Happy Friday! Last week I put a call out on Instagram (I'm @jenib320) to hear what kinds of struggles folks have with sewing space organization. I want to start writing regular posts on organizing because it's something I really love. With so many of us spending more time at home these days, having our spaces work well feels extra important!
DIY Thread Storage Shelf
I made a big list of everyone's suggestions and issues and will be pulling from that for topic ideas. If you'd like to share yours, feel free to leave a comment here or on this instagram post. Today I wanted to tackle tips for keeping your sewing table organized and clutter free. This was a common issue that came up, so hopefully these tips will be helpful!
Evaluate Your Space
In my opinion, the easiest and best step to take first when organizing is evaluation. Take a moment to look at your work table and take stock of what you see. Ask yourself a few questions to get started:
What kinds of messes or piles do you make? (unfolded fabric, fabric stacks, tools, thread, scraps, trash, projects, etc)
Where are those messes or piles concentrated?
Do you have dedicated spaces for these items to be put away? (tools, fabric, etc)
When I'm trying to set up a new organization system or change my habits, I like to work with my natural tendencies rather than against them. Personally, I find that this makes me more likely to succeed. The easier it is for me to keep things clean, the more likely I will be to follow through and keep it clean. Let's go through some practical examples of things that I do in my space.
Fabric is what makes the biggest mess on my sewing table. Fabric waiting to be cut up, already cut up and tossed aside, and fabrics ready to be put away. I found I was always stacking up used fabrics in the same spot on my table. So I put a basket there! This way they have a place to go if I don't have time to put them away immediately. It's just as easy to put them in the basket as leaving them on the table top, but it feels more contained.
Scraps + Trash
To keep fabric scraps and trash under control, I keep a small trashcan and a tub for scraps right next to my machine. They're within reach of my cutting mat and machine, so it's easy to keep tossing them as I cut or sew. If you don't have a dedicated sewing space, a small dish or basket for scraps on the table works well too!
Tools + Notions
If you have available wall space, I highly recommend getting your tools and any notions you can off your tabletop and on the wall. For tools, I've loved having a couple simple shelves above my sewing machine. Just a few boards and cheap brackets from the hardware store. They're also a great spot to keep often used notions like your go-to thread and extra needles/pins.
A pegboard is a great way to store rulers and/or tools. It doesn't have to be that complicated though! Stick a few nails in the wall and you have instant ruler storage! Add ribbon or twill to your scissors and rotary cutter and you can hang those too.
If you're storing your tools on your work table, a system for corralling them is key. Keep it simple with a few mason jars or baskets. Or make yourself a tool caddy. I've made a bunch of the #10 Caddy Pattern* by Sew Can She, they're fun!
Patterns + Paperwork
I struggle with keeping my various paperwork organized on my tabletop, so I recently added a metal letter organizer to help me out. It's a great spot to store small works in progress, patterns I want to make soon and a notebook. I was always piling up papers in that corner, so this feels neater.
Projects in Progress
It goes without saying, but good project storage is key to keeping your worktable tidy. I keep the projects I'm currently working on in this cabinet that sits directly underneath my cutting table. Having storage within and arms reach of my machine and table means it's super easy to put things away and access other projects. Next week's post will be on WIP and UFO storage!
I hope these tips and ideas are helpful for keeping your work table more organized. There is no wrong or right way to keep things neat. Work with your unique habits, work flow and space. We're all different, and not every method or technique will work for every person. And that's okay! It's all about adapting to your personal preferences.
*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.