Saturday, October 23, 2010

Can you be too Organized? Not if you are ME!

Hi!  This is Teresa of Fabric Therapy back again.  I posted here back on October 6 and talked about "Shopping My Stash" and even revealed part of my hoard stash...otherwise known as "Teresa's giant wall o'stash."  I was asked if I might go into some detail about how I organize my stash and reveal even more of it.


I have to tell you that revealing my stash is a little like showing people my underwear drawer...all of it, even the ratty stuff.
I've been hoarding collecting fabric since the early 80's, and I'm not so much embarrassed at the size, but more my obsessive-compulsive organization of it.  I have tried all kinds of storage ideas over the years and what I am doing now works well for the fact that I sew in the basement, which isn't what you would call "finished."  Oh, it's cozy enough, lined with stash...but most people would want something more finished and sophisticated (with less rollie-pollies and spiders...).  I think it is Heaven.

I sort in three major categories...yardage (including fat quarters), large scraps, and wee bits. 

For yardage, I fold based on fat quarters, which are roughly 18 x 22 inches.  By this I mean I fold in half from fold to selvage, then in half again in the same direction, then in half crosswise.




I used to store fabric in really big bins, but they were just too heavy and now I use boxes by Sterilite and Art Bin.  My folded little piles fit well in them and they are readily available at Joann's, Target, and even my grocery store.  I collected them slowly, getting most of them on sale or using a coupon.   Here, I picture the container on its side.

I can get two rows of stacked fabrics in a tall bin.  I NEVER permanently label my bins because things can change so easily, and I hate removing sticky labels.  I use 3 x 5 index cards and a black marker and just insert the card on the inside of the container.

I collect heart fabrics and outgrew my first bin...I added a second one, in a smaller size and labeled it accordingly.

So that brings me to how I sort yardage.  I used to just sort by color...red in one tub, blue in another.  Then I found it inconvenient to have red reproduction fabric in with bright reds...it caused too much rummaging around in big heavy tubs.  Now I separate everything, which allows me to utilize these smaller containers.  I sort my reproduction stuff by color.

I sort my crazy brites by color.

But I also sort by categories...Cats, Dogs, Horses, Halloween, Christmas, Hearts, Animals, Butterflies & Bugs, Harvest, Black on White, White on Black, Batiks, Plaids, 30's (sub-divided into colors), Patriotic (sub-divided into neutral, red and blue), Kitchen/Food, Misc. Novelty, Misc. Flowers, Music, and some lines of fabric that I wanted to keep together.










Then I have bigger bins of general colors like these neutrals.
I separate the general greens, blues and browns into light, medium and dark.

For bigger yardage, I still fold into the same basic shape, based on how I fold fat quarters.





Then I sort my larger scraps by color and keep them mostly in Art Bin boxes with handles...this way I can grab them and go for taking to workshops or cutting parties (I LOVE scrappy quilts!).


My scrap bin categories are neutral, green, blue, red, brown/orange, black, warm brites (red, yellow, orange, pink), cool brites (blue, green, purple), reproduction, 30's, and novelties.


I do a lot of hand applique and save even the smallest scrap.  I put them in larger art bins and sort in color groups.


I also cut and save scrappy strips for log cabin and liberated piecing.


I also store ongoing projects and misc. cut scraps (squares, triangles, etc.) in labeled bins.



I love little drawer units that are meant to store hardware, etc.  They are great for tools and thread.


I have storage for tools, rulers, thread, and movies right at my fingertips.  I use found objects from garage sales and second-hand places for storage.  All the shelving units that surround the basement and hold stash (and games, toys, overflow kitchen stuff, scrapbooking stuff, seasonal decorations, etc.) are plastic, as we have had water in the basemnt before.

As this is getting really long, another time I will show you how I store books, patterns, ideas, etc.

As you do your sort, make it fit your stash.  I like being able to walk right to some container, shelf or drawer and find what I am looking for.  I keep some open bins at my feet under my sewing machine to throw scraps and fabrics that need to be washed and/or "be filed." 

 I'm a wash girl - I wash everything because I am sensitive to the chemicals and because I don't like surprises concerning shrinkage and color fastness.  I keep scraps of batting and larger yardages for backings in larger totes under the stairs.

I'm not really crazy about keeping my fabric in bins...I love pictures of other stashes where it is out on a shelf, just looking all yummy and inviting, saying, "pet me, pet me!"  But, since I sew underground in the quilt cave, it has to be so.  My husband and daughter have computers in the basement, so along with the washer and dryer, an old TV (and the cat food/cat box), I am never really alone down there.

