Post-Project Clean Up

Happy New Year to my friends old + new! I am sending out positive thoughts and energy for all of you so that we may all have a Joyous and Healthy 2017! I uncovered the following blocks after a quick Post-Project Clean Up. What a find!

When I completed my studio this past year, I made a commitment to myself to keep it tidy when I am not in the space working. Even though it is my studio, my house isn’t very big (especially when you start counting all of the bodies, human and animal, residing here!) and the reality is that the studio is a shared space. There are a lot of people freaking through on any given day, and it is the first room that you see when you open the front door! One of the most important habits that I have gotten into to help maintain the room is to tidy up after every project.

It has been a struggle, as I usually just want to dive right in to the next exciting and new thing, but I’ve found that if I dedicate a small amount of time to putting everything away it gives me a nice clean slate to start from. It also gives me the space to breath, think, and create.

Now that A New Day has been shipped off, I took a little bit of time this morning to do my clean up routine. I like to think of it along the lines of making meals – part of cooking is cleaning up! How can we cook dinner if all of the pots and pans are still dirty from lunch? I feel the same way about sewing. Come to think of it, I think this way about a lot of things! Every school night I say to my kids, “your homework isn’t done until your work is in your folder and your binder is in your bag.” This helps them “close up” shop for the night and leaves them better prepared for the morning hustle.

My post-project clean up routine is as follows:

  • Put away fabric from the project. This means sorting through cuts to see if they can go back into my stash, or into scrap bags.
  • Dust and wipe down surfaces. My room is a multi-purpose shared space. This means that I design, cut, piece, baste, quilt, and bind in the same space. On top of that, there is foot traffic from my family through the room to access the garage, the basement, the downstairs bathroom, and The Legos. As you can imagine, there is an accumulation of dust, thread, and debris. I clean during my projects, but I find this is a good time to wipe down the cutting surfaces and the computer area. It is easier since all the project fabric is away!
  • Clean my machine, change the needle. I’ve read somewhere that it is a good idea to clean your machine after replacing a couple of bobbins. I try to do this, but honestly I am in a rush sometimes and keep feeding myself the, “I’ll do it after the next one” line. When a project is done, I take a minute to brush it out just to make sure. I am also usually going from a quilt back to piecing which means different needles sizes, so I may as well change my needle at this point too.

  • Wind some bobbins. I have a little tray that I got at Target that I keep under my machine table. I store some random colored bobbins in there, but I also have a stash of bobbins in 2024 in both 50wt and 40wt. This way I can just grab and go when I hit the end of a bobbin when I’m in the middle of a project. Each weight of thread has its own little section in the tray with an empty section right in front for me to toss the empty bobbins. I honestly groan every single time I run out of bobbins, but I never ever wind just one. I wind at least 5-6 at a time to make sure I’ve got a good stash. After I project I’ll check my stash to see how it is looking. If I know I have another quilt coming up, I’ll wind a bunch of the heavier weight thread so I’m ready to dive in.
  • Change rotary blades. I use 2 sizes of rotary blades, but I now use my 45mm the most frequently because I find it is the easiest on my wrist. So I will change this one after a big project (like a quilt), and change my 60mm as needed.

Now, I would like to be clear that this sounds all good and fine and perfect, but I am human, and a lazy one at that. Sometimes I neglect my area, or I’m lazy with my clean up. For example, my fabric stash is usually sorted in rainbow order for solids and blenders, and then fabric lines are stored together. Most of the time I just stuff it back into the shelf after a project wherever there is space. Ugh.
To make up for this, I try to do a big clean about 2 times a year. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch. My room is only about a year old and I did a big clean when I was setting it up. This post is making me think I should do another! So starting now, I’ll be doing a big clean 1-2 times a year.
I’m also going to point out that there are a few things missing from my routine. I rarely clean my iron because I’m always using it. I neglect all of my self-healing mats, and some of them aren’t healing any more. I can’t remember the last time I replaced my seam ripper, and it isn’t because I rarely use it! Ha! Looks like I have a few sewing resolutions to add to my list this year!
Do you have any sewing resolutions that you have made for 2017? Are there any from 2016 that you made and stuck with? I’d love to hear about them here in the comments, or over on Facebook and IG!