I have mostly finished reorganizing the Quilt Cave and culling my stash of books, patterns, fabric, and crafty stuff getting ready for a big quilters/crafters garage sale with two of my friends. I will share pictures of my "makeover." Most of you have seen pictures of my troll hole...it is in an L-shaped, unfinished Michigan basement that I share with my husband and teenage daughter.
It is not an elegant space...don't we all drool over magazine pictures of glamorous creative spaces? Then I wake up, and work with the cave and fixtures that I have, most of them second-hand or found at garage sales or driving around on garbage day. :o)
I kept my primary work space and sewing machine station in the same place. I have the metal support pole and plumbing spout to work around...it is literally in the middle of the floor. By putting the work space where it is, I can put the TV on a lazy Susan so that wherever we are in the basement, we can see the screen. A folded up quilt for the kitty is a must...sometimes it keeps him off what I am working on...
The long, back wall is still mostly fabric. The lids are not bulging now that I have gone through and removed fabric that I probably won't use...I even emptied some containers!
I moved my files/tables and bookshelves to the end wall and moved Steve's desk to where the books used to be. This did a lot to open up the space. Before, there were two "deep" things right across from each other, which only made the space long and skinny. It was too narrow to unfold and set up tables on which to work. Now the deep, file/table/book storage unit is in a better place at the end of the room and the continuation of the fabric shelves, which has a less deep profile, works better across from Steve's desk area.
With a sump pump, there is always a threat of a little water if things go wrong, so I like my books up off the floor. I use three sturdy, used, 2-drawer filing cabinets to support a re-cycled wooden door surface and a re-purposed table top (without the legs).
Once this was all leveled up with scrap pieces of plywood, I added four "Bonde" IKEA shelving units on top to hold the books. This is the one thing I splurge on...they are the BEST thing for books...won't sag or collapse, like previous bookshelves. I bought them slowly, one-at-a-time, which is why I have small ones, but even if I was buying all the shelving I needed at one time, I would still buy four smaller units instead of 1 or 2 larger ones. This gives me a lot more flexibility as far as organizing goes. I actually had 5 overfilled until I went through and set over 150 books aside for the sale...now that 5th shelving unit holds other stuff.
Putting the shelving units on a table surface gives me a place to sit, look for what I need, and work. I arrange my books mostly by content...general "how to," applique, history, seasonal, individual technique, kid/baby, etc.
I use some magazine files to put books by the same author or subject together...this also helps if they are the thinner, soft-cover books that have no book spine where the name is not easily accessible.
On top of the book shelves, I have plastic drawer units holding my scrapbooking/picture stuff, and on top of that, seasonal decorations that I don't access very often.
The drawers come out easily to get what I need (I have them labeled so I don't have to pull ALL of them out...).
My six, deep, file drawers hold patterns and projects from magazines (in sheet pocket protectors), labeled and organized in a way that works for me, in hanging file folders.
I placed the left and right filing cabinets angled inward, so that they are more easily accessed.
I have all my redwork, stitchery, embroidery patterns/projects in one drawer, organized by season, etc.
I keep applique projects in one drawer, organized by author (I have a lot of Lori Smith, Bunny Hill, The Rabbit Factory, Edyta Sitar, etc.), then by topic (flowers, BOM, etc.). By using the sheet pocket protectors, I can store not only the pattern, but freezer paper or plastic templates that are re-usable). I love sheet pocket protectors!
I know a lot of people sort their projects and sheet pocket protectors into binders, but I have never used a binder that I have been happy with. I really like the hanging file folders with tabs and regular file folders when needed. It is a flexible system that can easily change as needed. Every now and I then, I go through and purge magazine projects as my tastes change. (or I glue a picture of the project, without the instructions, into one of my idea books as a future reference...).
In a perfect world, I would not have to store the shop vac or paint cans (that would freeze in the garage) in my space. Oh well...
More storage of photos, seasonal items, sewing machines, infrequently used kitchen stuff...
I try to store everything on the bottom shelf or on the floor in something that is waterproof...and most of the fixtures touching the floor are plastic, or can get wet.
Steve is happy with his space. (Gotta keep the hubby happy...). It is nice that we are down there together sometimes. My computer is on the main floor, but we all use it. Steve and Riley's are in the basement. He uses 2-draw file cabinets and a door desk as well.
I love these second-hand file units...I can get them for $10 a piece at the U of M Property Disposition Center. That is also where I get our $10 desk chairs. Sometimes I even find stuff that matches, but since it is in the basement, I mainly want it fairly clean and functioning properly.
The quilting poles that are on the floor are going to be suspended from the ceiling, alongside the duct-work...they are too tall to stand up somewhere.
I store batting pieces and my tub of recycled jeans under the stairs, along with all of my folding work tables. THIS space had become totally crammed with misc stuff and I could not get to the batting pieces before the cave re-do. I would just lean my 5 folded up tables up against the bulk to keep it from
It really is true that if you want to control clutter, EVERYTHING must have a home where it can be PUT AWAY.
It is so nice that the fabric containers all CLOSE now that I have removed some stuff...there were pieces that I never selected when picking out fabrics, just moved from side to side, so it was time to put them in the sale. More is only good if you actually use it, I am finding out...
Using the lazy Susan under the TV allows me to swing it around while I am piecing at the machine...
My long rulers...and my awesome back scratcher...are in those grooved holders, inside another re-purposed, found-beside-the-road-on-garbage-day storage unit.
My idea books are only a reach away...
These are my right-at-my-fingertips, "go-to" containers of scraps, for doing my applique...
...in two sizes...small for crumbs and larger for scraps that are a little bit bigger. These are ULTRA convenient and make my scrappy applique REALLY fast and convenient.
I still depend on these little draw units from Home Depot (or Target, Walmart) for little tools.
I still love these plastic drawer units for other rulers and templates...but the other draw units that were on the floor at my feet now reside on a shelf. It was feeling cluttered and I wanted some leg room!
The front wall still stores fabric, project boxes, and my color-segregated scrap boxes (and ties, ribbon, etc.).
The recliner entices my family to come read, watch a movie with me, or play with the Wii. The exercise equipment calls to us less frequently...
Unfortunately, the laundry and the cat box also share my troll hole (see? not at all elegant...).
I feel like a new woman now that my creative space has had an overhaul. There is still 10-11 days until the sale...I may be like the Pharaoh in "The Ten Commandments"...my hard heart may loosen, and I may be ready to let more of it go. It is surely liberating to go through the process.
Our sale is Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5 near Saline, Michigan, just west of Ann Arbor, 9 - 4 each day. Comment that you might be interested in going and I will email you the details. The three of us are pricing stuff to move...none of us want to take anything home afterwards! (and we have made a pact that we can't "shop each other's stuff!")