Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mess Stress

Do you have mess stress? I certainly do. It seems like there's always so little time to do the things I need to do . . . . I can't even remember the last time I cleaned out my scrap basket. See what happens when you let stuff go? Now I have at least three or four of these, full of strips and scraps, all over the place. Piles on the cutting table, the sewing table; under the table, on the floor too. Oh my goodness. What happened here?



Could be we quilters have too many gadgets, tools and choices in everything, along with too darn much fabric. I have so many projects I want to make it's not funny. They all just keep building up. I think life would be simpler with less of everything. 


I've always had a hard time creating while surrounded by a mess and that's one reason (among many) I haven't felt motivated to sew too much lately I. Oh sure, I work on a Dear Jane block now and then but haven't felt like making anything larger because then I'd be forced to clean it all up a bit. I honestly used to be more organized but things have somehow fallen by the wayside. Know what I mean?  It's been a busy summer with constant distractions and it's particularly frustrating if, like me, you have more than one project going on and several different hobbies. There's always seems to be something more important to do than clean up my sewing clutter.


Both of my kids just moved into new apartments so we've done lots of shopping . . . .


Should I take the time to copy down a few more family recipes for my daughter? I promised I would.


Oh, joy, several new/old books. Forget about cleaning. Which one should I read next??


Okay, this is fun too - which DJ block should I challenge myself with next? I've made five this month, a very good thing, even if each one feels like it takes about 700 hours to complete.

I so love the fresh start a nice clean sewing area gives me. But the stress of cleaning everything up is not something I want to tackle just yet. It's a constant battle and I know I will feel better if I try. Possibly, I'll even get more sewing done if I can actually see the surface of the cutting table. But right now I get tired thinking about it so I've decided to take it slowly and not stress too much.  Baby steps. Be nice to myself during the process instead of feeling bad that I've been lazy. Clutter does that to me and it constantly reminds me that I am not as organized as I'd like to be. Granted, I had a busy summer and that set me back -  things were hurriedly tossed around and I worked on a few things here and there without bothering to clean up much. It made me put aside some quilting I thought I wanted to do though. Hopefully, I will have a productive fall. And, then, this is my plan:
  • Set aside 30 minutes a day—make a plan to just organize one drawer, bin or shelf. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a short time if you keep at it on a regular basis.
  • Organize some of the things I don't use very often (extra threads, scissors, rulers, other tools) and store them somewhere instead of keeping them out all the time. (Yes, I am guilty of doing this.)
  • Focus on one thing at a time. I go from thing to thing and then forget my original purpose and realize I have wasted a LOT of time. I read that this may because of my age, however, so it's not really my fault, LOL. 
  • Try not to get too sentimental about throwing things away. Get a big box and toss in the stuff I  really don't need to hang onto. Donate or just throw out. I'll live. 
  • Try to make a habit of cleaning off my work space after I've finished working on something. A tough one for me but it may make it easier to jump into a clean space the next time I feel like sewing.
Right now I get tired thinking about it. Let's see what happens if I let go of my "mess stress" and stick to the plan to deal with it later, in the fall. Not exactly a productive solution but September is my favorite organizing month anyway and when the weather becomes slightly cooler I always seem to have more energy to tackle things like this. Cross my heart, I really will get it done and then everything else will magically fall into place, right? Tell me you also struggle with this.



34 comments:

