Prioritizing UFOs

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Can’t decide where to start on your UFO clean up? Here are some ideas to help you put them in order.

Start with a list.

  • Dig in the closets and empty out the drawers. Locate all those UFOs from years ago to yesterday.
  • Grab a pad and pen, or use our handy worksheet, and write them all down.

Go one-by-one through your UFOs and ask a few questions.

  • Do I really want to finish this project? You have permission to say NO. If the answer is no, scrap it for parts, give it away, or turn it into something different.
  • Do I have everything I need to start this project today? If not, make a note of what’s missing and add it the project container with the rest of the project.

Sort projects by time, technique, and desire.

  • Time – How long will it take to finish the project? Sort projects into two categories: Long Term meaning more than a month and Fast Finishes meaning a day or two. There will be some projects that fall in the middle. 
  • Technique – Is it a hand project? Is it a machine project? Does it require lots of careful work or is it pretty straight forward? Think about the types of projects you like to do and aim for variety. For example, a pieced project that can travel is great to always have going for those unexpected times when waiting is required.
  • Desire – Look at your list of UFOs and put hearts beside the ones you love. Now put more hearts beside the projects you feel are important for you to finish. Finally, add more hearts to the projects that inspire you! In the end you will have some projects with lots of hearts and others with none.

Leave room for the new.

As you are collecting up the UFOs you may notice some projects on your mental wish list. A pattern you love but never have made, a book full of inspiration, or a stack of quilting magazines decorated with sticky notes marking must-make projects. Don’t forget about starting new projects. 

Grab two or three new projects from your wish list.

Schedule your UFOs.

  • You don’t need to be in a hurry to get them all done at once. Instead, use the sorting piles to help you create a schedule to complete your projects.
  • Select the project on your UFO list with the most hearts. Pencil it in your calendar to start first. 
  • If it is a long term project, look for something from the Fast Finish pile to add to the week. Quick finishes keep us inspired!
  • If it is a project that will keep you at the sewing machine, pencil in a hand project for those hours in front of the TV or at the doctor’s office.
  • Estimate how long it will take to finish the project with the most hearts, set a deadline and schedule the project with the second most hearts next.
  • Add a fast project and an alternate technique project to accompany it and stop.
  • Now pick something new. If you don’t know what that is yet, set aside the time for something new and keep going.
  • Work through your unfinished projects (alternating them with new) and fill up calendar.
  • Don’t feel like you need to fill up the whole year. Try scheduling a quarter or a month at a time if a year is too much.

Once your projects are scheduled, put the projects-in-waiting away and get to work on the first UFO on the list. 

 

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Sandy Offenburger

This is a great idea. Will try it today!

Vivian

What is ufo?

In quilting, UFO stands for UnFinished Object.

Linda H

Excellent article and the worksheet is quite usable! New year … new ME!!

Lynn

Those are great ideas. To help myself I also make a list of what needs to be done for each UFO, these include things like Cut pieces, piece the top or a section if is more complex, then put together, make binding, quilt, bind. I found that being able to cross off little things seems to make it more easy to get finished. Then when complete I put the date and cross it off.
Lynn

Donna

I love these strategies. Thank you!

Lucinda

Thank you so much! My UFOs have been on my mind and I just didn’t know where to start.