Spring Clean Your Studio 2019

Who doesn’t need to spring clean your studio? If you don’t, I applaud you! But for many of us, even if we contain our creative clutter pretty well (most of the time), it helps to take a little time once in a while, step back, and figure out what isn’t working and what could work better.

FTC Disclosure

A Little About Me and My Creative Space

My name is Becca. I’ve tried an assortment of crafts and creative pursuits over the years, but now I’ve pretty much settled on quilting and sewing as my main creative squeeze.

Meteor Watch Finger-Gun Show
Me and my finger guns in action last year. And also a quilt.

When I moved to a “new” house almost four years ago, I was fortunate to be able to convert the attached garage into my own studio. I added as many windows as I could cram into the two exterior walls and tons of wall shelving, plus plenty of electrical outlets at assorted heights (the contractor even left the garage door opener outlet in the ceiling, which I seldom use but much appreciate). The room contains about 360 square feet of usable space, an interior door that I seldom close (because the dog needs basement access–fortunately, he knows he’s not allowed in my studio and just sticks to the stairs), an exterior door, a closet, and the highest ceilings in the house (over nine feet).

A Blank Slate

Before Spring Cleaning

I’ve rearranged the space two or three times since moving in, most recently just a couple of months ago. That means that although I’ve already done some reorganizing, some of my old workflows really aren’t working for me anymore. I love having room to have friends come over! Some of my storage hadn’t changed since I moved in.

Early Studio
This is basically what it looked like before the last rearranging.

Spring Clean Your Studio Begins

I took a good hard look around and realized that some of my set-up no longer made sense, plus a bunch of stuff that didn’t belong in the studio had ended up in the studio. The only things that should be in there are sewing-related and fitness-related (it’s the best place in the house to do yoga and the ONLY place where I can store and use my rowing machine). The outside world had been creeping in! We can’t have that, now can we?

The “BEFORE” Picture

I inventoried what I do right and what I could improve. Here’s what I came up with.

The Good

  1. I keep things together that belong together.
  2. Almost everything is kept in the area where it’s used.
  3. My workstations (sewing machines, pressing table, cutting table, desk) are arranged logically. I really liked having my machine set up at the window when we first moved into the house, but my family had a tendency to sneak up on me and I hated that. So now it’s on the right side of the room where I can see the door with my peripheral vision.
  4. Despite the quantity of books and magazines, they’re very well organized by topic.


The Bad

  1. My tendency to work on lots of projects at once causes disarray.
  2. Some of the storage locations no longer made sense–for example, after moving my sewing machine away from the window, I never moved the thread rack. It made it a bit of a hassle sometimes.
  3. Rather than finding storage space in other areas of the house for things that didn’t belong, I’d been stashing them around the room and contributing to the clutter.
  4. There was a fair amount of space dedicated to crafts I no longer spend any time on.
  5. Why are there so many unlabeled scraps of interfacing and fusible web?


The Ugly

  1. I wanted to work on improving my skills on the Handi Quilter, but I couldn’t even get to the darn thing!
  2. See number one. It was ridiculous.


The Plan

M-kay, so it was time to make a plan. I had two goals: to purge the room of unnecessary objects, and to clean up the area of the long-arm. Anything else was gravy.

First, I moved out the stuff that obviously didn’t belong. There were some pillows left behind when I moved some furniture out, there was a violin–not a lot of stuff, but it took up a lot of space.

Second, I worked on the stuff UNDER the long-arm frame. I decided to leave the guest beds (did I mention the studio is also occasionally a guest room? And also that I can’t wait for my kids to go to college?), but to move them to a less accessible spot since they don’t get a lot of use.

Spring Clean Your Studio Batting
I ended up just throwing away a lot of tiny pieces of batting and moving the rest up to where I used to keep my UFO boxes.

I moved the homemade AccuQuilt Studio cutter cart over to the place where the guest beds had been, because THAT gets used and was difficult to get at. While I was at it, I also removed the center shelf where the dies were stacked on top of each other (extremely inconvenient) and set the dies up on their sides in organizing racks instead.

