Fabric Stash Challenge - Are You With Me?
Does your fabric stash support the way YOU want to create?
I've been contemplating about my fabric stash, and examining whether it supports the way I want to create.
Let's think about it...
- Does your fabric stash actually work for you?
- Is it organised in a way that inspires you to get creative?
- Or, does it make you just want to shut the door and look away?
I'll get back to fabric in a minute...
First, let me tell you about my wardrobe (which is essentially another kind of stash).
My love for fabric extended to my obsession with clothes. Often collected, rarely discarded - my wardrobe was so full, I had trouble getting things in and out. That meant there were heaps of things I just didn't get to wear.
But decluttering was something I file under "housework".
I have a business to look after, a household to run, and sewing waiting. Who has time for housework?!
My long-suffered other-half is a minimalist by nature. Clutter drives him nuts.
In fact, it was a real miracle he survived along my stuff for as long as he did (the poor thing). Over Christmas, he quietly bought me this book ...
I started reading it during the long flight home from Hawaii . And cried through the whole book (I had no idea why. Still don't). It's a decluttering book, for goodness's sake....
That was my cue. I knew I had to take action.
I started with my clothes, handbags, and shoes. And I ended up with 12 to 14 big IKEA bags for the Op Shop. Would you believe - my wardrobe still looks full. Scary!
I now have a functional wardrobe. I discovered things that I loved but forgotten about. All of a sudden I have heaps of clothes to wear - there's no need to go shopping for a while, or ever.
Do I feel amazing?
Well.... Yes and No.
To be honest, there's a small part of me that felt... a little broken. Especially when I saw my own coat displayed in the window of my local Op Shop. That was the coat I struggled to give away. I finally decided to let it go based on one simple question that KonMari method asks:
Does this spark joy?
If it does, keep it. If not, let it go. Simple as that.
That was the most brilliant (and simple) question that enable me to let go in such volume, in a decisive, ruthless - yet kind and loving way.
Of course, some things were harder than others to part with....
But ultimately, I do feel lighter. Freer. I can breathe now.
What about that part of me that felt broken, then?
I kept hearing my mother - in my head.
She'd have a fit had she known that I gave away "perfectly good" stuff. How much money did it all cost me, in the first place?! Could I have sold them on eBay and get some back?
Of course I could have...
But then the things would still be mine. They would still sit around to take up more time and space. The whole point of decluttering was about freeing up time and space, so we can become the person we want to be, tomorrow.
There was something else when I dig deeper...
I discovered a part of me that craved material possessions.
You see, I was brought up with the classic immigrant "we came here with nothing but a suitcase" mindset. On some level, being able to buy (and accumulate) stuff could be interpreted that life is no longer a struggle. Having more stuff might seem comforting for those of us who came from less.
Of course we now know that's no longer true.
And I'm moving towards living with only things that spark joy for me.
Instead of focusing on what's missing, I now enjoy the thought of giving forward: imagining someone's delight in finding treasures for a few dollars at the Op Shop - and reuniting with my own forgotten clothes that deserve some love. Happy days!
Next, I'm going to tackle my fabric stash.
This is what I plan to do:
- Take ALL my fabric out of their hiding spots. Hold each piece to see if they spark joy in me.
- Acknowledge that some "filler" fabrics may still serve a purpose in patchwork - put them aside as "maybe"
- Keep only what I love / need. Let go of the rest - by donating / giving away to make someone else's day
- Find storage places for what I do keep, in a way that works for me.
- When in doubt, ask myself: "Does this support the way I want to create?"
Here are some more tips from a great Vimeo clip by the lovely Natasha Rose:
Her video is 10 mins long - though worth watching if you have a quiet moment. She goes through her own arts and craft supplies and explain in such practical way on how to deal with unfinished projects.
Go straight to Textile / Sewing around 4.35 and Fabric at 5.08. Unfinished Projects start around 6.40.
Here's the video: https://vimeo.com/297858434
To get us started - I'm inspired by this:
And love the idea of using the filing cabinet:
While not a huge fan of plastic tubs, I know they can be useful:
I've successfully reused shoeboxes etc for my wardrobe, so I think it would work equally well with fabric:
Here's a very useful tip in folding fat quarters (good for other sizes too):
I particularly love this idea of using magazine racks.
