Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Organization a Dangerous Obsession?

Do you like to organize your stuff?  Is there ever a moment when you feel that you have gone too far?  Stepped over the edge?

Photo shows 2 out of the 4 drawers of a small box holding Singer top hat cams
For me, one of the pleasures of this bizarre addiction/hobby is collecting the little doo-dads that go along with with the machines.   Stuff piles up.  I come up with a way to organize it.  I go to thrift shops and buy more stuff.  It piles up some more.  A new organization scheme is needed.  And so on, and so on.  I actually enjoy this.  It would drive some people mad.  People who are not retired, for example.

In my own defense, I don't re-organize just for the sake of re-organizing.  I re-organize because something is going wrong.  I can't find things.  I don't have things in the place where they are needed. 

Take the case of the Singer top hat cams.  I have a couple of 401's and a 500, none of them working well at the moment.  Eventually I hope to restore them to health and find new owners for them.  I recently acquired a 603E which I understand is among the last of the all-metal-gear machines and which will chain stitch.  All of these need their own top hat cams (I'm keeping the 603, which is working perfectly).  Top hat cams are plentifully available at the thrift stores and as they have accumulated I've come up with several ways to deal with them, none of which really worked.

The latest organizational incarnation:  one complete set will live out in the open, the rest will lurk on the shelves in the back of the studio. 

I took a silver sharpie and added ink to the raised numbers and stitch patterns on the top of the cams. 
 If you mess it up, a black sharpie will disguise most of your errors. 

I took a former cosmetics kit box and lined the drawers with a silvery wrapping paper.

Voila! I can lay my hands on any top hat cam at a moments notice.  I can peer into the drawers and actually see what the stitch patterns are.  This was a very satisfactory organizational project:  big improvement in access for no money and very little time.  The cosmetic box has been used for several different organizational projects in the studio, but this is its obvious perfect destiny.

So did I go too far this time?  No, unless you take into account that my go-to machine for decorative stitches will be my Janome MC 4900 for the rest of its limited plastic lifetime.  And I will probably never use these top hat cams because for some vintage cam fun I go-to a 306 or my latest love, a 316G, both of which take flat cams.  But I sure did enjoy coloring the stitch patterns silver and giving them their own little box to live in.

Do any of your studio organizational habits (or lack of them) make you doubt your own sanity?  Feel free to share them here!