Cutting the House in Half

I’ll just spill this out on ‘paper’ before my head blows up. You lucky readers! I am in the process of downsizing my sewing and teaching space from 475 sf (plus a 10 ft wall of cabinets and a few shelves in the garage) to a new studio that is only 162 sf—AND the space will be shared with the laundry equipment. Why? I’m building an apartment for my 89 year old mom in the lower level of my home. Three generations: mom, me, my two daughters. I think I’ll name it the Gabba Gabby Hey House, in honor of The Ramones. Mom hates The Ramones, but we agree on lots of other things, like how fabulous it is to SEW!

I figured out once that I had moved 21 one times, and that was about 3 moves ago. You would have thought I’d be smart enough not to collect more crap than I could fit in a car. Even though we are not moving out of our house, we had to move out of the entire lower level. I had a LOT OF STUFF down there! Not a small amount of it was/is fabric, yarn, patterns and, um, 19 sewing machines. 19. It’s as cathartic as it is shameful to say the number out loud. I justify it by telling myself that I’m a seamstress and a sewing teacher and, and, no one needs that many machines. I immediately got the number down to 14 by giving away 5 machines to former students and a good friend. That helped…a little. We haven’t even started in on my crazy magazine collections, books, pattern books, notions, ugh. Did I mention craft supplies? Mountains of it was stored in the garage. I just kept pulling out boxes. The ‘craft’ area had sort of devolved into a nightmarish pile of mess and unfindable supplies (Word is telling me that unfindable is not a word. I beg to differ). But everything had to come out and upstairs in order to start the remodeling project. I met the exit deadline with minutes to spare, by sheer will. I have never felt so truly controlled and imposed upon by my possessions. Too much stuff. I know there are volumes written on the subject, so I won’t bore you with more decluttering advice, but I will share with you the feelings of hopelessness I felt while dragging it all upstairs and wondering what I’d do with it all and how I was going to live with it piled in my living room and bedroom for two months. Yeesh. I have to go through it all and purge. Purge! Purge my fabric stash? Are you crazy? What if I need something? What if? Oh my, I sound like a hoarder. Last I heard there are still fabric and craft stores all over town. Funny that they are called STORES. I totally stole that from some organizer author woman.

So, going thru and cleaning out and clearing out all the fabric. I had about 15 or 20 plastic bins, some 8 x 20ish and some 15 x 20-all full. I emptied at least half by giving it away to my students on the last day of classes, and then by giving more away to Goodwill. I still have tons. I am going to n0w go thru and touch each piece and ask myself if I’m really ever going to sew it up. This will be an interesting exercise. Stay tuned…

Here are some pics of my old, lovely sewing lounge and the bare new space. I hope you’ll follow along and read and watch the progress. I’ll be posting pics and looking for set-up advice for my new, much smaller, clutter-free, uber-efficient sewing salon (nook, palace, corridor—help me name it)! Please join me…..and in the meantime…

Move around, eat something green, and take a stitch.
Xoxo Helen