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Declutter Challenge 2024 - 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. 2023 it was a scissors gift box. This year it was a was a whiskey 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. I rarely even keep manual anymore. I used to just tear off the other languages but now you can find all the manuals online and I refer to Youtube video for how to use items.

Anything that you filed last year thinking it was important also needs a critical look. Now, if I am in doubt, I take a photo and file it on my computer.

I challenged myself to find 20 pieces of trash at a time. Now I know to look for the old calendars, CD's and DVD's that I will never use again.

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.

Now full disclosure, I had to do my Day 1 & 2 before the holidays (my #3 child and his partner was visiting for two weeks over the holidays and just left yesterday) But still, today, I found that because of Christmas and the chaos of having others in my home, there is a ton of packaging, wrappers and papers all over the house that needed to go into the recycling bins. From decluttering in previous years, I also know that it's important to get the garbage out of my room as soon as possible. So I try to dump it in the outside bins daily.

You might find this all much more enjoyable if you have music or a podcast playing in the background. I like to listen to old episodes of my podcast, Karen's Quilt Circle, during the challenge. 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.

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 #jgidqdeclutter2024 #declutterchallenge2024.

See you tomorrow for Day Two

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I have started the challenge today, as I had not heard about it. I'm not a tidy person, but even I was going crazy with the mess. Most organizational ideas I had read made no sense to me and yes I had always wondered what spaces looked like a month after the shoot. Is there a difference between a squirrel and procrastinating? What do you do with the big boxes items come in, when the items are under warranty?


I should have taken a picture of my sewing room before I pulled everything out of there. Now my living and dining area are piled high. I spent intervals yesterday going thru the bins and shelves in the room. Today I will be sorting thru living area, my goal is nothing goes back in that is not sewing related. I have a box for goodwill and a box for quilting "things" that I am not going to use that will go to a sewing acquaintance.


I started with a heap of plastic bags stuffed with bits and scraps of fabric. That could have been 20 pieces there! But I have it in one area all together now and ready for donating to my quilt group for scrap piecing. Everything that is related to sewing is in my sewing room and the rest of the house is clear of it. My sewing machine area is clear but I finished a quilt today and worked on getting another ready to sew. I may not have created too much trash but there is space on my table and on the floor! Yay


I didn't have much rubbish but did have a big box of Christmas stuff which is now cleared away for next year. I do believe I found at least 20 pieces of throw out though so that was good and some of those bits (christmassy boxes)

had been hanging around for years although not in the sewing room except at Christmas.

This is probably the oddest thing (wrapped foam boxes for decorating haven't put them on display in many years) not at all quilty but was in there. I did keep the box I will gift it to someone with something nice next year.


Christine - How interesting. Today is also my first day of retirement. My workspace is adjacent to my sewing space. (I'll be answering work questions for awhile.) I brought home a box and several tote bags of office "stuff". I moved all of the office stuff and other magazines out of my sewing space. I'm thinking I need to use the decluttering steps for both spaces - 15 min. at a time.

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Nice! Today's my first day of retirement 3rd time around so I'm hoping I manage to stay retired this time!

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