Q & A: How Do You Organize Your Stash?

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Uberstitch‘s stash

The stash decluttering post brought up sorting or re-sorting your fabrics into categories. I’m curious — what sorting system do you currently use? Do you sort by age, color, pattern, length? Or do you use a combination? Why — do you just like how it looks, or does it reflect how you access your fabric? Are you thinking another system might work better? Or do you not have a system at all?

12 Comments

  1. Marci says:

    I currently have 3 bins, one for diaper making fabric, a second for flannel & fleece, the third for everything else. Its not really a great system, I end up tearing the whole bin apart to find what I’m looking for or to get inspired.

  2. cindy k says:

    wow, that is absolutely beautiful and massive. it looks perfect!

  3. Nanette says:

    This is a subject that has been something I’ve thought about for a long time. If I organize by color then I have vintage, non vintage and japanese fabric all together. If I organize by type then sometimes they spill over into eachother too. So I decided to organize by folding my fabric all the same size and letting the whole color/type thing go. It works for me. I like lots of color mixed together anyway. I organized my sewing books by color though so I’d have somethign like a rainbow. Anyway I took a piece of cardboard and cut it the size I wanted all my fabric to fit on my shelf and that is how I keep everything. The problem with color or type is that you may run out of space in one color pile or kind pile. This way it doesn’t matter and if I take one out it can go on the top of any pile, just as long as it is folded right. My smaller fat quarters and scrap pieces are fit into bins from the countainer store. They are totally see through and the same goes there. They are just all folded somewhat the same to fit in the mesh bins. http://fredashive.blogspot.com/2008/01/more-progress.html

    My January 2008 posts show a lot of how I organized my room. I’m happy with it mostly. When I’m picking a quilt with all the same color or looking for only vintage fabric it can get frustrating but looking through my whole stash for something is fun anyway so it isn’t really a chore.

  4. Cindy says:

    I am in the middle of trying to organise right now and struggling to find the best option. So far I have boy, girl, designer and base fabrics that I then kind of divide up into styles – japanese, floral, etc.

  5. Christy says:

    At this point I have my contemporary designer fabrics and fav vintage stuff hanging from pant hangers in the closet by size…ie: fat quarters, halves, wholes, multible yards etc…

    my linens are together, my vintage sheets are together, fabrics specifically for clothing, and my decorator/upholstery weight fabrics are in their own spot as well. I then use the loveseat in my studio as the catch all for current projects. It looks like a hurricane has ransacked it, but it works for me. My husband just shakes his head and wonders how I get anything done…I don’t know either…but as I am using various discarded pieces of furniture to keep things sorted with…it’s gonna have to work for now.

  6. Beth says:

    I just finished the massive task of refolding all of my fabric. I used the folding method here: http://thehappyzombie.com/blog/?p=124.
    I used to have them in bins on a shelf that my husband custom built for me, but I couldn’t see what I had. Now, I have all of my fat quarters/ half yards on the top shelf by color. I was a little loose with this ‘rule’: fabrics that I bought to coordinate and/ or would want to use together in a project are stacked together. Flannels have their own stack. The next shelf are for 1 yard and more. Both shelves are just about full, but my fabric collection takes up half the space it did before I refolded, and I can see at a glance what I have. It took about a week to do this but it was so worth it.

  7. lindamade says:

    i have a system that’s half based on size and half based on color, sort of. i have perfect little wooden boxes that fit all of my fat quarters. anything bigger than that goes into a folded stack separated roughly by color, and anything over 2 yards (which I bought with a purpose) goes in a bigger stack so I can see it when I want to make clothing. I also have a bucket for all scraps.

  8. pam sizemore says:

    I organize my stash by color mostly. japanese fabric in two bins by color. Two bins of novelty and modern prints. Two bins of batiks by color. It makes it easy when planning a quilt to shop my stash by color, or type. At this point I’m afraid to start collecting vintage. I probably sort it all 3 or 4 tines a year and purge if needed.

  9. claudia says:

    I use color and pattern and right now my fabrics are all boxed. I want to have a better way to reach them but space is an issue and declutting is a must. Thanks for the tips.

  10. laura says:

    here’s another good way to de-clutter, donate it

  11. Dot says:

    You have created a great site that I only found recently.
    As for the “stash” I organize by (1)color with categories within color (Asian, Vintage, Reproduction, Contemprary}and further breakdown within each of those categories except Asian (floral, stripes, other geometric,etc). The only exception is my “solids” which I group by color shading from light to dark within each color.
    I have an old wooden store shelving unit with deep shelves that aloows this system.
    (2) I do separate out fine clothing fabrics like wool and rayon which are kept on a shelf of their own.
    (3)if I know that I am going to be working on multiples of a design—like bags, pieced tunics or vests—I will select my fabrics for each item; bundle them together and set them on a project shelf. This saves me time when I begin sewing and I also know if there is a fabric color or design missing before I set aside the time to work.

  12. Amby says:

    I have been agonizing over this!! I finally decided to roll all of my fabric. Then it’s organized by vintage/non vintage and solids colors. It’s easier for me to keep them straight when they are rolled vs. stacked. So far so good!