Stash Management

Last week’s post led to some great conversation in the comments… the consensus seems to be I’m not the only one who thinks a second or third time before making that fabric purchase now that prices have jumped.

So, next topic: after you acquire it…  how do you organize your stash?  I used to organize mine roughly by color, but always kept dots and stripes separate, and novelties were separate.  I also kept certain designers separate (Amy Butler, Heather Ross, etc…not sure why, I just did)  Yardage and pieces of fabric were all over the place… it really wasn’t working for me anymore.

So, I pulled all of my fabric out of every shoebox, cupboard, wire basket, plastic tub, project bag, and every other hiding place I found (I don’t really hide it from anyone, just sometimes stuff it away to get it out of the way!).  And I started refolding it and sorting it by color…

The living room floor looked like this for quite a few days as I folded, sorted and started to put away.  Anything that wasn’t a quilting cotton (I sew clothing, too) or was truly a vintage piece, went into a separate tub in my studio closet.  The batiks I have also fill a tub, so those were tucked away in the closet, too.  Flannels and fleeces are all together in a storage bag under the guest bed (in my studio).  Everything left was a quilting cotton…

Solids kept separate from the prints seemed to be the right choice for now.

They filled a wire basket by themselves:

I always thought the FQs I kept on the shelf unit above my cutting table were the extent of the FQs in my stash.  Good heavens, was I ever wrong.  I found all of these FQs (mixed in with bigger pieces, most were unfolded so not immediately recognizable as a fat quarter):

That’s nearly 150 FQs there (which nearly doubles the number of FQs I thought I had)!!  They ended up organized by color as well (with some still displayed on the shelf over the cutting table):

So, do you want to see my neatly organized baskets of color?  The WHITES and GREYS


the REDS

The ORANGES the YELLOWS and the PINKS (and the very few purples I have)

the GREENS (I do love green!!!)….

lots of BLUES and AQUAS


The baskets/drawers go into this metal storage system (Antonius by Ikea), and even though my photo is terrible, it looks so much better that it did before when the baskets were crammed too full, nothing was folded nicely, and my system of sorting had gone out the window months ago (Sorry, I didn’t think to take a “before” pic!).

Everything in the baskets are 2 yard or smaller cuts.  My bigger pieces of yardage are folded uniformly and neatly stacked on a shelf in the closet.  I think I will like being able to see “at a glance” if I have anything in my stash for a quilt back or larger project:

So, there you have it, my stash of fabric and how it is now stored.  So inquiring minds want to know:

  • Do you organize your stash, or is your’s all piled togerther in a box(es) or tub(s) with little to no organization?  
  • Are you one of those “in color order” people like myself, who finds it far more useful and accessible if it’s uber-organized?  
  • Would you rather organize by designer, by style/genre (florals together, 30s together, stripes together, dots together…) 

I really want to know–I’m genuinely curious!


14 thoughts on “Stash Management

  1. Oh, my…talk about fabric envy!!! I do not have much of a stash to manage (yet). Most of my fabric purchases are made with specific projects in mind. I have about 4 going on right now, and they each have their own plastic bin. Left over fabric from previous projects are kept in an oversized bag. I do have two separate plastic containers that I use for charm packs and fat quarters.

  2. Doris, next time you're traveling this way, do call in and have a play with my stash! It's probably what yours looked like before! I have Antonious baskets too, which over flow, a big box or two of backings 5yds at a time, and all the new stuff in another box in my studio, I need to find the time to get organised, ideally by colour, but I do keep my amy butlers and designer stuff separately – why I don;t know, but I can find them straight away! I love how your stash is looking now 🙂

  3. Wow! You DO have a stash! I don't think I have as much as you do, and definitely not that many fqs. I tend to buy more in yardages. But I assuredly like YOUR stash better than mine! I have way too many older, dull-looking, out-of-date fabrics that have got to go. Now I'm glad I paid only $6.50 a yard for them. (Giggle) I too sort as you do: batiks separate, solids separate, then by color. Your organization of them is fabulous. Well done!

  4. I fold by color as well – I think I use it better that way. Although like you, I have my solids all together. Did the same for my scraps, and now I make much better use of them.

    (side note, the blogger word verification is horrible now!)

  5. Since I seem to be constantly tweaking my fabric organization, this is how it stands right now. I have most of the basics in color order, with solids separately. I used to do dots and stripes separately and also realized it would be more effective to put them in their respective color groups. I have a few collections separate but after a while, I usually try to integrate them into color families. I really want to do some more major organization/folding, so things could all change. Again.

  6. I've always been a “by color” person even in my closet so yest my stash is sorted this way too, except for my Asian prints. Those will be used in special Asian quilts for each of my kidlets so I don't want to mix them in with the rest. My stash isn't large yet so it is all in a small dresser in my studio. If the time comes that it gets bigger, I think the Ikea unit is a perfect solution.

  7. Good idea of keeping the 2yd or longer pieces separate from the stash. Also like the use of cable ties to keep the storage bases together. I'm gonna raid hubby's stash. (LOL!)

    I have to re-org my stash. From the move I have stuff all over the place.

    I have a drawer of Kaffe Fasset and Marcia Derse fabric. Those designers deserve their own drawers. LOL

    I have a drawer solely dedicated to solids or solid translating fabrics.

    I have two drawers for my stash from the Connecting threads warehouse sale.

    And I have everything else scattered about all willy-nilly,

    I'm thinking I need to colorize my stash… Well, except for my Kaffe and Derse stuff.. They'll still get their own drawers. 🙂

  8. It looks just great. I used tubs and plastic drawers, but it's totally not working for me. I need to do a redesign sometime, but I'm holding out until we do the addition on our house. Thanks for the great ideas! I want to get rid of my stash and trade for yours! LOL. Hope all's well, Doris.

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