The housing market here in Denver is INSANE! Seriously, it's insane. Handsomepants and I started house shopping in February, viewed probably over 70 properties, bid on 12 houses, each bid higher in price and smaller in square feet. We finally, finally moved into our cute little town house in August.
We're officially adults now, bloated mortgage and everything!
But when our realtor called us with the good news that our last offer had been accepted and we signed away our lives by going under contract, it slowly set in that we had to move all of our stuff. And between two kids and my quilting, we have a lot of stuff.
If you're in a similar situation, or you're looking to just organize your quilty craziness, here's how I did it. If you're serious about packing or reorganizing, I suggest you set aside an entire day (or weekend if you're like me) to focus on the task at hand.
1. Where To Start?
My life revolves around to-lists, so I started by writing down every thing quilty, from rulers to WIPs. I could organize on paper the things that would pack well together. Then I started packing the things that would take the most time first.
I started with my scrap stash. I didn't organize my scraps into perfect sizes, I've seen other quilters who cut their scraps into squares or rectangles and arrange according to size, but I simply don't have the will power to follow through with that level of organization. However I did divide up my scraps into small, medium, and large piles. Each pile went into a freezer bag and I then squeezed out all of the air so the bags would pack as flat as possible.
Next I organized the rest of my fabric. I limited myself to two boxes and my Tupperware towers to move fabric. I then went through every single fabric I had and made four piles: Love It, Like It, Maybe, and Gone. The Love It and Like It piles where immediately packed, and then I went through the Maybe pile again where fabrics where either packed or went into the Gone pile. Eventually, if I still had fabric but no room in my boxes or towers, into the Gone pile.
Then all of my fat quarters were arranged by color and packed. Yards of fabric where folded into a consistent size and packed. All of my WIPs where folded and packed into a vacuum bag (size XL, ahem).
Books and papers and the "office supplies" of quilting where packed together.
2. Down Size
I took this time to go through and purge any items I hadn't used in a long time. There where a couple of pattern books I had never used and now I wonder why I bought them in the first place. I replaced the blades on my rotary cutters and tossed thread I had been given that was really, really, really old. Those strips of batting I kept telling myself I was going to reuse some day, gone. Scraps of fabric smaller than an inch, and in my heart of hearts I knew I wouldn't use, gone. The fabric my aunt gave me that was so old it audibly crackled when I unfolded it, gone, gone, gone.
That't not to say I depleted my fabric stash, I still have tons. And there are plenty of reasons to hold onto ugly or unwanted fabric. But I was focused on whether or not I would actually use certain materials, and if not, they went into my Gone pile. The thread I tossed was too old to work in my machine. Some scraps and batting where small and while I like making mini quilts, but not that mini. Some of the fabric was just downright ugly, some was just not to my taste and I didn't have a plan for it.
If you're looking into organizing your quilty stuff, seriously consider downsizing. I know that's antithetical to building your stash, but it's actually quite liberating. I was able to reassess and reevaluate what materials I had, what I needed, and I now I don't feel guilty for bypassing unused materials that would have otherwise sat in my stash for years.
Some of my stuff went strait into the garbage, but what ended up in my Gone Pile I was able to donate to a local church group. I highly recommend donating any of your unwanted materials, it saves you from feeling guilty about getting rid of yards of fabric and that material can help others. Children's museums, Quilts of Valor, Project Linus, retirement communities, and local quilt guilds all use fabric and materials for projects and charity work. Check out your local region to see if there are drop off stations.
3) Organize Your New Space
If you're like me and moving, you probably have your new quilting space imagined before you even know how your living room is going to be laid out. Planning out your new quilting space might seem a no-brainer but it is important.
Where is your machine going? Where is your ironing board going? Can you press right next to your sewing machine or are you going to have to walk over to your board? What is the lighting like? Is there enough of it? Do you have quality lighting or is it tinted so that the colors of your fabrics are off? Where are the outlets, do you need a power strip?
During our move my quilting desk broke, which was kind of nice because it meant I got to upgrade. Handsomepants and I are sharing the spare bedroom in the basement, I get the left side for my quilting, he gets the right side for his gaming and music. We both need our hobbies to be somewhat compactable because that's also the room for family to stay in when they visit. Enter my new NORDEN gateleg table from Ikea.
This table is awesome! When both wings are open it actually gives me more work room than my old table. When it's folded up the table slides into a corner and is still large enough so that my sewing machine fits on top. My only complaint about the table is how heavy it is. That's a good thing when the table is used in the kitchen, but it's a bit difficult to move on my my carpet. I'm thinking about adding wheels to the legs so that it will roll out.
My next big To Do is organize my quilting closet, but that's a project in itself!