Saturday, February 25, 2012

Organizing Goals: Project Bags

I'll be the first to admit that I am not an organized person by nature. It's not that I don't appreciate an orderly workspace. Rather, I just don't know how to create a workspace that is clean AND functional. And until recently I was never really compelled to organize my sewing space, because having an orderly small-scale workspace seemed impossible.

But whenever I am in a creative rut, it feels like it would be so much easier if only my fabric stash was a little bit neater. Since we will be moving soon I think it's necessary that I a.) use up or give away a good portion of my materials and b.) devise a plan for an orderly, efficient, but still inspiring workspace in our new home.

In the short-term, I've been working on a list of projects I want to complete before I start grad school in August. I know I will be short on time after that point, so I need to take this opportunity to accomplish some things I've always wanted to do.

Yesterday afternoon I was looking through my fabric stash, which has become quite sizable over the years, and I had the idea to organize a portion of it into "Project Bags." You see, my biggest problem has always been actually using my fabric the way I planned to when I bought it. I always end up forgetting about fabric once I file it away in my plastic drawers.

So I started taking stock of all the beautiful, untouched fabric I have amassed over the years. I recently bought some vintage patterns, and some of this fabric will be perfect for those projects. This will also provide me with an  opportunity to really get to know my new serger. But I also have some ideas for projects which will hopefully translate well into tutorials here on the blog.

For now, I'm just using ziploc bags to organize the materials, but I'm sure I could make them prettier if I wanted. It seems like that would just be more procrastination, though. 

What is the purpose of a Project Bag? To organize, visualize, and quantify the projects that I want and need to finish.

How many project bags do I have? I currently have 7 project bags, which puts me at >2 projects per month if we move on schedule. Think that's ambitious enough??? I certainly do.

What goes into a Project Bag? The fabric/materials as well as a brief description of the project, pattern(s) used, and materials still needed.

What are the rules for these Project Bags?
  1. I won't begin a project until I have ALL of the materials required. The last thing I need is to lose steam on a project before I have even started.
  2.  I may do the projects in any order I want, BUT I may not start the next project until the most recent one is completed.
  3. Any fabric that is left unused by the time we move must be given away. Typing that last rule was hard! I may be lenient on that one if I happen to be in the middle of a project, but any bags I haven't touched must be given away. I think that's fair, and should give me an incentive to get to work on these projects!
I feel so much better having done this. It makes my masses of fabric look infinitely more manageable, and gives me some practical goals for the next months. What's best about this, though, is that if I manage to complete each of these projects before we move, I will have used up more than half of my stash. Even if I don't finish and have to give things away, it will greatly reduce the amount of fabric I have, making moving that much easier and giving me an opportunity to organize my new craft space before I begin filling it with fabric.

Who knows, maybe this will become a new practice for all my projects in the future. It's a very librarianish thing to do, if I do say so.

So, this provides me with a good idea of what needs to be done before we move. In the long term, I want to come up with ideas for prettier and more permanent storage. These plastic bins my mom used to buy me were perfect for a college-aged crafter, but I'm in need of something a little more sophisticated and inspiring if I'm to continue in my crafty ways.


  1. Awesome idea - even if I'm not moving. Instead of a moving deadline, I'll set a personal deadline. Completing two projects a month is a great idea. The whole concept is genius! Kudos to you!

  2. forest and lakes specialnized for blank apparels and can offer free bags to sponsor!


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