* I use soil separator fabric from the plumbing department of Lowe's to copy my patterns.   It's not expensive, you
can write on it with a grease pencil, and it lasts through repeated fabric markings with the sharp wheeled tool.
*---I guess the biggest thing I have in my sewing room that was not designed for sewing is my L shape desk - I have
my computer on one side and my machine on the other side. Have room for a printer beside the computer and put my
extra sewing machines underneath, I also have a machine on the table for my knitting machine as I'm not knitting
right now and like to have a machine for just sewing set up. I also have several sizes of the plastic stacking drawers
and two dressers that I keep just about every thing from my hoops to thread and lots of
other small items in, including unfinished projects (keeps all the materials together)
* I use a old shoe bag to hold my stabilizer. It's at eye level and I can find whatever I need quickly.
* For me it's two bedside cabinets that I realised matched the desks in my sewing room.  Each has 3 drawers - just the
right height inside for embroidery spools.  One chest holds  my embroidery spools with all the same shades of colour
together.  The other has one drawer with sewing and machine needles, small tools - all those small gadgets that you
can never find when you want them, second drawer elastics, piping cords etc and the third all my cones of serger
thread.  I am not the tidiest of people but this certainly helps.
* Doctor's paper tape.   Wonderful for mending a pattern, marking a stitching line, taping the bias tape ends, etc.
* I couldn't live without my freezer paper for applique.  I iron it to he wrong side of the fabric and baste the fabric to
it,  then press and starch. I remove the paper just before pinning it to the fabric. i get crisp edges turned under and no
cutting and picking out paper later. You can hand stitch or machine either one.
* My invaluable tool has been the peg board that is hanging on the wall behind my machine. I can hang ANYTHING
there that I need to find quickly.
Another useful thing has been tea cup hooks that are screwed into the side of my sewing table to hold my scissors.
They're great!
* In my sewing room  i have an old CD spindle that use to hold like 100 DVD recordables.....well i use it to hold my
large cones of thread...i don't have a large enough spool holder and this works perfect so it can turn and unravel
without the thread getting caught or falling over......i hate it when my youngest daughter ,2, goes into the room and
grabs it to play with and then later when i need it i have to go searching for it.....
* I buy those lint rollers to roll across the cutting area and it works great also...I also use them to roll over my design
when finished to pick up excess lint.
* I used to keep my stabilizers in a bag and somehow the one I always wanted would be at the bottom.  I received a
small wine stand as a gift that holds 12 bottles of wine but I use it to keep my stabilizers organized under my sewing
table--can't drink 'em but it sure works out nice!
* I have a TV-Entertainment Cabinet. It is painted in the Donna Dewberry style with doors and a cabinet with doors
below. It holds my Innovis 4000D. It has a shelf above inside the doors and my husband mounted an
under-the-counter light to the underside of the shelf. On the inside sides I have the suction hooks you use in
bathrooms which hold my hoops, scissors, etc. On the inside of the doors I have two racks which holds my thread. I
close the door and it looks like a beautiful piece of furniture that my cats can't get into and make a mess.
* I use small adhesive towel hooks on my embroidery machine where I hang my small scissors and the tweezer like
scissors, so they are never lost in the mess I make when I'm embroidering
* Take a large zip lock bag and slit the bottom open. Tape one side of the slit opening to your serger table with wide
sealing tape ot masking tape, and leave the other side open. Zip the bottom and as the threads fall into it and it fills
just unzip the bottom and empty, zip it back and you are ready to go again without ever having to
untape it and take to the waste can....I recommend scotch or sealing tape to tape to the table because when masking
take is left on to long and you remove it it leave a residue on your table....
* So many things in my sewing room that were designed for some other purpose include:
ALCOHOL PREP PADS (buy at drugstores) for wiping goop off needles.
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE - best thing to get blood out of fabrics when you try to sew yourself to something
FIRST AID PAPER TAPE - buy at drugstores - only sticks to itself - is great for wrapping around hoops to protect
from sprays and give greater holding power.
WILLIAM'S 'LECTRIC SHAVE - pre-shave skin conditioner for men (buy at Walmart and drug stores) - wipes goo
off hoops and doesn't dry them out. (Also makes husband to wonder who you were entertaining!
Honest, honey, I was sewing!)
WOODBURNING TOOL AND SMALL SOLDERING IRON - great to singe off teeny thread tails around FSL items
done on net or tuille.
DOCTOR'S EXAMINING TABLE PAPER - bought at any medical supply house - (your doctor's office help will tell you
where they get theirs) for copying patterns, thin enough to see through but strong, also good
for keeping kids busy coloring!
COTTON "ROUNDS" -(not cotton balls) used for removing makeup and nail polish - great for using with the
preshave, almost no lint like cotton balls have. I also use them as starters at the top of a seam line so I don't have to
double backstitch - I clip them off as I'm connecting seams.
