Getting organized for 2019 (and a jump start on Christmas)

One of my favorite ways to spend the post-Christmas break is to clean up and re-organize my sewing room (and other rooms/closets for that matter.)

Here’s an in-progress shot. It’s not perfectly cleaned up, but I guarantee it’s a big improvement from how it looked a couple of weeks ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of my priorities (per my goals in the last post) is I’ve started going through my WIPS/UFOs (aka Works in Progress/Unfinished Objects) and putting them in a queue (line) for what I want/need to get done first. I’m working with the lists I started last year (printable organizer pages are from Maker Valley.)

This is a great time of year to find organizing boxes, bins, drawers, etc on sale. I recently heard a great tip about organizing: don’t just go buy lots of random bins, baskets, and tubs. FIRST go through the items that need organization and purge what you don’t need. THEN decide what kind of containers will best organize what you’re keeping, andย  buy the specific containers that will best meet that need.

I’m still have lots of purging to do, but going through my projects I decided that my first priorities were better organizing my WIPS and a specific container for the Round We Go English Paper Piecing project that has been living in piles on my sewing table.ย I ended up near a Michaels this week and knew they were having a sale on storage bins and found just the right containers for these specific needs. (I’m not affiliated with Michaels – just sharing a good deal that I found.)

I bought these 12″ x 12″ clear, stackable containersย on a great sale- just the right size to hold a work-in-progress. (And they were on sale this week.) I’ve been wanting to buy some containers this size, and they were just right. I only bought three – for my top WIPs in my queue – so that they’re neat and organized with everything in one place, but easily accessible when I’m ready to work on them.

I’m sure you can find lots of options for 12″ x 12″ storage containers at most craft stores. It’s a fairly common size.

I also found this container for my English Paper Piecing project. It’s just the right size for the fabric pull I’ve had sitting on my table + all of the supplies for my sewing. I love the divided tray insert that can hold and keep organized all of my notions, templates, and smaller pieces and still fit all together under one, portable roof. It’s kind of like a Kaboodle for a 45-year-old. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also bought this container at Michaels, but I’m not seeing it on the website.

I’m also SO excited to have my 2019 Quilter’s Planner! This is the 3rd year in a row that I’ve used the Quilters Planner and it’s my go to place for calendaring, lists, etc.ย  – both for my business and personal planning. (I personally still prefer paper and pencil for calendaring and list-making.) The Quilter’s Planner has pages for each month and each week, as well as checklists, project idea pages, stickers, measurement reference charts for common quilt math, and lots of graph paper for sketching.

The Quilter’s Planner also comes with a magazine with 13 quilt patterns and a spotlight on this year’s featured artist, Camille Roskelly.

I personally like the large size of the Quilter’s Planner because it’s easier for me not to misplace ๐Ÿ˜‰ but a new option available this year is an unbound version perfect for putting the planner in your own 3-ring binder.

Lori Holt Vintage Christmas quilt blocks

Here’s what the sewing I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks. Remember how I had big plans to make more of Lori Holt’s Vintage Christmas blocks during December? (Cue laughing out loud.) Not sure why I thought that would be feasible. Our month was bananas.

But I had my fabric all pulled (isn’t it pretty?!) and have been making more of these blocks over the past few weeks. I’m looking at it as if I’m not behind, but instead I’m 12 months ahead of Christmas 2019. Right? ๐Ÿ™‚

I love using scrappy low-volume prints for this sampler quilt. I just added a few new Riley Blake basics that are perfect low-volume prints, if you’re looking for some. The top two prints are Christopher Thompson’s Blossom on White in Silver and Gold metallics and they’re perfect for an understated background. The red and green sprinkled dot is a new basic from Lori Holt – this is the Christmas dot.

I like that the prints are subtle, so they provide a good background and don’t distract, but they still give some fun texture compared to a solid white.

This station wagon block is my favorite. (It is also found in Lori Holt’sย Vintage Christmas book.) Growing up we had a red station wagon with “wood” paneling, so it’s definitely a sentimental favorite. (Anyone else remember riding backward in the 3rd row back in “the olden days”? hah)

I made this block to go with my Saltbox house that I made last year. The scale of the car is a little larger, so I’m still figuring out how they’ll work together. But I’ve got 12 months, so no problem right?

