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Thread: Organizing the "stash"

  1. #1
    Member guntherquilter's Avatar
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    Organizing the "stash"

    When my son moved out, I immediately took over his room as my "she cave". My stacks/piles of fabric--1-2 yds of
    each fabric--is stacked so deep on the shelves, I cannot see what is all there. I usually buy 3-6 coordinating fabrics to
    use on a future project. How is it best to organize? Do I separate the coordinating fabrics and organize by basic colors? Or do I leave the coordinating fabrics together? Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I do a variety of stash organizing. Yes, I do keep some groupings together because they are enough for a project .... these I label so I won't forget, like I used to do.

    Then I bread down the fabrics into categories: batiks. cats, Christmas, florals, and other themes.

    I tend to fold my fabrics differently so I can tell at a glance how much is there. FQ's are folded differently than 1/2 yds, 1 yd, and 2 yds. If needed I can attach a label as to how much I have. Generally the folding is more than enough.

    I bought IKEA Antonius system with the non-rusting wire baskets to store my stash. I have 2 sets, one on top of the other. They easily roll out of my closet if needed. Usually all I do is pull out a drawer and I can see what I have without any problem.

    With my arthritis pulling out material off shelves would be most uncomfortable. The baskets help me preserve my hand function.

    I have a separate Antonius system that fits under my embroidery machine table to put upcoming projects.

    At least it looks organized.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  3. #3
    Super Member Quilty-Louise's Avatar
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    I have a certain way of folding my fabric and than I put it
    in plastic storage bins.

    IF I ever get finished with the sorting and refolding of ALL
    my fabric I will post pics.

    Louise - Ya-ya to Zachary April 13 2015. I collect mugs from the U.S. and around the world. Also collect handmade pincushions, sewing/quilting themed fabrics, and fabric in general.

  4. #4
    Senior Member KerryK's Avatar
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    I fight with this question all the time!!! And in fact, just had a post on it not long ago. That being said, I do keep anything that is grouped for a project together in a clear plastic container. Everything else I sort by color the best way I can. (Everything is in clear containers on a shelf that goes around the top of my room - reachable.) Prints and florals, I agonize over where to put them. So, I just put them in the best place I can. Beats leaving them all over the dining room table while I'm trying to decide! LOL Sorry, I'm not much help!

  5. #5
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    How you organize your stash depends on how you think when you are developing your ideas. I sort everything by color or theme. Others keep the coordinating fabrics together because that is how they would assemble the piece. You want to fold your fabrics so they are only ONE deep. That may mean a narrow fold. That way, you see all the fabrics instead of having to pull and push fabric around.

    The hardest part of organizing stash is simply starting. Since you like to buy coordinating fabrics together, start by doing that. Fold them to fit the space you have. Keep them together. If it doesn't work, you can always change your organization. Everybody has different stash - mine is primarily novelties, so sorting by theme is more beneficial for me because that is how I select.
    Last edited by IAmCatOwned; 11-10-2011 at 03:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Suggest you keep your coordinating family collections together - in a separate area

  7. #7
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    I have been trying to organize everything according to color. All is folded more or less the same way. FQ's are all in one place. This is a very difficult thing to do especially if you want to keep coordinating fabrics together.

  8. #8
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    Congratulations on your "she cave'. I will be watching this thread for members' ideas. Thanks for posting the questions.


    Linda

    Sew little time and sew many ideas

  9. #9
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    I would look at getting those core boards that a member on here was selling a bit ago. not sure if they are still for sale. you can wrap the fabric and then organize them that way. I like to go by type and color and "theme" like I mostly have batiks and they are almost all able to fit in a large photo box i got from wall mart and the same with my non batik fabrics. the fq's all fit into two disk holder things and are sorted by color and theme. batiks in one the rest in the other. i really would look into maybe getting more shelves so everything in only having to be one deep.
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

  10. #10
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    My problem is all the left overs...I tend to over buy for my projects and end up with lots...also when I see a sale on flannel or theme prints I tend to buy a lot...I have been trying to be good and use what I have. Ha..LOL.

