FABRIC THERAPY STASH ORGANIZATION Part 4 — ToolSupply Storage and My Quilt Cave Work Space
STASH ORGANIZATION: Part 4 — Tool/Supply Storage and My Quilt Cave Work Space
This may sound weird, but I think sewing/quilt construction have a lot in common with preparing food. I see patterns as recipes and my stash as ingredients. Maybe my sewing machine is like my mixer or stove. the place where all the ingredients get blended and «cooked» together into a fanciful fabric banquet!
I have an old quilt next to the sewing machine for Weasley. if it wasn’t there, he would just be lounging on whatever was there anyway.
I could not put a shelf unit where the water comes into the basement, so I just use second-hand shelves to connect the ones on either side.
I approach my sewing space and tool storage as I do my cooking area and kitchen gear. I like useful tools, and they need to be handy so that I can lay my hands on them when I need them! There are utensils, pots and appliances that I don’t use often when I cook, so those don’t occupy the choicest storage spaces in my kitchen. So it goes, as well, in the quilt cave.
I have boasted (and lamented) that my sewing area is in the basement. the quilt cave. It is a shared family space and also has the added excitement of possible flooding due to sump pump failure, extreme heavy rains, or the storm sewer backing up.
We’ve had a few inches of water down there twice in the 16 years we’ve lived here. This part of Michigan used to be a swamp with friendly dinosaurs splashing around, and our house basically sits in a hard clay bowl. as a result, we worship our sump pump (in the corner. just beyond the cat).
Therefore, the basement isn’t finished and the collection of area rugs that is «patched» together in the traffic areas can be rolled up quickly and dragged upstairs if we notice water sneaking in around the edges down there (if we are home. ).
All this house history explains why I set up my sewing area the way I do. it all seems temporary and movable. I would love some built-in fixtures with drawers, work surfaces. a ceiling. but the distant memory of water/moisture removal makes that not likely in this house.
The plastic shelving units that line most of the basement perimeter can get wet. the bottom shelves hold plastic tubs that can tolerate a few inches of water. Some fixtures are up on blocks, bookcases are up off the floor, tables/fixtures either fold up or are garage sale/curbside finds. A dehumidifier is on standby. I’d like to think I am always ready for the next flood.
Our basement is «L-shaped,» and everything is set up so that our old TV, on a lazy Susan, can be viewed from anywhere down there (priorities. ). Therefore, my sewing space centers around the bend of the «L» and the one metal support column that supports the house I-beam. That pole (and sewer pipe. lovely) would be out in the middle of the floor if I had not set up around it.
If this was a TV reality show, at this point I would say «with all this in mind, DESIGN THIS SPACE!»
I like having my tools readily accessible as I sit in my space and sew, design, quilt, and craft. As Julie Morganstern preaches in Organizing From the Inside Out. everything must have a home. If this weren’t the case, I wouldn’t have anywhere to work because every surface would be covered with stuff.
Labeled, plastic, drawered storage, both on the floor and on tables helps everything have a home and keep the surfaces from being cluttered.
I found these drawer units on sale years ago. I think they were meant for hardware, screws, etc. but they are perfect for small tools and supplies.
I do label these, and if I need to change labels, I just stick the new one on top of the old one(s).
I used to think I would just memorize where things were, so I wouldn’t have to label. Yeah, right.
I guess I thought I would just sit there, opening and closing drawers, until I found what I needed. What a silly waste of time!
The drawers are easy to move around, to make sure that the ones I access the most are the fastest and closest to get to.
I like that the drawers also serve as a container that I can remove easily and take to where I am working (as long as I put it back when I am through).
I used to use a sewing box for tools, but the box was hard to store, not easy to access, and didn’t hold everything. It was deep, dark, and cavernous. I would have to root around it it for a while to find something just out of reach at the bottom. another silly waste of time.
Having tools easy to access and not lost eliminates re-purchasing tools that can’t be found. having a home makes the tool, or drawer, almost fun to put away. and it is a quick and satisfying exercise.
In her book, Julie preaches that if the storage or container is inconvenient or hard to access, it discourages the «equalizing» step. putting things back. this is so important if you are to maintain and enjoy a newly organized space (or have any hope of finding the tool the NEXT time you want to use it).
I place 3 out of 4 of these little-drawered units on top of a treasured family heirloom. This sewing machine cabinet was designed and built by my husband’s grandfather, Arthur Joy Rawson, for his wife, Margaret Byrd Rawson. When she asked if I would like it, I jumped up and down like a 4-year-old! It is so charmingly practical!
It used to hold a Necchi sewing machine, so there is an interesting hole where the machine used to sit that I cover with a piece of Plexiglas. At some point I may fill the space with some antique sewing machine attachments.
Arthur designed and built each drawer to Margaret’s specifications.
Rather than deeper drawers fitted with short dowels to hold thread, she wanted shallow drawers to store thread on its side so that she could select her spools quickly and easily.
I love that he put label hardware on the drawers. I can easily label and relabel things as needed.