Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring Cleaning-- The Big Finale and Giveaway!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the last of the Spring Cleaning series!  I'm glad you're here to wrap this up!


Well, it has been a long haul, what with all the cleaning and tossing and organizing.  But I hope it's paid off for you in the same way it's paid off for me.  Today I want to talk about my organizing/ cleanout experience, show you some pictures of my sewing room, and say some final organizing things.  Plus at the end of this post is a celebratory giveaway!  Last month was the third anniversary of this blog, which I completely missed, so this is a sort of double celebration.

I should say right up front that my sewing room never looks like this.  NEVER.  It usually looks like a dozen preschoolers have abandoned an art project in the middle of the floor--and the tables, and the rug and everywhere else.  I cleaned up just for you!


I am lucky enough to have a 12 by 12 foot bedroom as a sewing room, and it's basically square, which made it pretty easy to set things up the way I wanted them.  This is the major sewing area, where I keep both machines set up and ready to use all the time.  I call this "the nest," and I love how it works for me. I have a small ironing table tucked under the longer table, and I use this while I'm sewing, which is really super-handy.


Although I seriously lust after one of those Koala cabinets and/or a Martelli table, I got these two tables at Ikea and they were really, really inexpensive.  Before we moved I had an old dining table and that worked well, too.  The best thing about these tables is that I can move them around pretty easily, so if I need more work area I can just swing one of them around.  I used to sew on a used dining room table, so I'm thrilled to have these, actually. 


The shelves behind the tables hold everything I need right at hand, including a little warmer for my tea, because sometimes I forget it's there and then it's cold.  Hey, sewing takes concentration!  This is where most of the notions live, and it also houses the one essential for every sewing area, the junk basket.  Nobody's perfect!

Next is this shelving unit, which I consider the centerpiece of this whole room:


This is a Kallax shelving unit from Ikea in the biggest size, and it houses just about everything.  This was really one of the best purchases ever. This is all my fabric except for the scraps.  The yardage is on comic book boards, and then the top cubbies hold precuts, half yards, and panels and other specialty pieces.  The books are on lower shelves, and then the bins at the bottom hold scraps of specialty fabrics (like flannel), bags of cut scraps, and other essentials with no other home, like some Insulbrite fabric, some felt, and a few pieces of wool.

The baskets on top of the storage unit are functional as well as pretty.  These hold all the "backstock"-- things that I need once in a while but not every day, like bias tape makers and the scrap bindings I've made, as well as a few things I couldn't bear to part with.  


I have this shelving unit because the closet in here is very small and fairly useless.  I added more shelves to it so that I could store project boxes (which are too big for the shelving unit) on one shelf and the scrap boxes on a shelf above them.  The top shelf is all the tops I have to quilt up, and the batting is stored down on the floor.  I keep intending to add another shelf, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

Finally, here is the cutting/ ironing area and the design wall:


This area is obviously still a work in progress.  Right now I'm using the card table, which is not ideal, but we are making some changes in the kitchen and I will eventually have an old kitchen cabinet here.  This can't happen soon enough for me.  I have an ironing blanket all ready to fit over it, too, so that I'll be able to press longer pieces more easily. The design wall is really working out for me, though!

So that's it!  It may not look like much, but I am so, so happy with it.  I feel lucky to have any space at all, but I'm really pleased with how my cleaning out and organizing turned out.  It took me more than six months to get it near the way I want it, but it was really time well spent, even though it was very tiring and some of it was emotionally draining.  I can tell you that I honestly had some serious jitters about the whole thing.  What if I got rid of things I actually wanted or needed later?  Would I be able to sew without worrying about everything?  Almost none of my fears came to pass, and I don't miss the vast majority of the things I got rid of. And I'm happy every time I walk into the room, even if it is usually messy.

Here's some last bits of advice from me (for what it's worth!):

--It can take a long time to clean out and sort many years worth of stuff.  Don't get discouraged!  Do a little at a time and it will start to come together.

--Go slowly and take frequent breaks.  Everything looks impossible when you're tired.  Small treats also help.

--A positive attitude is everything, and a sense of humor doesn't hurt, either.