  1. At least once a week, I have to organize my sewing space, if not more often. I'm painting a new (to me) double sewing cabinet/desk, and, putting that in my sewing room will mean lots more organizing. It's not just you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well at least in your mind it's clean! Messy says productive. Yes, I struggle with the mess. I can take it for about a week or two and then I must at least hide the mess in some boxes and totes. I find it easier to deal with one little pile at a time. A few days ago I sorted one flat rate shipping box of scraps and cleared the cutting table of the 3 WIP, each in their own box and stored away until I feel the need to work on them. I think the key to it looking clean is pretty hiding spots! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Of course I struggle, too. I have things in boxes and bags, lining my sewing room. I have a couple of bookshelves that I've put stuff on and in, but there's just so much! My next organizing plan is a couple of floating shelves that I can put more stuff on, maybe separating projects by bin. I just want to get stuff up off the floor! I'm fighting a battle between wanting to be creative and needing to clean/fix-up the house. Last weekend was replacing a falling-apart doggie door and regrouting the kitchen countertop. I still want to clean out the garage (may need cooler weather) and paint a few rooms. The task list just never ends - much like my quilt projects!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think every quilter struggles to keep some sense of balance in their sewing room. Some stress more than others. I, too, like a clean sewing room to start a new project. However, it seems that when I take time to clean and organize, when I want something, I can't find it. Even though I know it was right there, last week, before I cleaned. As for the scraps, I took them all out of the various baskets/boxes they were in and dumped them all into a large laundry basket. They're still a mess, but a least I know where they are. Good luck on keeping organized. And you're right, once fall gets here, it seems much easier to finish, or start, new projects, get them finished and keep things tidy. I love the fall.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can so relate--sometimes my work area is so messy I can't find anything. There are other times the number of projects in process and not-even-started seem overwhelming. Two weeks ago I organized my kitchen spices. In the process I cleaned three kitchen drawers and two cabinets--the results are amazing. Is so nice to have one drawer with the spices. I'm sure if I did this with my sewing room it would make a difference. So many projects, so little precious time

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't know very many quilters who manage to stay organized all the time. I think that is just part of the creative process. Just be nice to yourself. By the way, may I ask where you got your little book of recipe cards? It is so cute!
    quiltlady2010@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. flylady changed my life, 15 minutes a day.
    you can pack all those strings in a priority box and I'll pay shipping. Would you believe I NEED strings? :) Funny old life isn't it?
    Sharyn in Kalama

    ReplyDelete
  8. I just came in from my sewing room to put some things away and throw some things out and then was distracted by the computer. And here I am. So yes, I can relate. Keeping the sewing room neat is a never ending job. Right now, the dust level is pretty bad. I could draw patterns in the dust. Well, back to my s. room and put some more things away.

    Charlotte

    ReplyDelete
  9. It seems many days don't hold enough hours!

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's like picking up after children, just a bigger child! LOL The mess never ends when we are creating. I try to put things back, but after a while all my flat surfaces are covered again.

    ReplyDelete
  11. boy, I could have written this! thanks for making me feel a bit more 'normal'! I also need to do some cleaning ........ thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like the idea of pretty hiding spots too.
    Stick with it Kathleen. You know you can do it

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your post brings a giant smile to my face - it could have been written by me!!! I have been hoping that the organizing fairy (a sister to the tooth fairy!) will swing by some night while I am asleep and surprise me with with an organized and tidy sewing room. It looks like a week of organizing in September is on my list too, if she doesn't show up soon!!! ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well seems I could join that club! Things are really in a muddle for me as boxing everything so new carpet can be put down but wanting to start another quilt. Also hubbys having another eye op to put a lens in this time. Pray vision restored so he can return to work. Also looking forward to completing more as my times my own again. Happy Stitching.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It all sounds so familiar...
    good luck organizing.
    Greetings

    ReplyDelete
  16. I struggle, too. I sew in too many areas as I don't have a designated room. As I'm typing this I'm reading quote on the right side of your column. It's by Eleanor Roosevelt - "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

    ReplyDelete
  17. Tell your friends they can come with big totes and take all the scraps they want.No more mess !

