I have come to realize that I cannot stand when things are not organized. It makes me feel anxious and it goes without saying it really stifles my creativity. So, I’m getting organized … slowly. I have decided not to move this year, but it is a real possibility for next year. Simply, I just could not find the time to move and the thought of it was completely stressing me out. So, I’ve put that idea on hold and instead will ORGANIZE, de-stash and complete various projects around my home.

First up, dealing the my fat quarters and pre-cut units. I already had some of these plastic, clear shoe boxes. They are used for small UFO’s and pre-cut shapes. I’m currently collecting 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″, 4.5″ squares and 2.5″x4.5″ bricks. I like the size of these bins and that I can fit 9 per shelf. I waited for them to go on sale at Canadian Tire and picked up another 17 last week.


I also have three carts, one that fits under my work table (no photo) and has a couple of completed blocks for two projects, orphan blocks and another bin for scraps. The other two carts, one is dedicated to hand dyed fabrics and the other has 10″ squares for scrappy backings, 2.5″ strips (by 18″) and other strips of various sizes, wool/felt and interfacings.


On to the fat quarters. So far this year, I’ve received 100+ new FQs from around the world as payment for administration of the swaps that I organize here. All fabric is pre-washed before it makes it into my collection. Yes, I know there’s lots of debate about this, but I pre-wash, and it’s unlikely I’ll change my mind anytime soon. A tangled mess out of the washer:


I hang my fabric to dry instead of putting it in the dryer. I find it’s much easier to work with and I can smooth it out while it’s damp and it doesn’t need to be ironed until I use it.


For this exercise, I knew I wanted to sort my fat quarters by colour. The 1930s, Christmas, batiks and solids are stored in larger bins. Some fabric already dedicated to a specific project has it’s own shoe box or white Ikea box. Everything else got organized by colour or style (dots/stripes, novelty, Asian).

Getting started:


Fabrics in their respective bins:


Tweaking the colours:


Labelled and put in their new home:


Now to tackle this mess …


… and this mess …


… and figure out what to do with this bin of fabric scraps from 15 years ago:


Organizing Part 1 of Who Knows!

18 thoughts on “Organizing Part 1 of Who Knows!

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Wow! Looks great! I’m 100% with you on the need to keep organized.

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Good for you, Michele/Mishka!
    You have what my parents always called “sticktoitiveness,” that I have always envied, but never had.
    Keep up the great job!

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Just a little over a year ago, I moved for the first time in 34 years. I was stressed, depressed, happy, anxious, and any other adjective you can think of. I don’t collect a lot of squares or strips … they all fit nicely in an underbed storage bin. BUT … the yardage … oh the yardage … at least 50 folds of fabric fit in a larger tote (56 qt available at Walmart for 7 or 8 dolllars). I set the tote on end and stacked the folds of fabric. Beautiful! Sorted by color, type or design … whatever is my way of thinking. At last count, I had FIFTY-TWO containers, all holding at least 50 folds of fabric, each measuring a yard or more! This is cotton only … does not include the flannel, batting, etc. I feel your pain, but I’m SO happy that my “collection” is finally in one place! BTW … my fat quarters are in shoe boxes too. Perfect size! :-)

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    What is the drying rack that you are using. Do you have a link to where you purchased it. I would love to have something similar in my apt.

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:10 am

    You’ve made great progress! Looking good and feeling the fabric love – hope you get time to get some sewing done too!

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:12 am

    So glad I stumbled onto your post! Organizing my sewing room is much needed, but I am too good at procrastinating… Your post is just the nudge I need to get off my tablet & head into my sewing room! Lol! Thanks, again, Kim

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Hi Michelle!
    good work with all that organizing, it does feel soooo much better!
    As for those old scraps? Donate to a church group who makes quilts for charities they support, sometimes overseas. Sarah athttp://confessionsofafabricaddict.blogspot.ca
    will always take them!
    Good luck with your organizing….
    Yesterday, I emptied this big bag I was saving. I was surprised, there were a few lengths of fabrics, at least a /4 of a yard, a bunch of small HSTs, and a bunch of little pieces. I threw out the pieces! It felt so good to empty the bag, but now I have to put the scraps in my stash.
    With showing of our home about every 3 weeks, I get to keep my sewing room reasonably clean, I’m working on new curtains for our bedroom, almost done!
    Take care, Leslie

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:23 am

    My goodness! You’ve been busy! I just love looking at all your ideas. I too hang my fabric to dry, I find that spray it with bit of starch before hanging works nicely also.

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Great inspiration. Would like to know info on the drying rack you are using also! Thanks!

  • April 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Hi there! I love that you are showing us how to organize!
    I would give a loving home to your bunch of scraps from 15 years ago!!!…just sayin’.
    Jacqueline VH

  • April 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Looking good Michele! I’m like you….need to keep things tidy and organized, it is time for me to sort out my scrap basket….it is over flowing!

  • April 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Would love info on the drying rack. Looks like a great way to dry fabrics. Mine is more for clothing and doesn’t have as many places to hang things.

  • April 22, 2013 at 10:45 am

    only one scrap bin? I’m way behind! I like to sort the scraps while watching tv. strips to one place, scraps that can be cut into small squares/bricks to another pile. I’m doing better at sorting as-I-go .. at least for this week .. but need to get back-at-it to get control of my scrap bins. I promised myself when i got it under control, I’d make a quilt of it all. :)

  • April 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Looks like you are off to a great start. I bought a Juki with a quilting frame this year and I’ve been working hard on reorganizing, too. The new machine takes up a lot of space and everything is in little piles all over the house. It’s helpful and interesting to see how others tackle organizing their studios. Thanks & have a super day!

  • April 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Looks great Michele. I need to break up bundles and start colorizing my fabrics, but the pull and look is so much fun. I still owe you some fat quarters and finally starting to feel human again so may get that done real soon. Hugs to you and sweet Milo

  • April 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I recently moved myself, and it was a great exercise in getting the studio organized and set up just how I want it. Check it out on my site!

  • April 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Good job! I think the hardest part is to get started and not get distracted. Easy to say I know. My stash is all sorted and stacked and now, I cannot find anything, because the bins are stacked on top of each other and they are too heavy to handle. But it is neat and tidy. Yikes

  • April 28, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Oh my wonderful organizing. I also am trying to get organized. I gave away 6 green garbage bags of fabric away. Three to a friend and three to the guild and also years of magazines and books. Felt good but I still have tons. It is like the Loaves and fishes LOL. And Congrats. Bunny

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