Thank you for stopping by and enduring my stash...I try to keep things orderly and neat because I don't function well in chaos.  I appreciate your comments, your suggestions.  We all pull our creative energy from different places, different spaces.  My stash is a living, breathing, work in motion.  My buddies give me a hard time about being too organized, but I sure like being able to put my hands on something when I need it (or when I want to offer them something for their project...)!  As my blog title suggests, fabric is my therapy.

Happy sorting!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)




240 comments:

1 – 200 of 240   Newer›   Newest»
Lisa said...

WOW!!!!!

liz said...

Ditto! I am going straight to my stash to re-organize.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You have shown me HEAVEN! I am in awe and so jealous. I love your system and could just come camp out. Do you do PJ parties?

Anonymous said...

Love you organization! Everything is so nice and neat. I can see how easy it would be to sort out fabrics for each project. You did a great job. Thank you for showing us how you did it all. Bonnie in Tx.

Pumlans flitiga fingrar said...

OMG! My husband said: lucky you that your space is limited. Otherwise you would have a collection the same size as her.(read: lucky him!).

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for sharing! My stash is not anywhere as large as yours but I am as crazy about organisation as you! I can't imagine trying to work with piles of fabric etc. everywhere. Of course we all get in a bit of a mess sometimes, but I love to be organised! Love your boxes with handles, wish I could get some over here in Australia!

Madame Samm said...

Hi Teresa, you must be the happiest most fulfilled quilter in this world.You should never ever have to go looking any further than your own personal shop. I am in AWE.
Thank you for sharing your HEAVEN with us all.. Madame Samm

maree said...

Teresa you will go down in the quilting Hall of Fame. In fact I think you LIVE in the quilting Hall of Fame!!!!! Thankyou so much for explaining your system in such clear detail. While I know I will never be able to emulate you as I don't have that space, I do think there is a little bit of your organisation that I will be able to put into my own wee space. You are a treasure. Ciao

Anna said...

Wow, this is the most amazing stash ever. Just love it!

Merete said...

Wow, sooo much fabrics!! You could open a quilt shop :o)

Leila said...

now that's what you call a STASH!!

Leeanne said...

Just amazing!Don't be ashamed of being organized, it works well for you and many others.

loulee said...

I want to come and play at your house.

Quilts and Cats said...

I am almost speachless! I hope you have stock in plastics! I pretty much follow your way however I don't know why it never occured to me to put the index card on the inside! Removing those labels is a pain. I'm looking forward to your book and tools storage blog.

conny's quilts said...

Suppose you can quilt on without going to the shop another 100 years or so!!

Quiet Quilter said...

Amazing stash! Such nice containers! You are my idol!

Miranda said...

Oh my goodness! And I thought I was organised, well done! that is a very admirable stash, I don't think I have ever seen a stash so big and full of so many pretty fabrics, I am definately in awe :) I think it would be like having your own quilt shop! Thankyou for sharing Teresa, I am definately inspired by both your stash and your organisation :)

Teri said...

Organized stash there is no doubt about it. You possibly have enough for at least a couple hundred quilters who could quilt every day and still have enough material for years and years to come.When they say the most stash wins, I bet that statement was made for you personally.YOU win.
Thank you for sharing your HEAVEN.

Jamie in Louisiana said...

If I had a stash like yours, I would never see daylight! I can't wait to get my husband to the computer to see this one - awesome. He is always rolling his eyes at my mess.

Tiffany said...

haha love your quilt cave! What I wouldnt give to go shopping among your stash :) thanks for the great stash and especially folding explanation!

Béa said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah !!!

Vicki W said...

Amazing! I want to come over and sew with you. Half of my studio is in an unfinished basement. I love it down there.

Peach Rainbow said...

Amazing!
Thanks for sharing.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I am totally amazed at your level of organization... well done! I like to think that I'm fairly well in control of what I have in the stash; but, by comparison, I feel lost and out of control. I am going to remember this post for a long time. You've become my newest inspiration!

Sarah Craig said...

WOW!!!! Your stash wall just takes my breath away..... I'd love for my stash to be as well organized (even if it's not as large) but then I'd have no time to quilt! Now if they ever allow cloning of humans.....

Karen said...

Amazing! Do you hire out?

Michelle said...

