Nifty and cheap work organization tool

It seems silly to mention such a small thing but I’ve been inordinately pleased with how well a recent experiment is working out. Specifically, my purchase of IV poles. Initially I bought the poles to solve a problem in digitizing patterns but I’ve stated to use them for organizing WIP (work in process). I don’t claim IV poles are a solution for every operation but I’ll explain how I use them so you can see if they’re a fit for you.

History: The room I use for digitizing becomes too cramped if I use a Z-rack to hang patterns along side the digitizing table. I also don’t have a wall to mount a nail to hang patterns on either. This means the dress forms were being used to hang patterns from the neck bobs. Which is okay as these things go until you need to use a form because you have  to move all those patterns (where?) or you need to find a pattern underneath however many hanging from the form. I realized I was moving the same patterns over and over and still misplacing the mock ups we’d made or that the customer had sent. To keep all the work pieces of a particular style meant having to move the work from room to room. Repeatedly. So perhaps you can see that with no space for a Z-rack, IV poles seemed a tidy solution.

At the outset I thought I would use the IV poles just for patterns in the digitizing process. Very quickly though, it became apparent that the poles themselves could be a handy way to organize projects, maybe even one pole per project. From the arms I hang the patterns, mock ups or what have you of a particular style. At right you can see one such project on the IV pole. This is a pattern I hope to sell retail; it is a pair of pants -without the mono-butt “feature”– with a gusset in the crotch.

If you’re thinking of trying out IV poles too, I bought the Grayson model (I have since purchased four more). One caveat; if you are picky like me, you are not going to like the casters that come with this unit; they were the ball-shaped plastic ones that plague cheapie office chairs and low budget shop vacs. I bought different casters ; the total cost was about $35 plus shipping ($27 for the pole, $8 for the casters). The casters that come with the pole don’t raise the base high enough; the screw from the pole scrapes along the floor. Like I said, annoying.

OT: I realize I’ve never written about Z-racks. Hmm. I like racks like this (no affiliation). I do not like racks like these. The cheap orange ones have become popular because they cost 30% less than the old stand bys. I was shocked at how relatively flimsy they are. Pretty but flimsy. Definitely not good for a lot of weight.

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  1. Doris W. says:

    Kathleen – what a brilliant idea! I always have a dozen patterns hanging on one of those over-the-door-hanger things, making it impossible to even get into the sewing room. The IV pole is a perfect solution, especially because it is moveable.

  2. Sarah_H. says:

    Hmmmmmm. These look as though they might be handy for a number of things. I could certainly have used them back in my on-the-table days. I am thinking that they might be handy for sewing projects, independent of patterns.

    B-T-W I am working on a basic plus size pant with a gusset pattern. Not for profit, and really not for fit. I am trying to shave some yardage off of what it takes for pants in the 3X to 5X range. When you get up that big, you are basically looking at 2 complete pant lengths even in 60″ goods. (I am speaking of personal sewing. You can get almost 3 leg panels across with a regular pattern, but you have to be marking in 3 pants to get full use of the yardage. And above 3X you cannot even do that well.)

  3. Natasha E says:

    I’m pretty sure you should be able to get the IV poles that have 4 places to hang the bags not just two but they might be more pricey since usually they are set up to support the IV pumps with 2 or more channels.

  4. Kathleen_Gillies says:

    There are also ceiling mounted IV poles (they are a bit shorter) that slide in a runner that can be pulled out then pushed back against a wall if you have space constraints. I’m not sure where to order –I encounter them at my job in a hospital. I always thought they would be perfect in my sewing room, particularly by where I iron to keep the cord out of the way or just to hang what I am ironing.

  5. Theresa Riess says:

    Oh dear, I just read your review on the IV pole and wheels, snickering the whole time. Too funny and so many meanings.

    Theresa in Tucson

  6. Marie-Christine says:

    Mmmmm. In the process of moving, so not likely to do this soon, but what a good idea.. Storage at eye level, tidily vertical, I like it.

    I’ve been equally busy with organizing (see above about moving..). My ex-beloved Shadow Plan did not transition beyond the palm. After much hair-ripping research, I settled on – good implementation of GTD, extensive features in free version, easy pc/phone synch, extensible if you decide to go whole-hog TRO. I think I can skip throwing myself in the Garonne and get some stuff done instead. A big plus for those times when the todo pile threatens to smother you and/or fry your brain.

  7. Cheryl Designs says:

    Hi everyone. I am basically an alteration/custom sewing seamstress but I thought my hint might help? I have five plant hooks in the ceiling of my sewing room in various ‘handy’ locations. I hang two foot lengths of chain from them (purchased at the home improvement store). LOL When the new boyfriend saw these, his eyes LIT UP :) LOL LOL GEE…ROTFL. They are the BEST THINGS I EVER added to the room. I can hang VARIOUS gowns and items and THINGS. Useful for pressing and stitching and they are simply the BEST.. HA HA HA NO I do NOT use them for the boyfriend ;)

  8. When I worked bridal alterations for a few years, we used ceiling hooks with adjustable chains all over the place; over the steamer, pressing stations, and even for hemming. They work well to keep the weight off your arms and keep the garments relatively horizontal. Unfortunately, I can’t rig them to the ceiling of my current workroom

  9. kelly dailey says:

    Ok i loved the thought because I love handy useful designs. I also have easy free access to iv poles, but i wouldnt do this…. i thought instead buy a hoop cut notches into it (this working as a horizinal closet the notches help organize). take yarn or any type of cord (depending on the weight of the materials) tie it to a hook (bind a single-style door hook if u have to) or a single screw in hook from the ceiling depending on location.

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