Can you ever have too much space in your sewing room? Most quilters would unequivocally say, "NO!" When we downsized and moved into a smaller home a few years ago, I left a nearly 400 square foot quilting studio and moved into two 10' X 12' bedrooms. In one room, I set up my sewing studio and personal stash. In the other, I set up my longarm, business related inventory and order processing/shipping area. Talk about sewing room organization! This was quite a change for me! In the larger studio, I had plenty room to spread out and add new items without even thinking about where I would put them. After our move, I had to really think about prioritizing what I kept and how to optimize the space I had. The following are some of my ideas for sewing room organization and ideas for creating more space within the space you already have.
The closets in my sewing and quilting rooms are the typical bedroom closets with doors that pull out into the room. This is where I keep (most of) my personal stash. There are areas on each side of the opening that go back about 2 feet as well.
My answer to getting more accessible space from these closets was to remove the doors. The doors hindered my ability to use the space on each side of the opening. They also took up space when opened into the room, blocking the wall area and decreasing the actual usable square footage of the room.
I found two shelving units that fit perfectly inside the closet and gave me much needed space for my fabric stash.
In my longarm room, the closet doors are also removed (shown below). I use the top shelf to hold more of my stash. The top area is large enough to hold fabric bolts stored upright. The lower portion of the closet contains a smaller shelving unit and a set of stackable plastic storage drawers.
The magic of removing the closet doors is that it makes the closet space feel like part of the room, an extension of the usable square footage, rather than something "off to the side" and separate from the room itself. Of course there is still the issue of where to store those doors! (Ours are leaning together against the wall in our garage.)
Think Above and Below to Increase Space
Another way to make more space is to use the space above and below your existing sewing furniture. In the photo below, you will see my cutting table.
Below the table is a small rolling storage unit that I use for thread storage.
To the right, against the wall, I have my taller Accuquilt dies stored in a basket, leaning against the wall. I usually also have a waste basket stored under there, but I removed it for the photos!
Since I had to get rid of a large bookcase that I used for display and storage due to lack of floor space, I added a narrow bookcase and a wall organizer shelving unit above my Juki sewing machine. I really like this unit because it comes with several shelving options that can be configured to fit your needs. Much like a pegboard, you just insert the shelves wherever you need them.
On the top shelf, I keep my quilting rulers stored in a wooden ruler storage stand.
Another idea for wall storage is a magnetic wall storage board as shown below. These are available in various sizes and colors.
Pegboards are another great option for creating usable wall storage space. They come in many different sizes and colors. In the photo below, I have my longarm rulers hanging on a plastic pegboard:
Rollable and Foldable
Something that can help a lot with storage and organization is the ability to fold down or easily move your larger furniture pieces. My cutting table (shown above fully folded out) can be folded down on one side as shown below:
Or, it can be folded down completely like this:
My large sewing machine (Bernina 770QE) sits in a cabinet that has a foldable extension. The extension can be folded down so the cabinet can be pushed up against wall, making more space in the room:
Or, the extension can be easily folded out when extra space it needed:
Portable and Storable
An inexpensive and great addition to any sewing or quilting room is a rolling caddy. Available in many sizes and colors, they can be easily moved around as needed. I use the rolling caddy shown below to store my pre-wound bobbins for the longarm. It gets moved around the room as needed and parked in a corner when not in use. The caddy shown below is available here.
Plastic bins make excellent storage options for almost anything and everything! They are portable and come in a variety of sizes. Shallow sizes are great to store under the bed! I store some stash fabrics that don't fit in my stash closet in these bins.
Let's talk scraps! I used to have stacks of fabric scraps that made no sense at all! They were just stuffed into bins and on shelves in no particular order and with no thought given to their possible future usage. They become so unruly, I questioned if I even needed to save them at all! One day I decided to tackle the problem and came up with a system that has worked ever since.
First, decide how small of a fabric scrap you want to keep? Realistically, will you ever use a 2 inch square? Maybe you will. For me, I decided I would only keep scraps that could be cut into a 5 inch square. Using my Accucut 5" square die, I cut all my smaller scrap fabrics into 5 inch squares. If the fabric was smaller than this, I discarded it. If it was a larger piece, like a fat quarter or larger, I stored them as part of my regular fabric stash, sorted (mostly!) by color.
As I was cutting, I sorted the squares into stacks by color. They are now stored in a plastic bin as shown below. They are ready to use as is, or they can be cut into smaller squares as needed.
I hope I have given you some ideas for organizing and increasing your storage space. I am sort of neat freak (don't hate me!). Don't get me wrong, when I am in the midst of a project, my sewing space is just as messy and chaotic as anyone else's. But, I always clean it between projects, putting everything in its place, so I can start the next project with a clean slate. Having a clean and organized sewing space helps me to feel peaceful and creative. I hope the ideas I have shared here will help you as well.
Until next time, Happy Quilting!