Monday, April 26, 2010

Reorganizing and Purging

As I was scanning other people's blogs this morning I noticed a theme - we all seem to be reorganizing our sewing rooms.  Well, it is spring, a natural time to clear out the debris of winter, throw open the windows and let the fresh air (and pollen!) into our lives.

I admit, I have a clutter problem.  I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of supplies I have.  Maybe I am afraid if I put it away "too well" I'll never find it again.  That's been known to happen.  Then, I buy another one.......  However, after our two moves in three months this winter and new wood floors in my sewing room (and the rest of the house), I am motivated to declutter my life.  Throughout the whole house as I have unpacked our belongings, I have tried to rid us of as much stuff as possible.

It is simply amazing, isn't it, how much stuff we can accumulate.  What is important to keep for sentimental reasons or as future treasures for the next generation to cherish?  I think of my maternal grandmother, who didn't like to save anything.  This fact is amazing in light of the fact that she was raised in the Depression.  However, I couldn't begin to count the number of times I've heard my mother say, "Momma threw that out.  She didn't want to keep that old stuff."  She gave away her grandmother's treadle sewing machine, all the tatting that my great-great grandmother did, even all the hand-carved fishing lures her husband made over the years.  Where is the balance between getting rid of simply everything in favor of "new" and ending up like one of these people on Hoarding:  Buried Alive, the new show on TLC.

What will my kids treasure after I am gone?  Will they value the antique garments I have collected?  Those precious articles were not valued by someone else's child as they ended up on eBay!  Now, I also know stuff is just stuff, it won't go to Heaven with me ('cause I'm not moving it again!).   But what criteria to determine what to keep and what to give?  Someone gave away a precious Ayrshire christening gown or this lovely, hand sewn bonnet from a shop in New Orleans.

Under the guise of organizing my sewing room, it is taking me longer than I anticipated to get everything put away.  I question every piece, spend too much time wondering about the most efficient way to store everything and ultimately, get frustrated and tired, and go do something else.

So, my question is, how do you organize your sewing room?  How long should it take to get it all picked up and put away?  What is vital and to be kept, and what can be given to the next appreciative owner?


  1. Oh Helen, what a great topic and I can so relate to all that you have said. There have many times I have purged the areas of my home, not just the sewing room, and wished later that I had not gotten rid of certain things. My mother was the same, grew up in the Depression. When my sister and I asked her why she didn't save any of the the sweet little clothes she made us, she said there was always someone else that needed them, so she passed them along!! I have just recently reorganized my sewing room and I find I can be so much more productive when my space is neat. I have tons of antique items and i keep all of that in a closet, carefully wrpped and put away. I have plastic bins and drawer sections for notions and trims and a wall of white laminate closets that I bought at Walmart for my fabrics. I also wonder when I am gone, what will happen to my treasured things. Probably ebay or a yard sale!!

  2. Hello! Let me say again how much I enjoyed sewing with you in AR.
    I have cleaned out and reorganized my sewing room at least 3 times in the last 3 years. During the winter, I went and bought plastic totes that weren't too big for me to handle with the limitations on my shoulder. I labeled everyone of them that are in view. It has helped me so much to find fabrics and trims when I sew.
    I'm sure I don't have as many collectibles as you, but I have a few old things from my mom's house, and a few I've purchased. I keep them packed in a bin up in my closet. Every now and then I drag them down and pilfer through what I have hoping to get inspired to use them in a project.
    Most likely, when I'm gone, my kids will toss them, but at least I can say I enjoyed the history behind the items while I was here.
    It's fairly easy for me to keep my closet organized, but I have a problem letting my desks get cluttered with other junk.
    I have found that when I get "bogged down" I have to make myself get it all put up and neat so I can start over or I get nothing done.

  3. I admit, I have a clutter problem too - and it isn't just in my sewing room! It tends to carry over into every room of the house and garage too....I've decided that the best way to unclutter just might be to pack up and move every couple years!