A stash overhaul.

All these stash posts over at Sew, Mama, Sew! had me ashamed.

That’s right! I’m putting a face to the messy fabric out there!!  You’re out there too, right? I feel like we see so many photos of beautiful stashes, but that can’t be how it is for everyone…  All of us are creative types, aren’t we supposed to be messy??   Right?  Please – help me out here.  You all have messy stashes sometimes too right??

I’m not a naturally tidy person. I’m just not. It’s always a struggle for me to keep my things in order. That said, I’d let my stash get completely out of hand over the past couple of months. I’m embarrassed about it, but this is the state it had gotten into…


And that’s AFTER I gathered it all one place for the photo. Can you believe that the last time I thoroughly organized my stash it ALL fit in that tan bin in the upper right of the photo??  Yeah. That was a long time ago…

I read this incredibly inspirational post by Elizabeth and that was that. I HAD to do something about the horrific state of affairs.

First, a good sorting and refolding lead me to this.

After sorting

Then a trip to Ikea later and I had this!

Final Result

Yay! If you click through to Flickr on the photo you can see my notes of what it all is but basically, going clockwise… the basket is my scraps (for me they are very small), the clear bins are less than a yard, sorted by color.   Then there’s my home dec. weight fabric & quilting weight solids, and lastly in the original tan bin, my cuts of a yard or more.

Clearly this isn’t where it all lives in my sewing room, but the shelf it all goes on is tall and deep. There’s no good way to get a photo of it all when it’s put away.  Now I am organized!  Let’s just see how long I can keep it this way…

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  • MichelleB

    February 18, 2009 at 8:46 am | Reply

    Your newly organized stash looks great! Very inspirational.

    BTW, clicking on the picture leads to Private Photo on Flickr.

  • Darci

    February 18, 2009 at 8:47 am | Reply

    LOL, mine is messy too, why did you have to go and organize yours??!?! Now I will be the only one who’s stash is not all neat and tidy. I refuse to take a pic of mine. 🙂

  • Rachael

    February 18, 2009 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Honestly, I found YOUR post the most inspiring because of the “before” pictures! Good work– and if it gets to the way it looked before, who cares? It’s all yours, and you don’t have to share!

  • tracy

    February 18, 2009 at 9:00 am | Reply

    my stash is thoroughly disorganized. Sort of. I keep most of it in a closet, which has no light, so when I sew I pull alot of it out and strew it over the guest bed. Then it stays there, pretty much, until we have overnight guests. In which case I then stack it mostly by color and put it away. I keep scraps in plastic ziplock bags. Mostly.

  • Amy @ parkcitygirl

    February 18, 2009 at 9:13 am | Reply

    What an amazing transformation! Mine is in a chest – where the little ones can’t get to it and my hubby doesn’t see it 🙂

  • wendy

    February 18, 2009 at 9:36 am | Reply

    Good job! I am messy in my normal life, but not in my work or quilting life! I’m about to post my stash photos today too.

  • Dallas

    February 18, 2009 at 10:03 am | Reply

    Great organization. It looks so satisfying to have everything sorted and folded.

  • Amy

    February 18, 2009 at 10:52 am | Reply

    I have a “very” messy stash (I am sharing my stewdio with the baby – not that it was neater when I had the whole room.) & I too am not a tidy person… oh well. At least nowadays people come over to see the baby.

  • Ashley

    February 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Reply

    Love your photos – it’s great to see that not everyone has a perfectly organized fabric stash. I was ashamed of mine for a while, but then I realized that I really can keep it any way I like (and for me, that means strewn all over the house — I like to see it!) Looks like you’re nice and organized now though! Maybe I’ll work on mine when I get back home. Additional storage bins are key…

  • amanda

    February 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Reply

    congrats on tackling your stash!