Wow....amazing.

Quilter Kathy said...

It would make me happy to live in this cave! To be able to see this fabulous fabric collection so beautifully organized everyday ...surely that is heaven!

Linda said...

OH. MY. GOSH. THIS IS AWESOME!

Aleisha said...

Wow!!! I can't beleive the size of your stash, and how organized it is! I'm jealous. :) Thanks for sharing it with us.

Renée's Country Quilts said...

I get told I have too much fabric. I should organize it like you do, so he can see how little I really have. Organization is an ongoing battle for me, and right now I need more storage containers. Believe it or not the small pieces take up the most room because you can't fold them neatly, and they are fluffy, unless they are smashed way down. I was blown away with your fabric collection, and even more blown away with how organized you were and how much you had it under control. Your area looked like a big quilting warehouse rather then in a private collection. Thank You for being an inspiration to us all!
I used to be so organized with my quilting fabric, I don't know what happened!
Sorry for the blabber, my mind is just as cluttered these days.

Renee

patticakes said...

You are the Organization Goddess - when can you come organize my stash? LOL
Thanks for sharing all the great ideas!

Shakerwood said...

I bow down to the Queen . . . . .

Meredith said...

If you want to sell your bin or Funky Monkey fabric let me know! I am glad you shared your stash and how you store it. I do hand applique and keep smaller pieces.
Isn't it nice to have a place to work that is yours. I have a quilting room but my fabric stash has gotten so large I can not keep it all in the room. I am tempted to go in my basement as you have done. Then I could have everything together. It think it is really interesting that I store many items the same way you do. I think I got the idea from my dad who taught me to take care of my tools.

Denise :) said...

I feel compelled to comment - because this post (and your organized stash) is definitely comment worthy -- I just don't know what to say! I think Lisa, the first commenter, pretty much summed it up for me. WOW!!!!! :)

Shelly said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I love seeing everything in my house in its place, it just provides calmness. It's always a help to see how others have organized their areas and ways to do it better. Out of curiosity, though, is the rest of your house as organized, too?

Jan Hatchett said...

When I grow up, I want to have an organized stash--just like yours! It's really impressive and looks easy to use. Thanks for sharing.
Jan

synnove75 said...

WOW!!! You are so organized! And what a stash... Mine is not anywhere near as big, but I wish it was half as well organized as yours is... Hmmm I need to do something about it immediatly. Thanks for some great inspiration!

RETRO-fabulous said...

Incredible stash! You could earn extra fabric cash by giving tours!! Thank you for sharing, Teresa.

Cindy said...

Wow, wow, and wow again! Thank you so much for sharing your organization. I'll never be as organized as you, but you've provided such inspiration and some great ideas! I sew in the basement, but in the finished part. However, I do have small parts of my stash in the unfinished part. Now I'll know how I can organize the part of my stash I don't use regularly. Thank you!!!

Brenda said...

WOW what a stash. Wish I had just a 1/10 of what you have.

mascanlon said...

Some wonderful ideas...once I get over being intimidated!

Lisa Marie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your system, I LOVE it! and am inspired to get started organizing mine. Your method makes sense to me and is very visual which is how I am "wired" too

Donna~~ said...

Fabulous organization! I've nowhere near your fabric collection, but think yours is great. I've always been frustrated by my brights mixed with regular colors, but DUH it never occurred to me to separate them! And although those stacks of fabric you see in rooms look so pretty, one thing no one mentions is that when you keep fabric around for decades (like you & I have) it fades as it's exposed to light. Thanks for sharing your great storage ideas!

Char said...

OH, MY GOODNESS! Can you do mine?

9patchnurse said...

If you could see me, you would see that you are getting a standing ovation! Bravo!!!! Excellent system. Hurry hurry with the post on your books and patterns. I need help!

Quilting Bibliophagist said...

Absolutely inspiring! I have to join the others in saying that your sewing area looks like Quilter's Heaven! For me that's not just because you have so much fabric, but because it's so well organized.

One of the great things about being super organized like this is not only that you can find what you want when you want it (which really streamlines your work process), but that you know what you have. That prevents running out to buy something you need which you think you might have somewhere in your mess but which you know you haven't a ghost of a chance of finding in time to finish your project. So having an organized stash is actually thrifty -- which gives you more money to go out and buy fabric with!

Michelle said...

Amazing stash, Amazing organisation - WOW! Heaven in a basement :0) thank you for sharing.

