Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Details about garage sale and a challenge...

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:
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?  

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!

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?  

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.

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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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!!

Happy stitching,
Teresa  :o) 


  1. Ditto to everything you have said here. I have been working on a similar 'sale' (mostly in my head but I have laid a few items to the side) I am going to have to print your encouragement and hang on my sewing room door for inspiration. I have been 'no buy' and donate and gift, etc... for years. Now is the time to get serious and de-stash so my creative side can have room to grow.
    bless you for putting it into words--lol good luck cw

  2. Great ideas. You inspire me to de-stash some more. Three weeks ago I took 2 bags to the local chapter of Days for Girls http://www.daysforgirls.org/ They were just starting up and need supplies, got rid of a lot of odd flannels. There items make a big difference in girls lives.

  3. One man's junk is another man's treasure. If someone who needs fabric patterns or tools and can't afford them can find an outlet like your sale they are foolish not to attend. I hope you have success with your sale. Chris

  4. We need to have a garage sale just for miscellaneous stuff. Just today I rounded up a pile and you'd never know any of it was missing. There's more to be dug out too. Now, to get the date picked, round up help, and start pricing things. Things range all the way from junk to good stuff. I have a hard time "just giving things away" unless I'm truly giving them away. If I'm trying to sell something, it means I want "some" money for it. That may be an issue, but we'll see.

    Hope the sale goes well for you girls. Let us know, okay?

  5. I've been working hard to get a grip of stash. Made lots of charity quilts this year with it. Especially used as backings.

  6. lots to think about - this is written in a way to get me to think rather than dismiss....thanks.

  7. The last time I moved and while DH was setting up my sewing room, I destashed, got rid of kits, and books. I donated things to one of the local retirement homes (yarn,and embroidery thread) they were absolutely thrilled. Fabrics were given to people who make simple donation quilts.

  8. What a great blog post! Very inspiring! I definitely need to do this.
    I sure do wish I could come to the sale, but will be traveling in the opposite direction this weekend, so can't even pretend it's "on the way"!
    Have a fun time...I'm sure there will be lots of energy and excitement!

  9. We moved twice in a year four years ago. Before the first move I had 9 months to plan, cull and pack. Since it had been ten years since the previous move I was glad for the time. I was able to put my hands on every single thing I owned in my sewing area. ( at that time I didn't have a designated sewing area, just a storage closet for putting things away. Surprisingly from that tiny storage closet, even after culling a LOT I was able to fill a very large bedroom in the new house. It really was a small under the stairs closet but I had crammed for ten fun fill, lots of shopping years.
    Since seriously culling and moving twice since then I really do think twice before I buy, especially books. I must find a minimum of two items I will make if the book cost more than $15. If the price of the book is more, and they all are I have to want to make three items. That rule has helped the sagging, over burdened book shelf.
    I go to my guild's retreat and we have a "garage" sale there each year. You price it and lay it out and they bring you the $. It feels good to go home with a bit in your pockets. I have never come home and wished I had kept any of the fabric, books or patterns. Each year I say I'll never have to garage sale again because I love everything in my stash. Each year I have a box full. Some years it is a small box, but I am always able to cull something.


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