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Declutter Challenge 2023 - Day 1 - Garbage

Okay everyone, on your mark, get set, GO.

Our first couple of days is about ONLY having items in the sewing room that BELONG in our sewing room. Chances are with the busy-ness of the past month you have dumped a ton of stuff and debris in your sewing space thinking that you’ll deal with it after the holidays.

So today it's all about the garbage. You are going to grab your boxes and put on your timer and set it for 15 minutes. Give yourself a target of 20 items at a time. Then repeat if you have the time.


This is a long-distance event so pacing is very important. If you have more garbage than a 15-minute session can handle, be sure to take a break in between. Have a cup of tea, read for 15 minutes or go for a quick walk.

The Obvious

What are you looking for? The packaging from holiday gifts. Food wrappers. Old receipts. Flyers. Instructions in another language. Quickstart guides. Old post-it notes. Overflowing scrap baskets. Pens and markers that no longer work, etc.


And then there is garbage disguised as something else. Mostly packaging. Bags, cartons, tins, and boxes, It’s hard but let the container go. I learned this lesson in 2021. When you see an empty spot in the display, it sets up a desire to keep the collection together. The shape of the packaging also makes it hard to store where you needed it to be. So I now release those pretty 2021 it was the thread box. 2022 it was an embroidery kit. This year it was a scissors gift box .


And there are papers we are saving just in case we need the information. Unless you have an action attached to it, like the fabric requirements for an upcoming workshop, you can most likely let go of it. Almost everything is available online. And ask yourself when was the last time you referred to it anyways. Nowadays the only manual you’ll find in my sewing room is the one for my sewing machine. If in doubt, take a picture with your phone. Then toss it out. Business cards always stop me dead. They trigger ideas but more often a sense of obligation that I need to keep in touch with them. I am now just adding them to my contact list and letting them go

And after I cleared out the garbage, I challenged myself to find 20 more pieces of trash. I'm a bit embarrassed that I found them so easily. I found a leftover calendar, old DVDs, an old gift card and more.

Sewing Machine

You have a second task here and that is to pull out your sewing machine. You might need to clear a path or deal with a pile of stuff that was dumped on top of it. Even if you just take that stuff and dump it somewhere else, have your sewing space clear.

This year I kept my sewing area fairly clean most of the time. But as I am decluttering, that clear countertop is an open invitation to dump stuff upon. I think I cleared the cutting board three separate times today.

You might find this all much more enjoyable if you have music or a podcast playing in the background. I just started listening/watching Karen's Quilt Circle again. I forget how many amazing people I have interviewed. They are all still very inspiring. Here is a link to the playlist. Maybe you'll find one that you have not watched yet.

And when you're done, be sure that your garbage and recycling containers get emptied.

Remember that we are investing the time to make our sewing rooms a space where we create and recharge.

What was the oddest thing you decluttered today? Post your photos on our Facebook group and Instagram. And use the hashtags #jgidqdeclutter2023 #declutterchallenge2023. See you tomorrow for Day Two - Stuff That Belongs in Other Rooms.

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