Our big QUILTER-CRAFTER GARAGE SALE sale starts in 3 days. If you are local to southeast lower Michigan, I hope you will consider coming to shop what Ola, Mary and I have culled from our stashes (comment or email and I will give you details). As our husbands point out, we are practically giving it away.
No matter where you are, if you are "hindered by your hoard," I hope you will consider holding a sale, or at least "a purge," yourself.
Reasons to do this:
1) YOU'VE BEEN AT YOUR CRAFT FOR MANY YEARS -
My tastes have definitely changed since 1983...even since 5 years ago! If you aren't going to use it, why store it? Why not sell it, swap it, or simply hand it off to someone else who finds it exciting?
2) YOU JUST MIGHT MAKE SOMEONE'S DAY -
You may just be hoarding a piece that may not interest YOU, but may help SOMEONE ELSE finish a UFO. Have you ever been working on a project only to find you need a little more of a certain fabric?
I get a lot of emails from people looking for something. Go ahead, give it up!
3) IT'S EASIER TO WORK WHEN NOT WEARING CEMENT SHOES -
Don't you hate slogging through your stash trying to find what you need? It really slows me down. If you keep moving a fabric, book or pattern, repeatedly, not using it, to find something ELSE, give it up!
Maybe you bought a book to make one project, or worked from a pattern that is fabulous and still all together and in good shape. As long as it is still usable, why not give it new life?
4) YOU MAY FEEL YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FOR A SALE -
Encourage a friend(s) to do it with you! Then you aren't alone in the endeavor. The 3 of us each have a different set of colored sticky "dots" to keep everything straight. We have been encouraging to each other, kept each other from beating ourselves up for having all this stuff, and we will get to hang out together the days of the sale.
5) YOU MAY OFFER COMFORT -
Due to financial reasons, some quilters and crafters have been forced to stop doing what they love. I don't call my blog Fabric Therapy for nothing - I play with fabric because it makes me feel good. I could have just taken all this stuff to the curb and moved on, but hopefully some of it will allow people to keep working with their hands.
6) (here's the hard one) I DON'T WANT MY FAMILY TO DEAL WITH IT LATER -
I always kid my husband that if I get hit by a bus, my quilting friends will come and make it all disappear for him. By keeping my stash current, no one will have to deal with "the junk." (thank you Paula of born2quilt for emailing the quilter's last will and testament from Bonnie Hunter - that was a hoot!)
If you don't want to do a sale, there are so many things to do with the STUFF.
FABRIC AND KITS:
- Pick some friends who like "scrappy" and do a scrappy swap. If there are 8 of you, set up 8 bags (include yourself!). Roughly divide each unwanted fabric into 8 pieces, and stuff the bags. Then get together and have a "bag party." Even "uglies" look great in scrap quilts! Chunks or strips, I LOVE scraps and others do also.
- Donate fabric to a group making quilts for charitable reasons (quilts of valor, women's shelters, binkie patrol, hurricanes, fires, etc.). Contact local churches or guilds to find such groups.
BOOKS AND PATTERNS:
- Have a book/pattern swap with friends.
- Your local library might be interested in your quilt books. If they don't want to shelve them, maybe they hold periodic book sales to raise funds for new books.
- Some books are just out of date. Recycling may be the only answer. At least it would keep them out of the landfill.
- Our little sewing group once did a UFO swap a while back. It was fun! I didn't complete the project, but I used the fabric in something else.
- It's OK to re-purpose UFO's into another project, especially scrappy projects.
- ALL of us have bought "amazing gadgets" and rulers that we don't use, or at least, don't use any more. I say, another reason to party with your friends and swap tools or have a group challenge, using the tools.
I have not moved in almost 20 years, so it was a good exercise to go through and TOUCH EVERYTHING in the quilt cave. It took a little while, but it was so worth it.
I feel rejuvenated and I have a sense of direction again...and everything has a home. Clutter will ALWAYS be clutter if you don't have a place to store things.
How many times have we re-purchased what we bought before only because we couldn't find it in our stash?!?
And here comes the hard part...haven't we all made purchases that made us feel good at the time, but then later we wonder what we were thinking? It is difficult to admit, but there are times it just feels good to buy fabric...or a book/pattern...as a pick-me-up.
I find I do that when I am frustrated with lack of sewing time, mad, sad, etc. What is it about colorful cotton that just feels so good to collect? I'll leave that one to the experts...
I can't say enough how good it feels to have a work space that hums instead of screeching and screaming...
I challenge you to come to terms with your stash. You can do it slowly, over time, if it is overwhelming. Reach out to friends for help and support. I still have a lot of stuff...but it is stuff I will use, God willing.
I still add to my stash, but I am trying to be smarter about what I choose to buy (I will remember this as I shop Ola and Mary's stuff on Friday, LOL!).
However you choose to do it (a sale, donations, sharing, the dump), your creative spirit will be freed and quilting will be a joy! You may think I am weird to encourage you to come shop our sale while encouraging you to purge your stash. Just collect what you will use and get rid of the rest!!