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When I moved to our new home the room that excited me the most of course, was the workshop or soon to be craft/sewing room. I stood in the empty room and was filled with awe, a workroom that was almost the size of my entire previous home! And separated from the house, my very own special place. I just knew everything would have a place and everything would be in it's place!
Well it is now several years later and although the excitement of our new home has not yet evaporated my good intentions about staying clean and organized have!
I'm here to say , for the record, that creativity and neatness cannot co-exist! I just cannot be inspired by neat little boxes, in straight little rows. When I am creating a new project I need to sift through the fabrics and laces, buttons and ribbons.
Although I know that creativity spawns a bit of mess I do realize that for the sake of the household (and your marriage) you must give some thought to create a work space which is functional, efficient and yet relatively neat.
Here are some tips to organize your space: (some I follow religiously, others I'm still working on).
1. Separate your work area
If you do not have separate room for hobby/crafts then try to partition off an area of the room with a screen or by arranging bookshelves or furniture in such a manner that it creates a physical separation to the room. This will help restrict THE MESS (as others commonly call our craft addiction) to one area. Try to keep your projects confined to this area. Many people train their kids (and some husbands) that this is an off-limits area. I have never done this, however the state of confusion is such in my room that it does scare most people (except true crafters) away.
2. Think about storage
Have a place for everything and everything in its place. This will make your work time much more fun and efficient. Many of us have a couple of hours after dinner but the thought of looking for our scissors, the right pattern etc,. is just too overwhelming and we end up watching TV instead.
Get yourself some cardboard file boxes or the more expensive see-through plastic Rubbermaid boxes and organize your fabric, ribbon, dried flowers, etc. Group things with common themes. For example, I put all my Christmas fabric in an old antique trunk, all my pom poms are separated in cardboard boxes according to colour and I have one large cardboard box just filled with GOLD things.
3. Easy Access to Tools
Have your scissors, glue gun, sewing machine and serger all close at hand. The less walking you do the more sewing/crafting you can get done. Make holders for your brushes, your glue gun and your scissors. Get in the habit of always replacing these valuable tools BACK where they came from. This will save valuable time and reduce your stress level.
Don't forget to spend some time and give thought to proper lighting. It is essential to your health as well as your mental attitude. I invested in renovating the wall of my workshop to include a 5" x 3" window to let in more natural light and take advantage of the million dollar view! It has paid for itself many times over, I feel like a million bucks every time I take a moment to look up from my work to enjoy the scenery.
Purchase an old table from the second hand store and it will be well used and you won't have to worry if that paint or glue that spilled will come off. If you do spend a lot of time sewing, an investment in a higher cutting table will result in fewer backaches. You can raise the height of a display table if you cut four pieces of PVC pipe. A display table is the kind that you can buy at your local home renovation store. Their legs fold up and lie flat on the underside of the table. The length of the pipe depends on the distance you will need to raise the table to the right height for you. Fit the table leg into the PVC and tape on.
Place your sound system within easy reach. Select your own music, don't just get in the habit of listening to the local station. If you choose your own music you can set the tempo and really increase you output. Try it and see if it works! Take advantage of all the information now available on cassette. There are many motivational books and seminars. Learn while you work. This is one thing that I love to do. Currently I am building my "Listening Library."
7. Use your walls for storage
Get things up off the floor and off the counter tops. Invest in some shelving units or place pegboard on your walls.
8. Be realistic
Do you have craft supplies from BC (Before Christ)? Perhaps it would be a good idea to do a thorough cleaning and donate your old and unused craft supplies to a day-care, retirement centre or community arts council. It makes you feel great to clean up AND know that it is going to a good cause. This is the only way I can clean as I can't bear to waste.
9. Put it back!
My mom taught me this one, and it's so important it's mentioned twice! Now that your organized, once you're finished with it -- put it back.
10. Tidy up
Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the end of EVERY day cleaning up. Set a stopwatch if you have to. Leaving your workroom clean and organized for the next day will make your more motivated to start. The following day you will feel you are starting fresh.
Now you have some tips, here's the bad news. It is impossible to simply rearrange one area of your sewing room. You must organize everything. Just as you go about clearing one area you will need to have a place to put things. Before you clean one mess it will take making a bigger mess. But it will be worth it. Remember to break down the job into smaller parts. "The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time." Good Luck!
Maybe one day you will see a photo of my workroom. Once I've cleaned up my act for good!
Other articles online by Karen Booy:
More information on Ewe & Me Pattern Co.
More information on CRAFTLINK Newsletter
More information on Crafting the American Dream
Back to CRAFTLINK Taking Care of Business
Back to CRAFTLINK Professional Panel
Back to Meet the Get Creative! Experts