The jury has deliberated, and they’ve decided that a larger home is not the solution to the problem of too much clutter.
The CEO’s sewing area is the primary source of the problem. One cramped room in total. In the hallway outside, there are two large closets that face each other and have mirrors on their opposite walls. In addition to being ideal for storing fabric and other supplies, this tool is also ideal for checking fit and marking hems.
With the exception of the fact that who could possibly pin a hem in the middle of this? Take a look at this photo in its raw form to get an accurate portrayal of the situation.
It’s time to get rid of that clutter butt! It is recommended by professionals such as Michelle Passoff that you start with your most difficult clutter problem. I’m game! Now that spring has arrived, the closet is devoid of clothing. Let’s get started!
Set Up Clutter Central!
Determine where you will work and wipe down the surface of the counter, if necessary. I have gathered the necessary components for Clutter Central, including a notebook computer, my teddy bear, three-by-five index cards for taking notes, a planner, pens, black garbage bags, and boxes for storing and donating items.
It is my intention to contribute clothing to charitable organizations and to share any extra fabric with friends who enjoy sewing. I’m going to make a note on the notebook computer about what’s inside the storage boxes. There are a lot of good home inventory programs, but for the time being I’m going to stick with Windows Cardfile.
I’ll also keep a running list of the items that have been donated on the computer. After it has been printed, an itemized list can be attached to the donation receipt with a stapler and then stored away for use when filing taxes. While I am sorting and cleaning, my planner is open so that I can write down any action items that come to mind.
Before I get started, I like to go over the ground rules again. One time only is permitted to touch each individual item. While I still have possession of the item, I need to decide whether I will keep it, donate it, give it away, or throw it away. Objects that do not have a place in the sewing area are to be moved to a “put away” zone located close to Clutter Central. When I’m finished with the task, you can count on me to put them away.
Empty Those Closets
To get things going, I clean out one of the closets. Even getting it is a difficult task! The piles of fabric, trim, and patterns require that I walk on top of, over, and around them. I start emptying out the first closet by pulling everything out one shelf at a time.
Here’s a pleasant surprise! Some nice clothing is buried under all of the clutter; for example, there are brand new pants for Steve that have not been hemmed and CEO rayon pants that were made over the summer but were never put away. They are filthy and strewn with loose ends of thread all over them. Clutter Central now has a mending box and a laundry basket thanks to my organizational efforts.
Don’t Be Sidetracked By Sentiment
As I approach my first obstacle, which is my grandmother Mim’s sewing machine, I feel encouraged by this pleasant surprise. Sentimental value. Droved across the country from Texas to California to Georgia and finally to Washington.
My choices include giving it a thorough cleaning, lubricating it, and preparing it for use in the sewing room. Alternately, you could dust it off, lubricate it, and then give it to a family that is desperate for a sewing machine. I could keep storing it, unused, but in a different location; however, I’m in the mood to get things done today! Bear hugs to Perry, and keep Mim in your thoughts. I make the decision to clean, lubricate, and set up the machine before photographing it (maybe with Perry?) and giving it away to a family that could benefit from having it. It is impossible for Mim to value a thing more than a person. It has Perry’s blessing.
Find more emotion in these two sewing baskets that belonged to your grandmothers. These will be displayed in the refreshed sewing room, along with Mim’s high school sewing textbook, which I will keep there for the foreseeable future. I have to fight the urge to sit down and read about how women and girls were taught to sew in the 1920s. I know it would be interesting. Let’s get started clearing out the clutter!
Additional garments During the summer of 2016, fresh “Liz” coordinates were purchased. Never worn because they were too small in the waist and too big in the hips, and they needed ironing. The realization that I can’t button the waistband helped me make the decision to donate. In order to prevent myself from having second thoughts, I immediately placed the items that I had donated into a black plastic bag.
I come across a lot more clothing. There are more than a dozen different pairs of men’s dress slacks, which brings up a lot of interesting points. Size 34, 36, and 38. Decision: donate. In addition to this, I make a note in my planner to get more excited about the diet plans that Dr. DH has recommended.
Right here is some long-lost loot! A summertime favorite skirt suffered a tear in the back pleat. After giving it a try, I come to the conclusion that this trusty old friend can be resurrected with just a knee-length hem. Where the repairs are kept.
I go through an old coat rack and sort them out. The majority will be donated. Once more, emotion rears its head in the form of Dr. DH’s letterman’s jacket from the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, which bears the name “Steve” embroidered on the front. A keeper. I begin by putting together a box for DH’s clothing archive and then entering its contents into the computer database for our home inventory.
A few of the coats are contemporary, still in good condition, and could be put up for consignment. I transfer them to a closet that I have earmarked as a “action” area in preparation for a trip to a consignment store. The car is used immediately to transport donated coats. There will be no do-overs!
A second look at the sentiment: my bridal gown. It is necessary to keep, but there has been no cleaning or preparation for storage. Transfer gown to the “action” closet, and make a notation in your planner to read “gown to cleaners for preservation.”
We’re getting there! The back wall is visible to me. One last item invokes existential questions. One of the primary benefits of getting rid of clutter is that it can free you from the outdated personas that you had in the past. So, in which category would an old knitting machine be placed?
It is a new purchase that was made possible by the inheritance of a family member. It would take a significant amount of time and effort for me to figure out how to use it. But… I’ve always wanted to learn how to machine knit, and since I’ve taken up golfing, I’ll need sweaters and cardigans specifically designed for the sport. A notation will be made in the “goals” section of the planner to indicate that the knitting machine will remain.
After only one hour of working on the clutter-reduction project, it’s time to start cleaning up!
