I don’t know about you but January always brings a mix of emotions for me. It’s sad to see the last year pass but I’m happy and excited for what the new year can bring. My mum always told me you need to start the year the way you mean to go on. With that in mind I set myself the task of getting organised for 2019.
Being a crocheter means, if you have yarn and a hook you can pretty much work anywhere. It sounds great but it isn’t always such a good thing. That means I have projects, or parts of projects, or patterns for projects all over the place. My long suffering husband, the resident Monica-neat-freak of our little tribe, is very tolerant of my more ‘creative’ nature. But there are times when I stretch his patience a little too thin. By New Year, we had reached crisis point.
After a hectic Christmas period there was too much yarn hanging around. It was in various bags in various rooms in various states of disarray. Some of the yarn was leftovers from completed projects. Some were from being too busy (or preoccupied) to put them away. The time had come to get my butt in gear and put everything where it should have been all along.
The Room of Requirement
I ‘m very lucky to have a room in my home where I can work and store all my lovely crafty yarn and accessories. We’ve been calling it the “room of requirement” because, like in Harry Potter’s world, this room has many uses. It’s a craft room, a gym, a laundry, an office, a library, a storage space and a general glory hole depending on… yes, you guessed it, our requirements!
I had delayed the clear up as long as I could and I’ll admit I was dreading it. There were upward of ten bags with countless balls of yarn in each one. The plan was to wind, weigh and stack them all, one at a time. Not even mentioning the patterns that needed to be filed away. I had hooks that need to find their home. Part of me kept saying I should be working on my newest order. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate until I had organised my hoard! I picked the first day my husband went back to work after the holidays to steam into tidying up. For once I kept to my promise and refused to get sidetracked.
I’d love to say I went through one bag at a time and stacked all the yarn in it’s respective cubby, job done. The truth of the matter is, the problem was WAY worse than that.
For a start the wool I already had in the cubbies was falling out at me when I opened the door. Some of the doors wouldn’t even stay closed! So I had to start there before I could even think of putting anything ‘new’ away.
I opened all the doors to see what I was working with (big mistake). After five minutes the floor looked like a cat had gone berserk in a wool factory! There were tangles of yarn everywhere. Multi coloured strings of all descriptions making walking without tripping almost impossible. Honestly, I didn’t even take a photo of the carnage because of how affronted I am that I had let things get so bad. I had visions of those hoarding shows on TV when they need to hire a skip and a crew of people in hazmat suits. Additionally, I’ve noticed that for some reason I find it impossible to throw away the smallest amount of leftover yarn. Even if I know I’m not going to be able to make anything with it, into a little ball and back in the cupboard it goes. I may need therapy!
It was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start to get the guddle (good Scottish word) sorted out. I flopped on the floor almost in tears then it came to me. Tea…I needed tea!
I staggered out of the room, dragging a lovely strand of silver Aran yarn behind me, and made myself a great big cup of green tea then headed back into the fray (pun intended!)
As I stood, surveying the mess and sipping my brew I decided I’d work on a colour basis. As you can see from the photos that is how my cubbies were originally ‘organised’, so I thought that would be the easiest. I pushed some things aside to make space for me to work. Set up my ball winder and my scales then set about putting things in order one ball at a time.
I got into a nice little rhythm. It was soothing, if you can ever call tidying soothing. My arm was aching from winding all the loose balls into tidy, stackable cakes, but it was very satisfying. I’d finish with a colour and take great pride in closing the cubby doors as I went so I could track my progress. Progress sounds quite grand but was time consuming.
IT TOOK ME THREE DAYS!
No kidding, it took me three whole days (6-8 hours a day) to get everything, wound, weighed, labelled and put away. I may have lurched out of the room each of those three nights like Quasimodo but when I crawled into bed I was content.
I’m glad to say I now have a restful space to sit and work in our ‘room of requirement’. No more need to ‘make’ space for myself, it’s already there. finally I don’t need to move anything out of the way to find what I’m looking for. I can find anything I need in seconds, not minutes or hours. I can even leave the door open when we have visitors without any embarrassment. BONUS…my OCD Husband is even happy to go in the room, a rare and beautiful experience in itself.
I made myself a promise (I do that a lot) to put things away at the end of the working day. I now schedule myself some tidy up time. Only five minutes or so, to sort myself out and clear my rubbish up.
Now, one of the cubbies is always empty so I can put my WIP (work in progress) there when I’m done for the day. The room has stayed spotless for over a week now. Patterns are in folders, alphabetically, divided by project. My hooks are in a holder waiting for a new job. I’m not counting any chickens (or sheep) but I’m also not planning to go back to the bad old days anytime soon. As much as random, casual and creative are great. Organised, systematic and planned is working for me. Only took me 45 years to work that out!
If you want to get organised this year, don’t do what I did.
Here are my top tips:
- Sit on the floor – I discovered that a 45 year old overweight woman should not sit on the floor for more than 10 minutes. (Hence Quasimodo)
- Put it off – don’t wait three months (or more!) until the mess has become a monster.
- Be sentimental – it’s a tidy session, no time for nostalgia.
- Start from where you are and work at it when you can as best you can. – It’s not a race.
- Open a bin bag and throw away broken things and stuff you can’t/won’t use as you find it.
- Tag and label things, (it helps later, I promise).
- Take breaks when you need to.
I did some things right
Thank you for reading all the way to the end. If you have any top tips on getting and staying organised I’d love to hear them. If you just want to get in touch for a natter you can find me on Facebook or email. I have no doubt, with my magpie mind, I’ll trip over my promise at some point in the future. I’m hoping you’ll keep me honest and I promise to update you on my “staying organised in 2019” plan!
If you liked this post you may also like this post about using up my yarn stash
Until next time,
Be productive, be brilliant, be kind.