Sunday, 15 March 2015

Spring cleaning

Happy Mothers Day!

Yesterday, I had a free day. I had intended to go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with my Mother in Law, but she changed her mind, and as I don't knit, it seemed a bit pointless to go myself. So, I decided to put the day to good use and I cleared out the Hall Cupboard of Doom (Duh Duh Duuuuuh!)  I thought you might like to see. Bear with me. This is sewing related.

I didn't take any before photos, other than the one below which I took ages ago. This cupboard is our only "built in" storage in the flat and is housed beneath our upstairs neighbour's staircase. It's pretty deep, but narrow, and obviously doesn't have full height all the way back. In this we store coats, hats and gloves etc, vacuum, most of my sewing stuff, our filing cabinet, shopping bags, a buggy, lightbulbs etc, vases, kids art and craft stuff, wellies, and generally just loads and loads of crap. What you can't see from this photo is that you couldn't actually walk into the cupboard, which was litttered with carrier bags containing piles of Baby Boy's stuff that he has grown out of, other things to be donated and fabric/sewing supplies.

The process was straightforward: take everything out and put it into one of 3 piles. Charity shop, chuck/recycle or keep.

I filled 2 binliners with fabric to be recycled, and one with rubbish to be thrown out. The former wass was small fabric scraps and items I'd been keeping because they might be useful. I had 4 pairs of holey jeans in there!!! While sometimes small scraps can be useful, I just don't have the space to keep them, so out they went.

Fabric to be recycled
The plastic box where I previously kept my fabric wasn't really working. It was too big to pull out, which meant I couldn't access what was in there, so it was moved to the boys' bedroom for toy storage. This left me with piles of stuff that needed rehoused. So, we decided at 4pm that we should go to Ikea! Actually it was fine. It was pretty quiet and we had our tea there. We went with a specific list and while we still didn't get home til after 7pm, we spent less than £40!!! I consider that a success.

I didn't get it finished last night, so I did it this morning. Which led onto clearing out the top of our wardrobe too. Not quite your typical Mothers Day, but I was glad to get it done. It feels so much better!

So, what does it look like now?

I replaced the large plastic box in the first photo with 2 Drona cubes from Ikea. The space on the second shelf is where the vacuum will sit.

The green boxes houses large scraps (anything large enough to make pocket linings or bias binding, or larger), plus some craft bits and bobs like felt. The turquoise box contains silk and cotton fabric, plus a couple of fabrics I plan to sew with next. The fabric bag with the face contains my most used sewing equipment, plus cables for sewing machine and overlocker. This is the bag I used to take to my sewing class. Although I haven't been for over a year, I still keep those things in a bag.

The very top shelf (just seen) has lightbulbs, hoover bags and also the boys' craft box. Second shelf down: wooden box contains interfacing and wadding. The plastic basket holds my paper patterns, while the coloured folders are for printed PDFs. With a bag of toy stuffing on top. Bottom shelf: vintage sewing box, thread, pins, buttons. I bought a glass jar in Ikea for the thread but it doesn't all fit, so I need to get another. The remaining thread (black, white and grey) are in a sandwich bag for the time being.

The cardboard (Molton Brown) box holds ribbons and trims. The vintage sewing box needs done up at some point. It is missing several screws. It contains zips, fastenings and some other bits and bobs.

Thread. I sorted it by colour. Saddo.

Beneath the coats (which are on the left of the cupboard): the nappy box contains my overlocker thread. The orange Sainsbury's bag has stuff to be refashioned/repaired, and the John Lewis bag contains a WIP, namely my coat. Also, the car seat to the right.

Overlocker thread. Finally, it has a home!

This hasn't really changed, but it shows the buggy, the filing cabinet, my overlocker, plus on the shelf, my current sewing machine and my old sewing machine, which was originally mum's - she got it for her 21st birthday. I don't ever use it but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. It does work, so one day I will get it serviced so that I can use it.

I was really tempted to get a Raskog, which seems to be the sewing accessory of the moment, but I don't really need it.

When clearing through things, I found a couple of picture hanging kits from Ikea. I was able to combine the contents into one box, leaving this one which is perfect for bobbin storage!

Unfortunately I still have too much sewing stuff to fit in the cupboard. I previously had stored more fabric in this vintage picnic basket on top of our wardrobe, but again it wasn't really accessible because there was so much other junk up there. Which was why I found myself clearing through that this morning. Sorry no before pic, but imagine excessive cardboard boxes (a lot of which were empty???!!!! Seriously, past Helen, what were you thinking?), a 25 year old rucksack, suitcases and lots and lots of dust. 


We still have to keep our suitcases there, but at least now it's still ones that we use (they are to the right, not in the photo). I kept a couple of the boxes - you know, useful things like bridal hair decorations and Venetian masks - but they are now labelled . The bottom vintage picnic basket contains polyesters and poly/cottons, plus knits. The top one is empty, but at least it looks nice and can be used at some point in the future.

It all feels so much nicer and cleaner and easier to access. I keep going into the cupboard just to look. And having gone through my stash, I have a clearer picture of what I have. Actually, there wasn't too much that I had forgotten about, but it made me realise why I haven't been sewing from the stash. Not only could I not access it, but very few of the fabrics in there fit my current wardrobe. Previously my sewing was all about skirts, blouses and dresses, all in wovens: cotton and silk. And my stash pretty much reflects this. But that's what I wear to the office, and for the past 11 months I've been on Maternity leave. And when I'm on Maternity leave, I wear jeans and t-shirts, and jumpers and cardigans, and my stash does not reflect that whatsoever!

TBH I'm in a bit of a rut, clothes wise, particularly as in the morning I tend to just throw on whatever is clean and doesn't need ironed, so with a bit of organisation I could wear a bit more blouses and possibly even casual dresses, especially as the weather is improving a bit and I'm no longer breastfeeding. And I will be going back to work at some point, so I will be able to use those woven fabrics in the future, which makes me feel better. But I do feel a bit better about having bought fabric recently - because what I have bought fits my current wardrobe. I just need to make sure I sew it up before I buy even more, and before I return to work!

Finally, I'd like to add I did have a nice Mothers Day in the end - my first with 2 children - I got the satisfaction from this being organised, we went out for lunch to the local pub, and I got a The Village Haberdashery gift card, plus the promise of child free sewing time from the boys. And, perhaps best of all, my first ever hand written card from Small Boy.



  1. I love that just organised feeling, its great! Your Mother's Day card is so cute, it is so special when you get that first written card, I have kept all my cards from the kids!

  2. Everyone is spring cleaning at the moment! I have to tackle the fabric stash at some point soon. Our under stairs cupboard is full to bursting and like you, I just can't see what's in there to sew from it!

  3. I really liked seeing your newly organised space. I have periodic tidy ups and have never missed anything I got rid of! I particularly like the green boxes, nice to look at when you open the cupboard. Also, glad you had a nice Mother's Day. I was working so imam having mine next Sunday. Can't wait!

  4. I love a good reorganize. Makes me very aware I have not had a good sort out in a while. Love your mothers day card. I got one with a hand drawn sewing machine on! He knows his Mum!

  5. Well done on a great job! It all looks fantastic. There's nothing like a good tidy up to get you inspired again, I find. What a beautiful card - the handmade ones are so precious, aren't they? May it be the first of many more!

  6. Wow job well done! It must feel so good to have it all sorted. I love the home made card too!


I love to hear from you!

© Grosgrain Green | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig