A miracle happened last week.
I actually ended the day with a completely empty work table in my embroidery studio.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the surface of that table completely clear. And seeing it – and enjoying the benefits of it – have made a world of difference in all kinds of things this past week.
For several months, I’ve been telling you about the grievous need to re-organize my workroom. I’ve been chipping away at it slowly, making small improvements here and there that make a huge difference in efficiency, time management, and productivity.
True, I haven’t quite achieved Organizational Nirvana! But I’ve found a few solutions that have helped me manage my workspace better.
I’d like to share an organizational tip with you and show you two Very Useful Additions to the studio. They’re not fancy or anything. But they’re well loved and they’ll definitely be well used!
There it is! The empty table!
Oh, how I love thee, Table Mine, when thou art CLEAR!
The table in my studio is a pretty simple set-up. The supports are three Bisley cabinets on each end (turned outwards) that I store my threads in. I’ve written about these cabinets before here, and you can see what they look like in that article. I still love them and use them faithfully!
On top of these cabinets is a plain white tabletop from IKEA, and on top of that, a green cutting mat.
The green cutting mat comes in super handy, even if I don’t use rotary cutters to cut fabric. It gives me a place to cut mat or foam core board for framing my own embroidery; it allows me to work freely with scissors without worrying about the table top; and it provides a ready reference for measuring things, squaring up fabric, and all that.
The Proliferation of Needlework Tools
Why is it such a big deal to clear my work table?
Well, unfortunately, the table ends up being a hot spot for collection. I stack stuff on it all the time – books, projects, frames, art supplies, fabric – to put away later.
But these bigger things are not really the problem. They’re easy to put away.
It’s the little things – needlework tools, notebooks, pens, pencils, pins, needles, tacks, hoops, scissors, and, in general, Things that Need Attention – that are more difficult to manage.
In the past, to keep some semblance of order to the tools and knick knacks, I used a series of tins, trays, jars, boxes, and other miscellaneous containers that collected at each end of my table.
These collection areas kept creeping slowly towards the center of the table, threatening to meet in the middle, leaving me less and less space to work in.
In the quest for an empty work table, I decided my tools and small things needed their own living space.
To this end, I invested in two rolling utility carts from IKEA.
These carts are great! They hold all the things that I use frequently – tools, art supplies, pens, pencils, scissors, pincushions, little hoops and small frames, notebooks – in a compact, organized, portable space.
One top tray holds Current Things to Address, whether they are small projects I want to set up, books to review, things I want to share with you, and so forth. The other shelves are the happy receptors of everything that used to occupy my work table.
The carts wheel easily, so I can pull them right up next to the table when I’m working, and then I can park them away from the table when I want them out of the way.
Clear the Table!
Ideally, my table would look like this at the end of every day.
True, it doesn’t always happen! But when I make a concerted effort to end a work day with a clean table, I accomplish a lot more – and much more efficiently – the next day.
So, here’s your organizational and time management tip for your needlework pursuits: end the day with your work area in good order!
Any tips for keeping your tools and small things in your workspace organized? Feel free to chime in and share them below, so we can all benefit from each other’s ideas!