Friday, February 4, 2011

The Great Sewing Room Reclamation of 2011

I think any costumer has a clutter problem, but mine had gotten completely out of control.

I'm supposed to be working on a 12 costumes in 12 months project, but things haven't been going that well, and it was mainly because I'd accumulated so much in the sewing room that I practically couldn't walk through the room anymore. I was well on my way to being a feature on Hoarders in a couple years if I kept up like this. I actually broke my streak of not ever, for any reason, watching reality TV and sitting down for a couple of episodes of this show before I started, looking for hints and a little psychological prep.

The thing that caught me about the people on the show is how they all talked about how embarrassed they were by the mess and clutter, but how helpless they felt to deal with it. I just had one room to deal with and I still took over a month from start to finish. Imagine having a whole house to deal with! Part of me doesn't want to show what it looked like to begin with, but that's part of the process for me, a visual, public record of how I let things get to hopefully give me the impetus to never get to that point again.

So, here's before, during and after pictures of the cleaning, organizing and weeding.

First, there's the costume bar, a long dowel that the husband hung from the ceiling for me. There were boxes piled up underneath it and a lot of things that were just piled on top of the boxes instead of being hung. I didn't take an initial picture of this, but here's the empty space after taking out the boxes:

clean up 1

Here's what was piled underneath:

clean up 2

And here's how it looks today:

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I've got a set of wooden IKEA shelves to the left of my sewing counter, and here's how they looked before, with totes spilling out to a double-deep stack at the end of the racking:

clean up 4

And here's how it looks now, everything on the shelf, and the stack on the end gone:

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(and yes, I did label each of the totes as to what kind of fabric is inside)

My sewing counter, cluttered up with little bits and bobs:

clean up 10

Now, with all those bits and bobs either gone away or put away, I have a flat surface to spread pattern instructions on. It's not perfect, but I might even be able to clear enough space to put out my serger:

clean up 20

My work table, on which I do smaller detail work and cut out small pattern pieces (the larger ones are pinned and cut all spread out on the living room floor, usually):

clean up 5

clean up 3

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Now it looks like this:

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And all that stuff that was on the table is now here:

clean up 13

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The in-between of all these pictures? It was me making the basement totally impassable for about 3 weeks while I bit by bit sorted through everything I had taken out of my sewing room and did some serious weeding. Here's everything I'd somehow managed to cram into that room:

clean up 14

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I sorted through each tote, made piles by fabric types, and started stacks of things to get rid of. As I emptied a bin, it became home for one of the stacks. The goal was to have one tote per fabric type. I mostly succeeded. And I did weed out three totes full of fabric, plus five boxes of clothes.

The only spot that hasn't been cleaned, and that is actually worse than when I started is the top of my pattern cabinet:

clean up 7

I need to reorganize and weed the patterns, plus I have a pile of random pattern pieces that didn't get put back into their envelopes when I was done with them. But my room is workable again, and I am going to do my damnedest to keep it that way.

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