A couple weeks ago we donated a small desk that mainly held stuff and wasn't being used as a work surface. Last Wednesday night, I thought I had finished putting away all the stuff the desk had held by reorganizing my table and shelf. I wasn't thrilled with the end result and even while cleaning I told my husband that it felt like I was just moving piles from one place to another. It was frustrating, but by the end of the night my table was useable with no piles.
I took some pictures the next day. Not great. No piles of junk but no space to spread out while doing work.
This is my writing space. My computer doesn't even have enough room to sit the right way.
Shelf still looked crazy with projects piled on top of each other. Bottom two on the left - fabric project throw up.
More piles. And more fabric.
When I woke up on Thursday, I thought now I can get some work done. But I wasn't excited because there really wasn't any space to do work (writing/editing). And the space didn't really reflect me. Looking at the above pictures you'd think I was mainly a quilter. The sewing machine takes up more than half of my desk. There's obviously some yarn but the shelves are still full of quilt projects and fabric.
I still quilt and enjoy quilting but it isn't my main hobby anymore. I had bought or been given all this quilt stuff and felt I should use it. But I wasn't. I just felt guilty every time I looked at it. If my priority and job is writing and knitting is what I do to relax, then my space needed to show that.
So, Thursday afternoon, I started going through all my fabric, quilt projects and other craft supplies. I was ruthless. I had a real goal in mind this time. I emptied the bin of fabric that sits under my table and declared it the quilt bin and whatever fit inside, I would keep. By the end of the day I had filled two boxes of stuff to donate, another box for my sister and a trash can that was overflowing. It felt great.
To help the future me who would have doubts, I collected all the garbage in the house and took it to the outside garbage can. I put one box of stuff to donate in the trunk of the car. The second one still had some room in it so I kept it inside. It is now full and waiting to be taken to the car. And I taped the box for my sister shut and labeled it as hers. If I wanted any of that stuff back, I would have to work for it.
Not perfect but you can actually see the table. Sewing machine is pushed to the corner. I really need to finish quilting that quilt and then I'll have even more space. Until I start the next quilt.
Pile of paper to the right of the computer are my writing notes and The Little Poem Project. I've forgotten a day here and there but I am still doing it. And loving it.
It still looks full of piles put there is less there. I've been living with the space for a week and it's been easy to take things off and put stuff away since shelf spaces aren't crowded. I tried to keep it to 2 projects per space - usually one on top of the other. If there was space, a third beside them.
I obviously kept more than what fit in the bin. And the bin is full. The box at the bottom left of the shelf is the fabric for the quilts my mom requested. They are all supposed to be done by the end of the year so I don't really count that as part of my stash. They used to be kept on the floor between the shelf and the table so I'm happy that I was able to make room for them. The only thing between the table and shelf now is batting with small pieces of batting in the purple container you can see. I mainly purged small pieces of fabric from the stash (less than a yard). Anything over a yard I kept and set aside (in the box on the left, second shelf from the bottom) to make pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer. I might involve my kids in making the pillowcases this summer. There are also a few smaller projects that I hope to finish soon on the shelf.
The big question is, is the space working for me now? And I would have to say yes. It takes effort to keep it cleaned off. I often throw things on it during the day when I have to quickly set something aside before Floyd gets it. But if I take 5 minutes while he naps and after he goes to bed I am able to keep it clean. Just a few weeks ago I wouldn't have had room for Floyd to sit on my lap and draw in his book while I did stuff on the computer.
And if he's not on my lap, there's room for the toys he drops off and his crackers and a knitting project (a hat). And you can still see the table. I spend less time on the internet since the computer mainly stays on the table. I used to always use it on the couch and it was too easy to waste time. Floyd doesn't leave me alone for long when I sit at the table so I go on the computer, do what I need to do then return to him. My table is in the living room so I'm never far but for some reason Thomas the Train is more fun to watch from my lap. I even did some editing of my novel yesterday and I hope to do more today but it's taken me over an hour to write this blog post so my eyes need a break.
Have you been doing any purging? Doesn't it feel good to let the stuff go?