Last December we decided that after three years of living in this apartment, it was time to make my sewing room usable. Recently, this process reached the phase of having to go through all my sewing WIPs. This process has me thinking large thoughts about getting rid of projects that no longer bring me joy. This post is my attempt to gather in one place all the things that I thought about during the process.

Dump it all out where you can see it

The first thing that I realized was that I really needed to dump it all out where I could see it. My WIPs lived either in a massive IKEA bag or just scattered around in every nook and cranny that seemed suitable at the time. It all seemed just so overwhelming. Dumping it all out on my cutting table made it easier to see everything that I needed to deal with. In the case of electronic WIPs I like to do a brain dump into either a file or just a piece of paper. List a name or a descriptor and then a short description. “A Path Through the Twilight Woods – novel, AU Finnish witches, Karelian crusade”. The important thing is to get everything in one place where you can see it. 

Find the weak in the herd

There are always obvious choices to discard. In my case, my huge IKEA bag turned out to hold a lot of cabbage, ie discarded pieces of fabric. I have a cabbage patch, so those went to their proper home first thing. The next to go was a brown peasant skirt which is a style that I haven’t worn in at least a couple decades. Or in the case of fiction projects, I may have a great idea for an epic fantasy novel (the Chosen One is actually a con job, but he doesn’t know it yet), but am I actually going to write it? Seems unlikely, given that it’s been decades since I’ve actively read epic fantasy. In any case, getting a few easy ones out of the way to get rolling works for me. Don’t spend more than a minute on these.

Get systematic

After the most obvious culling targets are gone, it’s time to start systematically going through all the things. This portion can get discouraging which is why I like to start with the obvious first. It’s also why I make sure to only get the most obvious first. It’s also why I make sure that getting rid of the obvious things doesn’t take too long. It’s better if there are some obvious things to ditch among the more difficult things. Because I really liked that idea of that epic fantasy novel. It has a lot of the things that I love to write. But it’s still epic fantasy. I’m still not going to ever actually finish that book. So it felt bad to get rid of that. It felt so much better

Treat yourself

Once you’re done, reward yourself for the job you’ve done. Good job! You’ve made more space for whatever it is that you want in your life. And that is the most important thing!