Mary L. said...

What can I say? Amazing!

colourdujour said...

amazing, just amazing. Lots of odeas for us to snag, thanks for sharing so many details.

My question: In your Quilt Cave, what do you use for lighting? Can you speak to that when you tell us about your patterns, books and IDEAS?

Cindy said...

Wow!!! I wish I had 1/10 of what you have. I need to start buying more fabric and stashing it away.

Muddling Through said...

I am so impressed with your organizational skills! I cannot even imagine how long it took you to get everything to that state of perfectly organized yummy-ness.

Exuberant Color said...

Wow, I think I just found someone who has more fabric than I do. Mine is semi-organized but on 2 levels of the house.

tlf said...

What an incredible organizational system you have. Now I have container envy! I am soooo impressed.

~Niki~ said...

Wowzers~you are definitely organized!
You'd almost have to be with that amount of stash. If you need someone in your will to give it all to after life, let me know ;) lol.
I cannot imagine having the $ to purchase all that. good for you!

Wendi said...

So, so cool! It must be wonderful to work in such an organized space! It all looks beautiful!!

Robin said...

DROOL!

Diane said...

WOW...I would love to be that organized! Your quilting area looks great!

Shannon said...

Thank yoy sharing your wonderful stash again. I am in awe like most everyone else. I love it!!

lovetostitch said...

Theresaaaaaaaa...... I need your number!! If you've collected that long, I'm sure you have something I've been looking for - hahahaa!! I soooo understand the water thing,not personally, but know someone else you has had it several times. My Grandma used to call her paint room - her cave! Awesome - not sure if I could keep it up. thanks for sharing!!

Jenny said...

Yes, I'm impressed!! Thanks for sharing!!

Maria G said...

Lucky You!
Impressing!

Alicia said...

Could I come sew at YOUR house? I'd say that's the record for organization! I'd love it if mine were that way!

XUE said...

Incredibly breath-taking organisation skills!!! Please come to my home - I'm in Tokyo, Japan! Then you can stay till the Tokyo Quilt Fest too !

karenfae said...

OMG! you have so much stash :) you never have to go shopping again-so many things to choose from. You better put a good lock on that door girlfriend or your quilt buddies will be in there shopping! you are so organized - I'm in awe.
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Janet said...

Wow! You have a lot of fabric! And other stuff too. And you are super organized! I think you should invite us all over for a sewing party at your house!!!

marilyn said...

I'm just thinking about all of the hundreds of quilts you can make from all of that stash! I bet your quilts are gorgeous. You really have a great color sense. I could never figure out what fabrics to organize together. I would have 927 bins with one piece of fabric in each bin because I never know what goes with what. I can't even put all of the greens together, because some greens have blue and then do they go with the greens or the blues? Or if they have a cat, are they greens, blues or cats? So, I give up and just put everything together on the shelf. I'm so glad we are all different!

Beverly said...

Incredible and inspiring! I've been trying to come up with a better way of organizing my fabric stash. You've given me some great ideas. And you've made feel a little better because even though I have more fabric than anyone needs, I don't have as much as you! :) Thanks!

Sandra said...

How often do you re-organize. If you've been making a top, and you have say, strips or scraps left over....do you put them away that night, or leave them till the project is done, or till you start the next one....with so much organizing, how do you find time to sew?

Anonymous said...

As a quilters husband, might I respectfully submit that an increased intake of alcohol might help?

Sandi said...

I believe that you have the most organized stash I have ever seen!! It's awesome. I've been collecting fabric since the 70's and I thought I had a lot but you have got me beat. My storage is a mix of shelves and plastic boxes. It's still a "work in progress" as we moved in four years ago and I still have at least ten large blanket boxes of fabric that need to be sorted and brought up to my sewing room. Awesome job of organizing!!

The Little Red Hen Quilts... said...

Thank you so much for sharing your (underwear drawer) fabric collection and very personal creative space. I am inspired to organize & fold fabric! I would love to see a little show-n-tell on all the wonderful things you have created in your little Garden of Eden.

Canadian Kristin said...

Teresa, Your storage is fantastic! Love how detailed it is with the repro and the not-repro sorted, that totally makes sense. Here's my question: what is your quilting style? For instance, do you see a pattern, decide you want to make it pinks and purples and so go get your pinks bin and purples bin and then "shop" from your collection? How do you USE your storage when making a quilt or sewn project?

Jansie said...

