Waging a WAR!!

I am bound and determined to really get to the bottom of my sewing room even if it means making decisions I’ve continued to put off, do things that aren’t my favorite or sort and clean.  Seriously, I really want my sewing room back…and that is going to be my focus until I’m done..or the coronavirus quarantine is lifted.

I’ve found that my sewing room has become overrun with remnants of ideas, of things I thought I wanted to do at the time, and quite honestly, projects that prove my mind was bigger than the amount of time I had.

I’m not in love with my sewing room anymore.  Things don’t fit on the shelves.  So many projects and ideas have exploded into a mess.  The finished projects don’t get cleaned up.  Scraps that I’ve been gifted haven’t been truly given a home.  Many have stayed in the boxes they came in and I end up picking this or that out of the box.  I love the gifts…I just haven’t taken time to make the very best use of them and I WANT TO!

The time has come.  This is going to change.  From this day on I am taking care of one or two projects or ten a day until the sewing room is back under my complete control and not the control of whims and lack of time.  I’m sure many of you can relate.

Who has a stack of flimsy quilt tops that need to be quilted?

Who has scraps that need to be tended to?

Who has things stuck somewhere and not put away?

Oh my word.  It is time.  I am WAGING WAR on my sewing room….and I’m going to WIN and in the end, I know I will be happier for it.  I have no illusions that this will be painful, hard, taxing and at times very boring but I’m doing it.

First…Today, I’m finishing up with masks.


Then I’m picking projects from the sewing room and tackling them or getting rid of them or finding a better place to store them.   I’m serious about this.  I am waging a war.

This pile of shirts is going to get cut up and I’m going to cut out the Oregon or Bust quilt I’ve been wanting to make with them.  I’ve been saving shirts for a couple years.  I have enough.  It is time.
My Kaffe scraps are here…no real home for them.  They are finding a home.  They need to be stored in dignity or need to move on.  (I’m going to store them with dignity)  No more plastic bags for you my beautiful Kaffe prints.


I know what I planned to do with these shirts and they are going to get cut up for a quilt and the quilt is going to get cut out.  I might not sew it right away, but it’s getting cut out…

I have no idea what is in the basket, tote or box.  No idea at all.  It’s TIME!!  I’m finding it a home for it in my sewing room or moving it on out.


Here’s another pile of wishing….the Mickey prints I have a plan for but in the meantime, they need to not be sitting here.  What’s under them is a projects I had lofty ideas of doing…it’s TIME!


Oh and what’s this??A drawer full of batik scraps that need to be cut and put in my scrap users system.  I’ve just dumped them in there and thought “I’d do that later”…well later has come!!
Here are my calico fabric that you all have been sending me.  I love them, but is this how you treat something you love?  NO…they need a real home.


…and flimsy quilt tops.  I have 10.  I need to tackle them.  I need to look at this coronavirus time as a gift to get me caught up and where I want to be.


So…Every single day for the next month or for however long it takes, I am tackling at least one thing in the sewing room that needs attention.  If I can do more, great…but I must do one thing.  Tackle that drawer of batik scraps…machine quilt a flimsy….find a home for one of my fabric collections…it doesn’t matter what I chose to do but I MUST chose and work towards completing at least one thing.

So on Saturday I started…

I loaded this quilt onto the quilting frame.


..and I finished it.
Rosie was my trusty helper.  Here she’s chewing on some scraps.


Sunday I made more masks in an effort to finish them up.  I plan to finish them today.

I also pieced together two backs for quilt tops in the pile.


I didn’t get a lot more done as Karl was home and willing partner to clean up the lawn and landscape and I took him up on the help.

But…I did meet my goal.  I did something towards the completion of a project.

I am so tired of feeling overwhelmed with my sewing room.  I have projects that the leftovers aren’t cleaned up….I have STUFF that just needs to find a home in the sewing room.  I get so busy with the next project that I don’t clean up the first project.  I want to get better at that…

I’m also vowing to finish up projects that I have out before I start new ones.  I love sewing.  I love crafting, but I don’t love my environment right now.

That is going to change.  Is anyone else with me?  I’m doing this full speed ahead all the way to Memorial Day unless by some miracle, I finish before then.  One task in the sewing room every day through Memorial Day.  That sounds do-able.  Are you waging a war with me??

40 thoughts on “Waging a WAR!!

