Anne Horrigan Geary: Storage wars are endless conflicts

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DALTON — I have read articles about decluttering; but I didn't love them, so out they went. They were joined in the trash by candy wrappers, advertising circulars, and used facial tissues. Yes, I can throw things away.

On the other hand, I do save decorative cookie tins, pickle jars, and plastic milk jugs. The tins and jars are used to hold sewing notions (yes, I have too many). The jugs are used outdoors in the garden. I repurpose as many household items as I can, using many for storage.

The problem is that no matter how many tubs and boxes I have, which are filled with neatly folded fabric, bias tape, or spools of thread, they can't contain all my sewing goods. Nor can my office/ storage room contain all the tubs and boxes without filling in the path to get to the window to water the seedlings. My temporary solution was to move the seedlings into the bedroom which also has bright southern exposure. Now one window is blocked with seedlings, one with houseplants, and the third with a rack of craft items, which is the some of the office overflow.

In the fall, I cleaned out the spare room and consolidated the extra fabric which was stored there. I emptied and donated half a dozen plastic tubs. A few months later, I have had to purchase four new plastic tubs to contain the loose fabric which was piled waist-high in the office because the piles started to shift and were threatening to eradicate the few square feet of unencumbered floor space. I was worried about the visiting cats being enveloped in a tsunami of sliding drapery fabric which is wide and relatively heavy.

Now, I have to decide which fabric will fit best in the tubs, and which can be stashed in bags or cardboard boxes. I have learned the hard way that no matter how sturdy boxes or tubs may look, when I pile them too high, they get squashed down or the lids crack or sink. The failure creates a leaning tower look, and occasionally a leaning tower topple.

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I have already sorted the fabric piles and donated bags and bags of excess yardage. Unfortunately, I have also purchased new material because I can't resist a sale. New designs also stimulate the creative process to invent new styles of bags and quilts.

Within the last month I made a serious dent in my bag of scraps (pieces of less than half a yard) by using them to make face masks. At last count, I have made over 50 masks. Now, I am ready to start restocking my farmer's market inventory in the hopes that markets will resume come summer.

The tubs in which I store my completed items have all been emptied and rearranged. That gave me extra empty bins, but only temporarily. Because many of my items are bulky, like quilts and large tote bags, it takes few items to fill one. I have tried using tubs of different sizes, but that complicates the packing up at the outdoor markets (especially in the rain). It also requires a degree in engineering to pack all the differing size tubs, tables, chairs, and rolling rack into the back of our mid-size SUV.

I have accepted the fact that my office will always be overstuffed and messy, just like me. Most often, I can find what I need and pack what I must, leaving just a few untidy piles and lopsided stacks. I love to sew, I enjoy creating new things, and I have found that if you leave a stack of boxes full of bias tape in the corner of the dining room long enough, it looks like it belongs there. At Christmas, you can throw a tablecloth over it and use it to display your holiday cookies.

Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.


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