Teresa, you are my hero! This is sooo wonderfully organized! I am an organizer as well and if I had as much stash as you, my dream would be to make it look like yours! You have made a great system for yourself and any fabric lover should be jealous. Thank you for sharing!

Micki said...

I never saw a stash like this before. I live in a cottage in Ireland, so no way could this happen. I have to buy fabric as I do projects. I am totally envious.
Thanks for joining my blog!
Micki

Tamera said...

I only have ONE suggestion. You need to come visit North Dakota! Wouldn't you like to visit???? lol

You have done a GREAT job of organizing!

craftthefinalfrontier said...

My partner and I love watching scary movies....and we have a list of places which we just wouldn't visit....cabins on lakes, attics, basements.....until I saw your basement....Now I want to live there!!!

Sue

Sherry said...

WOW WOW and WOW. All your stash and the thing I saw is you wash all your mateeial is this before you put it away or when you use it. WOW WOW WOW WOW can't say more.

Laurie said...

Can I come shopping in your stash? I'm sure I'd find alot of wonderful goodies! Love all your bins..your our quilting hero!

knitnoid said...

My friend think I'm organized, but you have me beat hands down -- so I sent them the link to this posting. I suspect you'll get lots of requests to help organize stashs.

Bonnita said...

You win! After I picked my jaw up off the floor I ran to my hubby and said, "NEVER EVER again say anything about my stash!"

Polly said...

Holy Cow, girl! I showed my husband your stash and room... so he doesn't EVER AGAIN complain about my tiny stash!! LOL WOW! I thought I was the most anal person alive...NOT!! Polly

Gmama said...

ONE QUESTION?? Are you that organized everywhere else? If so, I would love for you to teach us "clutter bugs' how you do it?? I WANT to be organized but can never get it together. It has to be a natural gift and I don't have it. Boo Hoo!! Oh how I'd love to have you come to my house and help me!! You have inspired me and I'm becoming an instant follower! PLEASE come visit me at www.grandmamasstories.blogspot.com and give me some advice.
Blessings
Gmama Jane

Kathy H said...

I think your organization is terrific. i have some boxes to organize by color but not quite so well. You have inspired me to get a little more detail in my organization. It will make it easier to find what i am looking for.

Robyn said...

OMG, your buddies think you're too organised?? Do they have a stash the size of yours? I think you should take a bow (curtsey) for stash organization management as I'd have a coronary if I had all those to sort and keep track of! Lol, I think DH would have a double coronary - if that's possible :).

Mary Frances said...

I am a professional organizer and quilter and applaude you on both your collection and organization of it. You obviously have more "play" space, more "play" money and more "play" time than most of us but we can always hope! I am curious if the fabric from the 1980's you have collected are still in good condition? I know some quilters do not like storage in plastic.

Rhanda said...

This is FANTASTIC. I want a room just like yours! I have only been quilting for a little over a year. I like to have several projects going at once, which I see in many blogs is the 'norm'. Anyway, how do you keep each project organized. I find that I am constantly moving stacks of one project to another side of the room. It drives me crazy. Especialy if one project is in the cutting stage. Then rulers are thrown into the mix. UGH. Although, seeing those blue and green plastic baskets gives me a possible solution! Thanks for sharing! P.S. why do some say storing fabric in plastic is bad? I store mine in plastic bins also. (but I only have 6 bins). lol.

claudia said...

I was drooling the whole time I was reading your post! I'm going to have to show your stash to my daughter. She thinks I have too much material. Your stash makes mine very sickly looking in comparison!

sewinggeek said...

I like to organize my stash to.It gives me ideas and lets me feel in control. I love your stash and your organization!

Rose Marie said...

... LOL .... I'm speechless! :o)

MarianneD said...

I think I'm like you..I love to organize everything,I can't live in a chaos..
But my wall is a "little" smaller than yours..;-)Happy Quilting!

Shelley said...

That's not a stash, that's a QUILT SHOP! LOL! I would be totally overwhelmed having to be responsible for that much fabric. At least I know where to come if I can't find a certain fabric!

Anonymous said...

Holy CR@P - I never would have believed it if you had not shown it...

Camilla said...

It´s Fantastic! .
Thank´s for showing us your stash organization I´m impressed.

Michelle said...

That is just amazing! Wish my stash was that organized, just long enough for me to plan some new projects.

SCquiltaddict said...

oh my thats all i can say...come organize mine:>

Julie S said...

