Tuesday, January 3, 2017

De-Cluttering the Fabric Stash

I recently have been working on simplifying my life and de-cluttering our house. I mean, the baby doesn't have her own room for heaven's sake. The most recent de-clutter that happened was the fabric and yarn stash. I came up with a method that I felt worked really well and thought I would share it with you all.

Fabric Method

I have a lot of fabric. Well, not as much as I could, but still it felt a bit overwhelming. My method for going through the fabric was this:

 Make four piles: Scraps, Give Away, Keep, and Re-visit. As you go through fabrics, you have to move quickly. After the initial go through, you can do a second, slower, and more thoughtful one if needed.


If they are small they go straight into the garbage. I know, you could use it for something, but will you? No. Toss it. It will feel good.
My scraps are now in a basket. I am currently working on a quilt that uses a lot of scraps, and I have plans for a second scrap quilt. After those two are completed, the remaining scraps will be processed. They will be tossed or made into layer cakes or charm squares.

Give Away

Of course, this is the pile of fabric that you are going to give away. It's fabric that you won't use, or isn't your taste anymore. It's also big enough to be usable by another person. It is NOT scraps.


As you are rushing through the fabrics, you will happen on some pieces that you put in the Give Away pile and then pull out again, or in the Keep pile and then pull out again. These are fabrics that you can't really decide on in a split second. You set them aside for the second round of sorting when you can take more time to think about them.


I have rules for my keep pile. They have to have a designated project, I have to be realistic about whether I really will make that project in the next six months or less. If not, it needs to go. There are a few fabrics that were kept because I love them. They don't have a specific project, but since I will be using all the other fabrics in the next few months, I will see them a lot and be able to come up with a project for them.

If not, I will be going through the fabric again in a few months anyway.

Throughout this whole process you have to be honest, and a little ruthless. Otherwise you won't be de-stashing. You will just be sorting.

After the initial sort, I take a little more time and go through the Re-Visit pile, and the Keep pile again. This way I'm already on a roll of getting things out, and I can ride that wave and get rid of even more fabrics.

What to do with the Give Away Pile

I take my Give Away pile and photograph every fabric, or in groups depending on size. A group of fat quarters in one picture, for example. I then post these pictures on Facebook and ask for any takers. I usually am able to get rid of all my fabric this way.
Instagram is another option. I know people who de-stash by posting fabric there, usually with a price. However, if I were to post I would not ask people to buy it. The point of de-stashing is to get rid of the fabric and move it out of my house.
After posting, I wait about a week. Any remaining, unclaimed fabric heads off to Goodwill.

If you are feeling awesome about all this de-stashing, and having all that space uncluttered, go ahead and set yourself a goal. Maybe it's to complete a certain number of projects in a month. Or to not buy any new fabric for a specific amount of time (100 days anyone?).

Then pat yourself on the back, and sit back and relax at your sewing machine to use up your newly found favorite fabric that you bought five years ago.


  1. I went through my stash (it took a week). I had the intent of donating some and then the more I was giving, the more I kept giving. I feel lighter and good deed accomplished! Maybe some groups to donate fabric too: Margaret's Hope Chest, Project Linus, local guilds or groups that make quilts for hospitals etc. just some ideas. Thanks for the tips on how to do it!

    1. What a great suggestion to donate the fabric. I hadn't thought of that, so I will add it to my list of things to do with extra stash.