I am being totally honest my embroidery thread has been living in storage boxes in a shopping bag in the centre of my loungeroom for years. It was right next to where I sit on the lounge and was handy to access when I was in front of the tv but really it shouldn’t have been living there. I am in the process of decluttering and sorting things out so last week I decided it was time to tackle my embroidery threads.
Most of my embroidery threads were my mum’s. She had them stored in plastic boxes that you can buy to store embroidery threads in once you wind the skein onto bobbin tabs. Mum had them sorted by brand and colour number. If you do cross stitching or embroidery where colour number is important it was a good way to sort them. Thinking about how I actually use embroidery thread I go by colour. I’ll have a gift that I need to embroidery and it is a matter of finding a colour to match it. I had 4 boxes of mum’s threads and 1 of my own that each time I was looking for a colour I would look through, most time I ended up using the colour I found in the first box. Another problem I had was that because I needed to put the threads away in number order, I never actually put them away after I used them instead I would just put them aside on my craft table and when I had a heap I would sit down and put them away at once which could be months after I used them. The way I had them clearly wasn’t working for me, top it off where they were I would constantly knock them over or trip over the bag they were semi placed in. They were a trip hazard and trip hazards are bad in our house.
My first task was to go through the bag and boxes to find all the skeins that needed to be placed on bobbins. I had way more than I thought I had. It was a chance to cull some of them that were poor quality or looked old and manky. In front of the tv I sat and wound each one onto the bobbin cards. I did this over a couple of days so it was really easy and not as a cumbersome task I thought it would be. When you’re watching tv you’ll be surprised at how fast you can do them.
After I had them all on cards I did the daunting tasking of emptying all the boxes onto my craft table and sorting them by colour. I did 9 main colour groups – greens, blues, pinks, reds, orange, yellow, purple, brown and other which was greys, blacks, neutrals. This gave me a chance to see what colours I had, how much I had of each and roughly what boxes I could put them in. I had no idea I had so many greens and browns, I thought I would have a lot more purple.
When I placed them in the boxes I did them very roughly darkest to lightest. I tried to keep shades together but I wasn’t so fussy that if I placed a slightly darker one amongst a lighter one that I needed to resort the box to make it fit. As long as I had the colour group in the one box I was happy. I can easily search through and compare colours if they are all in one box. I thought it would take me hours to sort them out and place in boxes but according to my Instagram photos I took I did it about an hour which is pretty fast. I did place special ones together such as all my pearl threads which are thicker or some sparkly threads which I had no idea I had in the one box so I know that is the box I go to for them.
I found a new home to keep the boxes too. In the last 8-10 months I have slowly been decluttering my house, part of what I have done is toss out a heap of my old craft mags creating empty shelves on my bookcases in the study. These boxes fit nicely on a semi empty shelf. I can access them pretty easily, I still need to clean up further in my study but that’s another job on my todo list.
Organisation is very subjective, each person needs to find the best way to organise their things that works for them. What worked for my mum clearly didn’t work for me, however now by sorting the threads in colours and storing them that way 100% works for me. I only have to look through 1 box to find the colour that I need, putting things away if I have used 2 colours I only have to open up 2 boxes to put them away. I’m going to be more inclined to put the threads away straight after I use them in this more simplistic system. By placing them on the shelf I have eliminated the trip hazard that they were in the loungeroom. I no longer will knock them over and have all them all fall open on the floor which was a nightmare each time it happened. I’m starting to see empty space now in my house and I am enjoying how it looks. To be honest my craft supplies were starting to get out of control and stress me as I just saw them as clutter with how messy they looked. Crafting for me is meant to be my way of dealing with stressing, it shouldn’t be the cause of my stress. Decluttering and organising can become very addictive, if you don’t believe me try it. My best friend lives over 4 hours away, we keep sending each other photos of things we’ve sorted out or decluttered. It is very satisfying seeing an area you have cleared up and taking a photo of it. Between us we don’t know who actually started the decluttering bug, we both claim the other one started it neither less we have the decluttering bug and are motivating each other to get in and just do things. Some people might be able to organise things on their own but it is fun to have a friend to do it with. We are proof you don’t even need to live near each other to help each other out in the decluttering process.