I am totally inspired by your organization, Teresa. Thank you for all the photos. If each photo is worth a thousand words, then you have just given us a book's worth of inspiration!

ytsmom said...

Love your idea for storing fabbies on their sides. I use the same kind of totes, but usually what I want is on the bottom!

Vivian said...

You win! This is the BEST organized stash and quilt area ever! What I love is that you are right, you can go in and know just where to get what you need. It is inspirational heaven and would make any quilter want to start a new quilt every single day.

Bonus: All your tips are as practical as they are drool worthy! Bravo!

Terry said...

Thank you for sharing your quilting heaven with us all. It is lovely, orderly and inspirational. What a pleasant place to sew and create! It is always fun to see how creatively people live. You describe your area as a "quilting cave". Mine is a "quilting treehouse" because I took over the bedroom our 2 oldest sons shared and there is a lovely, large tree right outside the window. I thoroughly enjoy observing the leaves during all the seasons and seeing the birds and squirrels enjoying their tree all year long. Congratulations on such a successful result for all of your organizing work.

Katie said...

Can I come over please?! I would walk in that room and probably hear a choir of Angels in my head singing HAAAAALLLELUUUJAHHHHHH!!!!

Carrie P. said...

Wow Teresa, I think you are the winner for the most fabric. I don't think I have ever seen a stash so big. I love the way you are so organized and the way you label the boxes. thanks for sharing.

Helen in the UK said...

I'm in total awe!! Thanks so much for showing us your stash storeage in such brilliant detail. I thought I was organised, but you take it to a whole new level. But the main thing is that it works for you and you can find what you want when you want it. Brilliant :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!
I wish I could be so organized. Great stash. I'm going to borrow some of your ideas. Nancy

Kath said...

I am soooooo jealous! Never mind the underground, never mind the unfinished walls, spiders etc. Who needs finishing when you have heaven under your fingertips?

Staci said...

You truly deserve some kind of medal or award for having the most magnificent stash of them all! I enjoyed reading about your organizational process. I am sure it is absolutely necessary as well, with a stash this size. You would never be able to find anything without such a detailed method.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

Judy P. said...

I too have an enormous stash which I keep in large plastic containers. But lately I have been thinking of thinning it out. I just feel like it is so big I don't know what I have any more. When I go through one of my bins I realize how much wonderful fabric I have, but increasingly there is too much "what was I thinking" stuff blocking it. And the bins are frankly too heavy to easily move around. You have given me much to think about. Happy New Year from my basement to yours.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

You have it under control girl! Thanks for the storage inpsiration! Happy New year!

Trish said...

That is just amazing! You have the best organizational skills!

I am Just One Mom said...

Girl... you make me laugh, as I look in the mirror to my stash! Let's do something each day to conquer our obsession.

Something radical such as: USE IT. Truly. Seeing your stash makes me look more honestly at mine. And I have committed to use mine. Poof: I bless you with the same energy and focus to use yours as you have had in the gathering of it. So many lives will be blessed.

Angie said...

What a treat to come across your blog. I am a beginner quilter and love organization. I feel like I just took Stash 101! It was awesome! I will bookmark this post and refer back to it many times. Thanks for sharing.

I'll be looking forward to hearing how you organize books and patterns in the future. I'm already snatching up books right and left. :)

Happy Quilting!

Juli Shulem said...

Awesome. I am a Professional Organizer/Efficiency Specialist (and a quilter) so sometimes I get to organize a fellow quilter's fabrics and sewing room. I do it pretty much the same as you have done yours, except I don't believe I have seen so MUCH at a person's home. Your collection rivals most stores in my area. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you have ever used the blue masking tape for your labels, but that is what I do. (There are many different types, i.e., those that will stick for varying amounts of time, but I usually use the one that has the shortest life span. However, this tape has stayed on my plastic boxes until I pull it off.) I put it on more than one side and mark it with a sharpie or permapaque. This way, if I change the contents, I just pull off the old label/masking tape and replace with a new one. So far, I have not had any problems with sticky residue. I use larger containers and any type of index card will drown.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's not a stash it's a MEGA-STASH! I had to lift my jaw off the desk when I saw it! I LOVE your organization & it all makes so much sense! I've still got the big bins & a tall hamper for scraps, but I know the day is coming when something else has to be done! How I envy your space -- We don't have basements here, so I've got a small bedroom fitted with custom cabinets, but would love space to have a cutting table.... Dream on! Thanks for showing us it can be done!! ~ Karen in NM

Anonymous said...

