I’m really doing it this time: A fall cleanup & reorganization at the CraftSanity Headquarters

by jennifer

Greetings from the mitten state where fall color is in full bloom. My family has been making our favorite fall recipes for homemade applesauce and apple butter here at the CraftSanity headquarters. We’re also roasting marshmallows and making hobo pies out in the backyard. Fall is my favorite season, so I’m doing my best to enjoy the season to the max.

Well, I guess I should qualify this. I’m enjoying the fall season as much as I can while simultaneously plugging away on the most serious reorganizational project of my life. For the better part of a decade I’ve been shifting piles of craft supplies, books, clothes and other artifacts from my life around my house, rather half-heartedly and never quite succeeding at overall organization.

This time I’m making some serious headway because I finally embraced the concept that space and time are more valuable to me than wasting my life repeatedly sorting through the same piles of stuff I’m not using that take up valuable real estate inside my home – the same space that doubles as the CraftSanity World Headquarters.

Here I make CraftSanity Looms, publish CraftSanity Magazine, weave on my floor looms, spin yarn, quilt, record podcasts and operate a small printshop called CraftSanity Press. I do a lot here and made a huge mess that I’m finally tidying up in a meticulous way.

My slow success this time around can also be attributed to the a fact that I have recruited a friend to be my accountability partner so someone is often standing by to gently question me when I try to keep stuff I have no plans for and do not need.

img_1700The process of letting go is brutal and hellish, but not even close to as bad as a lot of other more serious life challenges I’ve been through. So I put on my big girl pants and got down to serious sorting last summer. And now after spending countless weekends sifting through piles of boxes and bins in the garage, hanging as much as possible on the walls, building new shelving for maximum storage capacity and donating, selling and pitching what didn’t fit, the Haywoods are back to parking both cars in the garage. The best part is that we now have an organized garage that we can open without shame and it feels like a miracle. Well, maybe not a full-on miracle, but I do feel like a badass every time I step out into my clean garage that used to be a total sty. Oh, and my husband is thrilled, too.: )

I didn’t give myself much time to celebrate this massive clutter bust before diving into a complete reorganization of my basement studio space. So far my sewing table has been raised on a platform by a large window that will allow me to enjoy a view of my garden while I work. I’m doing this reorganization on the cheap and not investing in expensive furniture or storage systems. Instead, I’m keeping it simple and focusing on streamlining my workspace and developing my own system that will allow me to work fast and efficiently on multiple projects using a variety of mediums without turning my workspace into a disaster area.

Obviously, I’m not an organizing expert as this is clearly not my strong suit, but I am playing to my biggest strength – determination. I am one of the most determined people I know and when I set my mind to a task, look out.

I’m committed to this and spending an ungodly amount of time cleaning and sorting and giving stuff away. I don’t particularly enjoy spending my time this way, but I absolutely love the results I’m getting and I’m really looking forward to what I’ll be able to accomplish once my house is in order.

img_1787Aside from this shot of my thread that fits perfectly on the wall by the window, I’m not lighting up my social media feed with a bunch of before and after photos because I’m not looking to waste time contributing to the online landscape of clutter porn or looking to give haters and nosey people one more thing to hold over my head. I also don’t want to make myself feel any worse than I already do about having such a big mess to clean up. So I’m putting all my energy into changing my life in the least obnoxious why I can and I’m doing this without my Pepsi I.V. Yes – I decided to stop stocking the fridge with my personal kryptonite, the beverage I run to every time I feel stressed only too have it destroy my fitness level. So, to build my resolve, I’m doing something a little stressful – purging many of my worldly possessions – without bingeing on pop. It’s not a fun process, but it’s the right approach for me right now.

img_1898I can’t tell you the best approach for you to tackle your greatest challenge in life, but I can tell you this: DO IT YOUR WAY. I’m 40 now, so I’m doing it my way without apology. I’m just going to keep blazing my own trail through my patch of the world and not worry so much about what the unhelpful, peanut gallery thinks.

I’m going to get organized so I can get down to serious business without clutter and disorganization slowing me down. We can all do this. We can all chip away at a weakness and turn it into a strength. All we have to do is stay focused on the end goal. And when we do fight our way through these challenges to change our lives for the better, it is really important to thank and hug the people who help us along the way. These people, the ones who see us at our worst and love us anyway, they are our truest friends and some of the greatest gifts life has to offer.

Feel free to email me about any challenges you may be tackling right now. Even if they’re bigger or smaller than mine, we might be able to inspire each other to stick with it. Let’s do this!

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Marie McDonald November 2, 2016 - 1:56 pm

Thanks for this post and your encouragement. I remember your article in GR Press several years ago, and my house looks just like it. I Keep trying to get motivated to really get it under control. Your admission of how long it has taken and how good you feel about what you have done really encourages me!

Sherri West November 2, 2016 - 7:55 pm

You and your husband are adorable. Keep up the good work!

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