MCM #26 – I Finally Organized my Stash

This is almost too embarrassing to share, but I’m all about the truth tea here in my little part of the world.

Organizing My StashWhat you are looking at here is my cabinet of shame. Otherwise known as my fabric stash.

Sigh.

How can anyone create anything when faced with this??

Answer – It can be done, but with much frustration. I mean, who wants to scour through this mess looking for that one piece of perfect fabric and take up precious sewing time?

I know I don’t, so I decided to tackle this situation head on.

There are tons of blog posts written about stash organization and I think I’ve read most of them. I finally figured it out. What it all comes down to is finding a system that works for you with the way you work. Sounds simple, but it took me some time to reach that conclusion. Sometimes I just have to be knocked over the head with the obvious to see it.

What works for me is having most of my fabric in this cabinet. I feel like I have a small fabric stash, but even so it can quickly get out of hand (as evidenced by the above photo!) I also have a small sewing room and need to make the best use of the space I have.

To begin dealing with this mess, I first took everything out of the cabinet so I could start with three empty shelves. Then I tackled the easy things first – charm packs, jelly rolls, fat quarters. All of those are easy to stack and that’s what I did.

Next up – yardage. But how to deal with it? I love the look of fabric folded on comic book boards but I don’t have them and didn’t want to order them and then have to wait for them to be delivered. (I’ve said it before, patience is not something I have a lot of..) And since I’m being honest, folding fabric on and off those boards probably wouldn’t fit my style…it’s pretty but not practical for me. It’s not the way I work.

So, I decided anything over a yard would be folded in 9″ widths. Why? It’s easy to fold fabric by the yard, then in half and half again. What I ended up with were pieces that were 9″ x WOF. Then I folded the piece lengthwise into thirds and it fit perfectly on my shelf.

Anything l yard or less would be folded in 6″ widths. I chose six inches for two reasons. One, I usually buy fabric in 1/2 yard pieces. This is easily folded by thirds into a 6″ width. Two, I will instantly know by looking on the shelf if I have less than 1 yard of any particular fabric. No more time wasted finding the perfect fabric and then discovering I don’t have enough for the project.

Solids are stacked together, prints are together, and larger pieces that can be used for backings are together. The great thing about this now is I can see what colors I need to concentrate on adding. For instance, I have very little low volume fabric and now know to look for that when shopping.

All my threads are together on the top shelf, and since there is now room for all of them there they aren’t crowding my other work spaces. I’m looking for an alternative storage solution for the thread; I would rather have that shelf space for fabric.

Here’s the cabinet now:

Organized Fabric Stash

Isn’t this so much better??? I’m happy to say that it has been this way for several weeks now and I’m finding it easy to maintain. You know that little rush you get when you walk into a fabric store and see all that goodness on the walls and shelves? Everybody feels that, right?? I get a little of that now when I head to this cabinet to find a piece of fabric for a project I’m working on. So fun!

Smaller pieces are folded and placed in a bin. I try to work out of the bin as often as I can so that it doesn’t become too full. Scrap pieces are put in color coded scrap bins that are the size of shoe boxes and stored in the closet. (I’ll show you those in another post.)

Bin of large scraps of fabric

Bin of large scraps of fabric

I have made a conscious effort to deal with the scraps and leftover pieces of fabric from every project as soon as I finish that project. It has made a world of difference in keeping my sewing room more organized.

Scraps are cut into squares – anywhere from 5″ to 2-1/2″ – whatever I can cut. I don’t fret about it as much as I used to. I know at some point I will find a project for these pieces and cutting them before putting them away keeps everything nice and neat.

Example of cut squares after finishing a project

Example of cut squares after finishing a project

I love having my fabric organized. I found so many pieces I’d forgotten about while working on this project, but now I can see every piece of fabric I own. It’s a small stash, but even small stashes can get out of control; it is much more manageable now.

I have other areas of my sewing room to work on and will do that over the summer. I’ll share more as I finish them. Right now I’m just enjoying having an organized cabinet!

Do you struggle with organizing and managing your stash and projects? I’d love to hear/see your solutions.

This organized cabinet is my crush for this week. Before we see what you are crushing on this week, let’s recap a couple of last week’s projects.

Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts made this stunning quilt for her mother. Read her heartwarming story and see more great pictures by visiting her blog. I love her color choices for this quilt.

Photo by Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts

Photo by Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts

Deana of Dreamworthy Quilts shared this braided quilt – look at those soft and soothing colors! I’m looking forward to seeing this one quilted.

Photo by Deana of Dreamworthy Quilts

Photo by Deana of Dreamworthy Quilts

 

And check out Sandra’s (Sew of Course) custom designed beach bag. This little bag is begging for a day by the ocean – I hope you get to go soon Sandra! 🙂

Photo by Sandra of Sew of Course

Photo by Sandra of Sew of Course

 

Now it’s your turn! What are you crushing on this week? You can link up any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic about a project you’re working on, a handy gadget you love to use, or anything that has you excited to be in your sewing space – here’s how:

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About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
This entry was posted in Let's Talk, Main Crush Monday, Scraps, Tips & Tutorials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to MCM #26 – I Finally Organized my Stash

  1. Pingback: MCM 27: Sewing Room Organization Continues |

  2. Great job organizing your stash. I loved the before and after pictures.

  3. Organization! It’s key but so hard to do and maintain. Seems like whenever I organize, then I can’t find the one thing I desperately need. Thank you for hosting this linky party. This is my first time linking with this party as I finally started my blog a little over 2 months ago. I have learned a lot but have so much to learn.