  1. Sandie

    I can absolutely relate! I’m giving myself until May 15th to get my sewing room under control. I had it all cleaned and organized in October, and now it looks just as bad as it did prior to my last cleaning frenzy! Luckily, my husband and I have only had one week of “down time” due to the Corona Virus shutdowns but I managed to completely reorganize my kitchen in the evenings after work over the last two weeks so if I focus on the sewing room like I did the kitchen, it should be doable!

  2. Ellie

    I’m with you! I started on my sewing room in January and went great gun at it for about a mont but I’ve slacked off? Now I need to get back to it and finish the job. In January I took pictures of the mess and emailed them to my friends to keep me accountable so I would keep at it. I have gotten it to the place where I can do something there now but I need to finish the job. You’ve give me the push I needed. Thanks!

  3. Shep Morrison

    Total agreement. I had done a pretty good job of starting this last summer, but then a mountain of longarm quilting got me off track and my feeling of being overwhelmed got me side-tracked. I’m still working at a job, but off time is get it done NOW time for me. I need to feel comfortable and joyful with all of my quilting. I love quilting and I need to show that I do by the way I handle it.
    Love you!

  4. Robin

    Count me in! I have stuff in two rooms, the coat closet and the toy closet. I promise myself I will start with organizing my sewing room, then I will have room to bring in items from the other three places. As quilters we get so excited when we finish a project we just can’t wait to start the next. The time has come to start holding myself accountable and get myself in order. Now is the time, I have no excuses. Thanks Jo for the blog post to get my butt out of my chair and get busy. I’ve already set my first goal, the cutting table has to be done before bed tonight!

  5. Cheryl

    Wow! You are on a tare! I love it. I’ve been cleaning now for 6 weeks of home corona virus. I have my quilt room cleaned up but I just have too much stuff and I never know what to do with leftovers from a project. I’m cutting up fabric to make masks and they function well but are not pretty. I want to work on some new projects, but I’m finding that unless I’m inspired, I barely sew two hours. I need my quilt meetings and my quilt buddies!

  6. Pat

    Well I had all the same feelings. I started last week and because I am retired. I spent every day in my sewing room…. I cannot tell you how great it feels to have everything in place and a place for everything. I have my projects in place. Just sent a ten year old UFO to the quilter (its a king and too big for me to quilt). I am now working on a stack of flimsy tops that need to be quilted. I finished the first one today. I also have found that the scrap users system is not for me. I collect but don’t use my scraps, so I am in the process of using them up and trying a different method. This time is a gift to some of us. Let’s use it wisely.
    I think you are very right JO!

  7. Maxine Corimski

    I know the joy of starting a new project. My problem is a little different than yours since I’m a counted cross stitcher and not a quilter. Back stitching (outlining) gives depth to my work. That’s the part I love best. And although I would love to back stitch as I go along, I force myself to wait until all the cross stitching is completed before I do the back stitching. And I do not ALLOW myself to start a new project until the last is finished. If I didn’t do it that way, I’d be left with a lot of patterns half finished.

  8. Kate

    I was so happy to read about your sewing room. If you had a neat and perfect sewing room I would have to believe you are “super woman!” You do so much, give so much, both time and projects, to others that if you had the perfectly cleaned sewing room, I would really feel like a slacker. I am so amazed by all you accomplish. You make so many beautiful quilts, you do wonderful cross stitching, and more. Have fun with your messy room and enjoy touching all those beautiful fabrics!!

  9. Pat B

    I have been doing little sewing as I am overwhelmed by ideas, fabric, partial projects, etc. that I have in my sewing room. It has also become a dumping ground. I am totally on board with this idea.

  10. Lisa B

    Yes! I can relate. But I want to point out that you have been working on and finished several projects during this “stay at home” time. Yea for you! After a week at home I found out that I am an essential worker and back to the office I went. My sewing room is a mess, way worse than yours. My goal was to work on it this month but I haven’t stepped in it. Of course, by step into I mean the first 2 feet that the door swings into. How did it get to be such a disaster? Part of the problem is I ordered several kits that were on sale just for the fabric rather than the pattern while sitting by my mom’s hospital bed and that occurred 3 times in the past 2 years. And the boxes are pilled on the floor. I don’t have flimsy quilt tops but I do have several tops that need borders sewn on, my least favorite part I guess. During the week I spent at home I make a list of all the things I wanted to organize not only in the “studio” but throughout the house and there the lists stays with nothing checked off. Please keep discussing your organization efforts on your blog. Maybe it will motivate me. I have to believe there is hope to get to it!

