I know I've been "away" all week. I haven't blogged and I haven't even spent much time reading blogs this week. My intention was to spend time this week prepping for the retreat that I'm going to next week, and I did begin that, but then I got distracted.
For some time now, I've been wanting to revamp the way that I store my fat quarters. By "fat quarters," I mean anything smaller than a half yard. Since the turn of the century (I still think it's weird to say that) I've been keeping them in dishpans.
For a while, I kept them in a cabinet that we repurposed from the kitchen. We put extra shelves in to hold all of the dishpans, but at some point, either the cabinet didn't fit into my sewing room, and/or it was sold to help reduce the weight of our household goods. (The military moves families when we get new orders, but there is a weight allowance--if you are overweight--you pay the difference.) As I recall, I last had the cabinet in Alaska, but I don't remember it in Kansas. At any rate, for the past 2-3 houses, I have kept the dishpans on plastic shelf units in the closet of my sewing rooms.
This is how it looked. It's a real mess!
Lately, I've been looking for some "cubby" type cubes that could work. Some of the craft stores have the cube storage that can be an open cube, or have two drawers, or other configurations, but I didn't see any that just had one shelf, so I could put two dishpans into one cube. My next thought was Expedit from Ikea. The Expedit line is shelving units that are divided into cubes, with an open back. They come in many configurations.
So, I've been "stuck." My husband was willing to make something, and that was my last resort. Really, what I had was working, it just "bugged" me. And then I went to Ikea on Tuesday.
I took a friend who had never gone to one before, and I have only been there the one other time--last year. Ikea is a bit over 2 hours away, up in the DC area. We left early and got there just after it opened. Since my friend had never been there, we looked at everything. The only section we skipped over was the baby/kid section as we don't have small children at home and Tuesday is "kids eat free" day at the cafe in the store, so the place was crowded with kids and their moms. I looked at Billy shelves, which I'm probably going to use for storage of yardage/books/etc. when we move to our "forever" house. In the Expedit area, I double checked that there were no shelves, and there wasn't. We stopped and had lunch and then resumed our looking. My friend is not a quilter, but she was so amazed by everything. She started the day saying how her grown son loved Ikea, and by just an hour or two into our day, she said she realized why he felt that way. Neither of us was getting much, but we were having a great time looking at all the ideas and possibilities.
We finally had worked ourselves all the way through to the warehouse area. If you have not shopped at Ikea before, most of the items are kept in the warehouse area. When you decide you want something, you write down the item number and what aisle and shelf it is on in the warehouse. We didn't need anything from there, though, so we were just making our way to the registers to pay. As we were passing, I saw on one of the warehouse "endcaps" this system.
I was so excited that the two-hour trip home seemed endless! When I finally arrived, I immediately began assembling the shelves and then transferring my fabric from the dishpans to the new bins. Since the bins were shallower, and there is no clearance above them when they are in the slots of the shelves, I had to refold it all. I also realized that I wouldn't be able to fit all the fabric from a dishpan into one of the new bins, because needing to fold each piece smaller made it thicker. As I worked, I pulled out all the small bits to cut up into strips and squares. I purged pieces that have been lingering in those bins for 10 or more years and never used. Any full half yards that I came across, I pulled out to be folded and kept on my yardage shelves. It was a purge that I had been wanting to do, and it felt good! I worked that first night until 11:30. My husband has been gone all week, so I didn't need to adhere to any regular schedule.
I had so much going on this week, that it wasn't until the next afternoon that I could resume. I finally finished on Wednesday night. Yesterday I stopped and picked up some fun chalk-board labels so I could keep the bins labeled.
Here is my "Red" bin. You can see that they don't fit as perfect as they did in the dishpans, but I'm still very happy with it! Those pieces on the ends are actually a bit longer than the other fat quarter pieces, so it is nice to have a wider area for them.
Here they are, all in place, filled, and labeled.
There is room on top for my bins of strips. I used more chalk board labels to mark them, too.
This is the "before" and "after!" This is the same location in my closet! Isn't it amazing? I was able to add the bins of strips that were kept on the closet shelf and I still have all of that free area on the top! I am delighted with the results!
I guess the lesson here is to not just go to the obvious areas of the store. Be it dishpans or toy storage, you may find answers in other places. If I had only seen the Trofast system in the kids area, I may not have given it a second glance--but seeing it first in the warehouse, I had no idea it was for toys, and instead I saw it as the perfect solution to my fat quarter storage dilemma. I can still grab the appropriate bin of fabric, make my choices, and easily slide it back into place.
I shall be back soon to discuss all of the cutting and prepping I've been working on. My Schnibble has been abandoned for the week--I need to get back to it, too.
See you soon! Have a great day!