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Readers Respond: What's the Best Way to Organize Quilting Supplies?

Responses: 79

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How do you organize your quilting supplies and tools, especially those little items like bobbins, needles, pins and spools of threads? We'd love to hear about the best commercial products you've found for organizing your tools and supplies, but don't forget to describe the frugal methods you've devised to keep things orderly. Share Your Advice

my material supply

my favorite place to store all my extra fabric and batting is book cases. I have the new material on one case and the slightly used material on another.
—Guest gladys perry

quilting notions

I bought a spice cabinet filled with spice jars. pins, needles, hooks and eyes, basting pins and anything else small fills my jars which are all labeled. so easy to find a size 10 sewing machine needle because they are in a jar all their own!
—fabriclady17

Lifelong Frugality

I use shoe boxes the shoe store saved for me, cover them with paisley or other fav giftwraps, and label. They stack easily and are lightweight. Depending on the particular contents, I can use baggies, et cetera to organize within the box. I use a belt half-loop hanger to hold my rulers, tapes, scissors, whatever I need close by. On the "belt hanger", it's handy to hang a plastic grocery sack with temporary consumable items like sections of trim, braid, even appliques waiting to be sewn on. In my job, I sew quilts and other fun things, too. When I put on a pot of beans to cook, I usually put a very large can of Ro-Tel. Sometimes I save those cans (leaving the label on because I love it) and have found them to be immensely handy for pens, pencils, paper cutting scissors, glue, colored pencils, crochet and even knitting needles. Having grown up very poor, I recycled before I knew the word. ha! I am struggling with space for fabric so am hoping one of you will say more about that.
—Guest beth

Using Bags for Storage

I have two bags. One with outside pockets to keep my scissors and needle case, etc. inside. I use see through pencil cases, one with sharps (pins,rotary cutter) the other has pens and stuff -- a box with prewound bobbins and tiny bits and pieces.The second bag holds all my cutting mats and rulers. These sit near my sewing table, but are ready to pick up and go to classes and I know everything I need will be there. The inside of my sewing bag is roomy enough for fabrics, patterns...lunch. The bags were made from my stash so I had the pleasure of making them and using some of my favorite fabrics.
—Guest Sandy Martin

Quilting Supplies

Next to my sewing machine I have a very inexpensive lazy susan. On top of that I found a round basket about 3 inches high in which I placed several small flower pots. Inside the pots I have my seam rippers, small scissors, wooden seam presser, bobbins, extra needles, oil, and pins. In the center is a larger pot with my fabric scissors, paper scissors, 12 inch ruler and tools. Everything was purchased on clearance and it works like a charm.
—Guest Camille

For organizing small items

I use a jewerly hanging bag that has many small pockets on both sides. (Targart). It holds alot of small stuff that you can see through the plastic. I just hang it on the back of closet door. It is not very expensive and has beern very useful to me.
—Guest Jan

Handy cutting table

I have three bookcases that support a white door and that makes my cutting table. I use the bookshelves for all sorts of various things like patterns, books, etc. In between the bookcases are plastic bins on rollers which hold fabrics and works in process etc. I love my large cutting table and also have a small ironing board I put on top of it to iron on so do not have to set up a large one in my small room. I have bookcases and organizers in my closet also.
—Guest Joyce

Cutting Table Advice

I love the fact that the bed risers (bed bath & beyond ) work on raising a folding table to a height that is much more comfortable for me. That has been such a blessing. Also I found a small side table at a thrift shop with 7 drawers that fits nicely by my sewing table and it is loaded with my quilting and sewing supplies. It is very narrow and seems made for this. Maybe it was. Most of my projects are stored in plastic boxed of all different sizes, thread storage, scraps. I use a metal (pretty) shelving unit for most of the boxes and music shelf. I have those cubes stacked for my folded fabric and one day soon I'll get to sizing it all (smiling). Meantime, I'm changing up as I go along. But agree with many that having a rolling container for machine and totes or boxes is great for grab and go to class, friends to work and learn more more more. Enjoy
—Guest tutty

Repurpose a cleaning tote

I use a cleaning tote to store all the tools I need for sewing. It holds rulers, marking pens, screwdrivers etc. It is always at my sewing machine side, but if I need to take it with me it is easy to carry.
—Guest sharon jeffries

no tricks just question

Skaceydog where did you get the scrapbooking tote with handle? I have been going nuts looking for that! Help email is pswiant@hotmail.com waiting for your reply
—Paulette69

Thread Organizing Shelf

I bought a wooden miniature shelf from Ikea some time ago, but found no use for it until I started quilting seriously. Now the 24 large and small divisions hold approximately 30 spools of thread, depending on size. The shelf hangs on the wall next to my sewing table, and is very convenient as I can access all the threads and bobbins I need when working on a project.
—Guest Shelah

Space Cabinets for Thread Storage

For all of my good thread, I use two old spice cabinets. The thread fits perfectly. I sourced them at a local thrift store, along with an old smoking pipe stand that I use for my scissors. Behind the door I hang an organizer where I store my battings and interfacings. My fabric goes in plastic drawers, stacked in a Metal shelving system, both from Walmart. I also have an old glass and metal 3-tier pastry stand where I place my smallest notions -- rotary blade refills, bobbins that are in a plastic case, quilting pins, and other do-dads. All my patterns go into plastic sleeves that are stored in a 3-ring binder. Most of my storage has come from either the thrift store or Walmart, bought on clearance. If there's a will there's a way, so be creative. My sewing room is always evolving.
—Guest Debra

Thread Organizer Tips

I buy my quilting thread in cones and store them in clear plastic stackable drawers purchased from WalMart for under $10.00 each. I can store 25 cones in each unit (12.5W x 8.5H x 16D). I have 10 drawers stacked, and they fit nicely in any corner. The thread is stored by colors and is always dust free.
—Guest Alice

Quilting Organizers

I organize all my fat quarters by color and stack in a unit that was designed to hold CD's. The units I use was purchased at Target for under $20. I had to assemble each unit, but it was not hard to do at all. Once you fill your first unit buy another as they make a very pretty setting along any wall in your quilting room.
—Guest Jenene

hanging stuff

My sewing room has a suspended ceiling. Hardware and home improvment stores have a variety of "plant hangers" to attach to the cross-pieces of these ceilings. I hang templates, hoops, clear bags of projects, batting, just about anything - even lighting over my sewing machine. Be careful not to hang anything too heavy. I even have some "quilting" ornaments displayed all the time in front of my window.
—Guest pyounginil

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What's the Best Way to Organize Quilting Supplies?

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