  11. Diane Schotl

    Absolutely I know what you’re saying. I need to wage a war on my quilting room, fabric, scraps, UFOs, tops that need quilting, quilted quilts needing binding and all the antique sewing machine I just had to have. Way too much and it’s not a good environment for me. Takes me down and doesn’t let me get the most done. I’m with you Jo!

  12. June

    Yes – but my dilemma is alittle different – I’m packing to move to go take care of my 94 yr old mom and 79 yr old brother. I have a 800 sq foot attic to turn into my sewing room. After having moved granddaughters and our daughter into our home. And sewing on a tv fold up table I will be able to sew once more. That makes me happy not to pu and put away at the end of the sewing night. My sewing machines hate being moved around lol. I can’t wait to start with a brand new slate.

  13. Cindy F

    After I was done with masks for my large family I had a huge mess in the sewing room. And it wasn’t like it started out clean before the mask making began. As I was gathering the stacks of scraps I decided to start breaking them down into Bonnie’s scrap saving system. And then I went and found various baskets and containers that had remnants of projects that needed cutting down. Slowly getting a handle on them and that is making me feel good! So, I will keep working along with you!

  14. The Joyful Quilter

    Looking at my studio, I surely need to get in line, Jo!! My room resembles yours in many ways. The pull on my time was much the same as yours. In some small way, I have waged my own war. I’m working thru a project list that I want finished by summer, but little projects are still finding their way into the mix and I’m OK with that. All work and no play makes Joy a very unhappy quilter!

  15. Nancy

    It is hard to stop creating and clean. It is also difficult to “give up” on a project(s) you started and at one time, loved. Hover, that is one of the steps of cleaning out. I’ll be watching your progress and TRY to keep up as I “refresh” my sewing spaces.

  16. Elle

    I am one of those hyperorganized people in my home and my life. I think it’s my surgery background as I must know where everything is for a split second response to the surgeon request.

    YOU CAN DO IT! Once you decide where everything is going to live, it will be easy to put things away, add new/same items right there when you walk in your studio.

    I deal with scrap in the moment. Is it big enough to reshelve? If not, it gets cut into it’s best pieces and stowed with those. I don’t stack flimsies for long and then I marathon till they are all done. I made 5 flimsies in a week 5 weeks ago and quilted them all in a marathon 2 weeks ago.

    The hardest thing is developing the system that works for you! I have every belief in the world that you will get this done to your liking :-)

  17. Terri

    I’m with you too. My room has become such a dumping place, and scraps have taken over. I can’t fit anymore fabric in my cabinet, and yet I continue to buy more! This past weekend I decided that’s enough, so I pulled out Bonnie’s first Leader/Ender book and I’m going to sew my way from front to back. I set a timer and spent an hour dry ironing scraps yesterday, to run thru my Accuquilt today, and plan to start on the FQs next for the first quilt. I’m planning to only buy if I need to finish a quilt.

  18. Tracy @ It's a T-Sweets Day!

    I’m with you!! Every box you uncovered could be the same one in my room. I like how you said you don’t love your creative room ant more. I feel you! Good luck on the war… I will try to conquer the part of the fight in my corner of the world! Lol!!❤️❤️

  19. Diann Smith

    I have missed you being a quilter. We’re opposites. I knitted till I discovered quilting. Now for 45 years it has been quilting for me. I gave all my knitting things away but then I never had YOUR skills for that. I always enjoy seeing your quilts back when you did them. Looks like interesting piles of fabric things for you to organize. Can’t wait to read quilt blogging again.

  20. Donna

    You go girl! We all have that pile or those piles that needs to be dealt with! Good luck – we’ll be rooting for you!
    Love and prayers

  21. Karen Dowd

    Oh good for you, i am now working from home, and i look around and what a mess! I am going to paint my sewing room so i have moved boxes and bags and totes into the living room and the bedroom (i have a small apartment). I guess its good the virus is keeping us all apart because there is no place to visit while i try to paint and then organize my sewing room! I wish someone would come in and organize after i paint though, I am a terrible organizer. Good luck Jo, hopefully you will keep me on track!

  22. Susan V

    The hardest part for me is deciding to cut up a smaller piece of fabric. When I get the courage, I put a lot of good size scraps through my Accuquilt to cut pieces for the scrap management system. There comes a time when I just need to get fabric out of the way. It’s that not knowing what you might want to use that fabric for, and hoping you didn’t choose the wrong size cut, that causes me to procrastinate. But, sometimes I just need to tame the clutter. And, I have been because of extra time due to quarantine.

  23. Tammy Jewkes

    I’m ready to join you! I have been finishing old projects through the quarantine, but I certainly can be better at cleaning up my seeing room. Thank you for the inspiration.