  11. #11
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    organizing stash

    I have been told we spend too much time on organizing we should just use it..

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grambi's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=sahm4605;4663117]I would look at getting those core boards that a member on here was selling a bit ago. not sure if they are still for sale. you can wrap the fabric and then organize them that way. I like to go by type and color and "theme" like I mostly have batiks and they are almost all able to fit in a large photo box i got from wall mart and the same with my non batik fabrics. the fq's all fit into two disk holder things and are sorted by color and theme. batiks in one the rest in the other. i really would look into maybe getting more shelves so everything in only having to be one deep.[/QUOTE

    If you decide to fold your fabrics around a board, you might consider getting comic boards. You can buy them at any comic book store and they are cheaper than any of the other boards I have found. They are packaged like compter paper is (100+/package) and are acid free. I cut one size in half to wrap my FQs around.
    Bambi

  13. #13
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newbee3 View Post
    I have been told we spend too much time on organizing we should just use it..
    But for some of us, the organizing is part of the fun!!! Vicarious fabric petting - can that ever really be a bad thing??
    I have a teeny stash as I buy for projects and the occasional must-have. Don't really have them too organized, just folded (very poorly I might add) in plastic bins by color (novelty by themselves). I recently discovered a shopping bag of scraps so that is fun - going through them and remembering the quilts they came from. Whoops, I digress...

    Some good suggestions here, I think the best advice was how do you think of your fabrics when you are coordinating? That gave me pause and made me realize, I need to reorganize MY little stash too! Have fun and post a pic when you are done!
    Sheila N.

    When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000 step process."

  14. #14
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    I thought you were going to say if you ever get it all sorted and refolded you would pass out!lolhehehe, maybe that is what I am thinking about my stash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quilty-Louise View Post
    I have a certain way of folding my fabric and than I put it
    in plastic storage bins.

    IF I ever get finished with the sorting and refolding of ALL
    my fabric I will post pics.

    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  15. #15
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    When I first setup my storage area, I put the fabric together by coordinating lines and then by colour. The next time I reorganized, I put the fabric in colour and theme groupings. This time when I was cleaning and reorganizing, I put the fabric back into their coordinating lines, blenders and then colour groups. I wonder why I switched them back and forth. Maybe, there is no right or wrong way to organize your stash...just whatever strikes your mood at the time and whatever works.
    Quilting is my PASSION not my pass time.
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  16. #16
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    I started putting my fabric on core boards. There is a tutorial by Alaskansunshine that is great. Also on the same tutorial someone gave a place to buy the boards really cheap. I keep my fat quarters folded in a drawer so when I pull the drawer out I see all of the fqs. They are organized by color. I have 3 sizes of the core boards small for up to 2 yds. , med for 2 yds - 6/7 yds., lg. 7+ yds (mostly for backing fabric.) These I arrange by color but in orgainizing I put projects or fabrics that I want to find a pattern for on a seperate shelf - so I'm not tempted to use that fabric for something else. Enjoy your space!!! and enjoy organizing.

  17. #17
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    How one organizes one's stash also depends on how much stash one has.

    Mine is on shelves (shorter pieces), stacked on a bed (long pieces), in totes according to theme (birds, black and whites, cats, novelties, bugs and butterflies), and scraps in totes.

    I try to keep a group of coordinates together and bundled - either in a tote or bag - otherwise one piece will wander off and go missing.

    And another category: unwashed pieces in totes

    And then there is this category: I thought I had it and now I can't find it!

    Where I sometimes get perplexed is when a piece can be classified any number of ways or doesn't fit in any particular category.

