|Digging out the bedroom: there's a bed under there somewhere!|
Despite my having written many posts about decluttering, one of the areas I've never tackled is my fabric stash.
Just as I can't think straight when I'm feeling overwhelmed by clutter, I can't plan my sewing projects effectively when I don't know what fabric I own and where to find it. It's also discouraging that a lot of the fabric I have on-hand inspires me hardly at all.
I don't think my fabric stash is large compared with some stashes I read about; my proximity to the Garment District means I rarely buy fabric on impulse and almost never online. Still, with five years of sewing under my belt, I have much more than I need. Remember that bolt of purple cotton corduroy I once found on the street? It's very nice fabric, but I think three yards of it should cover all my imminent purple corduroy needs, don't you?
If I lived in a house with a basement and/or attic, or had a designated sewing room, perhaps I'd keep everything. But since my stash lives in the bedroom, I have to sleep with it every night. I could keep buying additional storage boxes, but even if I stacked them seven high, eventually I'd run out of floor space.
So I've been culling, reorganizing, and trying to create a fabric stash that reflects my current taste/interests rather than those I had years ago. We all change. Just as you wouldn't want to be living in your high school bedroom (college pennants, Farrah poster!), you want your belongings to be an expression of who you are now.
Here are a few tips that I've developed that are helping me move forward.
1) FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR ACCUMULATING THE STUFF IN THE FIRST PLACE
I find it really hard to get rid of stuff I've spent money on. It's one thing if I found an item in the trash, but if I purchased it, how can I now give it away for nothing?
I remind myself that there's plenty of fabric in the world. By donating the fabric that no longer excites me to a thrift store, I make room for fabric that does excite me. When I purchased the fabric, I did it with every intention of using it, but it didn't work out. I could punish myself and force myself to hold on to it all (or even to sew with it) but it certainly isn't going to bring the money back.
2) FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR NOT MONETIZING YOUR LOSS
There are some things I can't easily give away: they cost (or are worth) too much. I went through an eBay-selling period this summer and made some cash selling an old camera and some brand new running shoes that never fit right. It felt good to do this, despite the time and effort it took. But it's easier to sell a brand-name item like a camera than it is to sell fabric -- not that people don't go to eBay to purchase fabric sometimes. But right now, it's more important to clear away my fabric clutter while I'm on a roll.
If I had to sell my fabric in order to pay for a wisdom tooth extraction, that would be a different story. But right now, knock wood, I don't: I had my wisdom teeth extracted decades ago.
3) THE THRIFT STORE (FLEA MARKET/CURB) HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU; YOU CAN BE GOOD TO IT IN RETURN
I've found wonderful treasures in the trash, at the flea market, and at my local Salvation Army. At the time, I couldn't believe people would get rid of these things. Well, now I believe it: stuff piles up fast. Donating it is how we keep the cycle going. If everybody hoarded their treasures, those great finds wouldn't exist. By giving these things away, I'm helping to restock the source and let others enjoy what I am no longer able to.
4) FEEL THE FEAR AND DUMP IT ANYWAY
I know it sounds weird, but when I get rid of things, I sometimes hear a little voice say, You'll be sorry: you'll need those three yards of wool plaid one day and you won't have them and you'll recriminate yourself for having given them away.
My answer to this little voice is that, if I ever wish I'd kept that wool plaid sometime in the future, I'll remember that when I made the decision to let go of it, it felt like the right choice at the time -- the best choice I could come up with.
Sometimes we really do miss something we've disposed of. In my experience, however, it happens almost never.
|This leftover pique will become dish towels this week, promise.|
5) NEW SPACE CREATES NEW GROWTH
I know that, despite all my downsizing efforts, new fabric will likely replace the old fabric, and that's OK. I can try to be more discerning, but I'll probably fill up my one now-empty storage box eventually. But it will be with things that inspire me and stimulate my creativity now, not five years ago.
I still have a way to go. And after the fabric, there are patterns, sewing books, and even a few sewing machines that are not enhancing my life at all, just the opposite. But even if I stop with just the fabric, it's giving me more room to breathe, literally and metaphorically.
I hope you find these tips helpful. If you have any other great fabric stash-culling ideas, please share them below.
Have a great day, everybody!
|One box of (mainly) knits|
|Ivory and pink solids and prints in another box.|