is in my sewing room on the main floor of the house. My big-board-ironing-station is in my workroom/basement. I have a little craft iron set up at my sewing machine for small jobs, but when I’m sewing bigger pieces or finishing blocks, I walk downstairs to use the real iron and big board. My stash lives in my basement work room. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I keep my iron set so that it’ll fall asleep after so many minutes. So if there is a while between pressing sessions (I stack up a mess of seams to be pressed at the sewing machine, then take the trek to the basement to press), I have a couple minutes to wait before the iron heats up again. While I’m waiting, I typically have time to fold two or three pieces of fabric. When I hear the beep, the iron is ready to press, so I switch gears from folding to pressing.
No big deal, right? But two or three folded fabrics in between sewing/pressing trips can add up!
And that’s how I finished up the batik shelf. All those smaller pieces were folded neatly and stored in the fun photo box.
2. Set aside Dedicated Time and Stick to Your Commitment to Yourself
That’s the second tactic I employed this month. Specifically, I set aside one hour over the weekend to work on the fabric storage solution. From the statement above, perhaps the most important two words are at the very end. This is a commitment to YOU, not to me, or anyone else. As I’ve said before, there is no magic pill, and the stash isn’t going to tidy itself up. Although I do wish Mary Poppins would arrive at my front door with her parrot umbrella and her snapping fingers with spoonfuls of sugar.
Honestly, the Mary Poppins analogy is a good one. Think about it, the words to the song from the movie are: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down . . . In this case, the sugar is having the opportunity to revisit the cool stuff in your stash – I was pleasantly surprised by the memories some of those fabrics brought back. Some great stuff in there. And the medicine, well, this organizing stuff can be a chore if you don’t keep an open mind. . .
So during my dedicated hour, I decided to tackle the top shelf. It contains groups of fabric – two or more pieces of fabric from the same line that, while it isn’t necessary, I see myself being interested in keeping those fabric groups together for some unknown future project. Here’s the shelf. One stack of fabric has already been removed to the work table.
That small stack in the middle is fat quarters. I pulled those out and set them aside, I’ll deal with them at a later date. Let’s take care of the ‘low hanging fruit’ and stay on task with yardage wrapping and stacking using the Yard-Plus Boards. I found a bunch of stuff on that shelf that really doesn’t need to be grouped the way I had it – who knows what I had in mind when I grouped up some of this stuff in the first place! Some of that could go in my ‘color shelf’ – more on that in a sec. I found a bunch more fabric groupings on the shelves to the left, pulled them out, and wrapped them onto boards and up they go. Like tidy books in a library!
Pictured on the left: Top shelf: Groups. Second shelf: Solid-reading colors (blues, greens, browns, and neutrals waiting to be tidied). Third shelf: Novelties and mixed color prints. Fourth shelf: Purples (my fav) and a bit of a nightmare on the right side. Bottom shelf: Batiks.
As I worked on the groupings, I pulled out some of the solids and put them on my work table with a bunch of other solid-reading fabrics. . . . Then I had an inspired idea. It seemed to make sense to have the groups on the top shelf, then the focus/prints on the next shelf, and have the 3rd and 4th shelves for solid-reading colors. With the fabric on the boards, it was really easy to shift things from one shelf to another.
Pictured on the right: Top shelf: Groups. Second shelf: Novelties and mixed color prints. Third shelf: Solid-reading colors. Fourth shelf: Purples (my fav) and that nightmare. Bottom shelf: Batiks.
My work table is now covered with the former contents of that second shelf.
HOWEVER, the big bonus, is that after all these months of a little progress here and a little progress there, I can actually see where this is headed. And I’m motivated! It’s like having another spoonful of sugar!
That means, this coming month as I wait for my iron to heat up, I will start to make a dent on organizing all those solid-reading color fabrics that now occupy my work table. Exciting!
Once those are organized, I still have a big job to tackle with all those bits and pieces that really didn’t belong on a a Yard-Plus Board.
An added bonus
Maybe I’m crazy, but as soon as I started to see progress, I lost track of time. I know I spent more than an hour at this yesterday afternoon. My schedule was more flexible this month than last month, so the extra time was not taking anything away from another more pressing project like packing kits for a cruise! And now I can’t wait to see more progress as the next month continues. I’m okay that I have messy stacks of fabric here and there in my workroom. I can’t do everything at once, my time just won’t allow that. As those stacks are cleared away, I’ll be getting closer and closer to achieving my goal. A tidy fabric stash that is much more efficient and pleasing.