  24. Missy Reynolds

    There is no question that my mind is bigger than the time I have for all the projects I’ve bought the fabric, magazines, books, and kits I’ve purchased. I’ve been cleaning out closets and getting more and more distressed at the realization! I sew every single day and haven’t made a dent! My sewing room looks just like yours. I’m working on trying to get a realistic mindset!

  25. Nell

    Hope I am not too late to the cleaning party. . .first job will be figuring out where to start. However, I have been avoiding my space because it is such a mess. SO, I am taking the bull by the horns and making a change!!!

  26. mpv61

    I’m with you. I’ve been doing a daily sewing room challenge this year, getting in there daily to at least sew one seam of a project that was due in June, in hopes of then working on other projects. I expect the June event won’t happen (it was a school fundraiser and schools are now virtual through the end of the school year in Massachusetts), and my “other projects” have mostly turned into mask-making now, but the daily sewing room challenge is a success — that quilt is slowly getting done, and maybe it will be used for next year’s fundraiser instead.

    But my sewing room itself gets messier and messier. I have “Before” and “After” pics from about a year ago when I last did a big cleanup, and when I look at them, it’s so clear how stressful the Before makes me feel, and how calm the After makes me feel. So I need to get back to that. I will add some cleanup and declutter time to my sewing room time! Thank you for the reminder to take back my sewing room!

  27. Judith Fairchild

    I cleaned up my sewing corner a week and a half ago. It did look a lot better then I started cutting and seeing more masks. It’s not back to the total mess not I have to reorganize and clear away the bits and pieces. Thanks for the the wake up war call.
    Oh by the way thank you for explaining how well the wool mat works I got in and it is so much easier to use.

  28. Virginia Grenier

    As I was reading it was as if I had written the words describing my sewing room. I’ve been saying for quite some time that I want to tackle it but haven’t because in order to really do it thoroughly I have to take things out of the room and put it somewhere but where? The only open space I have is the living room. My husband likes things neat and orderly so I hesitated to do that because he’d see it every day. Well, he took care of my dilemma. He took everything that looked like excess (bags, boxes, piles, etc.) that were crowding the walkway in the sewing room and put them into the living room for me. WOW!!! I have mixed feelings about it. I’m feeling the pressure so I kinda feel upset that he did that but at the same time I’m feeling glad that I have his blessing to go ahead and get to it. I pray I have the energy to tackle this.

  29. mpv61

    I realized that once I get my sewing room in order, I’m going to need some kind of process to KEEP it in order. Maybe I’ll institute a once-weekly cleanup to make sure that everything is where it should be. A half hour or an hour each weekend might avoid it getting to a weeks-long project.

  30. Ana Sweet

    I have spent the past month of quarantine learning my long arm and quilting at least 50 projects. I do not do it for pay but do it for gifts or donation. If you want to send me tops/fabric to quilt up and donate, feel free. A friend and I have donated over 100 to a local domestic violence shelter, a hospice and a children’s camp. I met you at your retreat and love following your blog.

  31. Katherine Gourley

    When someone comes into my sewing room —- I just say: “aren’t you amazed I survived the blast?” It is such a mess. I “try” to do something every time I go in the room. It is just overwhelming and I should probably pass some of my stuff, but I love all of it. I just love too much!! Your post was an encouragement to me to “wage war”

  32. Jo Post author

    Ana…that is wonderful. I am so impressed. I know longarming is not something easy to do so I applaud you. If I get some quilt tops in, I’ll try to remember to drop you a note.

  33. Judith Fairchild

    Since a last posted I saw a truck to keeping things from disappearing around the sewing machine. It’s magnetic tape. I’m going to get some with my next pay day. Maybe I’ll be able to find my thread cutting sissors, my pins, and glasses. . As to the rest I am happy I have gotten started getting things organized now to get them done.

  34. LaNan Eldridge

    I started my ‘war’ last week and it’s so inspiring to work in a clean area!!!! I’ve got two projects in mind after I finish the charity quilt ….one is for my new granddaughter …a cuddly mat for her to lay on and that’s got to get done before she’s walking!!!! The second one is a BOM paper pieced quilt that has sat in my room for two years!!!! After that I’ll plan on the next old projects to finish….it’s a ‘take a deep breath’ moment to finish each project!!!!!

  35. Liz A.

    Oooh, my room looks far worse than yours. I SO need to do this too. Please keep us updated on your progress and maybe it will be the motivation I need to work on my own room.

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