May 30, 2013

Stash Central! Organized for about $40: A tisket, a tasket, my blue and green basket!

Most of the stitching blogs I follow talk about WIPs, ORTs, UFOs, ONS, LNS, and oh what are the other ones? We need one for STASH CENTRAL! Or my stash spot or how do I organize my stash? 

In October last year I started organizing my stash. I had so much on the go, I couldn't keep track, and I wasn't inspired. The more complicated pieces were in broken up between patterns in Ziploc bags, folded fabric, hoops everywhere, the smaller pieces only had threads off bobbins, I just got carried away and always thought I would "remember" where this piece was for that project etc. I didn't stitch for months. I could put them in a bag, but the threads would fall to the bottom. I tried poly transparent zipper pouches but they were too small.Lately, because my daughter has been sick for a number of days, I have been picking up and putting down my stitching, and it works now! Everything else would be boxed in a closet so I could focus and not be distracted by other shiny things.

I needed a system that allows me to switch up between projects easily and quickly. Pick them up and pack them away when I am done. I need to know where the right tools are.

 I had a clear Rubbermaid storage bin shopping bags and spreadsheets, and everything in 4 places, knew what and where it all was, but  I was spending more time searching than stitching. 

I worked with my wonderful friend, a pro organizer, two weeks ago and I have it so streamlined I just had to share!!!!

Her advice was based on a 13-15 projects based model. I took a picture of what I was trying to do and she SOLVED THE PUZZLE!!!

For my tool kit, I have this dollar store container:

Easy count on a spool, fabric shears, embroidery snips, retractable highlighter, erasable ink (purple) pen, monogrammed needle magnet, tweezers, sharp needles, and magnetic magnifier. I put it empty on my shelf, and as I needed things, they remained in there. This is what is still in there after two weeks.

  • For my Turtle Trot projects, I bought a 10 pack of clear plastic gusseted envelopes. For medium sized samplers or smaller projects these work unquestionably. Here is the link for those string tied project envelopes. Don't use the velcro closure ones, your floss snags on it and it ruins the finish.  (This size took into consideration minimal floss, 8"hoop or smaller, and no bigger than 11x17" fabric) AND THEY FIT YOUR FLOSS AWAY RINGS
  • Where/how do we store the top loading envelopes? In magazine folders like these Ikea ones here.
But I don't have a big budget. The folders cost me $18 and so I started looking around the house to find something that would fit the folders instead of a magazine file. Something portable, flexible and fun. 

I found this basket!  A tisket, a tasket, my blue and green basket! If you want to be a copy cat you can find this exact basket here but I already had it in the house so that doesn't count toward my $40! I also covet this one to match.  It was holding all my notions and fabric and unused castoffs. Its sits next to my stitching chair and little hands won't get into it. This is the finished system.

Wait? The math doesn't add up, you have 13 projects to store for turtle Trot and 10 folders.... 

Here's the thing, for most of my WIPs, the top loading, clear string wrap envelope is practical. Most are 11x17" or less. Have 10 colors of floss or less, so for the majority of it it works. you can see in the photo there are a couple of projects still in Ziplocs here, they were migrated into a larger folder (not shown - green).

The remaining 3 projects have other criteria requiring larger ideas:

  • One is 24x12" so it was too long and had to be rolled up (in the above blue folder)
  • One was just slightly bigger than the transparent folder (in a matching green folder, not shown) 
  • One is 33x28", has 90 colors of floss, and the pattern is 20 pages deep. (Just the floss wouldn't all fit in if you added up all the skeins)

I bought the two fun colored, top loading windowed string closure poly folders. This is the online link for the green/blue folders here, but they are available in store at Staples for about $8-9 each and come in fun colors. These folders have 5 removable pockets in them so if you want to segregate your pattern or floss, fabric you can. The downside to doing this for all the projects? They are much more expensive. It would have been $90 to do them all in the blue and green and I wouldn't be able to store all my Turtle Trot projects in one basket.  
My special organizer buddy went a bit over board and made me match the folders to my basket for unity... because we use things when we think they are pretty.

For the ultra big super duper project? My masterpiece? This is when I went into exception mode.  I was forced to use a scrap booking project box. It of course does not fit in the basket. This project I save for when everyone is out of the house or is asleep anyway. I have to put it on a frame or my wrist will just get exhausted. This project is not one I would do in the car travelling or in bed.   The fabric is just too big, the 90 colors of floss is in a large Ziploc Freezer bag within the box, and it only cost me $5 on sale at Michael's. I keep it near me on a shelf, so technically only 12 are in the basket.

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