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Clearing the clutter

Recently I started working with a coach to help me enhance the positives in my life. I expected us to focus on big important things but when she asked what my goals were the ones that came to mind seemed quite small.

She told me that there is no right or wrong goals and the small things often facilitate the bigger changes.

To demonstrate the impact of the small things one of the tasks she set was to clear a room in the house to allow the energy to flow. The aim was to identify any places in the room where energy might be blocked or trapped and think of ways to clear them. We also had to reflect on the items in the room and our association with them.

I thought the task would be relatively easy as I don't consider myself a hoarder but as she described some of the items to reflect on I realised I might have a bit more work to do than I first thought.

What is clutter?

We talked about the energy that we associate with items we own. Some items we may have a had from a long time ago - old clothes, old birthday cards, old magazines, unwanted gifts for example. She asked us to reflect on the person we were when we first got those items compared to the person we are now.

My life has changed quite significantly over the last couple of years but I realised that I have items around me that date back much further than that. Her point was that if we hold onto these older items then we don't necessarily have any space for new items that may be more appropriate in supporting who we are today.

She also talked about the location of items and their ease of access in relation to our goals. If items that you need to achieve what you want to do are not easily within reach how is that affecting your ability to make progress.

So you might be thinking 'well how does this apply to sewing?' Thank you for asking :)

I turned my attention for this task to my sewing room. I realised a number of things:

My sewing room with high cupboards and shelves

1. I had a stash of fabrics that I bought a few years ago when I was lacking in confidence in my sewing and feeling in a state of lack financially. I bought these fabrics because they were cheap and didn't feel I could get rid of them. Equally in my heart-of-hearts I knew that I didn't really want to make anything out of them. But here they were taking up space in my lovely room and each time I saw them there was a slight feeling of dread and guilt (not ideal emotions for helping creativity!)

2. The more beautiful fabrics I had bought for more recent projects I had put away in a high cupboard that was difficult to open and hard to see.

3. I had acquired a number of bags and boxes on the floor of my little room making it a bit of an obstacle course to even get in to my desk and workspace.

4. The collection of patterns I have are both physical and digital and when I am thinking about a new project then it is quite hard work to sift through them to find what I want.

So I made some changes.

Getting started

I pulled out all the bits of fabric in my stash. I sorted them into the beautiful ones that are in my current colour palette and that I have project ideas lined up for. I put these ones into my dresser glass fronted cabinet so that I can see them easily and pull them out to work on. The next pile were fabrics I still love but don't have an immediate project for. These went into the cupboard part of the dresser - still easy to access to a bit less visible. The third pile were the ones that I no longer felt a connection to. I thanked these fabrics and they are now ready for me to pass on (via a charity shop).

My reorganised, easily accessible fabrics

In the more difficult to reach cupboard I now have the tools and resources that I don't use very often and only the ones that have value to me or bring me joy (the rest were passed on to the bin).

I then tackled the bags and boxes. Some of them had contained bits of fabrics/projects mentioned above, some of them contained items I had used for teaching that I found homes for and some of the contained items that I had been holding onto because I wasn't sure if I might need them so I consciously let those go too.

Finally to help me get my patterns organised I began to use a tool that I had seen recommended in a sewing blog - an application called Trello. I took or downloaded photos of all of my patterns and put them as cards into the Trello app. I tagged them by type of garment and type of fabric so that I can easily filter them and as I complete a project with a particular pattern I can now also attach a photo for my own reference. I have also started adding the fabric requirements so that if I am out and about and see some fabric that I love I can easily double check the requirements from my phone.

My Trello Dressmaking board with all my patterns

Since making these changes I have found I really enjoy spending time in my sewing room, and I stay excited while I am in there as I am more focused on what I want to work on. I have been more productive finishing outstanding projects and clearing out projects that I no longer want to do, without guilt or embarrasment.

There is still some work to do as I do still have a few 'stuck' areas to tackle and items to let go of. I also want to paint my dresser to fit my new decor and get a new carpet. But Rome wasn't built in a day and at least I feel like I have a plan.

So how is your space impacting and/or supporting you? Are there any small changes you'd like to make to get you started or moving? If there are then be sure to book a slot of time for you to get started on doing something for you - I can wholeheartedly recommend it :) Please share in the comments your thoughts and how you get on making any changes.

Who knew tidy knickers could bring so much joy!

p.s. As part of the process I also tackled some elements of my bedroom and I have to share a pic of my knicker drawer as I am so proud of it. Even when I don't even need to get anything out of that drawer I just open it to take a look as it keeps making me smile.

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