Hello! Things have been a little crazy here with some very fun behind the scenes sewing. I can’t wait to be able to share some of the recent projects I’ve been working on. Today I’m sharing 5 Decluttering Tips to Help Purge a Fabric Stash. These are things I’ve been thinking about over the past month or so as I’ve been working on cleaning up in my sewing room and throughout my house. I have some new tips and ideas that have been very helpful for me, and I hope they might also help you.
5 Decluttering Tips to Help Purge a Fabric Stash
1. Name What Matters
This idea is from The Lazy Genius–she often suggests it as part of her decision-making process for many things. Before getting started take a bit of time to think about what you really love and want to keep. What are the fabrics that you return to again and again? If you love a certain style, designer, or holiday fabric be sure to note that. If you focus on what you love before you begin your decluttering process it will be easier to make decisions about what to get rid of.
2. Gather Supplies
Start by gathering a donate box or bag and a trash bag if needed. These are really the only supplies you’ll need. The mistake I’ve made in the past has been not to have these containers handy when I begin sorting. Without a donate box readily available it’s easy to just shift my fabrics around and decide to keep everything (this has happened)!
3. Use the “Container Principle”
I recently read the book Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff and learned several simple tricks that have helped me in organizing my fabric stash over the past several weeks. In this book Dana K. White shares her container principle (along with many other helpful ideas for decluttering), which is that our boxes and bins, shelves, drawers, and even our houses are actually containers and can only hold so much. Once you realize this principle, it makes it easier to recognize that there might not be room to keep everything you currently have if you want any semblance of order.
4. Decide Once
As you begin to sort through your fabrics you have only two decisions to make: keep or get rid of it. Don’t allow yourself to have a “maybe” box. And only keep what you can reasonably store in the space you have available. Refer to tip #1 when in doubt–if you don’t love it, you probably won’t use it in a quilt in the near future.
The best and easiest way to get rid of fabrics is to donate. While there might be some fabrics you have that you might want to sell–it’s often so time-consuming to sell that you end up never getting rid of it. There are lots of places to donate fabrics:
- Quilt guilds readily accept fabrics and notions for their projects and for their charitable sewing groups.
- Ask at your local quilt shop–they may know of local fabric needs.
- Reach out to local schools and senior centers.
- Donate to a local thrift store.
- Consider gifting fabrics to a Quilts of Valor organization.
More Helps for Purging and Organizing Your Stash
- Tips for Purging Your Fabric Stash
- Building & Organizing a Fabric Stash
- Sewing Room Ideas and Organization
I hope you’ve found some of these thoughts helpful. Using the “container principle” in regard to my fabric stash was really eye-opening for me. I have several more cupboards and shelves to go through and am excited to make those “containers” hold just the things I love!
Dottie K says
Great ideas & so useful/helpful.
Any possibilty you could make a print friendly link for these pages. I have a 3-ring Binder with Quilting Hacks and I would like to print this and put in my 3-ring binder.
Coreen Burnett says
I love that you said to have the containers ready when decluttering. This will also help me clean up the “office table”. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
I love the idea of donating fabric, however, if you donate to Quilts of Valor, they only really use red, white, and blue fabric. I have been making magic pillowcases with fabric that I don’t love and donating them to local shelters.
Sorry for my ignorance, what is a magic pillow please.
I absolutely love our Lord’s perfect timing. I am starting to declutter, and your post is very good for this procrastinator, I’m really to get started in my fabric room. Thank you so much. Blessings to you.
Brenda Wall says
Our guild in February is having an “Awful” silent auction/raffle. Everyone brings items not wanted anymore. You buy tickets, the items are put out with Solo cups. If anyone wants an item a ticket is put into the cup. At the end a ticket is drawn from each cup. This is a good guild fundraiser and a way for some of your stash to go somewhere that can be used. We also have a charity quilt group who will use unwanted fabric and a QOV group.
Sharing is caring.
Tina M Fulbright says
What a wonderful fundraiser and way to share.
Tina M. Fulbright says
Thank you for always sharing wonderful tips and patterns. If you have fabric you don’t want, I’d be happy to take it off your hands. Your fabric lines are beautiful. I’d be happy to pay for the fabric and shipping.
Margaret Nelson says
Ryan’s Case for Smiles local chapters are always looking for thread, fabric, blades and even mats. Our local chapter mats have grooves and need replaced.
Jimmy mayo says
Aksi,VA great idea is to check with local churches who support Samaritans purse shoebox ministry. We pack material scraps in the boxes for older girls
I agree with Tina F. I’d buy your leftovers. Or how about doing a give away??
Sharon F says
I only want to declutter my stash by using it to make quilts, some of which will be donated. I truly love it all, even the older prints from the ’90s. But what you say about containers can only hold so much is also very true. I need to find more time to sew or sew faster – much faster!
Cheryl smith says
Great ideas. Another thing I do is gather up supplies for a certain project, put it in a clear shoe box include directions and label box. It stacks nicely in closet or book shelf.
Pam C says
Yesterday, I took everything off of shelves to re-organize and realized I probably will not use most of my stash so I need to give it away. I do not have containers to store stuff so I am thinking to make trays out of pallets. It’s just a bit overwhelming. Wish I had a miracle worker here to give me that boost I need to stay motivated. Thank you for starting my motor running. It’s a start. I’m going to do this. Yes, I am…thank you
Thanks for sharing your great tips. I am getting closer to destashing my fabric. I know I will donate some of my fabric, but I also want to sell some of it because it is wonderful fabric. I think that is what is keeping me from decluttering because of the work involved in selling it and the best way to do it. I could probably open up my own online quilt shop.
Why would anyone want to do this? Enjoying one’s fabric stash is one of life’s most delightful pleasures!
amazing wonderful ideas many thanks for sharing what you learn from books . i print off the most important first step “name what matters” with as you suggested only 2 choices keep and turf away from home .
and thanks other people comments great ideas too
another step toward “being intentionally content” my words for new year 2023
I’ve made hundreds of pillowcases for Ryan’s Case for Smiles over the years. I also let my local coordinator know what I have and she provides “matches” for tops if I don’t have in my stash. My goal this year is 250 pillowcases from my stash. 2021 I donated 365 – my goal is to get everything I won’t use anymore donated this year!
Bonnie Wright says
I’m donating to my state’s women’s correctional facility.
Are you donating fabric or completed items?
Aurora Laguna says
Hi Bonnie, what do you donate to women’s correctional, I have a lot of fabric that I would like to donate, it’s cotton fabric, most are 2 yards each and some I already cut them 7×12 inches and I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Dawn L Lunn says
Elizabeth C says
I loved the book ‘decluttering at the Speed of life‘!! I now follow Dana everywhere … she’s incredibly repetitive, but it’s helpful for maintaining a lower inventory home.
What is ryans smiles? I have not heard of this org
Your post is very timely for me as I need to purge my bins of scraps and stash.. I know I won;t ever use some of it even though I love scrap quilts. You had great ideas on how to proceed. Thanks!