Can Cleaning Lead to Bright Ideas? Open Line Friday

Quilt stripsGood Morning, Quilters!

Did you ever find yourself lost in your sewing room?  I mean literally lost?

Every so often, my sewing room gets to such a state of entropy that there’s just no other choice, but to stop and clean…

(Though I admit sometimes it’s just a form of procrastination…)Quilt stripsAs I began sorting and sifting and moving and rearranging, I realized that I was enjoying myself!

New fabric combinations revealed themselves…
Quilt stripsI’m not sure where this is going yet, but as soon as my sewing room is spotless I’ll let you know.

What about YOU?

Does cleaning and organizing ever make you feel calmer?  Does it lead you to new discoveries (besides that old apple core…)

Would YOU feel more creative if your space was a bit neater or more organized?!

We’d LOVE to hear!

Lollygagging Lori

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, share or Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

56 thoughts on “Can Cleaning Lead to Bright Ideas? Open Line Friday

  1. I love it when my space is tidy – I can find what I want with no time wasted! But then it descends in to chaos again as more ‘things’ arrive in the post; more patterns are downloaded and printed; more boxes with project ideas are pulled together and stacked waiting to join the WIP pile(!)…

    But yes! When I tidy and sort out again I love finding new ideas, and old ones that have been forgotten; fabric I forgot I bought; projects that were sort of started but somehow didn’t go the the UFO pile; and most importantly the occasional find of something that is so very nearly complete that I have to stop right then and finish it 🙂

    Happy days…

  2. For me cleaning is a form of procrastination, when I cannot decide what to next or cannot make up my mind about a project. However I do love it when my sewing room is neat and tidy…. just wish some elves would do the tidying during the night.

  3. I do get a sense of satisfaction after I clean up my sewing room. It clears my mind and I get excited about tackling my pile of “to do” projects. A bonus is when you find something that has been misplaced or forgotten.

  4. Yes, me too! And I am also guilty of using cleaning as a method of procrastination. But when I cannot find my favorite pair of scissors, something must be done. I have to be careful though, because tidying up often means a whole day is gone petting fabric and playing with the colors.

  5. My guest room is used for sewing. It has my sewing machine & cabinet in the room. The closet is where I keep my ever growing stash & notions. So when I have guest I am usually rushed to just shove things into the closet. Wish I had builtins to house my goodies and keep it still looking elegant.

    So today is cleaning it all up and organizing again; and again; and again!!

    This should be the least of my problems.

  6. I also like a tidy place. Something about walking into a clean room. But I have fibromyalgia and arthritis so by the time I finish the cleaning I’m to tired out to sew and this makes me so very unhappy. Hopefully the next day my energy is back and then into a clean room I go. I do admit the tinkering part of cleaning is quite relaxing

  7. Every Friday I clean and organize my sewing room which is a good size 20 x 20. I always find treasures I forgot I had!

  8. Yes, I’ve just started the same process, and I feel much calmer and am enjoying my sewing more. Having just read Marie Kondo’s, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was motivated to get my favorite area tidy. I don’t agree with all her zen stuff, but she’s right about how we feel when our world is orderly. Anyway, I love your site and am learning a lot. Thank you.

    • I read it too! Some of it is just not practical-like dumping Every book on the floor. But a lot resonates!

    • Dawk2022, I found the book you used on Amazon for $10-something…I’m going to get it if you really do recommend it…I need all the help and inspiration I can get! Any other great recommendations?

      • I am not sure I recommend it. See if you can find the articles about her and her process. Then decide for yourself. It’s very extreme. But many of the ideas are usedul

    • Loved your sewing room. I have a large room but it is jam packed with stuff. I NEED TO PURGE and give away what I am not doing or using. I’m also a gadget collector…..they must see me coming!!!!

  9. Yes, I need a neat sewing space in order to work on my ongoing project! I find that looking for a certain color fabric leads me down a creative “rabbit hole” and 2 hours later I’ve combined other fabrics for more projects!

  10. Sometimes, it is amazing what I uncover when I clean things up — long lost items I knew I had but just couldn’t find! I may not feel all that charged with creativity, but at least I know I am not losing my mind and that the things I thought I had I still have!

  11. My sewing room is never tidy for long, lol. But I agree with everyone else. I love sorting fabric, finding that quick & easy project I just couldn’t resist at the fabric store or quilt show. Just yesterday I was looking at various patterns & dreaming of the finished product. I never thought of it as procrastination, but I believe it is, although things get organized, all but temporarily. And more importantly, it makes me happy. Besides, who wants to clean the bathroom when you can clean the sewing room.

