Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's All About the Org.

Take one glance at my "guest" (hahahahhaaaa) room or my basement ::shudder:: and you would never know I am capable of great organizational feats. Well, you would never know I'm not a complete disaster. Well, (hey if I keep digging down for the truth on this one it's gonna get ugly...)

When our Dear Jane club leader challenged us to document how we organize our quilting stuff I had to laugh. I can't even quilt right now -- that room is *that* bad. 

Still, I wanted to show up for class and not have to say the dog ate my homework again. So I pulled off an adrenaline-fueled cliff notes kinda thing and here it is:

C L E A R  .  P L A S T I C  .  S T O R A G E  .

Why?  It's see-through. You can see what you have. It's a little more elegant than colored totes with colored lids. It minimizes the cluttered effect of a very cluttered space. You never need to worry about matching anything or getting enough cause if it's all clear/white, it will always match. I stand by it.

Magazine Storage. I keep a handful on file - design reference only...

Panning down we see my wide array of plastic storage options... Bins, large & small, envelopes, folders, shoeboxes... OK, this looks pretty bad I suppose, but it is actually organized. That box that says "Bills" is just to see if you're paying attention. There really aren't any bills in there. I can't go any further down though, it wouldn't be pretty.

Little bins in big bins... This is what remains of my craft & scrapbook supplies... I'm completely converted to quilting and I don't think I'm ever going back.

Large bins for large collections... I swear these were folded when I put them in this cabinet.

Fabric by type: modern/colorful, 30s repro, sock monkey, batiks... My largest collection, the civil war repros are broken down further by color and value. When I started my 'Jane's Addicted' quilt a couple years ago I went through the whole shebang and reorganized specifically for that quilt. I think I need to hit it again though...

Smaller bins for smaller collections...

Plastic pouches & ziplocs for needlework...

Smallest bins - my collection of charm packs.

Teeny tiny boxes for teeny tiny projects... Here are my hexies... So cute. 

B O O K S   &   B I N D E R S

This is about a third of my creative books/catalogs. I keep old Hancock's of Paducah catalogs for fabric reference... You can't see this but there are a zillion post its sticking out the other side of all of these.

Besides clear plastic storage, the other thing I'm a little obsessed with is Binders and sheet protectors. This is from my fabric binder. For awhile there I was printing out swatches of every fabric line that interested me. Organized by manufacturer, then designer, then line. I couldn't keep up with it but I wish I could.

Sometimes I use it as an inventory tool... I just note what I have of each fabric. Again, good idea but hard to maintain. The little tabs on the side are handy for customizing your binders.


Just a bunch of silk floss in a bag. Gotta keep things contained. I got most of these
at a thrift store (!!) for a couple bucks total. Yee haw.
These clear plastic envelopes are great for a needlework project. The plastic is rigid enough that it helps protect a pattern book. The clear is handy cause you can see at a glance what you're packing. And they fit neatly in your briefcase...

Another needlework storage solution. Large plastic vinyl zippered pouch for the instructions and fabric. These are very durable. Probably at least water resistant - maybe not water proof... Small one (or ziploc) for the thread and other notions.

Q U I L T I N G   .   P R O J E C T S

I use 12x12x6-ish totes with a handle on top. They stack and you can easily pick them up and take 'em with you when you're leaving the house. I wish mine had clear or white lids but they have blue. Yes, it annoys me but what can you do.

In the bottom I put the bulkier/uncut fabrics.

Then the cut scraps.

Then the finished blocks or block components...

Followed by the design notes & pattern.

Finished quilt top on top.

Here's another example... larger fabric pieces on the bottom.


Design notes and pattern. This one is done but it's out for quilting...

Always helps to put a color, large-ish photo of the project on the end of the box so you can see at a glance what's what.

T O   .   G O   .   K I T S 

Our club leader Val is a master at this. I could learn a thing or two from her on this topic - and have ! Here's what mine usually looks like... english paper piecing templates, fabric scraps for that, finished pieces, mini sewing kits, smaller scale notions... 

Tins and little cases are handy. I really love that thread bobbin tin. The magnetic grommit is great for holding threaded needles.

That's it for now. If I ever get the floor cleared off and reorganize the room I'll post pics. : )


  1. What a delightful adventure I've had going back to your older posts.
    I just happened upon your blog while looking at various Dear Jane blocks. Your quilt blocks are gorgeous, and I am especially impressed with your fabric choices. Thanks for posting so much valuable info and ideas. I am just getting started with my own Dear Jane. Whew, what a ginormous undertaking.

    1. Well, thank you very much! It really is an undertaking but I'm still enjoying it - even though my pace is very very slow. : ) How's yours going? Are you going to blog?


  2. What a great post. I love seeing how others organize their spaces. I really love the notebook with the fabric lines. That would be great when trying to find a fabric. And you know those fabrics mess themselves up in those containers when the lights go out.

    1. LuAnn, thanks - I love it too. I recently saw a magazine that was dedicated to just that. I think Mary Engelbreit's magazine used to have a special feature on studio spaces, too. Fortunately you can only see certain angles! haha. re: fabrics - they really do do that, don't they?

  3. Hey :) You organize your projects the same kind of way I do, only yours is a lot prettier. ;D Mine are all in repurposed delivery boxes (Amazon, etc.) with the project name markered onto each side.