Here’s one last organization tip for you: when you have a good fabric pull, cut multiple projects at once. While I’ve got this Christmas fabric pull on my sewing table, I’m also cutting strips for 5″ squares so I that will have all the fabric pulled together ready to make Maker Valley’s Patchwork Plaid Christmas Quilt.

If you’re looking for more great sewing room and quilt stash organization tips, be sure to check out this 10 Tips for Organization guest post from Andy of A Bright Corner. (It was one of the most popular posts on this site last year, so you know it must be a good one!)

I also have some other of my favorite sewing room organization ideas and tips in this post, including organizing thread and fabric.

And if you’re looking for ideas for organizing, storing, and using your scraps, go here! Because we all know those scraps can get out of control and take over your sewing space fast.


Happy January and happy organizing!


*this post contains affiliate links

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  • Reply
    January 6, 2019 at 2:24 am

    I love the Christmas blocks. One day I must be organised enough to make a Christmas quilt, I seem to spend the run up to it all making presents, especially as we have a lot of family and friend birthdays around then too. x

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Oh man, it’s extra crazy when you have birthdays around the holiday season!

  • Reply
    January 6, 2019 at 7:19 am

    I love the idea of being 12 months ahead, rather than a month late. I am running with that one for one of my UFO’s!

  • Reply
    Stephanie W.
    January 6, 2019 at 10:52 am

    I LOVE using those 12×12 clear boxes for projects. I bought a bunch of them as well. My problem is what to do with all the leftovers from quilt kits! I have so many gallon Ziploc bags with the leftovers!

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 11:34 am

      I used to have my leftovers saved by project too and finally one day, I just sorted all of it into scrap bins by colors. It was so liberating AND I’ve had fun using them for scrap projects!

  • Reply
    Tina Kesteloot
    January 6, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Just finished my gifts for next Christmas for my Sit & Stitch group. But, I won’t tell what they are. Feels so good to be that far ahead.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Awesome!! Way to go!

  • Reply
    Sandra D in Joliet
    January 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Like most resolutions I fizzle out so I resolve not to make anymore resolutions. I always make lists of WIP’s, Wanna Make, etc but alas, I lose them or quit keeping up. I always wish to be more organized but it just doesn’t happen. I used to be extremely organized but I think I have Adult Attention Deficit or whatever because I start a project, get halfway through or 3/4 of the way and then I start something else. I have told myself I must finish somethings before starting more. I didn’t used to be this way. I wonder how I got so much done when I was younger! For one I had more energy but I was more focused and followed through until the finish. I think when I hit my 50’s I started a decline and it’s just got worse. I love Lori’s designs and want that book but I can’t buy anything except essentials for the first half of 2019. My dog had cancer and I have a hefty bill to pay off, that’s just an estimate of how long…but she was worth every penny. I do love a clear container although I label all my storage containers I can still forget without digging through the container to see if I put the pattern with the stuff. Some very good points to aspire too. Happy New Year.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Oh, I’m so sorry about your dog. ๐Ÿ™ I hope she’ll recover. I totally get the distraction! I’ve found breaking my goals down into very small pieces has helped a lot. Otherwise, I start a new “squirrel!” project all the time!

      But don’t feel bad – finishing is good and all, but I also think there’s value in the creating part. There’s something soothing about just using our hands. It sounds like you’ve had a stressful year – I’m sure just doing what you did at the time helped you to get through it. xo

  • Reply
    January 7, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    What a great post Amy! Very inspiring! I need to go organize my sewing cave now!

  • Reply
    Shasta Matova
    January 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Good tips! I am implementing the cut multiple projects at once tip now.

  • Reply
    Karen Seitz
    January 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    I have the smaller version of the Michael’s tote that I am using for my Raspberry Applique project. Now it is clear I need to go back for the larger one for my not-yet-started Round We Go project! Happy New Year, Amy!

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