  12. For me cleaning is both relaxing and inspiring. My sewing space is relatively small, and triples as the sewing room and guest bedroom, so it is easy for things to get out of control. But, I find I work better when it is as tidy as possible…considering that I usually have several projects going at once. When I reach a pause in my mind, often after sewing a lot for a few days running, I give things a quick tidy up. And, like you, new ideas emerge…

  13. Yes. I have my 2 granddaughters stay with me just about every other weekend and we only have 2 bedrooms in our small home, so I have to completely clean my sewing room and turn it into a little girls room every 2 weeks. While I dread putting away a project I am right in the middle of sewing, it sort of forces me to stay somewhat organized and I am amazed when they leave on Sunday and I set the table and machine back up how re-energized I feel and motivated to jump right back in. Just found your site lately and am loving it. I free motion almost all of my quilts with my Janome (the basic machine with nothing fancy on it) and your site has intrigued me to try new designs other than the basic stippling.

  14. I like my room neater because it’s easier to work in the space. I’m not really creative, I’m more of a planned person when it comes to projects so cleaning doesn’t bring new ideas. I’ve never really thought about combining “old” fabrics in new ways. Now that the idea has hit home with me, I’m going to make it my goal to look at “leftovers” in a new way and try to be more creative in this way!

  15. I can spend lots of time cleaning and reorganizing and it does recharge the creativity. However, after just one project, it seems to be nearly as bad as it was before I started!

  16. Absolutely, I love it when I clean and straighten up my sewing space. I just don’t do it often enough, Mostly I see things I forgot I had and want to use it in some way I hadn’t thought of before.

  17. If I am working on a project(s) I don’t tidy up my sewing space. If I am done with projects for a few days, I like to put everything away so I can have a “clean slate” to start the next project.

    • I agree with you, Mary C. Having things within reaching distance while working on a project is good for me. But reorganizing puts closure on the quilting process and allows me to refresh my creative juices. I’m easily distracted, though. Colors or patterns or textures just put my brain in high gear.

  18. You read my mind.
    I use the stacking and piling method frequently…. after a while, avalanches occur.

    Invite friends and family over and wowie, you can get that room organized and magazine page ready.
    Sometimes I come home from a day of doctor appointments for mom or dad, and ready to sew…. then I look at my mess and spend the entire evening sorting, arranging, adding projects to my list, and maybe painting some clothespins pink, green or Calypso Blue 🙂 😀

  19. Cleaning is just a distraction. I’ll find UFOs or get new ideas and I’m off on a new project. Cleaning is just a waste of my creative time!

  20. My quest room is also my sewing room. We will be putting our home up for sale soon and moving to the coast so that my husband can live his dream of fishing. Now you are all wondering about my dream. I have made a deal with my husband that I will move but in my new home I WILL have a quilting room. Yes, I am blackmailing my husband. Hee hee. I do a deep cleaning in my quilting room every time I start a new project. That includes cleaning and oiling my machines. I always find items that I forgot I had. I love that!

  21. Absolutely. When I clean and organize my space, I get new ideas, I see fabrics sometimes in a way I didn’t see them before, or fabric combinations, and it’s always a good thing.

    I’ve been playing a lot with precuts lately, but one of my goals is to reorganize my fabric shelves by color so that I can start using up more of my (extensive) stash. So I can buy more! 🙂

  22. I used to be really good about working on one project at a time from start to finish, and then cleaning the sewing room — REALLY cleaning, not just straightening — before starting the next project. Since I’ve begun to fragment my focus between different projects that are all at different stages, I’m having more trouble keeping my studio functional, organized and clean. However, I did spend some time yesterday neatening things up, in a weird preparation/procrastination fit for a garment project that I know will challenge me and I’m afraid will end up as another straight-to-Goodwill-garment fail! It’s amazing how many things I can find in my house that urgently need dusting when I am afraid of cutting out the wrong size/using the wrong interfacing/misreading the pattern instructions for a silly old skirt!

  23. Procrastination ! I thought it was tidying my tiny space when I didn’t have time to sew. But I just wanted to be around my fabric stash.