  • Bekhy

    February 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    Alissa, love the post! I don’t blog, otherwise I’d show you my stash in support of yours :). My stash resides in: 2 large black plastic bags (1 for corduroy backing of various solid colors, 1 of pieces of fabric >1 yard quilting & home dec combined), 1 shopping bag (donated fabrics, mostly 1 yrd increments, but some scraps thrown in), 2 odd-sized plastic bins full of donated Amy Butler scraps (some with good yardage), some quarter yard cuts that actually managed to get prewashed & ironed hanging on some hangers (maybe 8 hangers worth:P), a drawer of other quarter-yard (fat & otherwise) fabric (sparse), 1 plastic grocery bag full of flannel yardage & scraps, 3 rolls of home dec fabric, a robe box of home dec leftover fabric including scraps, and 2 plastic shoe boxes with real scraps (small ones :P). Not pretty, and forget color coordination! Pre-ironing? HAH!

  • Adele

    February 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Reply

    Alissa, thank you for being so honest. i too had been feeling bad about my messy stash after seeing all the pics of the immacuate shelves on various blogs. I started my clean out last night. Yours now looks ace! Well done! 🙂

  • Pikku-Kettu

    February 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Reply

    All those fabric stash posts shamed me into cleaning my crafting space too! It’s nice to see that I wasn’t the only one with a mess. 🙂

  • Aimee

    February 19, 2009 at 9:09 am | Reply

    Thank you Alissa! It is REALLY nice to know I’m not the only messy stasher out there. I have too much and its all stuffed in cardboard boxes so I really don’t know what I have…it’s terrible! Plus, my sewing room is really just a corner of the laundry room, which is a mess anyway. Seeing yours inspires me to dig my stash out and organize it. I think that will be my next big project. Maybe after its all done I’ll post some pictures. Wish me luck!

  • Katie

    February 19, 2009 at 9:19 am | Reply

    Congratulations! Looks great. My husband just got me some fabulous storage bins from the Orla Keily line at Target for Valentine’s Day. I’ve done some cleaning up of my own…though I had a bit less to tackle :).

  • amandajean

    February 19, 2009 at 9:44 am | Reply

    good for you!!! it looks great! don’t you just LOVE ikea?

  • Alison Marie

    February 19, 2009 at 11:27 am | Reply

    It looks great! I love seeing before photos too – it makes the finished organization less overwhelming when I see where it comes from. I get so suckered into the idea of having everything in matching containers, and then I get more stuff, and I can’t find the same containers…..and then the systme seems to go ker-pluey!

  • kate

    February 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Reply

    It is refreshing to know I am not alone in my fabric mess! You did a great job getting it all together!

  • kerri

    February 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Reply

    it was nice to see your process of organizing. i need to get bins for my stash. they are all sorted in stacks on a couple shelves and i worry about them always being open to the dust that it might not be good in the long run???

    thanks for sharing!!

  • Jac

    February 19, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    Hi Alissa,

    First time visiting your blog – LOVE your quilts! We have very similar tastes! I’ll definately be a regular to this blog now!

    Jacqueline (Australia)

  • Sara

    February 20, 2009 at 5:36 am | Reply

    Well done! Your stash looks so organized. I have my stash separated by color and in clear bins, too. However, I have an every growing pile of fabric that needs to be put away. I tend to let the organization go for a month or so then whirl through and straighten things up. I need my sewing area to be somewhat organized visually since my head it so unorganized!
    Great job! I so wish we had an Ikea near me. I found some storage that I want to get (it’s much more affordable from Ikea vs. home improvement stores) but they only carry it in stores!
    Well done!

  • jessica levitt

    February 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Reply

    You’re not alone on the messy stash. I have plenty of wonderful cabinets to stack it all neatly in, but its so hard to be clean when you’re creating. I end up pulling out half the fabrics to look for just the right one, and it’s such a chore to get it all back in order. But yours is looking nice…

  • sarah

    February 23, 2009 at 11:33 am | Reply

    I love this. Thank you I was feeling so alone in my messy fabric. It looks great. I do occassionally organize mine and then it gets all messy again I think its in the creative nature. what great colors and prints you have

  • suesue

    February 24, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Reply

    i’ve been working up the courage to tackle and photograph my stash. it’s such a mess and i have bags of vintage fabrics from my mom that i don’t even have room for right now. i’ll take pictures of the before and after and then maybe post them. i’m afraid it’ll take a while though!

  • Elizabeth

    February 26, 2009 at 9:00 am | Reply

    I can assure you that, before my recent reorganization, a large portion of my fabric looked like your “before” photo. I just wasn’t brave enought to post a photo of it! 🙂

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