I am currently behind on several skirt commissions, an alteration of a previous commission, and several personal projects. The reason? My workshop has become unworkable. In order to cut out fabric I have to clear off my cutting table. In order to clear off my cutting table I have to find space for stuff. In order to find space for stuff I have to shift boxes and bins and bags to other spots. Before I can even get started I’m already exhausted by the process.
My workshop was originally the garage. A space that has never housed a car in all the time I’ve lived here. For years it was where we stuffed everything that didn’t fit in the house, the yard tools, and a small horde of mice and voles. It provided an easy way into the house via the automatic garage door. But that broke a few years ago, leaving us with an extra, unheated room where stuff got put to be forgotten.
When we moved my sewing stuff into the garage, we cleared out a little space for me to work in. And for a couple of years it worked, kinda. Patterns and tools got lost. Fabric got forgotten in various darkened corners. The rodent problem was brought under control through traps, and my arachnophobia was went through a downgrade as I had accept Arachne’s kin had taken up shop in the work space as well.
Coming back from SLCC, though, it became more apparent that the situation just wasn’t working. I was getting frustrated and falling behind because I didn’t want to work in that dark, crowded space. I found myself having to use the dining table more often. Finally, I said “Enough!” and marked off a weekend to completely overhaul the workshop.
I knew what I wanted: more open space to move around, less flat surfaces for me to stack piles of stuff on, thus adding to the clutter problem, and everything up off the floor. The process took three days actually, spilling over into Monday, and inspired a reorganization of our bedroom as well. I had decided to recruit the closet system for the workshop, which left us without a place to put our clothes. This necessitated moving the wardrobe in the workshop into the bedroom. Stephan has manhandled this piece of furniture four times in the eight years we’ve been together. Without his help all of this would have taken a week longer.
The biggest change was treating the front of the garage as a wall. With the automatic door not working anymore, there really isn’t a reason to keep it clear. And by moving the shelves against it, that gives me more floor space in the middle of the room. I also stored away the conference table. Originally, it was supposed to act as a workbench, but all it ever did was serve as a place for me to stack things.
I’ve had the chance to work in the workshop for the past few days and I have to admit that it is awesome. I can reach what I need without having to drag out a step stool. The cutting table can be pulled out whenever I need it. I’ve got all my current commissions and projects hung up where I can find them easily. And I’m not moving bins or bags out of the way to get at what I need.
It wasn’t easy. I spent several days very sore from the work. But I am very pleased with the changes. It feels like a real workshop now, rather than one shoved into the only space available.