A New Sewing Room

A New Sewing Room
GOAL: Create a sewing room from an underutilized attic room
TIME: 4 Hours  COST: Labor

The sewing space had been on a small table in a guest room.
When it was time to redo the guest room,
the homeowner decided to turn the attic room into a sewing room.
This attic room has one dormer window and one overhead light.
It was underutilized.  Bits and pieces lay about the room.
The room had no designated function.
Quite a few things were moved either into storage or other areas where they could be used.
Using what we had on hand, we created a working space for sewing
and a space for relaxing. A folding table was brought out of storage 
because two sewing machines are used. Lamps were also brought out of storage.
The small TV and DVD set were placed on the end of the larger table until 
another solution can be found. Its placement is suitable for sewing, 
sitting in the rocker, or relaxing on the day bed.
The art and accessories we discovered in the attic room set the color tone.
Later, the homeowner plans to paint the room a beige color.
With the Americana Country accents on hand, 
I discovered complementary fabrics in the homeowner's collection.
The fabric on the day bed isn't trimmed yet,but it covers the old covers for now.
The old white valance was removed and a new valance was made to match the new color scheme.

Below, art was centered over the daybed.  The trunk was moved to create a side table and fill a space under the low ceiling.  Small lamps were added.  The left side table was what the small TV
 sat on before the room redo. For now, a single pillow was found to match the color scheme.

When I agreed to take on the sewing room project, I didn't realize 
the day bed had to be included at the time.
Because a guest room makeover meant a new, larger bed, 
the day bed was moved out and found a home in this new space.  
The day bed became the linchpin because of its size and it established 
a mood that would include rest and work.
As a result, the bed was the first thing to find a place in this room.
Several pieces need to stay.  The large shelf unit would prove useful for sewing supplies.
Over-sized rolls of fabric find a space between the shelves and a storage room door.
The rocker and side table became part of the rest and relax goal.

The small sewing table was used for the older sewing machine.
A hoop was hung to fill an empty spot on the wall.
The sewing table has a fold down edge which just fits against the slanted ceiling.
A basket beside the day bed holds fabric which compliments the color choice for the daybed cover.
It will be used later to create throw pillows and a dust ruffle.
Five quilt pictures set the Americana Country scheme.
The sewing table has mason jars recycled to hold sewing tools.
A basket holds booklets and patterns.
Tucked into a nook, under an eave, this basket holds guides and rulers. 
A small table top ironing board is tucked into a back corner.
The old blanket chest makes a great side table in a tight corner.

Sometimes you want to get a project started but keep coming across obstacles.  Add painting to the list and you may never get started.  Besides, for this project, painting wasn't on the check list to begin with.  It wasn't until I saw what we had to work with, that I developed a color scheme on the spot.  Originally, the idea was to create a sewing room because the homeowner was redoing a guest room and needed to move the sewing stuff somewhere else.  She had an unused attic room and decided to "just do it".  Sometimes this impromptu spontaneity is just what it takes to get a project rolling.  So, as far as painting goes, she can paint later...after she begins using the space...after she sews the day bed cover... after she makes pillows....then, when she's ready, she'll paint, because by then, she'll have made this room her own and 
created some great things in it and for it.

This is the TO DO LIST for the home owner now that the room has been set up with a working lay out.
1.  It's time to paint the walls.  The home owner didn't like the color and we settled on a beige / tan with gold undertones.
2. Now that there's a nice space to sit, it's time to take stock of the sewing supplies.  Loosely grouped in containers and baskets, take inventory.  Tag every box with a label on the end to make it easier to identify contents.
3. After painting, secure the power cords to the back of the tables to clear the visual clutter.
4. The rug needs spot cleaning.
5. The day bed has a temporary coverlet.  We found some great fabric she already owned.  The largest piece serves as a temporary cover and needs to be trimmed out.  To the left of the day bed is a basket of scrap fabric with complimentary patterns and colors.  These smaller pieces can be used to make throw pillows.
As for buy recommendations, live in this room a while, and see what you really need.  Then, IF you can't make do with something already laying around the house, buy only what you really need.

Storage Closet Reorganization

Storage Closet Reorganization
GOAL: Clear the clutter and make this small space more usable.
TIME: 2 Hours  COST: Labor
This is a small storage closet under a stairwell.  
It is home to files and records, stationery and desk supplies, 
a vacuum cleaner, and an overflow of books.

The ceiling drops and a small corner tapers down.
At the entrance, small shelves are overloaded and cluttered.
Items are tacked to the wall.

A clear path
The book case is organized and free of clutter.
Both  small shelves were moved onto one wall.  
Stationery and desk supplies are on these shelves now.
Around the corner, the vacuum cleaner has a new home.
The small storage boxes contain individual tax year info 
and fit nicely under the slanted eave.