--Don't know where to start?  Start anywhere, with the thing that is closest to where you are sitting.  Just getting started will raise your spirits. 

--Read and take the advice of others, but remember that you have to arrange things the way they work for you.  If somebody else's system seems great, it is-- for them.  Your way will be great for you.

--As always, whatever you decide to do with your own fabric and sewing materials is up to you!  It's yours, so you get to decide!

So that wraps up our series!  And now for the giveaway!  I am giving away this lovely small package of organizational pieces to help you in your organizing endeavors:


Included in this package is a decorative box that will hold a lot of goodies (sorry that you can't really see the box! But aren't the flowers pretty?), two apothecary-type jars for notions, a package of page protectors for all those papers, six comic book boards for you to try, and a book on creating a perfect space for you to enjoy.  (All of these things are new, not toss-aways from my cleanout!)  To enter, leave a comment on this post about your biggest cleaning/ organizational challenge.  I'll use the random number thingy on Monday morning, May 29, to pull one winner.  **Important--if you are no-reply, please leave your email also!  If I can't contact you, you can't win!**

Thanks so much to everyone for coming along on this journey with me.  I hope you got some good ideas, at least, and some encouragement to make your sewing area work well for you.  I can tell you that all the hard work is worth it!  And for future reference, I am collecting these posts on a tab at the top of the blog, so if you want to find them later it will be easy.

Okay, enough cleaning!  Let's go sew!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

40 comments:

  1. Good Job! I appreciate you sharing with us. Comic book boards are something I am unfamiliar with so I will "google" them. Enjoy your new clean space. Sue

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  2. Ah, perfect timing of your post since we just got done remodeling our bathroom and closet and oh boy, we found stuff over 20 years old. We went with the new philosophy if it has not been used in a year, bye bye it goes

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  3. My biggest organization challenge is figuring out the best way to store stuff. My sewing area is in the bonus room and it is a space that is shared with my husband. The ceiling slopes so the walls are about 4 feet high. mfhagopian@aol.com

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  4. Good morning, Mari. Please don't include me in your giveaway. I just wanted to tell you how awesome your sewing room looks. I love how you have every thing set up. Your sewing area, storage, and cutting space is so neat. Thanks for sharing everything with us.

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  5. Thanks for a great series on cleaning and organizing! My biggest challenge is putting things away when I'm finished using them!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this series. Your room looks beautiful, great finish!! Love your design wall. I use a kitchen cabinet base as my cutting "table" and I love it :) I am also using a dining room table for my sewing table. I think that's what I struggle with the most...not using the table for storage, it's always piled with ummmm, stuff!!

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  7. easily, my hardest is the sewing area. I don't have one, lol. Yet. I keep my fabric in the closet in bags. UGH!!! I am working on it though and one day hope to have a whole room committed to it. :) Thanks for the chance! Thanks for the organizing series. I am working on it.

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  8. Great series on organizing and what a wonderful look at your room! My biggest challenge is "keeping" it all tidied up! Thanks for the giveaway chance. akronne17@gmail.com

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  9. Of course my biggest organizing challenge is my sewing room. I've moved into a spare room too and have yet to settle in completely. I do the same thing with my tea! We just get busy!! Your room looks fantastic and perfect for your needs! I could easily be comfortable there...well done!

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  10. My biggest challenge is figuring out how to store everything without having it explode out of my sewing room and taking over my house (that's basically where I am now). I'll be using all your tips as I start to rein everything in. Thanks so much for this series. It has given me some great organizing ideas.

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  11. I have enjoyed this series!! Thanks! My greatest challenge is storing scraps in a way that keeps them neat but accessible. Cotten.gloria@gmail.com

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  12. No need to add me to the drawing - but I wanted to add my thanks for all the work you put into this series. Very happy you'll be setting up links on a single tabbed page - makes it easy for the rest of us to refer others to your good ideas! Hope you get your higher work surfaces soon - that card table would kill me.