    Examples: black and white cat prints
    Multicolor prints that do not have one dominant color




    Where I someti

  18. #18
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    My stash is working out well but Im running out of room.
    I fold my fabrics to fit standing up in plastic bins by color, background, backings, batiks, christmas, flannel,children.
    Coordinating fabrics are in a drawer under future projects.
    My bins are stacked in a metal cubes that I bought at Target.

  19. #19
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    My fabric is organized in different ways....actually probably like ALL of those listed above.
    If I purchase 'just some great fabric' with no real project in mind...it gets sorted by color into totes.
    If I purchase 'for a specific project', the project parts get put into a separate tote.
    My 'Collections' each get their own tote...HST, 4patches, charms and bricks, etc.
    FQ are in their own area, as are scraps I've been saving.
    Tools are together and put away within easy access.

    Here's how I figure out if I'm organized.
    if I keep like with like....if I know where things are...if the room looks tidy.... I'm organized

    I've given up on the thought that my sewing area will ever make a quilting magazine cover and people will not come over and go "ooooohhhhh your room is sooooo beautiful"...but that's ok - I know where things are at and the room is tidy...therefore I AM Organized!
    Last edited by quiltinghere; 11-11-2011 at 05:16 AM.
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  20. #20
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Well I like the comic board idea, amazon has them! Right now I have all the material folded and stacked on a shelf and it is no fun digging thru it. I had sorted mine as following
    Christmas material together and to the left of my closet
    Baby material, one stack, then minkee has it owns shelve along with fleece.
    Flannel one stack for use for baby
    Have my fat quarters stacked in baskets
    I have a lot of material & all is marked with the fabric -swatch tags
    my scrappies go into a plastic tub for "scrappies" quilt

  21. #21
    Super Member michelehuston's Avatar
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    I ordered the fabric boards from M.I.Late here and they are the only thing that keeps me having any idea what I have!! Not really organized in a great way yet, but these things are great!!! I definately recommend them!!!
    Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

    but by the moments that take our breath away.

  22. #22
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    Congratulations on your 'she cave'. I also took over my sons room when he moved out. LOL
    I sort my stash in wire baskets, hubby bought them from Lowes, instaled them in the closet.
    I sort by color, a separate basket for crib/childrens prints. All my solids in another bin.
    When I purchase fabric for a specific quilt I keep this fabric in its own stack with the pattern on top. Then when I'm ready to start this quilt top, all the fabric is in one place, keeping the fabric from accidentally being used in another quilt.. Every one organizes their stash differently.
    Just keep in mind you want the fabric away from sunlight, and do not store fabric in plastic bins, fabric needs to breath.
    Have fun, when organizing you get to see all your beautiful fabric. :0)

  23. #23
    Junior Member DixieLee's Avatar
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    I am real new to quilting but my stash seems to be growing. I organize my stash on cardboard and then sort by amount and color. All the 2 yards one place, etc. Then when I know a project needs so much I can go to that area first. Fat quarters are organized in shoe boxes by general color or theme. If I have a complete project all set up, I keep it all together so I can find the thing when I am ready. I use plastic food storage boxes from Dollar store to organize projects and then label the outside. I use to use baskets but sometimes they fall over and everything falls out. Plastic boxes have lids and the clear box makes it easy to see inside.

  24. #24
    Super Member SuzyQ's Avatar
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    I mainly have FQ and charms etc so I use plastic boxes from the dollar store. We live near a stone crushing plant so we always have dust so I keep my fabric in boxes for protection. Larger pieces are store in copier paper boxes I get from work. My scraps also go in copier boxes or if cut to a particular size into the cheap zip lock baggies.

  25. #25
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    I have my fq sorted in 3 grps, light, dark and the odd that don't fit in either grp, stacked on two shelves. All Christmas fabric on a shelf, cat fabric on another, and solids shared between those two shelves. All fabric 1 yd or over has been wrapped on foam core boards, then sorted by light and dark. Have some rolling 3 drawer cabinets that I have all scrap pieces in. This works for me most of the time.

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