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February 2009
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How To Organize Your Sewing Time

If you’re like us, there really needs to be at least 48 hours a day in order to get some stuff done!

However, since we only have 24 hours, part of which we really do need to sleep a little, do housework, cook, take care of kids’ activities, our own activities and errands, etc, we decided long ago that we simply have to have some kind of “organized” sewing and craft time.

Recently we had a note from a customer saying she has such a big fabric stash, unfinished projects laying around and ideas for new projects —– “it’s all so overwhelming, I don’t know where to start”!

We DO have a solution to the “being overwhelmed” problem.  As we can all attest to, when there is stuff laying around totally unorganized, there is really no motivation to dig in and start “somewhere” — it’s just easier to close the door and put it off until another day.

Here is our solution — AND it works very well for us, so we believe it is worth passing along.

1.  Go out and buy yourself a small spiral notebook – mine is 5″ x 7″ and has 100 sheets in it.

2.  Divide the notebook into sections — the sections may vary according to what you’re into (sewing, crafting, creating original patterns, etc), but my notebook has the following sections:
    * To Do
    * Patterns (that I’m working on or wanting to create)
    * Projects to finish
    * Articles to write
    * Classes to construct

The TO DO section includes the bigger things I want to get done, such as “clean out and re-size the grandkids dresser” (take out all the stuff that’s too small and see what we have left) “Finish tax paperwork and take to tax man”, “Add helpful links to one of my websites” – stuff other than the ordinary cook, clean and wash clothes.

The PATTERNS section has 18 original sewing and craft patterns so far that I’m either working on or have ideas to make, along with a sketch under it so I don’t forget what I want to do with it.

The PROJECTS TO FINISH section includes some carry-over projects from last year that need to be finished before I start new ones, such as making and finishing certain little outfits for the grandkids (yours will vary according to what projects you may have laying around that are started and need to be finished).

The ARTICLES TO WRITE are ideas for sewing, crafting  and business articles that I have in mind to write, along with a couple of notes and thoughts about what I want the article to say (these are types of things that come to me in the middle of the night or while driving down the road, so if I don’t write them down, I will never remember them).

The CLASSES TO CONSTRUCT are simply classes that people have been requesting information about, such as a “western wear” class to be added to PatternsThatFitYou.com –and other ideas for classes.

Now for the GOOD part — you’ll need to ADD ideas and things to do to each of the categories that you’ve made as you come up with new things.   THEN, as you finish something, mark that item off with a red pen!  Keep the notebook going all year — keep it with you wherever you are, just in case a great idea flashes across the brain and you can immediately write it down.

As you finish something in the “to do” section, mark it off;  when you’ve completed one of those projects that are laying around, mark it off.   Make up your mind to do SOMETHING every day – whether you spend 15 minutes on a project or an hour cleaning out that kids’ dresser, you will be able to mark something else off the list.  This is GREAT MOTIVATION to do something just so you can see those red marks indicating that you’ve finished something.

You will be surprised, at the end of the year, how many things you’ve not only added to the notebook, but tons of things that have gotten marked off, done, completed!!  We start a new notebook each January — transferring the undone items from the sections to the new notebook, then begin once again to add items to each section – mark off things as we get them done, etc.

We have found ourselves so much more productive since we started the notebooks — at a glance we can see what needs to be done next and get to work on it.   Try this method and let us know how it works for you.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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