UFO, You’re Going Down

How I Plan to Finish All of My UFOs in 2019

2019 is only two days along and I already know the theme for the year.


Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash

I’ve spent much of my Christmas break deep cleaning out my house. I honestly haven’t even gotten to the cleaning part yet, I’m just wading through piles of donation items, wondering how I ever accumulated So. Much. Stuff. I’ve been inspired by websites like Becoming Minimalist and when I get a little tired of waging war on my junk, I just visit their blog for a little extra boost. I can truly say there is nothing more freeing than an empty shelf with nothing to put on it. I’m realizing how stress-inducing and burdensome that my material possessions have become.

So, you can probably guess what room remains on the To Do list, I’ve literally cleaned every room surrounding it, including the three rooms that secretly store the overflow from it. Yep, it’s the sewing room. Why am avoiding it?

Because my sewing room makes me feel defeated.

This all started when I was filling out my Quilter’s Planner for 2019, and I got to and their nifty little project planner page. I filled it out eagerly with my new projects and my planner bliss was abruptly interrupted—

oh…the UFO pile…

As I thought about it, I realized that staring that UFO pile in the face not only made me feel defeated, it made me less excited about my new projects!

And that’s when I decided that the UFO pile is going down this year. Not just going down…I want to see it GONE by December 31, 2019. Anything that makes me feel defeated in my own home, let alone my sewing room, either needs to be thrown out or sewn. Immediately.

Taking Control of the UFO Pile

I did something really big and I think you should give it a try.

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

I laid out all of my UFOs on the floor, there were a few that I just decided to cut my losses on—things that no longer brought me joy, that were totally out of date, or projects that I just didn’t want to do. I put them in a pile and then took inventory of the remaining projects.

Once I saw the number of projects I had left, and how far along some of them were, I separated them into groups: Small Sunday Finishes and Longer term projects.

Then I put an expiration date on them.

Tough Cookie…I know!

But guess what? I think this is really going to work. If my project is not done by the expiration date, it will be donated in it’s unfinished state to a local craft consignment shop (gasp!). If that’s not incentive, I don’t know what is.

Join Me in the Fight!

So, the question is: Are you going to take control of your sewing room and knock these UFOs out with me this year?

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

If the answer is yes, then you need to join my UFO | No Project Left Behind Facebook Group! Last year I attempted to do this with Facebook’s Group Events option, but it was not ideal for this sort of group. It didn’t notify me of posts, and was difficult to work with. This year I’ve worked out the bugs and created a special group where we can encourage and inspire each other throughout the year. I’ve set up this group so that you can celebrate your victories and get help from other quilters just like you as we work through our projects together. There’s even prizes! For every completed project that you share, you’ll gain an entry for the grand prize at the end of the year! It’s free and fun, so what’s the harm?

Get Started

So, now that you’ve joined my Facebook Group it’s time to tackle that UFO pile and tell it who is boss. Here’s some helpful tips for getting started:

Photo by Joyce Romero on Unsplash

Lay It Out

It might feel overwhelming to lay out all of your UFOs, but I’d encourage you to do it. Just remember, you’re not committing to finish all of those projects this year, you’re just taking inventory.

Cut Your Losses

Find a project that just does nothing for you? If so, just donate the supplies to a local craft consignment shop. Here’s three reasons that you don’t need to feel bad about it:

  1. No one has to know!
  2. Why burden yourself? Free yourself of the imaginary obligation to finish this project and use your time creating something that you love
  3. The first “no” is the hardest, but just pay attention to how you feel after that project makes it’s way into the donation pile. Once you actually drop off that bag of goodies, you’ll feel even more free!
  4. If none of those great points did anything for you, just remember that you’re supporting a local business when you donate!

Divide and Conquer

Now it’s time to get to work, you pulled the weeds, now it’s time to make some decisions. Start by selecting the projects that you want/need to finish this year. I’d suggest choosing at least 1 challenging project. The rest are up to you, but the freedom you feel after finishing “the beast” will inspire you to keep chipping away at that pile.

Now, stash the projects that you won’t be focusing on this year, just get them out of your sight and out of your head.

Now that we’ve cleared our space and our brains, it’s just you and your 2019 UFOs. And they are about to go down.

How to manage UFO projects

I’ve got a pile of my husbands old shirts destined to be little girl’s dresses, a slew of Bandit Bibs that I never finished, a mini quilt, a slew of fabric bins for the laundry room, 5 quilts, 2 mini quilts, a wallet, and a ton of special clothes that I want to turn into pillows…not to mention the new projects that I want to take on!