BEFORE       and       AFTER

1. Book shelves in storage closets can be multi-purpose. The small shelves are home to paper supplies.  The larger case holds self-help books. These kinds of books are highly personal and reveal a lot about you. Avoid putting these books in guest rooms and public spaces.
2. Clutter is so easy to create, so create a space for your clutter. 
3. Put things where they belong the first time.
4. The vacuum cleaner was such an easy thing to hide. Tucked around a corner out of sight, it's now out of the walk way.
5. Picture frames were everywhere.  For this homeowner a corner of a seldom used closet has now become an out-of-the-way space for old pictures.
6. Nothing was recycled.  Things found a new home in this space and a few things were put in other spots.
7. Nothing was bought for this organization.  Old tins and empty plastic bins and shoe boxes were used to organize a few things. A few mementos decorate the book case.
8. Don't create work where none is needed. The home owner had a great system in place for greeting cards. The plastic drawer sets on the book case are labeled for every occasion. The plastic boxes with tax records work great and fit nicely under the slanted ceiling.  I only recommend labeling the boxes on the ends, instead of the tops. It's easier to read at a glance. 
9. The only buy recommendation I have is a medium size bulletin board.  It's better to pin something into cork than your nicely painted walls.
10. The files will wait for another day.  But now there's room to set up a chair and tackle that later.

China Pantry Reorganization

GOAL: To clear the clutter and create a usable space
TIME: 2 Hours COST: 2 Hours Labor

Welcome to a china hutch in need of organization. 
Behind closed doors hides an extra hour of organizing.
The display shelves were overwhelmed with bits and pieces.
Some of it should not have been on display.
Some needed to be displayed differently and grouped according to style.

Items are grouped together in sets or complimentary styles. 

Before, on the left, clutter. After, on the right, a serene space.
Now there's room for a buffet on the counter top.

Organized drawers: candles, decorative stones, wine baubles, extra silverware and more.
Hidden behind closed doors, these things are grouped into sets.  The candles and candlesticks are on the far left. The remaining bridge set items are on the far right. In the middle, all the misc. things that were cluttering the display cabinets line two shelves.  Of all the small odds-and-ends, only the front top row in the center are those items which are regularly used.  Easy to reach, but not pretty enough for a display cabinet, these now have a home when not in use.

TWO QTY- 18 gallon Rubbermaid containers of excess stuff was removed from this area. Very little was recycled or donated.  Mostly it was put where it belonged in other parts of the house. Too many times stuff gets put down in the wrong spot. A little extra effort prevents a mountain of clutter.

Once again, this was a reorganization which required only elbow grease and nothing new needed to be bought. Remember, don't buy organizers until you know you need them. For this project, nothing more was used than cardboard boxes to bundle candles and reused plastic baskets to organize decorative stones. 

Pretty and functional

With 25 LB of bread flour to store, canning jars and recycled spaghetti jars come in handy.
An underutilized shelf serves for storage. With the lace trimmed shelves it makes for a pretty little picture.

Dish Pantry Organization

GOAL: Create a usable, clutter-free dish and china pantry
TIME: 3 Hours  COST: Labor Only
Open the door and there was hardly any room to walk.

This dish / china pantry had become a storage closet.
Some items were tossed in out of convenience. 
Many things had been forgotten.
A bookcase for cook books had become a drop spot for odds and ends.
Books were double stacked.  Over half the books were not cooking related and 
were moved to another area in the home.
Holiday items and  knick-knacks cluttered the shelves. 
Three table tops (6x5) of items were removed.  A third removed was designated for either donation or recycling.The rest went to other parts of the home where it belonged.  Surprisingly, nearly a third was holiday related and went into a storage room where it had not been returned after use.


Everything has been grouped together. 
Seldom used items are on the top shelves.
Picnic coolers, over sized tupperware, and paper goods are on the floor level. 
Next are appliances and then cleaning goods over the paper goods, all nearest the door.
An "odds" shelf accommodates those single bits and storage jars (second shelf on right).
On the back wall, several sets of dishes are grouped together.  These are not everyday dishes, which are in the main kitchen area. Above the dish sets are glass sets. (Again, not the everyday glasses.)
The wall to the right has shelves organized according to purpose. Mixing bowls are together. Casserole dishes share a shelf. Punch sets and stock pots take up the top two shelves.
At last a place to walk.

The book case has room for more cook books.

Below, a small corner beside the book shelf.  Behind the foot stool, a metal waste can has grill utensils inside.  Originally double hung with the frying pans, there wasn't enough room for both.
In the middle, the book case top is clear and the cookbooks are organized along side recipe boxes. 
At right, items hung on the walls stayed in place.
1. Single nails aren't necessarily the prettiest but are the the most functional sometimes, such as those used for the fly swatters. These remained unchanged.  
2. Other things such as the mops and brooms need more than a nail. I suggested that the homeowner reconsider the quantity of mops, etc. and then secure these in a better arrangement behind the door with anchored screws or hooks.
3. Remember to return items where they belong after they are used.  Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it again a second or third time.
4. Group dish sets together.  You are more like to use them for special occasions if they are easy to find and have a designated space to return to when finished.
5. Don't buy organizational tools until you know what you have.
6. The well worn step stool stays in the pantry where it is used.  Another step stool serves the clothes closets in this home.  
7. Keep objects together that serve a similar purpose such as casserole pans, mixing bowls, or party dishes.
8. Paper goods, extra trash bags and baggies are next to the door for convenience.