Ask yourself these five easy questions and you’ll be on your way to creating a more functional work space that lets you focus stress-free on your next creative project!

May 07, 2020
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As quilters, we know just how much space quilting can take. In addition to all the space we need for our fabric stashes and our notions, we also need a good size desk or tabletop to sew on. Trying to quilt on a cluttered work space can often slow our progress and cause frustrations.

If you find yourself, constantly frustrated by the clutter on your work space, start by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  1. The first question to ask yourself is, "Am I surrounded by only working, functional items?" When you sit or stand at your desk, every item within reach must be functional. Test every tool, supply, and machine. If you find dull scissors that can't be sharpened or broken tools, make the decision to toss them instead of holding on to them or donating them. If they don't work well for you, they won't work for anyone else either. If you find that your desk is cluttered with a lot of tchotchkes or personal items that are pretty to display but not hard-working, consider moving some or all of them to shelves or display ledges. Remember that the primary focus of you desk should be function over display.
  2. Second, ask yourself, "Do I need more than one?" Sewing supplies are sometimes sold in multiples or include refills. The extras can be saved in a drawer or cabinet elsewhere in the room -- you don't need them clogging up your work space.
  3. Next ask yourself, "What's my go-to choice?" Embrace your personal preference for rulers, cutting and marking tools, and other supplies. Only stock your favorite notions in your work zone since those are the ones you always gravitate toward anyway. Let go of all the nice-enough-but-not-for-you options. Donate them to other quilters if you know that particular brand or tool is a favorite of theirs.
  4. Another important question to ask yourself is, "What do I actually use?" Keep only items you use frequently on your work space like rotary cutters, pins, and scissor snips. Place items you use less regularly in nearby shelves, drawers, or cabinets. Only add them to your workspace when you are working on a project that specifically calls for them.
  5. If you find that paper piles are taking over your workspace, begin sorting them by asking yourself if they are short-term or long-term papers. A couple examples of short-term papers are things like patterns you're currently working on or magazine articles you haven't finished reading yet. You can organize short-term papers using vertical storage solutions like pinning them to a bulletin board above your desk or using wall pockets. Long-term papers are things like machine instructions or patterns you aren't quite ready to start yet. These can easily be stored in a storage bin or in a file cabinet with hanging folders.