Not Quite the Deckchairs

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‘Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’ is a phrase which is often used to describe a futile action in the face of impending catastrophe. 

Far from being a futile exercise, I have been rearranging furniture recently.  As we continue to gradually reduce our possessions we have less need for storage.  Bookshelves/display units are a perfect example.

A few years ago we had 2 of these shelves filled with books.  One was sold a couple of years ago and the other is going to a new home today.

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When we seriously downsized the number of books we had a couple of years ago, this shelving unit became useful storage for sewing fabrics and projects.

The sewing is now housed in this large IKEA cube unit which was previously a display unit/bookshelf in the lounge room.

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Here is a closer look at the sewing table which is ‘new’ to me.

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This white laminate desk came from my daughter as it does not fit in her new accommodation.  I was very happy to have it to replace the folding trestle table which I have used as a sewing table for many years.  This one is more compact and suits the decor of the room but, most importantly, it is solid and does not shudder when I am using the sewing machine at fast speeds.

Additionally, there were 2 smaller IKEA cube units in the lounge room originally which have since been moved around.  One of them spent some time in the sewing room and the other as a stand for the television before we gave one to our daughter and the other became the bookshelf in the library.

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The other smaller cube unit has recently come back from our daughter as she no longer needs it.  So, back to the lounge room it went.

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The other significant piece of furniture in the lounge room is the television stand.  This was made by my father about 60 years ago from then-salvaged silky oak.  I had it restored and modified slightly a couple of years ago and it now has pride in the lounge room.

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I am pleased that nothing has been wasted and many pieces have been able to be repurposed by thinking laterally whilst reducing our overall possessions.

 

Organising Assistance

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I regularly speak out about the fact that you can be organised without spending ridiculous amounts of money.  I often read or hear about people buying dozens of matching containers to organise a linen cupboard or re-arranging their pantry with an entirely new selection of containers that happen to be the trend of the moment.

Apart from the cost, this behaviour bothers me from an environmental perspective because many of the containers are plastic and/or are manufactured in jurisdictions where workers are not paid a living wage, work in sub-standard conditions and the factories do not meet any type of environmental guidelines.  Next time you are tempted to buy new items that seem very cheap – stop and think about why they are so cheap.

Back to the main topic.  I did buy something which will be useful in organising numerous areas in my home and I expect that it will last me for a long time to come.  It is a labeller.

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I had previously borrowed one from work to label some jars in the pantry but finally decided that it would be useful to have one of my own.  It is battery-operated and the labels come in a cartridge which is inserted into the back of the machine.  I purchased 2 cartridges of the clear self-adhesive labels.  I also noticed that you can buy cartridges of iron-on tape so you can make your own labels for clothing.  This is not something that I would use but could be beneficial for my daughter with children going on school camps and similar.

My first attempt was to label this set of mini-drawers which fit perfectly on the shelf in my sewing room.  The drawers came from my mother and I have found them really useful for keeping track of some of the smaller sewing items.  I have memorised what are in the top row but other than that, I have to open the drawer to check.  That will be a thing of the past with these new labels.

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Now, what else needs a label?  I think I am going to have fun with this gadget.

 

Before and After

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It is now almost a week since we arrived back home from overseas.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago.  We went back to work on Monday and after 4 very busy days it feels as though I have never been away.

I managed to do some washing last weekend and prepare meals for us but that was about it until today which was my day off.  We have 3 Air BnB guests arriving tomorrow and that will necessitate the use of both of the spare rooms.  The second bedroom is always set up as a guest room but third bedroom also doubles as my sewing room and ironing space.

So my focus today was the third bedroom.  It had been used for packing and preparation for the trip so there were a few random things left from that.  I stripped the bed and washed the bedding during the week.  There was ironing piled on the ironing board.  Then there was the small matter of the sewing projects that had got out of control and been abandoned in the lead-up to the holiday.

This was what I had to tackle.

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I started by moving the bed and vacuuming that side of the room as well as removing the inevitable cobwebs and cleaning the skirting boards and picture frames.

The bed was made and put back in position.  I had also cleaned the window by the time I took this photo.

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From there it was simply a matter of working my way around the room – and doing the ironing.

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I managed to fit the small cabinet of mini drawers into the bookshelves rather than having it standing on the table.  I am happy with the change.

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This bookshelf hand been swapped over with the one that we now have in the office.  However, I had not organised my sewing things properly so it was a good opportunity to do some rearranging.

Having a major clean up of my sewing things has meant that I have rediscovered some UFO’s (unfinished projects) which I have earmarked to do.

I even tidied the contents of the wardrobe.

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I have never been completely successful in getting this room organised but I am hopeful that my effort today will be the basis of keeping it under control.

The thing that I am looking forward to most is getting back to doing some more sewing.  I am reminded of the comment that Francine Jay makes in her book, Miss Minimalist, that having clear surfaces simply affords opportunity.  Whether it is a table to eat your meal, a bed to sleep in or a craft table to work at, you need a clear surface.  It really makes a lot of sense.

 

No Excuses

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I enjoy sewing and for the first time in my life I have an (almost) dedicated sewing room.  However, despite my grand plans I have done very little sewing in recent times.