Organize your selection into two categories: Sunday Finishes and Longer Term Projects. When I say Sunday Finishes, I mean small projects that you can finish in an afternoon, I just prefer to do my fun sewing on Sunday! The Long Term group is for those bigger projects that will require a little more planning and a little more effort to get finished.

Expiration Dates

Now for the tough part. I would encourage to put an expiration date on at least one project. I did it for all of them. Remember the rule: If it’s not finished by the expiration date, it get’s donated! This sort of tough-cookie attitude should be just what you need to get in gear! Make it official and write it out on an index card and place it with your project.

I will make a little note: I’ve got a few quilt tops with no planned recipient—my finish goal on these is just to get the top done and then save the quilting for when it’s actually needed. There’s no reason to spend the money and have it quilted quite yet!

Pin the plan now and help your crafty friends out!

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, make a basket or designated space for your UFO project, put them in order of their expiration dates, and start sewing the one that expires first! Don’t forget to join my Facebook Group and tell us what your goals are for this year. Then invite your friends—the more, the merrier. I look forward to seeing your progress and fighting the UFO battle together!

Enjoy reading this post? To make sure you don’t miss a thing, follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram and sign up for an email subscription to my blog.


  1. Such a good idea! And you are so organized about it. You are inspiring me to take stock of my UFOs and see what I can do to finish them up 😀 You go, girl!

  2. Thanks for this. I still have a couple from last year’s challenge. 😬

  3. I’m going in exactly the opposite direction! My 2019 goal is to beef up my UFO list. 🤣🤣🤣 Just like seeing your pile took your joy, not seeing a pile took mine. https://fortheloveofthread.com/quilting-resolutions/

  4. I will have 4 quilts to take to hospice this week because I just had to get the projects moving again. Hope to keep it up with your encouragement!

  5. You have inspired me to gather all my UFOs into a pile and evaluate instead of feeling obligated to finish a quilt just because the top is completed, or a garment that is cut out and maybe partially assembled. Thank you! I would join your group; however, Facebook is not my thing. I too love to have empty shelves and cupboards. Good luck to you attaining your goals!

    • Thanks so much Gail,

      I’m glad this helped! I have more helpful posts on the way, so make sure to keep checking back in.
      And I totally understand, Facebook isn’t really my thing either 😉
      Good luck and happy sewing!

  6. I am encouraged to either donate or do a consignment for so many UFO’s. I have 2 rooms full of fabrics with the patterns attached. But.. I fell and broke my strong arm! Healing will be slower than obsolescence for some of the bundles. So I am donating five finished quilts as prizes for our family reunion this summer. The “kit” quality bundles will go to a consignment event. My husband, who has been a Dear, will like it, I think. I’m relieved to know I am not the only one in this situation. Thanks for this blog.

    • Thanks for sharing Melissa.
      I agree, there is a point where you just need to let them go- it’s so freeing!
      Here’s to a quick recovery for your arm! Have you tried the Martelli rotary cutters? They are much easier to cut with, you don’t have to apply nearly as much pressure to make a clean cut…just thought I’d throw it out there!

  7. Thanks for the organizational ideas. Helps me get motivated on mine:) Had a different question for you as I was looking at the cricut machine on your site. Would this allow me to hand draw designs and then have them divided into units for cutting applique? I love to do landscape quilts and this would certainly help speed things along with all the applique pieces needed in the quilt. I start with a master drawing, then transfer those elements onto another sheet of drawing paper and then draw again in reverse and then again onto applique fusible paper. Then cut the design from fabric. What do you think Rachel?

    • Great question!

      If you can get your drawings onto the computer (in a program like illustrator), the Cricut could cut them, which is why I’m wanting to upgrade to the Cricut Maker so much!

      So, in your case, you could scan the original drawing into the computer, outline the pieces in an Illustrator program, apply the fusible web to your fabric and then stick it onto the mat. Once those are all ready, you’d have the Cricut do the rest of the work for you!

      Let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  8. Hi Rachel,

    I have just joined. I love quilting and have been retired from work now for 1 year but, I don’t seem to have any more time to quilt than I did before!
    This year I have to learn to say NO as well as YES. No to the things people think I ought to do as I am at home and yes to the the UFOs.

    Love your blog. You are inspiring.

    Linda xx

Leave a Reply