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  • Rose Mary LeBlanc

Downsizing Both Home and Workroom

Downsizing the Home!

We are anticipating that our new home will be about 500 square feet smaller than this one. That's a lot of square feet to lose which translating to evaluating everything in every room and closet. Nothing is immune from consideration - well, my teapot collection and artwork both have total immunity. Can't touch those. Then there is a bit of dog memorabilia that has to go with me too. Oh, and my grandmother's tiny writing desk.

Oh and the four Queen Ann side chairs that I bought on Magazine Street in New Orleans many years ago and refinished.

Every piece of furniture, every pot, pan and everything in between had to be scrutinize. I was heartless in my determinations except for the above mentioned items. Well, mostly heartless.

It's amazing how much stuff we really need and how much can go. The older I get the less stuff I need. Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and the county library all received donations. Some things were good enough to bring to the consignment store and a few items were dump worthy.

One day was dedicated to sorting out the laundry room cabinet and shelves and three catch all kitchen drawers. Well, most of one day.

All of those spaces had reached critical mass! I know that you can relate to that.

The drawers with the owners manuals contained manuals for appliances and products that we don't have anymore. One drawer had menus from restaurants that are out of business. Then there were unlabeled little plastic bags with parts and tools - no clue on those.

Downsizing the workroom!

My new workroom will be in a bonus room about 100 square feet (about 30%) smaller than my current workroom.

Fabrication is not a neat business to be in. We have stuff and supplies and patterns and thread. Yes, I am a thread-aholic. And not just colors but different types too - upholstery thread, outdoor upholstery thread, lots of regular sewing thread, Wawak button hole thread, Gutterman skala and serger thread.

Downsizing should be easy for me because for one 12 year period I moved every 3 years so most of my supplies are still in portable containers. Pick up and go was the way I rolled but several years in one place had an affect on all of that order and neatness.

I did find ways to pack tighter and neater. That whole process was almost exhilarating and I was thrilled with the orderly outcome. Uh, thrilled until I organized so well that I couldn't remember where I put stuff. Haven't we all done that before!

Lining remnants - we all have them. I have 4 medium plastic bins that are marked sateen, interlining, napped sateen, and blackout for storing those pieces that are too big to throw away. You're ahead of me aren't you. Yep, 90% of those remnants had to go.

And while I am on the subject of lining - A few years ago khaki lining was very popular in Charlotte but not now. I have most of a bolt of sateen and most of a bolt of napped sateen left and not a clue what to do with it.

Remnants of any kind, better known as the fabric stash, also were under scrutiny. Only a few really interesting fabrics made the cut. Some pieces almost went in the trash and boomeranged back a few times before I could part with them.

Downsizing and keeping an orderly workroom are 2 different critters entirely! Of course downsizing the business also means downsizing the office. No room for emotion here.

First chore. The office. Go through the desk, filing cabinets and storage shelves. I had years of old designer job files. (Now that I use Seamless Workroom systems all of that paper isn't necessary.) Some files were shredded and some were tossed into the recycle bin. The house felt lighter after all of that paper was gone.

This was both a chore and a trip down memory lane. I sure have made a lot of window treatments over the years and it was interesting to see how styles have changed over time.

Even though I haven't made a M'Fay valance in years, I could never part with any of those patterns. So back in the boxes they went. I love them!

Second chore. Workroom supplies. Each designer likes certain items fabricated in a certain way. Covered buttons are a good example. My designers used to like 1" covered buttons on almost everything. Now none of my designers used them. And then there is khaki lining that was popular in Charlotte a while back. Now, it isn't used at all. Yep, too good to throw away but not needed anymore. If I wait long enough it might come back in style.

More evaluations to be made. How much and what will I need for the next phase of my business? Some items I kept, some I tossed and some will be donated. (Custom Workroom Technical Center is on the list for donation.)

And several times I asked myself why do I still have that? There is even one item from my upholstery days that I don't remember what it is for - that definitely makes the donation box.

Third chore. Evaluate all office and workroom furniture. Anything that makes the Move has to be compact, light weight and adaptable. Cabinets, selves, bookcases and a too large desk were out. The house feels even lighter.

I even re assessed my machines. Yep, the zillion ton Juki walking foot that I have had from the beginning has to go with me. Three machines too old and worn for repair were discarded and two new machines took their places ready for a new life.

So I am all set with a compact workroom, new machines, a streamlined office, only essential reorganized workroom supplies and a streamlined home. Oh, yeah, the garage still has to be done. Where's that sad face emoji?

All of the reorganization and assessment was actually cathartic.

Planning for the future and discarding what isn't necessary feels good. Looking forward feels good.

Keeping only treasured items and memories feels good.

Looking back on a successful career and business feels good.

Looking forward to new possibilities feels good.

Only time will tell if I have planned well.


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