A New Year in My Studio: My Renewed Studio Organizing Efforts

I returned from my travels energized and ready to work. So after a few days of unpacking and many loads of laundry, I eagerly walked into my sewing room … only to be overwhelmed by the mess:

Messy studio before reorganizing

As I mentioned a while back, I sew in our guest room, which only a little over a year ago served many family functions. At that time, it was good enough for occasional quilting, but, as I quickly discovered, was completely unsuitable for more intense sewing. In the ensuing months, therefore, I did my best to make the room more sewing-friendly. First, I evicted my daughter’s’ piano. Then I raided IKEA and purchased perfectly-sized cabinets to hold my growing stacks of fabric. I built them and painted them together with my kids, and was very happy with the result. Before long my studio organizing efforts bore fruit: I turned the room into a me-only zone (except for when we had guests), and warned the kids  against treading on anything important. It worked. For a while, anyway.

In my defense I must note that the room is rather small. Or at least–the portion of it that I can actually use. The bed alone takes more than half the space. The rest of the room accommodates my sewing table, cutting table (which is also a guest desk), my sewing/desk chair and the rocking chair, which our guests like using when here. When I set the ironing board up, I hardly have any space to move.

When I look at pictures of other people’s spacious studios, I get somewhat envious. But this little room is all I have, and all I am going to have in the foreseeable future. And I actually like it, really, with its warm, cozy feeling and it’s big windows overlooking the garden. I just have to make it work.

Over the last few months I realized that I don’t only need places to store my raw fabrics and materials, but also places to put the different projects I’m working on. I tend to work on several things simultaneously, and so almost all the time have products in various stages of productions. When I work on journal covers, for example, I work on a few at once. I have some that are cut and ready to sew, others that are partially sewn and ready to iron. I have those that already have interfacing, but which need a button. Others already have buttons but are waiting for loops. And each of these stages requires a little pile of its own. Over time, the piles multiply, my kids add torn things for me to fix, and in no time there is, once again, a ginormous mess.

Alas, there is no space for more cabinets or shelves in this room. In the last couple of weeks, therefore, I chose the next best thing. I ventured to Target, returning with a few clear plastic boxes and some plastic drawers. Normally, I don’t like plastic, but these seemed to be the best solution. I spent many days tidying, sorting, organizing and labeling. As a result, I managed to utilize every tiny space in the room. I put matched-and-waiting-to-be-cut fabrics in plastic boxes under the bed :

Underbed storage bins

Cut fabrics waiting to be sewn I stored under the cutting table:

New undertable plastic drawers to organize fabric

When I was done with my studio organizing all my materials had a permanent home, and the room looked a lot neater. Granted, I will still need the floor for bigger items, but at least I will have a place to put things when necessary. And I am working on some work-related New Year’s Resolutions, to help keep it all under control… For now, I can see the carpet again, and have space to breath. And that alone feels great! A new year, an organized studio!

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