Asked on Jun 27, 2018

Too Much Stuff, Not Enough Room

Hughlene Dunn
by Hughlene Dunn
I do charity sewing for babies in need. I have purchased only a small amount of the material I have. I'm not willing or ready to get rid of any of it. I have shelves and totes. Totes makes it hard to see what I have. My room is 11'6" X 13' 8". There is a washer and dryer, sewing table with a sewing machine and a serger. Two doors one is closed off and four windows one has a window AC in it. Any suggestions on the best way to be able to see what I have. Yet a place for all the notions and be able to reach them. Thanks for your help
q too much stuff not enough room
q too much stuff not enough room
  13 answers
  • Hughlene Dunn Hughlene Dunn on Jun 27, 2018
    I live in Oklahoma, don't know when it got Missouri.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bbunny42 Bbunny42 on Jun 28, 2018

      Map, what great instructions/ideas! I have a suggestion that I used in my home to turn my dining room into a DR, office, sewing and craft room. Due to a lack of space, I hung an inexpensive plastic shoe bag on the inside of my utility room door. Then I sorted my spools of thread by color and put them into zippered plastic bags and put in the shoe bag sections. I can readily find the color needed, remove the bag and take out the spool -- no digging to the bottom of the section, possibly ripping it, and also the thread stays dust free. My desk is a credenza and so is my sewing machine table -- it gives me plenty of space for projects I'm working on. I changed my round table to a 3'x5' one -- lots of cutting room or working room. Then I went nuts and covered my clock around the edge with buttons, hung shadow boxes with ribbons I had won at fairs, ordered and put on the wall a swarm of butterflies, a small rug from a charity sale that was way too beautiful to go on the floor, and two statements - "My Happy Place" and "Make Your Own Sunshine". It truly is my happy place!

  • Jan7430775 Jan7430775 on Jun 28, 2018
    I bought shelving ..that you adjust to suit your needs.. from Lowe’s along with clear plastic totes that make it easy to see what is in them I labeled each tote as to the size of the fabric.. charm squares...fat quarters..bundles ..half yard ..yard and up to 4 to 5 yard cuts..then I have a couple bins for scraps. Everything is easily accessible and orderly

  • Lah Lah on Jun 28, 2018

    There appears to be other stuff besides sewing supplies in that room. I would first empty out the entire room and get rid of our store somewhere else the things thou don't need in there. Then get our build some shelving and put labeled bins for all your supplies.

  • Jackie Gfeller Jackie Gfeller on Jun 28, 2018
    Here is what I have learned in my many years of working auctions and crafting... It isn't a bargain (even if it is free) if you can't find it to use it. There is always more 'stuff' readily available when you really need it. Sort the stuff that is just piled and keep the rare and beautiful, then pitch the rest. Then organize your key items. It is safe to say that 50 percent of what you want to keep can't be accessed anyway. And you are right... once you put it in a tote, it is just the same as gone forever... so instead of toting it, toss it.
    If you need something, simply tell folks at church or down at the senior center: I need: (i.e. 5 pairs of blue jeans for a baby quilt for Babes in Crisis. You will have more offers than you can use, and they are storing them for you.

    I know this isn't the answer you want... just sharing a hard learned lesson from bringing great deals home from the many auctions I used to do. The next auction had the exact same 'stuff' that I drug home from the last one. I would buy stuff for a future project and then when I finally got around to the project... couldn't find all the stuff! So the next auction I would buy it all again. I had a royal mess to clean out that was taking over our home and all the out buildings on our farm. It is mostly all gone now... took over 8 years to do it... NEVER again! ha. If I have a project... I wait til I am about ready and then amass the stuff.

    One idea is to have a neat-freak sewing friend come help you sort the essentials from the less important stuff... it is hard to do it yourself... you see the usefulness in everything you have! And truly, it is all useful, but overwhelming. And overwhelming creates a chaotic workspace and when you sort it all out you will get more done in the long run!

    For the work you do, folks will gladly donate old sheets and fabrics to help you whenever you need them... let them store your extras so you can make room for your essentials! You are blessing children and families... I hope you can bless yourself with a less cluttered work space.

    May God Bless you for the hard work you do to help others!

  • Ili Ili on Jun 28, 2018

    I can imagine how difficult it would be for you to concentrate on your crafting...please follow the advice already given, get everything out (or just one wall at a time), toss, sort out, again get rid of stuff that can be donated to you later on, etc.etc., then most likely you can see your productivity soar!!!!

