Stash Busting

P1020833Since it is too early in the year to break my New Year’s Resolutions just yet, I decided to get started on my great stash cleanup of 2013. I knew that my goal was to get control over the stash and I had outlined a few broad steps to achieve this goal, but actually getting started and getting it done had started to become an issue for me.

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Where should I start?
What should I do first?

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I tried to come up with a plan of action to get the task completed, but in the end I was failing to get a working plan outlined. And I noticed that all my time was being spent trying to come up with a plan instead of actually doing something, so I finally just started opening up boxes to see what I had. As my husband always tells me: “Stop over thinking it! Just do it!”

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P1020839Seeing what surprises were discovered in each box worked great for about half a dozen boxes, until I noticed that I had fabric laying out everywhere in no particular order.

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I was becoming discouraged quickly. I needed some order.
Isn’t that was this goal was all about in the first place?

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So I gave some thought about how I had organized the stash in the past. Previously, I had boxed my fabric according to what I planned to sew with it. There was a box of fabric to make myself shirts, a box of fabric to make the husband shirts, a box of baby prints for sleepers and such, a box of scraps, and so on. This worked out for me for many years, but I noticed that this type of organization system failed when there became more than one box with the same label. Now that there are 5 boxes of fabric all labeled as shirts for the husband, I could no longer remember what was in each box. Plus as the stash grew a number of boxes P1020836were labeled mixed fabric. This was really of no help and I had no clue at all as to what was in these boxes. I also had knits in with rayons in with cottons which was fine when there were only two to three pieces of each, but now that there is, well, let’s just say much more of everything, this had become problem too. Another problem was the yardage or size of each piece of fabric. The stash is just an accumulation of yardage I have bought, fabric Mom has given me, pieces of odd sizes purchased from discount bins and at thrift stores, and scraps, some that are more usable than others. So, in the box marked ‘Husband Shirts’ there might be a 3 yard piece of knit I purchased, a 1.5 yard piece of cotton that Mom gave me (not enough for a shirt for the husbands size, but it could be pieced together with something else for say a bowling shirt), and a 5 yard piece of rayon Hawaiian print purchased on sale for that fantastic vacation shirt I am going to make him some day, plus smaller scraps to piece together with the smaller pieces. Previous to this reorganization, when I wanted to make the husband a new shirt and I would open one of his boxes, and then I would end up spending way too much time sorting through the fabric to find what I wanted. It use to be I just saw two or three options, could pick one and get the sewing process started.

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P1020834With these thoughts in mind and seeing an vast array of fabric pieces before me, the plan to organize my fabric started to fall into place in my mind. I have come up with 30 categories to sort and box my fabric into. For example, 2 yards or more knit solid colors, 2 yards or less knit solid colors, 2 yards or more cotton prints, 2 yards or less cotton prints and so on. This way when I want to make something like the little neighbor girl a dress, I will know to look in the box labeled 2 yards or less cotton prints. I think this will work and since I will not be adding anymore fabric to the stash in the near future, nod nod wink wink, there should not be anymore mixed fabric boxes or boxes I have no idea what is in to slow me down. And say on the off chance that I do add a new piece to the stash (over the husband’s dead body), I can then put it in the appropriate box to find it easily later.

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Now that I had a workable organization plan in place, I began to sort the fabric from the boxes I had already opened. And I am now ready to open more of my boxes to see all the gorgeous fabric that I have, and then get it all sorted into its appropriate piles for later placement into the appropriate boxes.

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