  24. I have a really nice-sized sewing studio (my hubby decided when we moved to CO from VA that I deserved to graduate to a studio from a room). I have cupboards along one wall to hold my fabric and my projects are kept in colorful baskets on top of them. When I’m working on a project, my studio can get a bit messy – fabric all over the place, rulers left on the cutting table, sewing machine uncovered. But when I’ve finished, even if I have another project immediately in the works, I always straighten up. It’s like preparing a fresh canvas.

  25. How timely.. The ” straightening up” bug hit me in middle of night Wed when I couldn’t sleep..My sewing room contents were getting mountainous and there was no more space across the hall in the guest room..I have come to see things in a new the house and in a small garage/cottage out back. I was laid up for 5 weeks with a hurt right knee, leg, shoulder, elbow wrist. In physical therapy. No sympathy needed .. just wanted to make the point that having to be still, elevate, ice the injuries, etc. kept me from my beloved sewing.. right in middle of making a throw for my grown son’s birthday. My priorities got “straightened up” rather well.. !!! Now that sewing stuff is all over the house so I can start putting it back in an organized order, I just about went into panic mode.. as that amount of energy spent after the long recuperation was causing fibro. and arthritis to flare. I got a bag with rolling feet, put in my sewing machine and went out to the cottage and this morning FINISHED the little quilt for my son. My other circular point is that I realized plastic containers of all sizes were keeping art supplies and other materials hostage while fabric was sitting piled on guest beds. I rarely used those supplies for years now but they had prime real estate in my closets.No more, I have broken out of that mold and all quilting will have the prime real estate now. Donations to all kinds of groups are on the agenda.. starting this afternoon. I feel like a huge weight is lifted.. Quilting is my true love right after my SpouseMan of 48 years.

  26. I try to sort and clean after each project but if I do to much rearranging then I can’t always find what I need. It’s still a good feeling because I love to clean.

  27. I just finished organizing, cleaning, rearranging my sewing room because it was too out of order to feel comfortable. By the time I finished yesterday I felt so good, found a couple projects I had forgotten about and I worked on them for an hour before I called it a day. Good feeling

  28. Cleaning? Tidying? Never, ever!
    (Although I have to say that as I don’t have a dedicated room, and I have to set it up and clear it every time…)
    Whenever I feel I have to tidy things up, and put them away in different closets and boxes, I later forget where they are, and waste time trying to find them…
    I feel better when there is a certain degree of chaos, and when I can work on 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 projects at a time. While I work on one, I think how I am going to confront and handle the next one. And I think about a little bag full of X-colour scraps and how I’m going to use them. Pressure makes me feel I’m alive, and i don’t like cleaning.

  29. I feel much better……renewed and ready to star sewing again when I tidy up the room.. When my sewing room is a mess I don’t really want to be in the room. I’ve gone done there …sat down looked around at the mess and went back upstairs. When I make up my mind to reorganize and tidy up I actually enjoy it.

  30. I have been attending retreats and workshops and packing up and unpacking has helped me get organized a bit. But I love to pull out my stash and re stack and sort the fabrics. I find great combinations and my creativity flows.
    Like all quilters I struggle with good solutions to organization. I don’t think I will ever be done. As long as I can find what I need, I think I am doing fine.

  31. For me cleaning is procrastinating. My sewing room is constantly a mess and I do have lost things, but I would rather sew than tidy.

  32. Wow, Lori. You really hit a nerve. Sounds like we all have strong feelings about cleaning the quilting area. I feel better when it is all straightened and tidy, but I don’t let an untidy room stop me from starting a new project.
    I got serious about cleaning out stuff last year when I had no more room for new fabric. That was the tipping point. I boxed up pounds of patterns, odd fabrics, magazines and notions that no longer speak to me. My local quilt guild needs all of those things for charity projects, so I felt we both benefited by my cleaning jag. And, I found several projects I’d forgotten all about – almost like Christmas Day.

  33. I’ve made it a habit to clean and tidy up every time I “finish” a project (more like switch from one project to another)….that way, my mind gets re-organized and re-directed too (from the previous project to the current one)…

  34. After I finish a project I like to clean and put things where they belong before I begin another project. Several times a year I go through my stash, books, tools and donate things that I won’t be using. I find this helps keep my sewing room organized and I’m more relaxed in a clean, organized area. This works for me, I have a friend that creates beautiful quilts in a space that I would describe as chaos….we are all digfferent!

    • Nikki, if you actually put your things in different places, just make a short drawing of the floor plan and where everything is located, or just a list saying what is where. Hopefully, you put like things together!

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