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  13. What a wonderful sewing space. Thank you for sharing your spring cleaning tips. I think what is stopping me from even starting is the realization that I will have a bigger mess for a time during the sorting period.

    anndunn24(at)gmail.com

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  14. My biggest organizational challenge right now is dealing with my scrap bins. There are 2 of them and both are overflowing.

    I did follow your processes and tackled some of the areas of my quilting room. It always feels good to clean things up even if I didn't get the whole room done.

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  15. Hi. I, too, am lucky to have a "spare" bedroom for my sewing space. I don't, however, have the nice design wall. I am going to have to make a few changes in my arrangement. Thanks for sharing your process and the opportunity to win a wonderful prize.

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  16. Your space looks wonderful! I have those Ikea tables too and I just love them. Instead of legs for one side of each, I chose a drawer set and a shelf. I love how I can move them around and use them how I want. I am now tempted to go on the search for that large shelf you have. It would be perfect for me I think. My biggest problem with organization is letting go. I have fabrics that I KNOW I will never use, but I can't seem to get rid of them. It is a difficult thing to face. Thanks for the great series and advice!

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  17. My biggest problem is the closet in my sewing room. It is very deep and I need to put shelves up on both sides, but yanking all the tubs and stuff out (and it is quite full) is very daunting. It will be a day when I don't have to go to work and I am not behind on any projects--will that last part ever happen??? Your ideas are great and thanks for the chance to win a great prize.

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  18. I'm in the middle of a major cleaning crisis. Cant you just hear me squealing of joy?

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  19. My sewing room is fairly tidy right now although there are some baskets of stuff I just never go into...a bit scary those ones. It's tidy because my stash bee queen wanted a picture of our rooms and mine looked like your description above and like your room that it how it normally looks. My biggest issue is that although my house and sewing room are fairly small, I now have a lot of stuff belonging to the community outreach committee of my guild in there as well.

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  20. Hi Mari, Your sewing room is LOVELY. My room is about the same size, but not organized at all. I bought a 2nd shelving unit from Costco, but I still have overflowing fabric. It's hard to sew because there is just so much 'stuff'. My biggest problem is scraps. I just have too many, but I am sewing as fast as I can. Recently retired so hope to accomplish more. Thanks for the chance to win, the book looks very interesting. Donna fuzzyacres 1 @ msn dot com

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  21. I just reorganized my space as I got another sewing machine....so needed to make sure I had both my machines up and useable. It turned out well, and is working, but would still like to improve a shelving unit (narrow, with maybe a flip-up table for more desk space when needed). I enjoy the reorganizing part because it makes the place really mine and set up the way I like working. Note that it's the only place in the house that I actually enjoy tidying! Thanks for the tips.

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  22. Can you come to my house and help organize before our coming move at the end of June? Pleeeease! (ha) Pretty much I've identified with what you've said - where to start? what if I need that later? (this is a real problem area for me) ... I can't wait until I've got my own sewing room (dining room setup right now) because storage is a nightmare. Your IKEA purchases look like what I could use, so we may have to make a road trip this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

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  23. I have organized in many areas but I still "jump" from one area to another. I think it is when it gets emotional or overwhelming, I stop, panic, and move to something else. But all the areas are getting there, looking better. I have given many things to others that seem to appreciate and are excited to have these things. It is a process, it is time consuming, and as you say, I can do it my way in my time. It feels good to be organizing. I want to go back and read all your blog posts on organizing for more motivation.

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  24. Your sewing room is awesome!! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

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  25. I had two desks in my sewing room that were full of things I never or hardly ever use. They now house my cutting tools, rulers, needles, threads I use all of the time and many other things that I used to have to look for. One drawer is full of just background fabrics, and one drawer I throw scraps in. Barb

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  26. Very lucky to have a supportive husband, but only a small dining room to sew in. It becomes a dining room at Thanksgiving and Christmas!:-) Thanks for all your helpful hints. I've purged one time--not very good--but definitely need to do it again! robinsheloratearthlinkdotnet

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  27. Your room looks awesome! My biggest challenge is I never take the time to put things away...

