When we had moved 8 years ago I thought it was a brilliant idea to separate all of my children’s possessions into individual containers. That way when they left home, they could just take them with. Wrong! Not only did they not take the totes then, they have no interest in taking them ever! I had saved homework from every grade, plus class photos, toys, baby blankets – just about anything I was sentimental about.
You’re probably wondering how this fits into quilting and organizing your sewing room. Well, I was rummaging through my inventory of well-marked containers (thinking it was time to start sneaking them into the kids’ homes) when I came across one marked “kits.” I thought I must have mismarked this one, mistakenly writing a “t” instead of a “d” for “kids.” I opened it up and to my amazement found a whole stash of quilting kits! It wasn’t kid stuff after all, but rather some of my most treasured quilting possessions! So treasured I didn’t even realize they were missing…
It was amazing! I felt like it was my birthday; all of these wonderful kits were as new to me as the day I purchased them. It was quite clear though that this was not a great method for storing all these valuable kits and fabrics. My husband is known for cleaning out boxes and containers without ever looking in them. His theory is, “If you haven’t missed it, it isn’t of value.” When stored in solid-colored containers that don’t easily show the contents, I risk having them sold at garage sales, donated, or simply thrown away. One of my friends had her quilting wares accidentally donated to a local charity, and my dear aunt had her treasures accidentally thrown into a dumpster. (Including finished quilt tops, numerous kits, and a sewing machine – could you imagine!)
Moral of the story: when storing kits, finished quilt tops and UFOs (unfinished objects), aim to keep them visible so you don’t forget about them (or accidentally throw them away!). Here are some of my favorite tips and methods for storage.
Those circular laundry hangers that fold up and have clothes pins on each end are great for hanging smaller items like kits. It keeps them out in the open, visible, and organized. I went out and purchased a cute one that looked like an octopus from IKEA, but soon found this one wasn’t strong enough to hold more than a few kits at a time no matter how many times I tried. I ended up giving it to my daughter to hang baby clothes on. Oh well.
Another fun way to store kits is to keep them in decorative baskets. They add a pretty touch to the sewing room and allow you to easily alternate the kits you keep within arm’s reach. As I work on one kit, I replace the basket with a new kit and keep cycling through. This has been one of my favorite ideas; it adds color to my studio and is constantly changing.
Clear Plastic Containers
While shopping at a local craft store I found the perfect 9×9 and 12×12 inch plastic containers. They are just the right size for my kits and completed blocks. Another huge plus is that they can be purchased in a rolling cart. Imagine a cart just for kit and completed block storage. The containers are also large enough so you can include the book or pattern you are using as well. If you decide not to purchase the rolling cart, they stack nicely on their own.
If you have closet space available (what a luxury!), you may consider claiming some for your kits and fabrics. I find pants hangers amazingly useful. I generally will put my kit fabric and pattern into a gallon baggie, and then hang the baggie on a pants hangar (the kind with clips). Sometimes you can hang several baggies on one hangar. I have also used the non-clip hangers for my hand-dyed fabrics and completed quilt tops awaiting quilting. Some of your area discount department stores carry extra-large plastic hangers that work great for quilt tops as well.
These are just a handful of ideas and I’m sure there are more out there! How do you store and organize your kits, projects, and UFOs? Leave us a comment or head on over to Facebook to share your own tips.
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