  • Steve Woodward Steve Woodward on Jun 28, 2018
    better more consistent shelving would help alot. the type that holds totes is readily available. one area people forget to use in workshops is the top foot below the ceiling.

    another idea. is this.. it clears away the floor area and allows better work stations.

    basically build from the top down stopping at about four foot above the floor.. the room will feel bigger and be more usable.

  • You have been given some great suggestions. Please try and use some of them. I can only say after 50 years of sewing and having moved a few times the longest in one place, 20 years, I was not able to even move, give, or throw away all of the fabric that I had collected with great intentions. You will have to put yourself on a Buying Fast. Do not buy anything for months on end because I will assure you you have many, many duplicates in what you have. Because you cannot see it to work it up. I would suggest that you try making up some newer designs or new projects with what you already have. Put yourself on a Buying Fast. You can make it by that store and not stop that is very important. I have had rooms I have had houses what I really would like to have is the monies that I have had to waste because I could not use all the fabric that I had collected. Best of luck to you and keep the faith you are a blessing..... Now bless yourself.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bre26008799 Bre26008799 on Jul 20, 2018
      Thank you for telling the truth, about fasting on compulsive buying it applies to several area's in my life. I have begun to let it go so that other people can enjoy it.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jun 28, 2018
    There are lots of clear totes of all shapes and sizes. I use smaller ones for groups of smaller notions and supplies. Group your fabric by colors or patterns, or both if you have it organized that way to get at the pieces you want or use the most. I label everything with what is inside, I even keep the smaller containers in a large container to keep them in one readily available spot, so I know just where they are. I don't keep anything out or piled up on the sewing table (the cat would make playthings out of it). My hubby also tends to put stuff on it, so I would never find anything. I keep my stuff in the spare bedroom in the basement where there is also a stationary bike, computer and monitor and also a TV. It has a little nook in the corner from room left from putting in the closet. It is perfect to keep my bins in out of the way from hubby to stack things of his on (tools, computer parts, aquarium supplies, etc.). Every so often I take care of the extras laying around and put it in a box on the computer chair so he has to put the "stuff" away.

  • Riva Sue Riva Sue on Jun 28, 2018
    Clear totes - Lables - For our camping gear I use page protectors with a list of the contents taped to the bin - this is great for things that have many items and for bins that contents will likely change, because the sheet with the list can be redone or things scratched off as they are used.

    • Hughlene Dunn Hughlene Dunn on Jun 28, 2018
      . ,... . . .. . . .. .. . ... ... ...... .
      . thanks to all your suggestions and advice. I had everything pretty well organized until two years ago when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Caught early and all good now. Due to uterine cancer 38 years ago caused a lot of bone issues and scar tissue. Last year I fell and messed up my neck and back surgery which they can't do anything about until it hurts so bad I can't stand in. It also messed up my total knee revision and has to be revised. I have to put that on the back burner also because I have no help with my animals and yard and garden. So I have a big challenge doing anything with out pain. Low income make it hard to pay for help. I do have a couple young people coming Saturday for a couple hours. I'll be paying them with thing I don't use anymore. Thank you all again. Prayers are always accepted and appreciated

  • Dfm Dfm on Jul 18, 2018

    i have my fabrics on hangers where i can see them. the hangers are padded so no crease marks. they are hung from a fence rail suspended from the ceiling. if the fabric is for a specific project, it goes into a project box with the pattern to keep it all together.

  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jul 18, 2018
    Hi this is Peggy. It is really hard when you have a small space to organize, but you can do it.. First of all put all like items together. Get rid of everything you do not use. This can hurt a bit, but if you use this space for one purpose, the other stuff has got to go. Labeled boxes with like thing in them are useful. Move everything to one side of the room or out side, then put back only the stuff you have to have. Make a pile for good will. I wish I could be there to help you I love organizing stuff. Good luck

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jul 18, 2018

    What a charitable person you are!

    You have received good suggestions from the other posters... Sort when you can bit by bit. Don't try to do everything at once. Your physical (and mental) health is most important.

    Start with your desk, then do 1 shelf or 1/2 shelf at a time.

    I'm guessing you are a visual person , since you don't like bins (out of sight out of mind). The quickest and cheapest solution would be to put the similar sized shelves together and hang curtain panels in front of them from the ceiling. That way everything is hidden, but easy to open and access when you need it.