Updated March 25, 2022.
Right now I can’t get to many places where things are stored in my office. That’s because the seemingly never-ending remodeling project is delayed ANOTHER 2 weeks. As a result, most of the contents of the room are scattered all over the house, including in my office. Yesterday I attempted to clean up enough to get to the cabinet with canvases & some threads. That required major moving and cleaning. I put into effect the ideas here.
So disorganization is my watchword for the moment, and it is, all too often, the word that describes how we handle our stashes, books, and supplies.
While it’s wonderful to take all the time you need to become organized often we only have small bits of time to use.
What do we do then?
I take one of two approaches. The first is the “ten minute tidy.” This is also the name of a great and practical book about organization (available on Amazon). Do one task for organizing and do it for only ten minutes. It doesn’t have to be exactly ten minutes. The idea is to do something for a very short time. Those short bits of effort add up. I can see a clear change in the mess in only a week by doing this.
For example, sort out unopened skeins of a favorite thread from the opened ones. I did this with many of my threads and it has made it easier to find complete skeins since they aren’t tangled and makes the small amounts I have of some colors easier to find.
I also did this once with my messy pile of silks and sorted the unopened skeins into brands and left the mess of opened, unlabeled stuff in one place which I look at for small bits of color.
I regularly go through my pile of unstitched canvas and sort them by size. I get rid of the ones I won’t be stitching and will put similar ones together.
Ten minutes isn’t hard to find And it doesn’t require much commitment, so this is a great way to get started.
My second approach is to work on one area at a time. My current big task will be to tackle the threads stored in the card catalog. This process is messy and you have to be willing to stop and leave it. If you try to do it all at once, you’ll just get frustrated. This always happens to me. Find a place with lots of floor or table space and think of big categories.
I currently have one partial bag and two full projects bags of thread to put away. I was just putting stuff away one skein at a tag. This is great for ten-minute tidies but if you want to spend longer, it won’t work. To work for a longer period, clear space on table or floor, and start wih some of your threads, Divide and sort them according to how you have them stored. When you are done working, put away the piles you have. Because you open once instead of many times, it’s fast to put the threads away.
Do this for a while.
For books, go through a shelf at a time. Divide into three piles: keep, store, give away (or sell). Don’t put anything back until you have done sorting. Then you can put them back on shelves.