There always seems to be something more pressing to do – cooking meals, washing, ironing, gardening and so on.  When I sew, I like to do it to the exclusion of the everything else so I have tended not to do it.  The ironing always takes precedence over sewing, especially since I have the ironing board set up in the same room.

Anyway, there can be no more excuses as I have finally got the space pretty much as I want it.

The bed is completely free from any piles of clothes waiting to be folded or ironed.

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The wardrobe is cleaned and tidied.

 

All of my sewing stuff is sufficiently ordered that I can locate what I need.  The iron and ironing board are ready to use.

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The sewing table looks untidy but much of it is projects waiting for some action.

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My first priority is mending (socks) and some alterations.  I need to take up the hem of trousers I bought in Canada as well as shorten a top I bought there, too.  Next, I will complete 6 pairs of boys shorts which are partly made and are destined to be donated to those who need them.  There is plenty more after that, including, finishing a long sleeved blouse for my daughter, the cover for the mattress on the day bed and dresses and tops for myself.

I will make time to sew.

Moving the Furniture

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Gosh, it is 4 days later and I am yet to tell you about the rest of the furniture re-arrangements.  You see, I have been too busy actually doing things to write about it.

I had already removed the storage boxes before I took this photo.  I had earmarked this storage unit for my sewing room once the TV cabinet was restored and in place (see previous post).

001Here it is in the new location in the corner of my sewing room.  Not completely organised but a vast improvement on what things were like before.

004This meant that I could permanently re-home a couple of my other storage solutions from the sewing room.  A set of plastic drawers that I originally had for paperwork and documents when I was in a different job.  It was re-purposed for the sewing a few years ago.

2011-06-22 01 Now it has been emptied and has gone to a neighbour who was keen to have some more portable storage.

002This small white chest of drawers was also used to store fabric and craft supplies.  I bought it a few years ago from Gumtree and painted the bare chipboard with gloss white paint.  Thanks to the wonders of Facebook it now has a new home not far from us.

001The sewing room more strealined but still needs more work.  Most of the other rooms in the house have been decluttered, simplified and generally remain as they should be but the sewing room seems to be the one spot that regularly defeats me.  I have works in progress, things I have yet to start and general chaos but one day it will be sorted and mean that it is easier to actually sew rather than tidying.  I live in hope and anticipation!

Sew My Stash Sunday – 5

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Well, this week I have not done any sewing but I have been working on my stash in a roundabout sort of way.

While a lot of my sewing room is quite well organised there is always some that seems to defeat me.  Some months ago I tossed it all in a plastic laundry basket and shoved it under the table until I had time to deal with it.  At the beginning of the week I sorted it into 2 piles – fabric and pattern pieces.

Most of the fabric has been sorted but yesterday I spent quite a bit of time sorting sorting out pattern pieces.  There was a mixture of commercial drafted patterns.  Over the years I have offloaded quite a few patterns and more have gone in the op shop bag.  They are ones that I will never use again – either due to the sizing, being dated styles or simply not fitting with my current style.

2015-02-08 01As you can see from the photo, this is still a work in progress but I am determined to finish it before the weekend as the bed will be needed when Miss O and Izz come to stay for the weekend.

On a more positive note, here are the completed patterns all sorted and stacked.

2015-02-08 02Now that I know what I have it will be back to the sewing and I will hopefully have some more to show you next Sunday.

A Gadget

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Tonight I want to share a small gadget that we have had for a couple of years.  I don’t even know what you call it.

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This small device plugs into a standard power point and then you can plug any appliance or powerboard into it.  It comes with a remote control which you can use to turn the power on and off at the switch without actually having to manually reach the switch.  We have two of these.  One is in the lounge room and has a powerboard plugged into it.  We have the television, DVD player and hard drive plugged in so that with a single press of the remote control everything is turned off at the power point.  It is completely turned off – not on standby.  Did you know that any appliance where there is an illuminated light glowing is only on standby and is continuing to draw power even when it is not in use?

The other device was in the office where we had the computer and associated peripherals plugged into a powerboard. Both devices are programmed to the one remote control.

We realised recently that we had not been utilising the remote control to turn these devices off as the computer has some serious issues when you turn it off and try to turn it back on again.  The problem may be terminal but we have solved it for the time being by leaving it turned on at the power point.  So we removed the remote control device so that we could continue to turn the television off when not in use.  The question then arose as to where we could use the spare device.  We routinely turn all of the appliances off when not in use so it seems superfluous.

Last weekend when we cleaned out the top of the cupboard in the office I found this powerboard but did not have a use for it so put it downstairs in the workshop.

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This morning I worked out a way that I could put both of these items to good use.  I have a long sewing table in the spare room, however, the power point is under the table which necessitates me clambering under the table every time I want to plug in the sewing machine or iron.

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So, I plugged the gadget in and then the powerboard into it.

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The powerboard sits on the tables where it is an easy matter to plug in the sewing machine, iron or anything else.

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The individual power outlets on the board have their own switches so even if the main switch is turned on due to the remote control the individual outlets can remain turned off unless they are being used.

I am so glad that I came up with this solution as it is infinitely easier than crawling under the table to turn the power on and off.