Cleaning & Organizing

Cleaning my Craft Room // Part II

Last week I said I’d make a list of the different items I want to go through in the craft room. While making the list, I opened up the small cabinet between my 2 floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets and saw the first mess I want to clean.

Though the bags look messier than the books and magazines, I decided to go through the books and magazines first.

I started by making 3 piles: Keep, Go Through Again, and Let Go. Marla Dee has a sorting program called STACKS, but I chose to make up my own categories. Also, it’s important for me to label the categories in certain ways. I don’t know what else I’d call the “Keep” pile, but I deliberately use the term “Let Go” or “Let Go of” instead of “Toss” or “Get Rid of” because I want to think of that pile in a specific way. It’s easier and has a calmer feel, to me, to “Let Go of” than to “Get Rid of.”

The pile of things to keep for sure was super small, and the Go Through Again and Let Go are about the same size. 

I’m kind of disappointed my pile of books and magazines to go through again is so large. I really shouldn’t be surprised, though, because this is my challenge: having trouble making decisions about what to do with things. 

I have a few types of books and magazines in the Go Through Again pile. One, I have some magazines that have patterns I can photocopy. Once I photocopy and file the patterns in my craft file cabinet, I can let go of the magazine or book.

Two, I have a few reference books in that pile. Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever referenced any stitches or patterns in these books before. I am more likely to look online. They just seem so useful though. They are also from the 60’s and 70’s, so they have unique patterns in them. That’s something that is interesting about knitting and crochet patterns; old ones still circulate. I get the impression that people keep the patterns for a really long time–like some of the patterns I received from the 60’s and 70’s came to me via their original owner. Patterns that get passed around through multiple people, though, are also often older–from the 80’s and 90’s at times. It’s difficult to just throw out something that could be useful to others. 

Three, there are some books and magazines that have more than 1 pattern in each that I like. If I like a few things in a magazine or book, I may just keep it. I’ll have to think about it. 

It has taken quite some time, but I have now gone through all of the books and magazines in the Go Through Again pile and made decisions about them. I copied a bunch of patterns that I just have to file. I kept a few of the books and decided to let go of some. I let go of a few reference books I was considering keeping. I based my decision on having not used them and my ability to find the info online, so I will pass them along.

Look how nice my cabinet looks! 

And look at how much room there is! I have heard a suggestion to leave space for 10% more of any item you have in case you receive more. I have way more room than 10%! 

I’m working on finishing every step of something before moving on, and I still have the books and magazines in my posession. I talked to a fellow knitter who has lots of connections to knitting groups in town so I have a few tips on where to pass them along though. I am looking forward to that last step . . .

At least I was until I looked up and saw this:

Noooooooooooooooo. The horror. I thought I was done! 

Actually, since I had just gone through all my other magazines, it was easy to look through this one to see what to do with it. It had 2 patterns I liked, so I kept it. 

Going through the books was harder than I thought it’d be. I always struggle going through paperwork, so maybe that’s why. Maybe it was also a challenge because it was the first cleaning task worked on in a while. It may have been a challenge because I was putting pressure on myself to let go of things. When I can remind myself that it’s ok to keep what I want and then let go of the rest, decisions come more smoothly. 

I also think that going through Marla Dee’s process as I wrote about in my previous post was helpful as well. It put my mind in a good place to help me make decisions. Writing this post, though, and knowing some of you would read it is what kept me going through the end, though. I often stop in the middle of some of the steps I took. For example, I would have let the 3 piles in the Go Through Again pile sit for a week or so before working on it. Or I would have had the materials I wanted to copy on my dresser forever until I made plans to go to work to make copies. 

I knew I’d be writing about it though, so I was able to finish. That feels so good. 

Well, my next step is going to be my knitting bags. 

I’ll leave you with this photo so you can wonder how I’ll ever get through this mess. 

Peace Out (and In),





  • Anne

    Wow Julie-this is inspiring! I actually love to organize stuff but I also get caught up in the small details and then don’t get back to it for weeks. I appreciate learning about your organizing techniques. I could really relate to your categories.

    Congratulations on a job well done! I am going to use this inspiration to clean out my office today!

    • Julie

      Yaay! I hope cleaning your office went well.

      It’s comforting to know someone else struggles in similar ways that I do.


  • JMFL

    I also think that word choice is very important and appreciate your consideration of it. I think “let go” is less violent than “get rid”. I also enjoyed the twist in the middle! Very unexpected. Pass along some applause from me to the writier.

    • Julie

      Yeah, we are in agreement on the wording of “let go” and “get rid”! Applause has been passed along. 🙂

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Pingback: Cleaning My Craft Room // Part IV – Peace Out and In on June 16, 2022

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