This is a Guest Post by the Super Amazing One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Mel {she’s the one who made A Freezer Meal Menu Plan for Four Month’s Worth of Meals, and then made a Big List of Freezer Meal Recipes and Freezer Meal Cooking Tips.}

Mel has also shared how she made all those AWESOME gift bags and shared her recipe for DIY Lemonade Concentrate} and her Super Simple Summer Tomato Pasta. She also told us about her Experience Joining a CSA and Eating More Vegetables. I think at this point, we pretty much all want Mel to be our neighbor. I know I do! Here is her latest post:

I started sewing a few years ago, and I’ve been trying to figure out a good sewing setup ever since. We have an odd little bonus room on the first floor of our house, so that room was the natural spot to stow everything, but that space serves a number of functions, so I couldn’t just outfit the whole room for sewing. Not only that, but the bonus room has an open entryway (no door), a sliding glass door to our deck, and a bathroom, so it really was not a full room to start.

Essentially, my sewing “room” was more of a sewing wall, and the only thing on that wall was an incredibly heavy table that was too big for the room but somehow still too small for sewing. Other than a few rolling bins for fabric (that could not even slide completely under the table), I didn’t have any storage space for tools (scissors, cutting mat, etc.), so everything just ended up piled on the table. If you can’t handle clutter look away now. If you think you can handle it, look at this mess:

Now, I could clean up the mess in between sewing projects, but this year I have been sewing nonstop. I made a skirt, a set of Valentine’s gift bags, and about 30 pencil cases before the pandemic started, and then I transitioned to making well over 100 face masks (I literally lost count), office door curtains for coworkers to use during Zoom meetings, etc. 

So, not only does the sewing mess never abate now, but that doorless entryway to the bonus room means I see the mess all the time. I decided it was time to rethink that space. My goals for the space were to:

Find more flexible furniture. That heavy table was unmovable, had no storage, and took up a ton of floor space.
Add storage without adding more rolling bins. The bins work great for fabric, and I like that I can move them out of the way (or out of sight), but they are not good for small tools I need to grab regularly. If possible, I really wanted a place to stow the sewing machine out of sight as well. 

After a little research, I found that I am apparently not alone in these goals; rolling sewing cabinets that fold up and convert to normal-looking furniture are a thing. Many of these convertible sewing cabinets can cost up to $2000.00, but I found this one for just $214.00. We have convertible coffee tables from the same brand, so I had a feeling I would like it.

I decided to go for it, but I still needed to figure out a bit more storage. The cabinet has some bins on one door and shelves for another, but those features seemed better suited to storing things like buttons or rolls of elastic instead of tools. Ultimately, I decided on this IKEA pegboard. I figured a pegboard would allow me to quickly grab any tools I needed while still keeping everything looking neat. Here’s how it looks now:

The cabinet has a drop-leaf table, so the whole thing folds up to about half the size when not in use and even has room to stash the sewing machine on a shelf inside. And, now that there’s more floor space, I was able to stow the rolling bins of fabric out of the way (and mostly out of sight) in a corner.

I used the cabinet to hold storage bins for items like snaps and buckles, and I added a Command hook to the inside of the door to hold quilting squares.

I put additional Command hooks under the drop-leaf part, on the back of the cart, and underneath the cart to hold my cutting mat, larger quilting squares, etc.

I used my label maker to label the door bins to keep them a little more organized. There are some random items sprinkled in there (like extra pegboard accessories), but the labels are mostly accurate.

The pegboard has several options for accessories. I chose hooks for scissors and rulers, cups for seam rippers and pencils, clips to hold face mask patterns, containers with slide-off lids to hold sewing clips, grommets, and mask nose wires, and trays to hold thread and bobbins. I ultimately decided that the pegboard looked just slightly too cluttered, but IKEA has several sizes, so I ordered another 14-inch panel to go on the left-hand side and space out some of the items. 

There’s still one furry little problem due to not having a door into the bonus room, and the space is still small and awkward, but at least the sewing chaos is contained now. And I am a very slow sewer, but I have found I work much more efficiently with the new setup. I don’t have to stop and hunt down the scissors hiding under a fabric pile, and the space looks cleaner even when it is in use. All in all, I’d say this project was a success!


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