Clean It Out, Clean It Up
While I am cleaning the dusty shelves and vacuuming the floor and baseboards of the closet, I am considering what should be put back into the closet now that it has been cleaned out. A shelf that is high and difficult to reach will be used for storing record boxes that contain infrequently used craft supplies. Fabrics that are folded but are too large to fit happily in record boxes will be stored on a central shelf unit. Hangers will be used to store delicate fabrics, and fabric rolls can also be stacked in the space designated for hanging garments.
Assess The Stash
Now that we’ve discussed the guidelines for digging out, I’ll go over the guidelines for evaluating the fabric I have stored away. The following criteria will be used to evaluate every piece of fabric:
- Consider the quality: is the length made of a pure natural fiber, or is it made of a blend or synthetic fiber that is stiff and of low quality? If it does not feel nice when it is in contact with my skin, I will not keep it.
- What’s Next in Fashion – Is the Fabric Out of Date? Be wary of prints because they are the first fashion element to go out of style when a new trend emerges. Is it a denim or chambray fabric that is more suited for the country look of the 1980s rather than the sleek and streamlined look of the 1990s?
- Image: Which company’s top executive purchased this length of fabric. Who is this lone mother? The fresh bride in the bustling metropolis? The urbanite who has to put up with a lot of hardship because they’re stuck in the rural South? Does this fabric convey the person that I have become? If this is not the case, look for a new owner who more closely resembles the pattern on the fabric!
- Color – Even if the length passes all of the above tests, if the color is outside of my palette, it will not be included in my collection. Find another person who is comfortable in pink, and then move on!
- Length – The mother of the young children has long since left the house of the CEO, but there are still many short lengths of fabric left behind. The amount of fabric needed for golf shorts is 1 5/8th of 45 inches. Everything that is shorter ought to be given to seamstresses who have customers who are shorter to dress.
- Love Affair is the final examination. When I went to buy it, each of these fabric lengths had a special place in my heart for one reason or another. But, like with old flames, has the enchantment worn off? Everything that doesn’t make my heart pound faster should be recycled. Why should I waste my valuable time and effort sewing something that I’m not completely passionate about? Find a new owner for that unwanted reject, and we will both benefit from it.
After finishing our snack and drinking some mineral water, we are now prepared to leave. It’s time to rearrange some of that fabric!
Fabric Storage Savvy
I make a note of the quantity, type, and width of each length as it is successfully put away after having passed all of the tests required of it. At some point in the future, this data will be entered into a computer database; however, for the time being, I am simply compiling the information on the computer as I organize my things.
The first lengths to pass every test were two dress lengths made of velvet, one in red and the other in green. In order to prevent the lengths from becoming creased, they are hung from wire hangers using safety pins. Already the closet seems to have more light!
The following additions are so obvious that they defy explanation: rolls of both dark and light fusible interfacing. I add some additional lengths of drapery lining that have been rolled up. The lengths of fabric that are hung up are kept in a different closet bay than the rolled fabrics. To better organize the rolls, I think about purchasing a large garbage can and add “garbage can” to my list of things that need to be purchased.
For the upcoming bedroom renovation project, here comes a bolt of upholstery or home decor fabric that will be passed and slid into place. The rolled upholstery lengths are placed in their bay alongside the other rolled fabrics.
As I am putting away the “big” items, I come to the conclusion that this closet is large enough to store the non-clothing items that are associated with my sewing room. I am very appreciative to myself for an earlier bout of organization, as I am now able to stack neatly labeled boxes of craft supplies next to the shelves that are located in the central closet. Craft supplies for making dolls, bears, and Santa Claus, as well as plastic canvas materials, beading, and dried floral arrangements, each have their own dedicated record box. I store the dried floral stems on the high shelves in long plastic craft storage boxes, and they fit perfectly on the shelves. Now that we have gas, we can start cooking!
Now we will move on to the “big” fabrics, which include wool suit lengths, flannel cuts, and polar fleece jacket lengths. The majority of them pass the fabric retention test with flying colors. When I look through all of the piles, boxes, and bags, I can’t believe how many nice suits are hiding in there. Soon, Dr. DH will be meeting with a highly skilled tailor for an appointment.
Wool suitings are hung. On the shelves are tweeds, flannel lengths, and polar fleece jacket lengths that have been folded and stacked. At Clutter Central, the “donate” boxes are filled with rejected, outmoded lengths of stiff wool blends.
Home dec fabrics, next. Due to the fact that we recently moved into a new home and I’ve been purchasing supplies for upcoming projects, the majority of fabrics intended for home decoration have been accepted. I fold and stack everything according to “room,” and it gives me great satisfaction to discover that I already possess the majority of the components required to embellish a bedroom and the playroom located in the basement.
This is encouraging news, even though I will have to remove several lovely but relatively short lengths of the tapestry. The time for tapestry purses has come and gone, and the new millennium will have arrived before I can finish stitching them, so I’m throwing them away.
I take a step back to admire my freshly cleaned and completed closet. The remaining closet has been thrown and jumbled as a result of moving the designated fabrics into their new home, but I am unfazed: I am concentrating on what it is that I have accomplished. The following items have been removed from the building: one large bag and one back seat full of donated clothing; a box of fabric to donate; a start on the clothing archive boxes; and a large black garbage bag full of trash. It has become possible to have a storage closet that is modern, uncluttered, and highly effective.
Success begets more and more success! The second sewing area closet was cleaned out, emptied, and then restocked with supplies. Now that there is space available, we can start decluttering the actual sewing room. The chief executive officer has been stripped down and is now ready to sew!
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