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Organize a Sewing Room

Posted: 26 January 2016 at 6 a.m.

Organize Your Space

First tip:  Don’t!

Just kidding!

Organization is something I’ve struggled with in the past.  It seems so much easier to simply leave things the last place it was used.  Way faster and easier in the moment.  My sewing room gets even harder to organize once things start looking disheveled.  It’s a slippery slope from there to a complete pigsty. 

My mother was the perfect example of organization.  Everything had its place (and a label to accompany it).  She did her best to teach me that organized people are the lazy ones.  She said when things were organized she never had to search for something or wonder where it was, saving time and energy. 

This is the year I’m challenging myself to get organized and stay that way.  If you’re like me, when you finally have a spare moment the last thing you want to do is organize.  I’d much rather be sewing.  But, if what my mother says rings true, once I’m organized I’ll have more time for sewing.   I’m giving up sewing time now in hopes I’ll have more later.

Can you help me?  What do you do to keep your sewing room organized?

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  • 9. Adele (22 July 2017 at 12:47 a.m.)

    I find plastic stackable containers and cube wall units are my friends. I can sort and group items in confined areas. I also agree, from experience, that once you are organised you do have time to sew . It is, also enjoyable because you can find stuff and put away easily. Creativity flows well when you can find what you are looking for.
  • 8. Heather V (21 July 2017 at 12:49 p.m.)

    Oh, I can answer this! First, I give myself permission that during a project, that project is allowed to live on the table. This way, it gets worked on rather than neglected, and I end up with finished projects rather than stacks of UFOs. Second, I organize my fabric by type. I have a dresser for my (not overly large) stash. Two drawers contain fat quarters (folded in triangles), 2 drawers contain pre-cuts (whether store bought or homemade), three drawers contain "yardage" (2 drawers for things between 1/4 and 1 yd in size, and 1 drawer for anything over 1 yd), and 1 drawer contains assorted tools and things. I have a spool keeper for my thread, which sits on top of my dresser. Cutting mat is on top, with rulers & dies in a rack nearby, and a die cutter as well. There's a bulletin board on the wall above, and I've pinned a "thread catcher/scrap bin" to it, so that as I cut and have ends, strips, threads, etc., I can toss those. I keep a separate bin for "scraps" that are big enough to save, and when that's full, I cut the scraps into saveable/usable pieces (making my own precuts). For my books and things, I have a secretary style desk w/hutch that matches. In the bottom half I have clear bins that fit on the shelves, and any WIPs go in there if they aren't being worked on. In the desk part is the normal "desk" stuff, and in the hutch part are magazine holders with books, magazines, pattern templates, etc. and 2 binders with patterns I've printed; the patterns are arranged in the binders by size of project, so that if I need a quick lap quilt, I just flip to the lap quilt section and see what patterns I have. Other shelves in the hutch keep all my various notions, fabric pens, glue sticks, etc. One last shelf keeps oversized bags with batting pieces (measured & the size pinned on), and any quilt that's to the "quilt top" stage but waiting on finishing, whether waiting on quilting, or just binding, or whatever. A design wall on the long wall lets me work on current projects, and a long sewing table gives me plenty of space to have my machine on one end, and the current project spread out all over, without creating chaos in the rest of the system. The rule is, though, at the end of a project or if I switch between projects, I take the time to properly put away the mess from the table first, deal with any scraps created, etc. Perfect happy balance :)
  • 7. Grace (21 July 2017 at 12:47 p.m.)

    i found that the best way to organize my books was to not put them all on the same book case. All of my books pertaining to kids quilts go on a shelf with my kids fabrics. In order to stand the fabrics up, they are stored on a comic board. Books pertaining to rulers are stored with the rulers. On a different shelving unit all of my precut books are stored with the precuts and so on. For me I have found they are not only easier to find but also easier to put away. I also found that you can never make enough labels. I have given up on trying to remember which container has which kit or ufo.
  • 6. Jo (26 March 2016 at 10:48 a.m.)

    This is for 'Moonpie"........ I owned a sewing room exactly like you describe and here is what I did: I put shelving and cupboards along the 'short' wall and used the center space for workspace. Then, use a smaill tub, sit on a rolling chair and gather up your materials (so you don't bump your head)! I put mirrors on the end cupboards and on the wall at the top of the stairs (no door). My sewing desk and machine went against the short wall too, under a window. Hope this helps!
  • 5. BMoonpie (08 February 2016 at 6:41 p.m.)

    I can not get organized to save my life. I have a large room that was once used as a storage room for boxes if junk from when we moved to this garden home 7 years ago. We moved to this home to down size so everything that I had no idea what to do with went in a box in the upstairs storage/my sewing room. One of my main problems about 36 inches from the flor the ceiling slopes in due to the roof line. I have no idea how to utalize the space I have and to make things worse I purchased a long arm on a 12' frame. I need help. PLEASE!
  • 4. Francine Warren (28 January 2016 at 7:50 p.m.)

    I'm with your Mom! I have bins with specific fabrics or projects in them, labels on everything. I even do this with threads- I love Superior threads so I have lots- sorted by colors. I go crazy when my studio gets messy. I like it vacuumed after every big project- I'd do it daily, but I can't. And if I have to work on a different project while I have one already going I get the first one all gathered together & into a container or plastic bag, label it til I can come back. Yes probably over organized- but I always know where stuff is & get get going right away! I do this with all my crafts- makes life so much easier. While my daughter doesn't share my enthusiasm for being so organized, she's stuck sharing my studio til she can get a bigger house- so she's picking up her Mom's good habits!!!
  • 3. Quilting Jeannie (28 January 2016 at 5:05 p.m.)

    I took the time out of sewing time to organize my tools, patterns, threads, etc and make a work pattern practical set up for my sewing room. Everything but batting and fabric was organized. Then I made a project, in my case a lap quilt. It was so much easier in a clear organized space. Then I set down to sort through and organize my fabrics. I sorted by fabric type, and grouped by colors, all but the scraps. Then I treated myself to make another project. After that I am now working on my scraps into containers. I love to clean up after I complete a project and start with a clean slate again. And I begin each project by cleaning my sewing machine and surface. I feel better and I work better. Hope it helps.
  • 2. Jana Davison (28 January 2016 at 4:25 p.m.)

    I put my UFO's in scrapbook project boxes and store them them even while I'm working on them so all of the pieces are together and in one place. I keep my quilt patterns in large zip lock bags for each pattern company and alphabetized. And, because I go so CRAZY when quilt supply shopping, I keep with me at all times shopping an alphabetical inventory of patterns, books, and some of my fabric collections. It really does help!
  • 1. Jan (28 January 2016 at 4:24 p.m.)

    I keep waiting for the quilting fairy to come clean and organize my sewing room. Looked today it didn't happen. So I guess it's up to me, so any helpful hints are welcome.

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