The mad rush of the holidays is finally over. Now the mad rush of January with it’s end of the year accounting, garden and orchard pruning as well as housecleaning all begins. With the change of the calendar to a new year, we all seem to naturally think about resolutions even if we don’t really make them or keep them for long if we do make them. We also seem to think about simplifying and decluttering our lives. In that mode, I must say that my quilting studio is really quite organized and clean. I have trouble working in chaos and I am a little OCD (or CDO in alphabetical order like it really belongs) about having things organized in general. Yes, my spices are lined up in alphabetical order in the spice rack. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to put your hands on exactly what you need without wasting time searching for it. As they say, opposites attract, and I am married to the polar opposite. My wonderful husband is what the family fondly refers to as a Stuffologist, and not a neat one either. He lives in utter chaos. I will not go past the doorway of his garage because it just makes me itch to go and organize for him, which he refuses to let me do. But I digress.
The one area where my organization has fallen short is in my scrap inventory. I have been quilting for over 11 years, so as you can imagine, since I tend to not throw away anything larger than around 2 inches, I have quite an impressive inventory of scraps.
The above photo is a view of all my scraps stored under my cutting table which the previously referred to Stuffologist custom-built for me. You can see why we get along so well. 11 of these canvas bins are filled to overflowing with scraps. They are sorted by color, and of course placed in the storage area in alphabetical order. When you are done laughing at my obsession…
Blue, being my favorite color, is divided into two bins, dark and light. Here is a photo of the dark blue bin in all it’s glutted magnificence.
Keep in mind, I make a lot of scrap quilts and all of my quilting buddies have free rein to come shop my scrap collection, and neither activity has made a dent in the bins. So, I decided I was tired of having to dump the bins out to find exactly what I want. My sister-in-law, Mary Deeter of stitchinggrandma has always impressed me with her scrap organization. She uses the system that was developed by Bonnie Hunter. Here is her link http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html. So I have decided to bite the bullet and cut up my billions and billions of scraps (only a “slight” exaggeration) into usable sizes, and of course, organize them. I dug out my AccuQuilt Go Baby, which I bought several years ago for 40% off and have hardly used. Unfortunately, I only had the 2 1/2 inch strip and the 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 inch combo square dies, so it took me a long time to get through the first half of the dark blue bin, which was the first one that I tackled. I finally broke down and ordered a 3 inch die which makes 3-3 inch squares at once; the 3 1/2 inch die, which makes 2 pieces at once, and the 5 inch die which also makes 2 pieces at once, and a combination 1, 1 1/2 and 2 inch strip cutting die. I was able to whip through the second half of the bin in half the time and I’m finally justifying the investment I made in the AccuQuilt. I am just cutting each piece, which of course needs to be thoroughly ironed first, into the largest usable size, with the largest being 10 1/2 inch squares. If the piece is bigger than that, I refold it and place it back in the bin. I found these great containers all at the local dollar store and am trying my best to color coordinate the containers to the color of the fabric. Unfortunately, the smallest ones only came in about 3 colors. These are the containers for the yellow/orange bin.
Once the bin is emptied, as I said, I placed the large uncut pieces neatly in the bottom with any squares over 6 1/2 inches laid neatly on top of them. Then the containers all neatly stack on top of or inside each other. This is the after photo of the dark blue bin when it was finished.
It is still filled to capacity, but everything is neat and organized. I placed a card with the size of the cut on top of the two stacks of largish squares in the two shoeboxes so it’s easy to find what I need. The 2 1/2 inch strip container is absolutely overflowing.
So far I have finished the teal and the dark blue bins and am a quarter of the way through yellow/orange bin and I am getting inspired to get busy and quilt.
How are you decluttering your world this year?