Spring Clean Your Studio AccuQuilt Organization
I made the cart to fit underneath my long-arm using a cheap Ikea coffee table, a piece of plywood, and four casters.

I had all sorts of stuff for surface design and art quilting that didn’t really have a home and was kind of piled up under the long-arm. The cube shelving that I have set up for the ironing and cutting tables wasn’t adequate (too-small bins), but I found some great bins on sale when a friend held a Thirty-One party. So, I moved all of those supplies to the wall shelves. They don’t get used daily, so it made sense to move them up higher.

Spring Clean Your Studio Art Supplies Storage
These bins were the ONLY things that I bought especially for the Spring Clean Your Studio blog hop.

The really time-consuming bit? The patterns. I had two large utility totes chock full of patterns. They were filed and not disorganized, but there were JUST SO MANY. I took the print patterns out of their clear bags and put them in half-sized sheet protectors and three-ring binders. Then, I sat down with the mountain of pdf patterns and website tutorials that I’d printed and searched for them on my laptop. As I found each pattern, I moved it into a Dropbox file and added its name and Dropbox link to a spreadsheet (also saved to Dropbox), then recycled the paper. By the time I was finished, there was only one tote to put back under the long-arm frame, and it wasn’t full.

Spring Clean Your Studio Pattern Storage

There was more rearranging and some throwing-away (I described the phases on Instagram as the “chaos” phase and the “WHERE ARE THE GIANT TRASH BAGS I’VE ABOUT HAD IT” phase) as I cleared the surface of the long-arm frame of piles of stray fabric and a couple of kits and who-knows-what-all. Then it was time to work my way around the perimeter of the room.

Spring Cleaning Chaos
The Chaos Phase

There’s really not a lot to say about the rest. I moved from surface to surface around the room, removing what didn’t belong and either putting it in its designated spot or piling it in the middle of the room for later. I decided to leave the fabric shelves and the cube shelves alone for now and just focus on the active work spaces.

Realizing that my thread rack would fit in this Ikea Raskog cart was a real game-changer! No more inconvenient thread storage for me.

I’m so grateful to Cheryl Sleboda for hosting the annual Spring Clean Your Studio event. It’s made a world of difference in my workspace, and I’m looking forward to hosting my friends for sew days again after way too long.

“Drink and Help Becca Organize Her Scrap Bins” Day should be on EVERYBODY’S calendar, ’cause it’s going to be EPIC.


Ready to Spring Clean YOUR Studio? Visit all of the bloggers for tips and tricks!

Who doesn\'t need to spring clean your studio? If you don\'t, I applaud you! But for many of us, even if we contain our creative clutter pretty well (most of the time), it helps to take a little time once in a while, step back, and figure out what isn\'t working and what could work better.

10 Replies to “Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop

    1. Thank you! I put those tables together six or seven years ago, but I never attached the table tops because it’s easier to move them in pieces–and I rearrange pretty often! But sometimes the tops slide around a little if I bump into them.

  1. Boy, you’ve done a lot of work, Becca, and I’m sure it feels great. I’d love to have your space. I’d love to come and sew with you at your space 🙂 Just before our quilt show, I bagged up three drawers of scraps and brought them to the quilt show garage sale. It felt great to be rid of them (no worries, though, I still have a bin of scraps – ha). Well done on your studio clean up! Your wall of ribbons is fun to see too!

    1. Thanks, Wendy, you’re welcome to come and sew with me ANY time! It’s crazy how the scraps pile up, isn’t it? Occupational hazard, I guess!

  2. Come organize my space! My space had been driving me crazy, it is small and cramped. I have been sorting through, using up and reorganizing slowly. I have come to the conclusion that everything must be pulled out at one time, sorted through and organized as it is put back. I did find some nice peg board at IKEA that has attachable cups for storage. Its a start!!

    1. You know I’ll help you out! Take a look at some of the other bloggers’ posts–not everyone has the space that I lucked into, and they have lots of ideas that might inspire you.

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