Breaking down organization tasks into manageable periods of time is an easy way to stay on top of clutter. Just a few minutes spent tidying up your sewing space can free up more time in the future for what you really love—quilting!
sewing room illustration

Some quilters find the process of tidying up their sewing space motivating and cathartic. Other quilters thrive and feel more creative in a space where they are surrounded by their supplies and projects. Regardless of what your space looks like, we can all agree that we'd appreciate finding more time to do what we love--quilting!

The less time we have to spend searching for a specific fabric or notion, the more time we can spend actually creating. We recently asked our American Patchwork & Quilting Facebook readers how many minutes they spend each week tidying up and organizing their sewing spaces. The average answer was 27 minutes a week.

Whether you have just 5 minutes to do a speed clean or 60 minutes to dive deep into organizing your space, we have some suggestions to share on how to best spend those precious minutes when you could otherwise be creating.

5 Minutes: 

If you only have 5 minutes to do a quick clean, focus on completing one simple task. Spend a few minutes at the end of you sewing session to sweep up threads and put away tools you've been using so you can find them faster when you come back to the project.

Or you could take 5 minutes at the beginning of your sewing time to do a little machine maintenance. If you've been sewing with the same needle for awhile, take the time to change out your needle. Same with your rotary cutting blade.

Another idea is that the next time you have to change your bobbin, take a few extra minutes to clean your bobbin case from lint and fuzz. Regular machine cleaning doesn't have to take a lot of time and can really help to keep your machine running smoothly.

In addition to fuzz and lint in your machine, lint from fabrics, especially plush fabrics can also build up on your cutting mat. If you find this happening, take a couple of minutes to rub an eraser over the fibers stuck to your mat to remove small debris.

30 Minutes:

If you have a bit more time like 30 minutes, you can give your cutting mat a deeper clean. Using a soft bristle brush, room-temperature water and a few drops of mild detergent, gently clean your mat. Rinse with water and wipe dry.

With 30 minutes, you can also tackle some storage problem areas. Add labels to your storage bins so you can find things at a quick glance. You can use a label maker, but you can also add labels using washi tape and a pen. Washi tape is easy to remove and can add a fun pop of color to your space.

Another idea is to take time to round up some of your most used and loved supplies and corral them into one easy-to-access area. Consider storing you most used tools in a specific storage bin, so you have all your favorites right on hand when you need them.

You can also organize your works in progress (with their related patterns, tools, and templates) into boxes or project storage bins. Keeping everything you need together and organized for your next sewing day.

60 Minutes:

Save larger projects, like organizing your fabrics, for when you have 60 minutes or more to dedicate to the task. Take time to first think about how you pull and select your fabrics. Do you like to use fabric collections or do you like to make scrappy projects pulling from a lot of different collections? Do you tend to make big-block quilts or mini quilts with tiny scraps? There are so many ways to sort your fabrics, so find a system that will work for you. Try sorting by color, type, and/or size.

If you find yourself with a longer period of free time, you can also take the time to sort through some of your old supplies and replace them with fresh ones. Dispose of bent or rusty pins, dried fabric markers, and dull needles and rotary blades. Designate and label an empty container such as a pill bottle or mint tin to safely store sharp items before placing in the trash.