Monday, May 10, 2010

An Organized Mess

Have you ever watched TLC station's show "The Hoarders, Buried Alive"? The other day the show was about a woman who's hoarding passion was fabric. She had mountains and mountains of it. It was everywhere. And she used it. She sewed every day but there was just so much she couldn't possibly use it up. And every other kind of housework and activity took a back seat to the FABRIC. Her fabric fondling sure went to new heights. Sometimes I worry that might be what others see me like. I couldn't possible use up all the fabrics on my shelves.

How about you....what does your stash and your work area [studio if you are lucky enough to have one] look like? Is it completely organized so that anyone could come in, pull colors and start stitching? Or is it like mine, I know where the organized mess will lead me, I have a general idea of color locations, threads, beads and where the textile paints, watercolors and inks are located. But, I might have to move stuff to find a surface to work on.

That's sort of where I'm at today. I wish it was clean, neat and organized all the time....really!! I'm just happy that there are doors that can be closed if someone knocks on the door.

So tell.....what kind of organizer are you?


  1. I live in a place where you have to travel or wait til the Fri/Sat market just to get more thread or a packet of needles. Because of that, I purchase my supplies at two or three major events I attend through the year. I don't like to purchase online, but do get natural coloured fabrics online.

    I have several different types of sewing that I do: fashion, textile art, and teaching sewing/craft. so, I actually have a wide range of supplies...and people tend to give me things as well.

    Having all these supplies means I can shop from my stash at 10:00 at night when I just have to finish x, y, or z. However, I have also had to make a system, too. Not as organised as a shop, but so I can go right to the place and get it.

    My husband built me a lot of DIY cupboards, so brocades, silks and leathers live in one cupboard, dressmaking fabrics in another, and so on.

    Here is a link to see what it looks like...however, the tops are seldom clean. At present they are covered with student pattern drafting and sewing technique folders I am marking.

    I do need to get better at putting away, but I do manage now and then!
    Sandy in the UK

  2. Janice.. hat is a good question.
    I must confess to being a 'neat freak'...sometimes 'messy' to me means, I didn't put it back in the exact place. But, I do have everything neat, organized... I do not have a studio and maybe that helps me keep things neat.. I believe someone could come in, pull fabrics and start sewing.not sure if that is good or bad, but I hate mess.
    Having said that, I will never use all my fabric!

    I buy very little fabric any more.. I buy only WonderFil thread and when I do shop, I shop at Delta online and only when I am in the U.S. Because my stash there is so much smaller.

    I am trying very hard to 'keep it simple'...

  3. Well, I wrote a thread earlier today and it went into never land. will probably show up tomorrow or the next day, lol.

    Sandy, I love the cabinets in your studio space. I also keep my fancy fabrics seperate from art fabrics. There are a few garments in my future if I can get to them.

    Carole, I hate mess too, but it seems that messes like me and come to visit often!

    So, do either of you feel your organized or disorganized space has an affect on your art?

  4. I saw a show on hoarding a few months ago, and I have to tell you, it had a profound effect on me. A therapist said that people hoard for various reasons, one being that they feel guilty about getting rid of things that are perfectly good or might be useful someday. That stopped me in my tracks, since I felt like I was on the verge of becoming a hoarder. I had gotten to where I couldn't bring myself to throw anything away--paper towels, plastic containers, etc. I kept thinking, there has to be a use for this! Now I force myself to either put it to use immediately or get rid of it. Now on to your question :-)

    I have a place for everything, but everything is not always in its place. I have numerous projects going at any one time, and I tend not to put the supplies up when I'm working on something, so I end up with piles here and there. That occasionally leads to jumbled messes and no clean surfaces, so I clean it all up and start over again. I'm usually surprised by the projects I run across that I had completely forgotten I was in the middle of!

    I definitely think my messiness has a negative effect on me. There are times when I walk into my craft room or my sewing room (such a luxury to have two whole rooms for myself!) and I just can't deal with the mess or looking for what I want, and I walk right back out. Every time this happens I vow I'll pick up after myself immediately (just like I vow to start fewer projects and finish more), but so far it hasn't stuck.

    I'm feeling a peculiar desire to go clean my rooms . . .

  5. Well, although I have the lovely cupboards, the insides are not organised in library-like condition! However, each shelf has a plastic box with fabrics of a particular kind - my own scheme. I get the box out and dig through it when I need something from it. There is not space for 2 of these boxes, so usually a small cardboard box or a folded pile of fabric sits next to it.

    What I did find when I got all the cupboards (I used to be in a smaller room and alot of things were on open shelves or stored in carrier bags under my table!) For one, I generally know what I have and can actually access it. secondly, I can focus better on what I am currently doing because the visual stimulous is reduced.

    about the various piles around. I do know what is in them. each one relates to something as well. and since I am doing so many different sewing things in my life, I have to have a pile for this and for that, which becomes what I am working with at present.

    I would have liked to do life laundry with my crafty stuff, but the library has me doing workshops. As it is in the centre of the library while other clients are there, I have found hand sewing and crafty things are the best activities.

    I have also got 2 piles of covered containers in the gap in front of the window now. these hold bits and pieces I regularly use for the craft workshops.
    Sandy in the UK

  6. I love to be able to see what I have to work with, but I keep muslin drapes over my shelves to avoid dust and sunfading. I tried plastic bins but found I wasn't really organized enough to use them. I discovered the clear zipper bags that linens, draperies, bedspreads and such come in. They are wonderful since they come in all sizes they can hold a single project or a whole stack of yardage. Since they scrunch up they can be put in odd spaces that a rigid box can't fit into. Ask all your friends to pass along these little treasures when they purchase something new.

  7. Great idea, Janice. I use the large Ziplock bags for small projects--scraps, etc., and this sounds like just the thing for larger items!

  8. That show hoarders is a real eye opener Considering I had a 10x15 foot storage room filled from front to back top to bottom with..STUFF...that is now in my cellar, I guess I could qualify as a hoarder. I also hate to get rid of things that might be needed that one speaker that came from my son's old stereo..or Heaven forbid I NEED my daughter's science notebook filled with notes she used in the 4th grade (she's 24 now..LOL)one day and don't have it!! studio tried to be organized..I have most of my fabric in the huge rubbermaid containers, stacked neatly under my 10 foot table and in the closet. Smaller pieces and fqs are stored in plastic bins (the type usually used for dish washing)I have all colors that are supposed to match the fabric in them.."supposed to" being the key Same with the big containers, I did make an effort to put all the same colors in the same one and label them. Didn't quite manage to complete that, although I DO have one marked "crazy quilt stuff" all the velvets, satins, etc.
    One of my problems is that i don't just sew, I also paint, and do colored pencil art, so I have lots of things for my different interests to store. If you look in my room, it looks nicely organized. Truth is when I want a certain piece of fabric I need to dig through everything to find it! Only to discover most times that it really wasn't what I wanted to use after all, so the hunt begins
    Oh and about that cellar full of stuff...have been working on getting rid of it through, donating, freecycle, simply trashing stuff, and yard sales. :-D

  9. Oh and I also use the zip lock bags, too bad I don't know where I've put them or when I find them can't remember what the stuff in them is for..LOL