6 Handy Tips for De-Cluttering Your Sewing Space

Sewing Room Organization

My sewing space along the wall in my Denver loft.


One of the key things I have realized over the years is that the way my sewing space is set up completely affects how much sewing I accomplish. Based on the space available I've done my sewing on the dining room table, I've had a sewing space set up in a second bedroom, and I've devoted a corner of my living room to a permanent sewing set-up. Of these three arrangements, I have found that I sew the most with option #3.

Currently I live in a loft space in downtown Denver, so my living room, dining room, and kitchen all open up into a large space. I've put my sewing set-up along the wall at the far end of the loft and I can pretty much see it at all times. Because everything is out in the open I sew much more often, even sewing for short bits of time just to keep a project moving. When my sewing machine was in another room or I had to pull everything out to set things up on the dining room table it seemed like a lot of effort and I tended to only sew on the weekends when I had big blocks of time. Now my sewing is regularly incorporated into my daily routine because my set-up is more of a live/work space which is ideal for me.

The challenge is that with my sewing stuff all out in the open good storage and organization solutions are critical. If the space is messy or cluttered I can see it while I'm sitting on the couch watching TV or eating at the dining room table and it drives me crazy! Plus when friends come over I can't just close the door to the sewing room and have the clutter be out of sight and out of mind.

So I got a lot of great ideas for creative storage and decluttering tips from the new issue of Studios magazine. Like most of you, my fabric stash and notions tend to grow at an exponential rate, so it's time to do some spring cleaning and get it under control. There is a great article from the editors titled, 12 Ways to De-stash Your Studio that I should really tear out of the magazine and pin up on my bulletin board. Here are 6 of my favorite tips from the article that I'm going to start following right away:

A design in process on the dress form.

I keep lots of magazines for project inspiration.  I store fabric scraps, ribbons, and embroidery floss separated in these pretty fabric boxes.


– Admit you have a problem. The first step in parting with your stuff is admitting that you have more than you could ever use. Once you acknowledge you will never use it all, you can start to mentally separate from it.

– Start small. Don't try to do it all at once. Pick a category, such as patterns, kits, or one particular fiber form (yarn, fabric) and tackle that from start to finish.

– Sort. Get three bins or bags and label one "give," one "toss," and one "keep." Things that are broken, ripped, or outdated in a way that makes them unusable go in "toss." Recycle what you can.

– Create in the now. As you sort, if you hesitate over an item, ask yourself if it complements the kind of work you are doing right now-not the kind you used to do or might possibly do in the future.

– Swap. Maybe you don't have too much stuff. Maybe you just have the wrong stuff. Invite your artsy friends to bring some of their surplus stash and trade.

– Don't bring it home. Next time you see a bag of Depression-era fabric scraps at the flea market or your neighbor offers you a plastic bin full of crochet supplies, ask yourself: do I really need it? Do I have room for it? Does it help me create now? If the answers are no, smile, and walk away, happy in the knowledge that you still have room in your studio to create.

These are great tips we can all benefit from no matter how your sewing space is set-up. Be sure to check out more great tips and tour the inspiring studios of other sewers, quilters, and artists in Studios magazine. You are bound to get ideas for how to make your sewing space more organized, efficient, and inspiring.

Happy sewing,


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One thought on “6 Handy Tips for De-Cluttering Your Sewing Space

  1. Tricia, your first tip is my favorite!

    I tend to fall “in love” with my stash. I don’t know why I create such a connection with everything I have, but I do and it creates a real problem when I am overwhelmed with stash and cannot create anything. I have bagged up supplies to give away…only to take them back out of the bag – or worse – I have actually re-purchased my stash at the local thrift store.

    Any tips for the person that sees potential in everything and can’t seem to let go?