Destash and Declutter

Destash and Declutter!  I decided that it was time to really clear the clutter in my studio and ‘overflow’ fabric storage.  So, starting in late July,   I took some serious steps to clear my sewing space and fabric storage.

Just a glimpse at the piles of fabric sort of in project bins….There’s more of this clutter all over the sewing room!

Destash and Declutter Inspiration

I started by listening to a wonderful series of podcasts by Nadia, who is an organization coach in the UK.  Her blog is called Clear The Decks and it’s a perfect title.  You can download helpful notes and subscribe to her podcast there. Nadia is clear and encouraging–and keeps reminding her listeners to take it step by step and be gentle with ourselves.  The lessons that I learned and re-learned were:

  1. Be honest about which future projects really excite me
  2. Clarify my priorities—which design ideas and projects need to be completed NOW vs. Someday
  3. Stop thinking ‘it might come in handy someday’
  4. How to handle disorganized thinking and feeling overwhelmed
  5. How to handle feeling obligated or even guilty about discarding ideas, projects and fabric

DESTASH!  

I decided to start by holding a destash on Instagram.  Like so many of us, I was holding on to fabric that I had no interest in EVER using.  Of course, I had the same old tired excuses for holding on to fabric:

  1. It’s so pretty…….
  2. I might use it one day…..
  3. They don’t make it anymore and …see #2….
  4. I spent good money on this fabric….and see #2…
  5. Maybe I’ll donate it to someone because it’s really good fabric….and see #4….

But, after opening up bins for the 37th time and seeing the same fabric that I’ve failed to use for months and years, it was time to stop making excuses and DO SOMETHING!

I began by addressing the fabric stored in 2 bedroom closets! I started a destash IG account (@clsdestash) and sorted fabric and listed almost 55 bundles. It’s been quite successful — I think I’ve sold about 1/3 or more already.  I also gave away a large shopping bag of patriotic prints to a friend who makes items for veterans.

I gathered up some larger scraps that I thought about sending to the Social Justice Sewing Academy.  But, after finding out the postage cost, I decided to send them the postage money instead.  And, I’ll take the large scraps to my Guild meeting to sell and donate 50% of that money to the Academy as well.

Then, I threw away a small bag of random small scraps. YEP–into the trash. They were too random and too small for anyone to use and not worth spending time sorting.

 

DECLUTTER MY SPACE

I took another look around the floor in my studio–visual clutter and a tripping hazard. Random piles of books went into the LIBRARY DONATE box or I shelved them in my bookshelf. I also put my random sketchpads in the bookshelf as well.

ALL of my in progress projects now are in 12 x 12 inch clear plastic boxes or small bins.  The instructions, notes blocks and fabric are all stored together.  Each bin has a label.

DECLUTTER MY BRAIN: TAKE STOCK AND PRIORITIZE

The step that I’m on now is to make a list of every single major task and project related to my sewing and teaching business.  I know that I have a ton of ideas in my sketch books and in EQ8.  These feel like nagging shadow ‘to-do’s’ that drain my energy in a subtle way.

To figure out what I need to be doing,  I first looked through all my idea sketch books, my list of EQ8 design folders, random scraps of paper and anywhere else to identify the ideas and projects.

Based on Nadia’s idea of a master project list, I created project cards instead of a list.  Individual cards work better for me than a list.

You can download it here in PDF.  Master Project note card

These cards might be helpful to you if you have lots of projects and ideas that you want to start or have started.

Just a few of the cards — filling out these cards has already helped me feel a sense of focus. I have a LOT more to do but I’m taking my time so I don’t feel overwhelmed.

This is NOT a project plan for each project.  It’s simply a way for me to gather my thoughts and decide what’s really important for me to work on.

Quilt Project Planner

If you want a project planner, you can download my version here.  CLS_QuiltPlanningPage Nov 2017

3 Responses to Destash and Declutter

  1. Cheryl C. October 1, 2018 at 10:25 am #

    It totally resonates! Just cleaning up the Floridian closet uncovered 32(yikes!) projects … but now I know what’s there, what’s needed for completion and what my priorities are. Also got rid of small bits (trash) and then I packaged up large scraps and other ‘unnecessary’ items to take north for our Guild’s garage sale and charity work. Just need to repeat the exercise up there (🤪)!

    • Carole Lyles Shaw October 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

      That’s great Cheryl! I am still tracking projects that I’ve actually started working on by sewing at least a block or two–it’s amazing how quickly they can pile up. But it’s all for a good cause. I suspect that some of these starts will end up in one of my wildly improvisational scrappy gift quilts. I owe several relatives at least one colorful quilt this year. I’m determined to do it!!

  2. Lynne Bradley October 1, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

    Your posting came at just the right time. Thank you! Your ideas are helping to put a better mental process in place. Even if I could sew/quilt everyday for the rest of my life I would barely touch my stash.

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