Winter break organizing

I decided not to set any big goals this winter vacation. (Pause for vacation happy dance.) Usually I make an extensive list of things to accomplish when we aren’t going to be traveling, and then get only one or two done and feel like a failure. This time, the plan is to pick one set of drawers, or cupboard, or shelf area every day and get them tidied up and organized.

Day One was the top drawer in the IKEA shoe organizer, which is where we keep the car keys, and apparently every other key that we’ve ever owned. Plus a lot of random papers and odds and ends that end up making it serve as a junk drawer.

Everything that was in the drawer
None of these fit any doors we currently own
Pretty sure these are from a condo my mom moved out of six years ago

With the help of my youngest kid, we tried every likely key in all of the house doors and were able to identify and label keys for the back kitchen door as well as the door in from the garage. About 30 other keys went into a baggie to give my crafting sister, including ones that went with shed locks and various doors from at least four houses, cabins and condos no longer in the family. All of the trailer, bike lock, and door keys are all now organized and in their own little bowl. Random papers have been trashed or filed, the various tools and screws are back in the garage, and now all that’s in the drawer is the car keys, other labelled keys, and some masks for easy grabbing on our way out the door.

It was really satisfying!

The drawer in all its organized glory

Day Two was the vanity in the master bedroom. I cleared out all the old make up, expired and empty pill bottles, random hair products that I never use: a multitude of drugstore crap that somehow built up in there. I went online and ordered shelf paper to line the drawers and cleaned out the organizers. Overall it made a whole bunch of space for the things we actually do use and want to locate rapidly on a daily basis.

Lots of space but still needs liner paper

Again, very satisfying and not overwhelming. Generally when I start to clean and organize, I end up with a big pile of random stuff that never gets put away because I get worn out. So the pile just moves around and eventually goes back into all the same spots or into new random places. Doing this project one little area at a time means I actually will put in the effort to find the places that things actually should be in.

Today was Day Three and the sewing area shelving. The shelves themselves were fairly organized from a previous sorting, but I’ve never gotten around to sewing the curtains that I meant to put in front of them. So today the curtains were sewn. Then the staple gun, and done.

I hemmed the curtains on three sides and then stapled the top edge to the top’s bottom edge. None of the staples show that way, and I can just lift up the curtain anytime I need to get to the shelves. I put a few small pleats in to make them hang better.

Then I put away all the fabric and pieces of craft that have been accumulating on top. All the yarn is back in the fiber area, in progress sewing and knitting projects each have their own space, and all the sewing tools are back where they belong.

Still need to find a good spot for the iron, but much improved!

I haven’t picked tomorrow’s Day Four area yet, but I am eyeing the drawers beside the oven in the kitchen. My family throws every kitchen related item they can’t find a place for in those drawers.

Tidying up

With my last quilt top off the design wall, and the mystery quilt blocks caught up, I wanted to turn to quilting something from my growing pile of unfinished projects.  I am declaring March to be a finish up month – no new sewing projects started, only finishing.

But the craft room was a disaster!  The sewing and cutting tables buried in fabric and tools and yarn.  The design wall and ironing surfaces awash in threads.  Piles of works in progress and supplies overflowing in all the corners to the point that there was little open floor space. Steps had to be taken.

The design wall covered in several quilt tops worth of shed threads – every inch of it was this bad

At Madrona last month I bought a new tool for defuzzing sweaters and coats – it proved to be really useful for thread removal as well!

I brushed the flannel on the wall and the canvas on the ironing table and it picked up everything!  Not a thread or fabric clipping to be seen.

I also spent some time sorting through the fabric piles, folding and putting away all the accumulated paraphernalia.

The newly cleared sewing table – I still have to tackle the chaos on the shelves

The cutting and ironing station is all ready to go

There is still a lot of work to do on the room – I want to add shelving above the ironing table, reorganize the shelves I already have, and sort out the fabric storage closet, but at least I have a space where actual work can be accomplished now.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the post-tidying quilting that I got done this weekend.