    ReplyDelete
  18. You are not alone...I, too, suffer from this. I just talked with my sister about the very same thing. It's the best way to do it...as you suggested...one drawer/bin/table at a time. Okay, back to my mess.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Woman after my own heart. Is there a quilter/sewist anywhere who does not struggle with this common ailment? I really don't think so. Even those who keep well admit to the challenge involved. Funny that you posted the IKEA photo. I have been using IKEA furniture and organizing products for years in my studio. Just last week I bought one of those cute little metal three shelf rolling carts to organize my Accuquilt items. It is perfect for that. I do a big clean every Saturday am, have for years. I do put away and dust up after each project now (most of the time) because I truly cannot work in mess. Good luck to everyone because this is the downside of the creative soul!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have a theory that each of us needs a quilting friend who would be willing to come in once a month and sort through the piles of stuff and organize according to their own system. The final disposition would then be yours, and you would provide him/her with the same service. The huge advantage would be that neither of you would have the same level of sentimental feelings to block getting it done, and you might learn a new way to cope with the piles. You'd also see someone else's ways of dealing with his/her stash and might learn some tricks to getting it all in better order. Or not, but it would surely be a relief to know you helped someone else and then also have the benefit of an organized group of fabrics, et al, to deal with at home.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I recently went through my closets of fabrics and cleaned out pieces I KNEW I would not use and now have 8 bags of fabrics sitting under my sewing table (which is very long and big) for my daughter, her friend and my SIL to go through when I can get them all together to get it done. The leftovers will go to my guild for the Quilt Boutique during the quilt show. I'm going to bag up scraps and let them sell them too. It's time to downsize and organize so I can be more productive. Too many quilts, not enough time! Laura V.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh Kathy, I can so relate to this. I knew I had to clean it up before we left on vacation as I didn't want to come home to the mess. Thank God for drawers, however I did try to sort it somewhat before putting it in them.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Absolutely happens to me, glad to know I'm not the only one!

    ReplyDelete
  24. How reassuring to know we are all so alike!!!! My solution is to keep making bags....... Each one holds a WIP. My partner said in all innocence I can't believe you need so many bags!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh yea, I have the same mess stress too. I also try to have a plan for organization and clean up, but if it doesn't happen because other things are going on, I figure it isn't going anywhere and I'll get to it another day. By the way, when my oldest DD still lived at home, she always cleaned and organized my sewing/crafting area and it looked great, but I never could find a thing afterwards, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Goodness, yes! We all get into creative mess-making in our process. It sounds like you have a great plan for moving forward, but please build a reward into your scheme for some mindless fun along the way.
    As for me, I cleared one third of a stack of fabrics on my cutting table today, so I get chocolate!!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh yes, I definitely suffer from mess stress, too. Your plans for the Fall sound great. I'm going to make note of them and try to do the same. I haven't sewn in ages, largely because of the clutter.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I just moved and all my supplies are in boxes, It is impossible to find anything.The sad thing is, if I do find something, I don't have a place to put it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sharon's comment sparked an idea. What about a scrap giveaway or a scrap exchange. Someone else's scraps are always more interesting than my own. I guess the only problem is that exchanging scraps wouldn't really help the overflowing scrap basket problem!

    ReplyDelete
  30. It shows that you have been quilting--how do we do it without making a mess???? I would like to be on a HGTV show---I need someone to help me make a sewing space-----

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sounds like a great plan...........and one I should follow too! All the best with it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Got to agree about working surrounded by mess - just can't do it. I had to spend 3 complete (long!) days last month sorting out the leftovers, and now have large plastic boxes containing organised bits and pieces. They've all been turned into squares or triangles and packed into little clear containers according to size and shape, then they've been put into the bigger plastic boxes with a lid on. I now have a neat stack of boxes instead of little hillocks of screwed up scraps in various places, boxes, bags etc. I've also made a pact with myself not to cut into fresh fabric until I've made some real headway into the leftovers - and actually they look very tempting - and as a bonus I actually feel so virtuous using up the leftovers (a bit like eating all your dinner when you're little)! What about those bigger pieces you bought because they were such a good buy (the reason being it was so ugly nobody wanted it!) Well I put them into the charity bag so I don't have to look at them any more. After it was all done I felt so invigorated - full of new ideas - and after all, most of the fabric is already cut, yippee I'm on a roll. 'course, this won't last........ thanks for a brilliant blog Kathleen , Elaine

    ReplyDelete
  33. An idea that takes some of the stress of organizing away for me is to take the mess out of the sewing room and organize it while I am doing something else. For example, dump the stuff from the drawer into a laundry basket and go into another room and organize it while watching tv. It is fairly easy to toss things directly from the laundry basket into the trash can or make piles to keep or give away when you are out of sight of all the rest of the clutter in the sewing room. You don't have all the other clutter bearing-down on you this way.
    Hope September brings more energy and a renewed vigor for cleaning as we all want you to be at your 'quilty' best!

    ReplyDelete

Let me know what you're thinking . . .

.

Related Posts with Thumbnails