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  28. Hi Mari,
    I am late to the party, but will go back and read your other articles in this series. I love how you have organized your room. I need to work on getting a space so that both sewing machines can be set up at the same time. Right now I swap them out as needed, but it limits either the time I can sew or quilt since I am reluctant to swap them until I am finished with a project. ~smile~
    Roseanne

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  29. No need to put me in the drawing. Your series has been very helpful. My biggest challenge (and there are several) is I have way more fabric stash then you do, so storing it is way moe complicated. I do have one caution for you about storing the fabric on open shelves. I had to discard fabric that faded along the fold lines from being stored on open shelves which weren't even in direct sunlight. So mine is now in plastic bins with covers which, of course, makes it harder to see what you have.
    Pat

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  30. I've enjoyed this series very much! My biggest organization challenge is letting go of some of the leftovers from my previous crafting adventures. I have a fairly large closet with lots of shelves but about half have stencils, yarn, styrofoam shapes, paper crafting 'stuff ', paints, etc. that I may need someday and can't yet part with! However, my fabric collection is growing and will probably force me to look at all of it with a more critical eye! Thanks for sharing your process with us!
    cathylouwilson@gmail.com

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  31. The biggest challenge for me is flannel scraps. After the blanket(s), I use the leftovers for bibs or burp cloths but then there are still scraps left over. Too small to keep, too large to throw away :-(
    I am still a newbie so do not have a lot to organize... but tha tmay change soon :-p You have seen me in action :-)
    Thank you for posting this series.
    Hugs,
    Preeti.

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  32. Hiya!!! And thank you for doing this series. I'm in the middle of a total house cleaning (I have hoarder tendencies and was being threatened with eviction) and your tips are really helping me. I haven't started on the sewing room, but am now looking forward to getting to it (kinda, lol). I will be hitting IKEA up for a few accessories too. Again, thanks for the tips and the giveaway. Blessed be, hugs!!!
    pamspretties57 at gmail dot com

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  33. You have done a wonderful job with reorganising. Someone will love to win your prize. Don't put me in the draw... Now you can get on with more sewing.

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  34. You have done wonders with such a small space. Although I did not need to do a clean or reorganize because I have a Studio to play in I have enjoyed your journey. You have done an exceptional Blog helping those with limited space. I too started out with a one room and it quickly became unbearable. Cudo's to you! Looking forward to the next project of Stitching! And Congrats on your 3 years!

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  35. Your room looks great! I'm a bit jealous. I do have a "room" of my own, but it's really a converted closet. Maybe I'd enjoy it more if it was well organized like yours.

    tazelaar@mtcnet.net

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  36. Such a tidy sewing room! My biggest organizational challenge is finding a way to organize things so that I can easily find them. I tend to forget just where I put things, or that I even have them.

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  37. Thanks for this series! I know I'll be referring back to it in the future! Your room looks so pleasant to work in. I really like your storage system, and the space does look like a cozy nest. My biggest organizational challenge? The basement. No, my clothing. Oh, you mean in quilting? Definitely my drawers of fabric. I have a good place for my little scraps (even though they aren't cut down into precuts), but the rest of my fabric is jammed in drawers. The room looks neat, but the mussed up fabrics make it hard to find what I want (and open and close the drawers easily). The pieces are mostly fat quarter size or smaller and oddly sized (what others might consider scraps). I need to work up the courage to purge and then store the rest in a satisfying way.

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  38. Your sewing room is very inspirational to me! I feel lucky to have a small bedroom to call my own, but it is so full! My biggest organizational problem is our capped garage. It is a very large space and holds 35+ years of "treasures". We do have sturdy metal shelving and lots of labeled tubs, but whenever we have things that need a new home, it gets put down there. It is a mess!

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  39. Thanks for all your cleaning tips and sharing your experience. Right now my sewing space is a dining room table so the rest of my quilty things are scattered in a few different areas. It makes it difficult when I need something that I know I have but don't know where it is. I hope to have an organized set of things someday, but it just isn't in the cards for right now. ljbisme at msn dot com

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  40. Congrats on getting your space to a point that it works for you. Love your tips, espcially about doing it a bit at a time. That's the only way I've made any headway. Enjoy your organized space.

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