A Guide to Tidying Up and Destashing Your Sewing Supplies
Starting a new sewing or quilting project is exciting, but it often comes with the challenge of managing an ever-growing collection of fabrics and sewing materials. Clutter tends to infiltrate our homes, overwhelm us, and cause mental chaos and stress. Good organization and decluttering are the keys to a stress-free and efficient sewing corner or room.
In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips and creative ideas to help you declutter, organize, and streamline your sewing materials, with a particular focus on destashing your fabric stash. I got a lot of inspiration and tips for this blog from Kim from FeelGood Fibers. I’m always looking for inspiration for organizing, so I guess many of you are too!
We recently met with Kim and Tom of FeelGood Fibers. They are experts in destashing when it comes to fabrics for sewing and quilting. So we decided to run a GIVEAWAY together, learn from them, and write about the great things they are doing. This joint giveaway runs from the 29th of January to the 2nd of February 2024. You can win a 40-dollar voucher to buy fabrics from the FeelGood Fibers Shop and three project bags from MadamSew, currently our most popular product that helps to keep your sewing projects organized. For more information about this giveaway scroll down to the end of this article where you can find all the details on how to enter the contest.
First, let’s destash and get your sewing or quilting space ready for 2024 :-) In this guide you will find some tips and tricks to start a big cleanup of your sewing stuff and maybe even earn some money from the things you no longer use! And I’m sure that you’ll feel happy and satisfied when you are done 😀
1. Assess and Evaluate your Sewing Materials
Start by taking stock of your fabrics, notions, and tools. You probably gathered a lot of craft material over the years and just kept them thinking “I will use this one day”.
Tools and Notions
Do you buy new seam rippers without getting rid of the old dull ones? You want to get rid of tools that you no longer need or use. Less is more. How long has it been since you used this or that tool? The same goes for notions. Old buttons don’t take up that much space but if you put all the notions on a table that you have had for more than 5 years without using them, the pile is probably bigger than you expected. So gather everything, select the best tools and start putting things on the ‘I-will-get-rid-of-this’ pile. Below you can see a picture with the tools I’m giving away to charity this week. It is important to just keep the essentials you actually use and are in good condition. Pass along things you no longer use to friends, donate to charities or flip them on eBay.
When it comes to fabrics, first assess the bigger fabric pieces that can be used for a project. Identify the fabrics you truly love and envision using in future projects. Maybe stick a note to them with the ideas you have for that fabric. Separate these from the fabrics that you no longer like or which don’t align with your style any more. Put the pile that you will probably never use aside. Below is a picture of the pile I’m getting rid of this week.
Letting go of fabrics that you’ve bought is not easy but it leads to peace of mind, reduced stress, more time and energy for activities that bring joy. As Kim, the destash coach from FeelGood Fibers, stated in one of her blog posts: “Is the fabric more valuable than the space it occupies?” With a mindset of gratitude and abundance, you will see opportunity which brings joy instead of having the feeling of giving up something. You can give away to friends or charity and allow your fabrics to find new life in the hands of someone else. You can also earn some extra cash from your unused fabrics. Some quilters are sitting on a stash worth 6000 dollars! Yes, you can sell your fabrics secondhand! FeelGoodFibers.com is a marketplace where you can sell and buy second hand fabrics safely. You can read about how selling on Feel Good Fibers works on their website and the reasons to destash with FeelGood Fibers are clearly explained in this article. Their blog has a lot of very interesting in-depth articles about sustainable sewing and quilting and organizing your sewing space.
Besides the fabrics that we bought and didn’t use (just yet), people are also sitting on a lot of fabric leftovers and scraps. If you never use scraps, you may ask yourself the question why you hold on to them. Having a little stash is always useful to test or practice new techniques, but you don’t need 2 baskets full of scraps. I personally keep a lot of scraps but I do use them to do some scrap busting projects every now and then and I find it very fulfilling to make things out of scraps. I recently started using tiny fabric scraps as filling for cushions and stuffed animals and it works well. Of course, you have to cut them up into tiny pieces, so it involves some extra work before you can use them as filling.
2. Categorize and Store Your Sewing Tools, Notions and Fabrics
I’m always amazed how fast my sewing room is cluttered. Cleaning up is a big part of crafting. Having specific places for specific tools and notions and good storage solutions helps me to clean up faster and thus gain time.
Notions, patterns, and tools that you need frequently should be very accessible. Create designated areas for your notions, patterns, and tools. By organizing your sewing materials into clear categories and clearly labeled bins, you'll spend less time tidying up, searching for things, and thus, having more time for creating 🙂
Use storage solutions that suit your space and workflow. Transparent storage bins, clear jars for buttons and notions, and pegboards for tools can provide visibility and accessibility.
Wrap fabric pieces around cardboard sheets to store them neatly and easily view prints. You can find those cardboard sheets online by googling ‘comic book boards’. Use bias tape bobbins to organize ribbon, bias tape and piping.
Efficient storage solutions for your sewing room will not only save you time but also inspire creativity by keeping your workspace visually appealing. If you have the space to hang tools on the wall, you can work with a modular peg board, thread rack or an over-the-door-organizer. In the Madam Sew Shop we have a whole section dedicated to Sewing Room Organization. If you are curious about how I use the Madam Sew storage solutions in my personal sewing room, check out this little video where I give you a little tour:
Group the fabrics that you want to keep by size, type, color, or project theme. Depending on what you do, different aspects can be important for you when you categorize. I use size and type as organizing elements, but quilters will probably structure their stash by color.
If your fabric stash is really big, it might be worth it to take the time to create a detailed inventory of your stash, including information such as fabric type, quantity, and any specific project ideas you have in mind. A digital spreadsheet or a dedicated app (yes, fabric apps exist!) can help you keep track of your inventory, making it easier to plan future projects and resist the temptation to buy duplicates.
3. Mindful Fabric Purchases
To maintain a well-organized sewing space, adopt a mindful approach to future fabric purchases. Resist the urge to buy on impulse and focus on acquiring materials that align with your current projects or long-term goals. Quality over quantity should be your guiding principle to prevent the accumulation of unnecessary items. When you buy less, you have less to store and more room for imagining, cutting and sewing!
Buying less is also good for the planet and have you ever considered buying second hand fabrics? If you scroll through the offer on FeelGood Fibers, you will see that there are some very nice fabrics in the shop. There are also stores that only sell deadstock designer fabrics. The fabrics on these sites are often more expensive but you get good quality at a lower price than what you would normally pay for these.
Organizing your sewing materials and destashing your fabric stash is a rewarding journey that can give a boost to your creativity and efficiency. By assessing, categorizing, utilizing storage solutions, creating a fabric inventory, embracing destashing, and adopting a mindful approach to future purchases, you'll not only declutter your space but also lift up your sewing experience. A well-organized workspace will give you more joy to the whole creative process.
What also gives joy is our fantastic giveaway that starts on the 28th of January 2024 and will run until the 2nd of February! More details in the box below.
Happy Sewing! Happy Quilting!
Blogging for MadamSew.com
|The Big Madam Sew and FeelGood Fibers 2024 Giveaway
We love an organized sewing room and secondhand fabric!
HOW TO ENTER
WINNER - UPDATE **Jen Dietz (HealthyHappyHygge) won this Giveaway! Gongratz!!**
One winner will be chosen at random to win this prize package. This giveaway closes on Friday, February 2, 2024, and the winner will be announced in the comments of this blog and on the Madam Sew Instagram and Madam Sew Facebook Feed.
Note: This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram or Meta. The contest is open to participants worldwide. Void where prohibited.