Sunday, January 16, 2011

Decluttering my Sewing Room

So, like I mentioned in my best of post yesterday, it seems like everyone and their 3rd cousin twice removed is talking about decluttering. I blame Oprah. Sometime last week, she apparently invited Peter Walsh to speak on her show, and he did whatever it is that people do on Oprah. (summary here) Obviously, I don't watch the show.

Oprah Winfrey

Previously, the sewing room has been exempt from all other decluttering binges in my past. The fabric was sacred, and anyone who thought otherwise was immediately cut off from ever entering the sewing room. Even the ugly stuff was sacred, of which there is/was plenty. But then, the other night, when it was about my bedtime but I wasn't sleepy, I started thinking back to some of my previous posts from this month, particularly the one where I listed all my UFOs. Then, I started looking over the queue of quilt projects I've planned, and compared the planned projects and inspiration photos I've tagged in flickr to the fabric on my bookcases. Honestly, a large portion of my stash just doesn't inspire me and hasn't inspired me all that much over the past few months.


(Uninspiring stash on the left bookcase. Oddly enough, this is the much more organized shelf.)

I would say about half of my fabric I received from Mom last year, when the parents moved. All of it is high-quality, local quilt shop kind of fabric. It's the Good Stuff. But about half of THAT just doesn't appeal to me any more. I don't even want to include it in any of the scrap quilts I've planned or use it as a backing for one of my UFOs. So, I've boxed up what I don't anticipate ever using, and I donated it to the DOQ Guild's silent auction the other night. Just like that, it was out of my life.


There's still a fair amount of yardage on the shelf that doesn't really match up with some of the design ideas in my head or resemble any of the quilts I've made over the past couple of years, but I like most of it, so it gets a free pass for now.

I was extremely pleased to see that my decluttering efforts left me with quite a few extra Polar Notions bolts in both the fat quarter and yardage sizes. So I've been able to wrap a few more pieces and neatly display them on my "organized" bookshelf.


(Sorry for the grainy "after" photo. I took it with my phone.)

My next plan of attack is to buy comic book boards, like this blog post suggests, and wrap my remaining fabric around them. That way, I can easily see what fabric I have and hopefully use some of it to knock out the UFOs/WIPs/whatever you'd like to call them.

From there, I feel like I need to just keep on sewing! I could literally spend days and days folding and re-folding my fabric and finding the ultimate storage solution for it, but I get upset when organization steals too much time and energy away from my actual hobby, sewing. Organizing my fabric to look pretty is nice and all, but at the end of the day, I'd much rather be sewing and finishing projects to make room on the shelves for new ones.

So, is there anything on your shelf you're willing to part with? Don't know what to do with it? I'd be remiss if I failed to mention Sarah. I've gotten to know her through my Bee Splendid flickr bee, and she coordinates a rockin' quilt ministry through her church. I can testify that the woman will take whatever you give her (although you might better check with her before you send her all your 1980s calico prints), and she and her quilting peeps will turn it into something beautiful. See exhibits A and B and C - a few abandoned WIPs I sent to her in the fall that are now lovely quilts.

Of course, you can always try and sell your wares. Etsy, eBay, and even Craigslist are all excellent options as well. I'm just not patient enough to wait for a buyer. When I decide I want something out of my house, I want it out of my house yesterday.

Is anyone else out there weeding your sewing supplies?

To recap, here's my shelves before:


And after:


Can anyone else see the difference? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

Anyways, here's what we've been eating this week...

For more menus, be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.

FINALLY, Camille is hosting a giveaway of her book + other goods. I can testify that the book is filled with lots of awesome photos! Be sure to read all about it!


  1. I decluttered when we moved, but saved the ugliest stuff for my classroom, either for weaving or collage. The kids actually like some of my least favorite fabrics. I should probably declutter more often, but like you wrote, it takes time away from actual sewing.

  2. In the longest process of my life. Moving my stuff to another room with NO STORAGE CAPACITY. I've got too much and its not just sewing its the kids crafty stuff, too. Your stash is respectfully neat. Looks even better now that you took some to DOQ.

    I will have storage down there. Just a few more beds to build before we get there.

  3. BTW, I don't watch Oprah either. But she is looking so plastic and creepy from my memories of her twenty years ago.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, Megan! And we'll even take 1980's calico prints - there's always a place to use them! Your shelves look much better - and I bet you feel better for having gotten rid of all that stuff!! Good work!!

  5. Plastic and creepy photo of Oprah above is obviously a wax sculpture.