I have more rulers and scissors than any one woman should own – and even worse – could possibly use at a given time. But as I always tell my husband, “Does a woodworker or auto mechanic only have one tool box?” So the magical question of the day is, what is the most efficient way to organize them?
I recently invested in a magazine rack, which I thought would be useful in my home for – you guessed it – storing magazines. But when I got it home it didn’t quite make it to the area I was hoping to use it in.
I walked in the door with my new purchase and immediately heard a crash – I had bumped into my ruler stand, knocking them to the floor and cracking a few along the way. Looks like I found a new use for that magazine rack I had just bought! Turns out it’s perfect for keeping quilting rulers organized, at a glance, and safe from the next time I walk in carrying too much in my arms.
My particular magazine rack came with a slotted piece of wood that sets inside to keep the magazines separate. Being fairly frugal, I didn’t throw this piece away. Instead I now keep it on my cutting table to hold some of the rulers that I use most often. I even kept that cracked ruler – it’s now good for those smaller cutting projects.
There are so many store-bought ruler organizers on the market today, some of which will save you time and some that will be cumbersome at best. One type is a large metal ring that has an opening at the top along with a hook to hang it on a round dowel or wall hanger. The problem with this type of system is that if you want to get a ruler off of the ring that happens to be in the middle of the bunch, you have to remove all the rest that are blocking its way.
The magazine rack idea was a fluke but was also invaluable as it has been the best way I have found to keep the rulers I need nearby and organized. I also sometimes use 3M hooks and stick them on the side of bookcases to store some of my smaller rulers.
Another organization system I couldn’t live without? My tool organizer. I’ll tell you a secret about it: I got it on clearance 10 years ago along with a case to carry a kit or two with it. It only cost $7.00! What a lucky find. There’s loads of caddies available too that have lots of room to store your tools. These are nice and portable too, perfect for your next quilting retreat.
I have also begun to use small plastic containers, often bought from the dollar store, to house buttons and safety pins and the like. But I think my favorite tip of all is to put treasured personal mementos to use in the sewing room, like the little ceramic mugs my children made in school way back when to hold snippers, marking pencils, and micro pens. I also have a little DVD/CD rack my kids made in shop class that I now keep in the sewing room to house my quilting DVDs. These little touches give my space some character and remind me daily of the joys in my life.
And what about books? Do you ever have problems keeping your pattern book in place? I did too, until my oldest daughter bought me a cookbook stand. I now use it for my pattern books and keep it right by my machine – never losing my place again! And did you notice in this picture that I have a little case for all my machine feet? This is a handy investment to keep right on your sewing table.
One final tip: Grab a cute little basket that you can keep on your sewing table near your machine to toss in all those small scraps you want to keep. That way you won’t accidentally throw away a piece you will cry over later. After a project is done I will usually transfer the scraps to a baggie for safe storage.
These are some of my favorite organizing tips for tools and rulers, but the list is nowhere near complete! What are your favorite tips? Let us know in the comments.
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