13 January, 2012

The Great Closet Documentation Project

I am blessed to have a wonderful, large, walk-in closet in my studio space. We designed our home and carefully allocated square footage for each area... this closet was no exception. I am embarrassed to confess that this blessing has become my own curse and worst walk-in nightmare. What started out as a dream area of well organized fabric and projects has eroded into the messy closet of deferred decisions. I took this photo yesterday, before I began deconstruction and what will be known from this time forward as The Great Closet Documentation Project (or TGCDP for short). In order to remedy this cluttered, disorganized, heap of quilty hopes and dreams I need to completely empty this space and find what's hiding, or buried, in the deepest, darkest recesses. Everything you see here is coming out, into the light, to be scrutinized;  classified, judged, and dealt with. Everything is not going back in; oh no, it must be deemed worthy to regain stash-closet status. I have broken up this disastrous closet situation into eight zones and will document them here, accordingly, by corresponding number:
1.  Finished quilts, bins of novelty fabrics (and novelty buttons), empty boxes, quilt show ribbons, baskets and bins of bits and pieces, a pillow, stabilizers, interfacings and a box of rubber stamps. Does any of this make sense or seem in the least bit related to you? I'm referring to this as the outta sight, outta mind shelf.
2.  A few finished quilts, ghosts of projects past (a term I'm borrowing from a friend's husband; thanks, Gary!), patterns that appealed to me once upon a time, thirties reproduction fabrics and a HUGE zip-loc bag full of yo-yos!
3. Rolls of gift wrap, bins of ribbon, gift tags and bags, tissue paper and bubble wrap. Don't ask.
4. Fabric, sorted by color... for the most part.
5.  Larger lengths of folded fabric, fabric collections and groups, a few pillows. Why not? I already need a nap.
6.  UFO's. This is just as disorganized as it appears. Projects shoved into bins, boxes and tote bags (!?!) and not even one anywhere near completed. Power strips, Featherweight machines, two sergers, a big bag filled with smaller plastic bags (of course!) and a wheeled cart along with a quilt frame reside here. All taking up valuable floor space. 
7. Mending, awaiting completion. Enough said, quilters don't mend clothes!
8. The never-ending flimsy parade, hanging around and hoping for a quilting date with Sundance.

I need an approach, one that makes sense. I have unloaded Zone #1 (below). I will report back soon, I have scheduled the weekend to complete TGCDP, perfect activity for a long weekend! Stay tuned, I'm a little overwhelmed at present. I will document the finished quilts from the top shelf and post photos. This evening I am going to draw up my plan for new, improved, zones and how I visualize the completed closet space existing to make the most of the intended storage/staging area. Likely there will be clearly defined zones for finished quilts, fabric, flimsies, machines and a few well-selected UFO's! No more dedicated space to clutter and deferred decisions!
Freed from the burden and weight of stashed debris and half-done projects I can almost 
feel myself soaring on a jet-stream of creative opportunity and artistic expression. 
It won't be long...

Life is Good!

19 comments:

Janet said...

Good Luck!! I hope you don't get lost in there!

Karen Newman Fridy said...

If anyone can make that closet perfect it's you! Can't wait to see what you do with it.

(btw...I'll adopt the yo-yos :)

Teresa in Music City said...

Wow! Good for you!!! I can see where you might feel overwhelmed right now, but that feeling will change as you go along. Your sense of accomplishment will begin to grow and you will be so happy when you are done! I can't wait to see the finished result!

Janet O. said...

I'm guessing that a lock on the closet door wouldn't do the trick? : )
Interested to see the finished quilts.

Carol said...

Awesome! How funny (not HAHA funny) that you are doing this. I have begun a clean out of my storage room in my house I planned for when we built this house 23 years ago. It contains all my craft stuff, some holiday decor, needlework and some odd fabrics, knitting, lotsa yarn, ribbons, photos, grandchildren crafts and activities, family momentos....think you get the idea. My sewing studio we added on a few years ago (20x20 room) and I am really working hard to keep it in good shape and I love it....but this storage area was just about to get the best of me. I started Monday by completely emptying the room and this is Day 5 of sorting, purging, donating, etc after my husband repainted the walls and all the shelving around the room. It is sooo nice to see such progress. I took before pictures and am going to take after. I'll send to you when finished. I am allowing myself however long it takes, as some days I don't get to work on it, but cannot linger as it had to be emptied into my large laundry room and the breakfast area. Thank goodness we have a bar we can eat on until complete. I think another 4-5 days ought to do it. I did fall off the step stool the first day cleaning and am black and blue and thought I had broken my elbow and hip--but just badly bruised so am moving a little slower as well. Hope your project goes just as you planned. We are starting off the new year with a great plan!!

Laura said...

I re-did my space over the Christmas holiday and it was fabulous to go through and organize and see what I really had. Seeing what colors of fabric I had a lot of was really eye opening! Good luck!

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Karen's right; this is a task that you'll get such satisfaction of and come out feeling virtuous. Win-win.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Suggestion - an online tag-sale for the items you no longer want to store in your closet.

Best of luck - and may "the force" be with you!!!

Don't forget to stop and survey your progress every so often . . .

Ancestor Collector said...

Something in the water? I've been tackling one space at a time...cleaning out, throwing out, putting things where they really belong. I found long-expired food way in the back of my pantry closet. And the kitchen "junk" drawer....gosh, it's much cleaner now. Good luck with your project and take heart that lots of us are out here cleaning right along with you!

*karendianne. said...

I was really thinking about you today, too! Thinking about you and look what you pop up with? Just a big WOW. I should have known.

Pen Pen said...

Nightmare??? where??? it's my dream! wish I were going through it with you!

Karen said...

Oh what fun could be had with all the goodies in your closet. Show us more as you dig through stuff.

cityquilter said...

sounds like a gal with a plan!

Mary Lou Casada said...

You GO! Mrs. G! I have to do battle with the closet monster at least once a year. It's no secret I'm a chronic starter and finishes are a loooong time in coming. Don't hesitate to ebay, yardsale or give away those things that no longer sing to you. Life is too short to feel quilt guilt!!
Blessings!
Mary Lou

Grammasheri said...

I just went through this and I'm telling you: It is SO worth the effort! One hint: you can whittle down your "project waiting" list by quietly recycling the fabric/supplies of items you no longer wish to make back into your stash. I just love knowing what I have and being able to see and use it. Hang in there!

Gina said...

Wow! Just thinking about that makes me tired! Good Luck, can't wait to see your progress.

Witch Hazel said...

I'm impressed! Maybe you can rub some of this off on Mama!

AnnieO said...

What a treasure chest that closet is! Looking forward to seeing your pics of what is my dream to someday own--a stack of finished quilts!

Ms. Jan said...

Debbie, you have more nerve than I do! Good luck!