I was digging through my fabric
stash resource center looking for springtime fabrics, and I think I reached my limit. I do like things more organized, and this closet has been a mess for years. This project took me three weeks to complete, working on it a little each day until I finally got it to a modicum of control. I have a lot of fabrics that have been given to me, either from friends, or from people on Freecycle, and some of them I know I will not use. In addition, I have some decorator fabrics I have held onto for years and really will never do anything with them. I really need to get some stuff off the floor, and have my batting all together so I can find small bits when I need them. I was part way through pulling all the fabric off one of the shelves before I remembered to take a ‘before’ pic. I have often spoken of my stash closet resource center, and here it is in all its messy glory. The closet is 10 feet wide, 8 feet high and almost three feet deep, stuffed to the rafters and behind the doors with fabric, batting, bits and pieces left over from projects gone by, clothing, wool felt, cotton felt, DMC floss, patterns and other stuff.
The fabric is what I wanted to concentrate on. I have so much that I will never use, likely not ever miss either if it was gone. So, one shelf at a time, I pulled everything off onto the table and sorted it. Some bits were put into a large zippered clear plastic blanket bag, to be given to the humane society thrift store for a grab bag. It has everything that isn’t quilting cotton like denim, silk, satin, upholstery fabrics and some notions. Other larger quilting cotton pieces were put into 2 bags for the Cancer Care group to use in charity quilts. Some really small bits went into a bag for the local ministry’s shredder program. I gave myself permission to just donate this pile that I normally would press and cut into pieces for scrap quilts. I have so much that I am just going to do a purge for once and start over. Won’t be long until I have more, and I still have bins of scraps. Most of the scraps are in a tower of stacking bins about six feet high, next to the bookshelves on the other side of the basement.
Stuffed into the shelves and hanging on hangers in the laundry room were several dresses I made some years ago. Remember when we all wore these dresses over short sleeve t-shirts and flat shoes? I made several out of fun quilting cottons and corduroy, and wore them almost daily. Now I want to reclaim the fabric that I can from the skirts for other uses.
The dress style is mostly out of style, but actually with a sweater over the dress instead of a t-shirt under, it could pass nowadays. So I might keep the Hawaiian print. The Christmas print is corduroy, and still cute. But I need to remake it into just a skirt, and get rid of the bodice part. There is plenty of fabric to do this, I just need to dig out a good pattern and get it done.
I had one for Easter too. Cutting the bodice off, and removing the buttons, it went into the shredder bag. The skirt was cut apart at the seams, pressed and folded for use in another project.
Clearing one shelf, I put a plastic dry-cleaner bag down on the shelf to protect the fabric from wood stain. Although I really don’t think this is an issue, one piece of fabric did appear to be stained, so let’s not take a chance. You can see there is still a jumbled up mess on the shelf below, with a forgotten denim shirt and other large pieces of dressmaker fabric like gabardine and challis. I’m going to put some of it up for sale, and a couple of pieces will become new pj’s.
The bolts of fabrics will stay where they are, and I will be winding more bolts with some of the pieces I have left that are over three yards. The bags of fabrics are in 2-gallon zip top bags, mostly separated by collection, with some leftover pieces from previous quilts in bags too. Why do I keep all that? I think it is just in case a quilt ever needs repair – but that is silly. Most of those quilts I no longer have, as they have been donated or gifted. And the gifted ones were sent with some extra fabric just in case it is ever needed. So those bags need to be purged.
All these bits are what I call my luxury fabric box – silks, satin and velvet. I kept the largest pieces, ironed them all and put them in a sterlite container with a lid. Several pieces went into the grab bag donation.
So, all of this is getting donated one place or another – four bags of fabrics, and one of cotton felt, along with a few big flat folds of felt.
OK, now that I have some room, I gathered all the batting together, marking the small bits with their size so I can quickly find a piece when I need a small bit. I actually discovered I had two packages of black batting when I thought I only had one!
Much better. Many of the two gallon bags of fabrics have been purged, with smaller pieces pulled out for donation or for the small scrappy project I have coming up. Some of my most favorite colors have been folded and stacked where I can see all of them. No longer are there wadded up bits, or stuffed so tightly that I cannot see the back of the closet. The 2-gallon bags are still two deep on the shelf, but at least now I can move enough to one side to see what is behind. All the wide backing fabrics in one stack so I know what colors there are to choose from. Fabrics longer than 3 yards were wound onto empty bolt cardboard to reduce the creasing from folding.
Now, it is much easier to see what is here, all the loose fabrics are folded and sorted, and the number of bags is reduced. Now I know what I have in larger pieces fabrics as they are on bolts. The patterns were purged too, and organized into the blue pattern boxes. The little purple pattern boxes on the top shelf hold my DMC floss in numerical order, and I went through those too refiling a bunch that were just thrown on the top for later filing. Wool felt is now all together next to the blue pattern boxes. Plus I found three sleeves for quilts that I’ll need later in the year to prepare a few of this year’s quilts for hanging at the fair.
Everything is now off the floor too, just a plastic bin left which will be used elsewhere later. Loose bits of batting and fiberfill along with a few old fabrics and stray pillowcases will go into dog beds. There is still the scrap tower to go, but this is enough for now!
Have you done a fabric purge lately? How do you organize your resource center?