* Zip Lock bags or hobby bags -- sort my buttons by plastic bags, store laces and other items in plastic bags.  
3-ring note books and plastic sleeves - wonderful for articles and printed templates of my embroidery designs.
A needle nose pliers,  a regular pliers and a hammer.  Many uses.
Small clips from Lowe's to stabilize my excess fabric when embroidering.
Car garages (for Matchbox cars) for all my embroidery threads.
Flower nets from the florist which I use as thread nets.
Endust for electronics which I use to blow the lint out of my older sergers.
A magnifying glass
Gum flossers to thread my sergers, found in dental supplies.
* Hello, group moms & groupies. I have many things in my sewing room that fit your description, but I think the
"most valuable" is the heavy metal narrow bench that is exactly the same height and length as the desk on which sits
my sewing machine. The old metal bench or table was an office throwaway. I covered it with padded vinyl the same
color as my desk and put it between my desk and wall, thus making a desk extender; it is invaluable for quilting and I
also keep a thread spool holder on the far corner (out of the way of my quilts)
on which I line up my thread colors for an embroidery design. Since it is the same height and length and, with the
vinyl covering, the same color as my desk, it blends right in and adds 13 inches of depth to my work area.
* My unique Thread holder! I fould a hardware store going out of business. They were selling their display furniture.
I bought a turn stand, stands 5 feet tall, that has four sides of peg board about 8" wide on each side. They used this
to display their packaged small items. I painted it white and bought 300 2" peg board thingys
and put my thread on it...now when i am wanting thread i just turn it to the colors i want without leaving my chair.
Paid 25.00 for it and it was my best investment ever!
* I have a wooden spoon that I use the handle to turn tubing. I never have any luck with the tube turners I bought,
but can shimmy it onto the spoon handle and the turn it right side out. My granddaughters laugh every time they
come over, and ask again, what's this spoon for.
*I use scotch tape to tape down buttons when I sew them on by machine.  I also put a strip of tape over the basted
seam where I'm putting in a zipper and use the edges as a seam guide.
Thanks for this topic--I'm learning so much from all of you!
* Bamboo skewers -- I use to guide fabric under needle on sewing machine, poke out corners,  and use the blunt end
to pack stuffing into dolls legs, arms, etc.  I have also been know to use to reach things that fall behind my sewing
* A clean toilet bowl brush designated to go over carpet in sewing area to pick up loose threads. This way they don't
get caught in the beater bar of my vacuum cleaner.
* Plastic milk bottle cap(not a screw-on)   put a hole in the middle, and can use it  on top of-to hold spools of thread in
place.  Keeps the spools from bouncing off, and the thread from winding around the spindle.  
* I created a hoop organizer out of a thin chain hooked onto the side of a cabinet. I clipped shower curtain hangers
to the chain and hang my hoops from it.
I use old tic-tac containers for disposing of my used needles.
Some thread spools do not have a “user-friendly” way of keeping the thread from unraveling when not in use.  So, I
use glue dots on the underside lip of my Floriani thread spools to hold the end of the thread so it will not unravel.  
Others, without lips, I use a ponytail band around the spool.
I also have several hair clips I use to hold loose fabric away from my embroidery field.
I use shelf liner, taped, to my bottom hoop edges to keep my material from slipping in the hoop while embroidering.
Small wire framed shelves, for holding items behind your sink, doubles as a great scissors stand.  The space between
the wire slats of the shelf are just wide enough to keep the handles of my scissors from slipping through.
* My favorite thing I can't live without is blue masking tape -- great for all kinds of marking and holding in place.
* The best thing in my sewing room that was NOT designed for sewing is/are two rubber door stops.  I have them
under the front edge of my sewing machine (not embroidery), and they put it at an angle that makes seeing and
sewing so much easier.....try it, you'll like it!
* One of the things I have is “the egg carrier from my refrigerator”    I use it to put the thread in order for the
design I am working on.  
* I have some hanging organizers, although they aren't big enough for shoes, they are wonderful for buttons,
needles, oil, thread, all kinds of stuff.  I just love mine and know right at a glance where things are.
* Well believe it or not I have a toothbrush holder, the kind that is all one piece that would normally sit on the
counter. I put my thread snips, tweezers, cleaning brush etc in it .That way everything is right there in one place as I
need it. ...... it works great!!
* I have a roll of painters tape, scotch tape, eyeglass screwdriver kit, regular chalk, small pair of pliers, cosmetic
brush, fishing tackle box for embroidery feet and other items.
The helpful hints below are from the members of Our Embroidery group " Embroidery Design
Digest". If you have not yet joined it think you would find it fun, educational, and very
enjoyable. I encourage you to do so.....
The question I put to them was:
"What do you have in your sewing room or sewing box that was not
              designed for the purpose you are using it for, but you do not know how
               you ever got along without it??"
Here are some of their answers:
    Join EDD TODAY !
Sewing Tips From our Group Members