  4. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: Preee…senting Tu-Na | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

  5. Alycia says:

    It looks like a quilt shop display now – that is awesome ( I am always suckered in by the displays and by too much!)

  6. Looking great, when can you come over? Lol, I’ve been putting off organizing mine because I think I need a couple of uninterrupted hours (when cows fly…).

  7. Nancy says:

    Your reorganized closet looks great! I agree with you: it’s essential that to have a system that works for the individual. It’s too bad you can’t lay your thread on its side because you could stack it higher, but it looks like they are cones.

    I struggle with small scraps. They are in a jumble in a box. I’ve been thinking about them again. I can’t seem to make myself cut them into uniform sizes (1 1/2″, 2″, 2 1/2″, etc.) because I think I just might need that slightly larger size sometime in the future. Unfortunately, the future hasn’t come yet. 😉

    Thanks for hosting the link-up. I appreciate it.

    –Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

  8. Oh, Beth, if only I had just that amount of fabric, but I have a lot more! Nice job of organizing.

  9. Your stash cupboard looks beautiful now! I think it’s good to reorganize the fabric trove periodically. Every time I rearrange the fabric I find gems that I’d forgotten about. Sometimes it’s a fabric that was “too pretty to cut up” and now I now exactly what to do with it. Sometimes it’s something that was AWFULLY ugly but now I realize that it’s perfect for an applique leaf or stem. And when I find those precious scraps from the first quilts I ever made, all those memories come flooding back to me.

  10. Preeti says:

    Creativity is messy. When I am trying to match/mix fabric, I need to consider so many different choices, causing me to open so many fabrics – whether they are in a box or in a bolt. And once a perfect match is found, I must create. At that time, organizing definitely becomes a low priority 😀 OK, I will eventually tidy up but mostly it is a mess. Your space looks very neat and lovely!!!
    Thank you so much for featuring my mom’s quilt – The Queen’s Necklace!!!
    Hugs,
    Preeti.

  11. Jen R says:

    So pretty! I need to do the same as well. My stash is out of control! It started all organized and pretty, but when there are some things that don’t have a place, then it just gets messy so fast.
    I could certainly be inspired to see that shelf every day. Good job!

  12. Andrée says:

    Hi Beth, you’ve done a great job. I always struggle with being organised just because I work on so many projects at a time and my sewing room is also our bedroom! My hubby let me put some bins of fabric on the bottom of his closet when the shelves in my closet collapsed 🙂 One day, I will have my own quilting room and I’ll have to come back to your post. Thanks,

  13. I have limited space too, and keeping it organised makes all the difference. Your cabinet looks really wonderful! Happy Quilting 🙂

    -Soma

  14. I love having my stash organized. It sure helps during fabric pulling. Your cabinet looks pretty and inspiring now!

  15. Q-Bits says:

    You are so right finding a method that works for YOU. Otherwise, organization is useless. Your cupboard looks great.

  16. peggyinno says:

    It looks wonderful and usable! You are so right in that everyone has to find the system that works for them! I, for one, use the comic book boards, almost all 1200 of them!! Yes, I bought 12 pks of 100 and I am on my last pack!! I love the look and organization!
    Happy quilting!

  17. Jayne says:

    A little folding made all the difference! Your idea of folding the cuts in different sizes is pretty smart! Like you I have a small work space, limited space. I’ve got fabric in two different places and it drives me crazy!

  18. Pingback: A Blouse Perhaps

  19. You transformed that sewing space. Excellent. Mine is organized for the most part but could use a bit of sorting. Your scrap system is good. I cut squares when I think of it and have a zip lock bag for 2 1/2, 3, 3 1/2″ and then I have a box of charm squares. That box of charms is getting overloaded so I need to make something with them soon. Thanks for sharing your space!

  20. Karen Goad says:

    I think you organized it perfectly!! so nice and neat you will be able to find what you need.

  21. Tish says:

    I know the look of that first picture too well. The solution for me so far, has been a book case in our back room to organize my stash by color in totes. Your after picture looks like it could be a display in a quilt shop. Love it!

  22. Gina says:

    Will you come and sort my fabric out please. Pretty please. All mine is in drawers and to get at anything is a nightmare. On the plus this does mean I’m sewing my scraps as they are easier to find/get to xxx

  23. Kate says:

    Congrats on tacking that organizational chore. I’m slowly working on organizing my fabric closet. I fold my yardage around my 9.5″ ruler, then fold the fabric in half. It fits on my shelves and I find that the fabric just needs a bit of touch up ironing when I start rolling fabric off the roll. It really speeds up the whole process.

  24. dezertsuz says:

    When I saw the top picture, I was thinking it wasn’t so bad, still workable. Then I saw your reorganized shelves, and it really does make it more manageable! I think I need to get rid of some stash. LOL In your bin, I saw a blue fabric I bought for one of Deanna’s projects! It’s the one in the gray and white block showing. I love that fabric, and have wished I bought more.

  25. My stash is very small right now as I’m temporarily living with my inlaws while our house is being built but still . . . having those pieces that I do have organized by color way makes me smile. Congrats on the new look of your stash! 🙂

  26. Great organising Beth that is sure to inspire many of us (myself included) to tidy up their stash! Most of my fabrics are folded and organised in drawers according to colour although the sizes vary a bit. Larger yardage or “special” fabrics are kept in their own drawer. My various WIP’s are either in boxes under my sewing table, on the floor or in the cupboard – basically wherever I can find some room! That part I would love to find a better solution for…

  27. What a beautiful and elegant solution, Beth! I especially love that you can tell at a glance if something is bigger than a yard cut – that is really brilliant!

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