Perfect for auditioning fabric to use in your next quilt, don't you think?
OK - here's the part I need to be honest.
Tackling fabric stash is not going to be easy, and I don't want to do it alone.
Would you join me?
Simply send me photos as you go along, and I'll also share mine :-)
And if your stash is already taken care of - wanna share some photos to inspired the rest of us?
Simply Email Me and lets do it :-)
Happy Sewing (and fabric re-stashing)!
P.S. There's a Part Two to this. Find out what happens next...
Three Suspicious Women & a Truck Full of Fabric
You are such a wonderful girl. So many people will benefit from you kindness with your donations.
Hubby and I love op shops. I do volunteer ing at our local hospital in the gift shop. I love knitting and sewing items to sell in there. So I use all my bits and pieces I have collected over the years. I'm now buying materials and wool to use.
I'm retired now but still the day runs out before I get to do the things I want to do. I have my own crafts on the go. You know I feel so sorry for people who say they have nothing to do with their days.
I wish you well with your Fabric Stash Challenge this is one thing I don't have to worry about.
Keep up all the work you go and for your blog posts.
Kind regards Kaye
My stash is not fabric but wool
I had already declutteree my life 3 years ago after my house was flooded to just below the ceiling. I had been thinking for quite some time that I needed to get rid of a lot of stuff. It was very liberating to throw it a lot of it away.
However 3 years on I have nearly as much wool as I had before but I knit to give away or sell in a local shop. I too always give unused items to the local op shop. I don't want a garage sale watching people go through my possessions.
Trying not too buy more stuff I don't need but it is Hard
Tackling the stash is so much better for your piece of mind, and your sew-jo. You won’t regret it at all, but you do need to acknowledge that your subconscious will grieve for it for a while.
Like you, I tend to have a “came from nothing” mindset when it comes to possessions. For me, it was grinding poverty as a child, and the constant loss of treasured things to the next child, when I outgrew something. It didn’t matter that I wanted to keep it, it had a use.
I purged my stash over the school holidays, donating 3 clothes baskets of good usable fabric to the local senior school for their textiles classes.
Be aware though, of other’s efforts to sabotage (not purposely of course). A friend asked me to help sort his late wife’s stash, and then insisted that I bring home a large pile of fabric from her stash. This is fabric I didn’t choose, don’t have a purpose for, and is not really in my style. Every time I walk into my sewing room, it looks at me, unloved and dejected …. and it has killed my sew-jo. I know I have to move it on, but I am aware that on one level, my friend is expecting to see items made in it, and so I am frozen.
I will get there though ….. so here is a photo of my tidied stash to help you along.
I'm with you on this. I have a sewing room I can't get into because not only does it have all my sewing & other craft goodies but also has been used as a general dumping ground. Both my parents died in the last 2 years & I'm sorting out their belongings. Mum was a dressmaker & had an enormous fabric stash, plus all the off cuts from years ago. I have emptied several boxes & green garbage bags of fabric & haven't made a dent on the pile. Seriously there's fabric from 1970. I know because I used it for a school project when I was 15. The next big question for science is "Is hoarding genetic?"
In our destashing we must not forget PATTERNS.
Good luck I think we're going to need it
Ps There's always storage units!
OMG your mother sounds just like me with my daughter. Have boxes of perfectly good clothes that she no longer wants. Why Have I got them? Because I said they are
Too good to just get rid of and could sell on gumtree or ebay. BUT have I done it in the last 2 years? NO, So after reading your story I am going to put them in a bag to
go to various opshops etc. I have been going through my cupboards one by one to clear things out. Amazing what you find.
My fabric stash is not quite as large. Have just worked by Christmas fabric down into placemats that one of our quilting shops supplies to a nursing home and rehabilition
Hospital for residence and patients at Christmas time.
Love reading your stories.
Thanks Shelley, love this article.
Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration and tips in this email and we loved the video; have a great week!
Thanks for your story Shelley,
Yes I can relate to the immigrant story. I also volunteer at an Op-Shop & usually bring something home. But I am getting better at bringing stuff back. Lovely to hear from you.