My basement is a bit of a disaster – too much stuff generally, plus insufficient organised storage, plus no plan on where to put anything in particular, plus a year and a half of generally shuffling stuff around and taking sewing stuff out then not knowing where to put it back (or simply being too lazy to put it back). Yeah, disaster.
The other morning, I started hauling everything sewing (and craft) related upstairs, finishing stage one while my husband was out. When he came in the door, he said, “Are you moving out?” Somehow it looked even more disastrous upstairs – probably because it gave a more accurate indication of how much crap there actually is.
I ended up with a number of cardboard archive boxes (all the same type, all new, and all sturdy – which pleases me greatly), which now occupy a contiguous block of shelf space in the basement, plus two large Rubbermaid tote bins nearby on the floor. The final tally:
- 1 box of craft supplies – mostly medieval-ish (yarn, flowers, tablet-weaving cards and tools, crochet cotton, a shearling hide)
- 1 box of craft supplies for dance costume (different yarn, different flowers, a magpie collection of shell and metal buttons, coins, and ethnic goodies from a variety of places)
- 2 boxes of fabric where the colour and fibre content are appropriate for clothes, all nicely folded, organised and listed on the outside of the box
- 2 boxes of fabric for non-clothing projects, again folded, organised and listed
- 2 boxes of fabric, folded and tidy but not so well organised and not listed (but the pieces are bigger so there aren’t many in a box)
- 2 boxes of salvaged fabric, mostly denim (primarily for adding body to costume pieces like belts – as I think about it, I’m sure I still have too much of this) and T-shirts (which I might be able to use to practice sewing with knits, or maybe this is just taking up space)
- 1 box of “reference” – a few items that I no longer wear but I’m saving as a starting point for making other things, and some non-standard patterns that don’t fit anywhere else
- 1 pattern box filled with patterns (surprise)
- 1 very small box of “narrow wares” – elastic, trim, bias tape, drawstrings, ribbon
- 1 bin of fabric scraps
- 1 bin of UFOs and overflow (i.e. anything else that has a more obvious home but doesn’t fit there)
Hmm, this still seems like too much. Part of my problem is that I hate throwing things in the garbage if they still can be used for something. I’m getting better about realising that I don’t have an obligation to remake the thing myself, but if I don’t, who will? I know these people exist – the difficulty is in connecting with them. And if the person who would use a given item lives on the other side of the world, does it make sense to burn the fossil fuels necessary to get the thing to them?
I’ve got a few boxes of crap to get rid of (by whatever means possible) still in the living room. One unexpected bonus of hauling everything upstairs to sort is that the stuff I want to get rid of is right beside the door. It seems psychologically much easier to keep it moving outwards, rather than just finding a different place to stick it in the basement.