Sorting, reviewing and planning

I have had a long hiatus (what a strange word, the ex-nurse in my head always associates it with ‘hernia’ :-)) in publishing blog posts. This has been due to an unfortunate event, namely the loss of our home internet connection for an entire ten days in the middle of December – *GASP* and the resulting backlog of e-mails etc all against the backdrop of operation ‘prepare for Christmas’. When the internet connection was restored I discovered over 200 emails to be read (I know many of you will be laughing that it took ten whole days for me to accumulate this size in-tray!). As at least 150 of them were notifications of blog posts I choose to follow it was almost a week of chasing my tail before I finally get to the bottom of the reading pile,’cos new posts were arriving in my inbox just as fast I could read through the backlog! On Christmas Eve I did actually empty the inbox but by then I was beyond composing anything worth writing or reading!

Christmas is such a landmark date in the year – even in this post-modern, post-truth age Christmas is the easy to identify cut-off point for end of year deadlines and signals the time to prepare for a new year. I’ve been enjoying reading and being inspired by the posts of many bloggers who have linked their end-of-year, start-of-year posts to either or both of these:

Now, as I finally fire-up my laptop, I feel like I am intruding on the quilting community conversations that have been going on around me for weeks. Of course, there were a host of things I’d hoped to share over the past three weeks but rather than go all retrospective I shall begin with today and over the next few weeks I’ll just see if those events, thoughts, and projects re-emerge to be shared (or not!).

During the holiday we have been blessed with lots of visitors, extended time with family and visits to other branches of our families. Today our household is reduced to myself, husband and two sons. With only myself having an event in the diary, the day has had that enjoyable post-Christmas big sigh, take a look around us and have a bit of a sort out feel, with no pressure at all. So, I whizzed the vacuum cleaner around (really, I do mis-name the machine ‘the hoover’ but I thought I’d go posh so as not to mislead you in the identity of the manufacturer of my domestic cleaning machine!), tidied up a bit and fiddled about completing a couple of jobs that have been in the ‘I’ll do that when I’ve got a moment’ category.

As the guest room has been vacated, I am slowly re-establishing my sewing space. I’m determined not to put everything back as it was but to do a bit of sorting and de-cluttering along the way. This has been inspired by memories of visiting homes where clutter was evident but affected the owners in very different ways. One creative lady was obviously very comfortable to be surrounded by a large amount of possessions; busy designing and making, losing things and finding others without being distracted or dis-heartened. The other ‘cluttered’ home seemed to have a negative effect on the occupants; it sapped the energy from them and inhibited creativity and action.

I think we have to find the level of disorder/order that enables effectiveness; if it’s order we crave then scheduling regular sorting and de-cluttering is a sensible way to proceed πŸ™‚ Of course, there can be tension in the process – I find it mentally draining trying to decide what to keep vs. what to throw; how to categorise items as I sort (I have particular trouble splitting up the fabrics leftover from a project into my colour-ordered scrap and stash boxes!); and deciding when a left-over is a scrap worth keeping or a piece to be thrown (our local air ambulance charity have textile collection points around the town so none of the scraps need end up in the rubbish bin :-)).

img_2676Today my sorting and de-cluttering has led to a couple of decisions: I’m throwing out a stack of quilt magazines and a shoebox full of the scraps left from bunting I made over four years ago. *GULP*! Β Some of the magazines I bought new, others were secondhand, some date back to 2008! I’ve had a quick look through them and argue with myself that while many of the designs are inspiring I wouldn’t actually make one now (I like designing my own quilts) and I have boards on Pinterest full of pictures of inspiring quilts plus links to helpful tutorials on many aspects of patchwork & quilting techniques plus a little collection of Craftsy classes to refer to – all much easier to access than flicking through a stack of magazines (although a reliable internet connection is required ;-D).

Tomorrow I shall de-clutter a couple of drawers that I haven’t opened in over a year – I wonder what I will discover? – and begin sorting through a couple of box files that at present hold a frightful mess of design ideas, business cards, draft workshop notes, receipts and catalogues! A friend gave me a concertina file for Christmas so really there is no excuse for allowing this muddle of paperwork to continue. And knowing the muddle exists does not help me to relax or think creatively, so dealing with it is important!

Another muddle to be sorted is in my head: that end of year review and goal setting thing I referred to at the start of this post. I’m sure there is value in these activities, I’m just not practiced at identifying what it is I have learned and what I’d like to focus on in the coming year. If you feel the same then you might like to try some of the resources I’m using: the thoughtful posts of other quilting bloggers on these review/goal-setting tasks (click on the linky party buttons above); a ‘planner journal’ published by Patricia van den Akker; and a review questionnaire download I came across via the ‘Dream, Plan, Do’ facebook group.

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It’s good to be back on the blog!

I hope you are able to relax and enjoy the last couple of days of 2016.

Allison

5 thoughts on “Sorting, reviewing and planning

  1. I’m still catching up, too, after going to see our son. We were mostly offline while we traveled, so I’ve missed reading and posting, as well as doing!

    Yes, on the trouble with goal setting. Last night I looked at a site that used rather circular logic, that one of the first steps to goal setting is to decide what you want. Well, duh. THAT is what the problem is! What is it I want? πŸ™‚

    • Ha!ha! It can be a very frustrating task! I persevered with the questionnaire linked in this post and although I didn’t think I was getting anywhere with it by the end I had learned some surprising things – not least I need to make a conscious effort to retain good memories (my mind was almost blank as I tried to answer some of the questions!).

  2. I admire your de-cluttering plans, I have similar plans but… I always have good intensions πŸ™‚
    I have stopped myself many times from going over to the magazine rack at the store because I just know that I will find something that I can’t leave without and I have such a hard time getting rid of them once I have them ! That’s about the best de-cluttering plan for me – not buying it in the first place.
    Sending you and you family Best Wishes for a very happy and healthy 2017

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