Perfectly done -- sent it to my Husband and his comment was (we live in Florida) thank goodness we don't have a basement :) Terry at Ultraorg

patty said...

OMG!!! My husband thinks I've got way too much fabric (he could be right, every now & then it happens!) but you have me beat! But oh so wonderful! You've done a fantastic job! I love it! I'm turning a little green as I type! LOL! You stash girl! Patty

katesnanna said...

Do you secretly get 72 hours in every day??
I'm in absolute awe of you. How do you manage to do so much?

Anonymous said...

Forget the fabric - that's about $2,000 worth of bins!

Anonymous said...

I think the quote, "She who dies with the most fabric wins" applies here! Wonderful ideas worth copying. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am also a fabricholic. I do have a basement that I used to sew in until I went through a divorce. Now I just use it to store fabric but my son wants to go down and help me organize it so I can start sewing down there again. You are truely an inspiration. I have the same plastic containers and I have labeled the ones with the handles. You are truely an inspiration. Thank you.

Peg said...

With all that organization, do you have time left to quilt? I really admire your stash and the way you have labeled everything! My "stash" fits on one shelf, but someday...
Peg

Anonymous said...

This was great! I also sew in the basement and due to an overflow (not fabric but water), I have had to also go to plastic bins. I wish I would have seen this before I got the large bins. They are hard to work with and can get very heavy. I will be rethinking my organization and probably going with yours. Now to just convince my DH. :)

Barb in MI said...

I to sew in the basement with occasional water problems. I use bankers boxes but am switching over to clear plastic so I can see whats inside. I have a separate room but with 4 machines, cutting table, etc. I have outgrown it and have spilled out into the main floor. With your organization pictures it has given me many ideas to organize mine. For book storage I purchased a book case which works great but have filled it completely and now I'm looking for additional space.

Anonymous said...

Now I know how I can organize my stash (Very Large). It looks great. My room (EX Bedroom, Kids gone) isn't as large as your basement but I now have a very good idea how to arrange all my fabrics

UKMUMINUS said...

I just love how organised you are and wish I was like that. I have just started quilting so my stash consists of one little bag so far!!!

Anonymous said...

Fabric rots. Don't keep it too long

Anonymous said...

How about the cover pattern with the house?

Anonymous said...

Oh!! Happy Day!!!

Paul said...

I use the same type of plastic box... Of course I have only been quilting for one year, so my stash is MUCH smaller... I have three boxes on one shelf in my garage.

Daisy said...

What a wonderful world you live in, I am OC myself, what a perfect sewing area. Thank you for sharing. You made my heart sing.

gigi said...

OK double WOW, its amazing, I would hirer you to do mine, lol, I do have a little done, to keep me sewing, but sadly I just cant make that many decisions, I love it, its like a fairy world to me
I only see it in my dreams, awww its nice to see it in reality, you rock!!

Girltwin64 said...

When and where were born? I think we may be twins? Just kidding!! I have a twin brother! Maybe we were triplets and some one stole you?
okay okay I am kidding again! Love your obsession and I have it too! I have a wonderful stash in big bins so it isn;t as nice as yours but if I have a cave I would do the same thing! Excellent job!

Brenda said...

That is incredible.

Bridget B said...

I am so jealous. I get organized and then need something and mess it up looking. You are the Queen of Organization. Thank you for showing us your stash.

Sherry said...

I don't feel so guilty about my huge stash now! I do feel a little guilty I'm not quite as organized as you. I've got about 40-64 qt plastic totes full, sorted mostly by color and another 20 totes full of precuts & scraps. I recently gave away a bunch of fabric to an elderly lady in our community to share with her and her other quilting friends at the senior center. I had to let go of some & I parted with fabrics I felt I would just never use. Thanks so much for your tips/ideas on getting organized! Loved viewing your awesome stash.

Anonymous said...

wow can I come and live at your house and help me to get like this.
Thanks for the ideas

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have given me some great hints, I hope I can put it into practice.

cindy in la said...

this much stash of anything so incredibly organized requires a hugh investment of time. when do you quilt? and cook? and clean? and actually leave the fabric cave to go do "life"? grocery shopping? family events?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW! It looks great, so acessable. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Ditto to whoever said they would hire you to come do my stash!!! Mind is not nearly as large as yours, but it is a mess - some things labelled and others not. They all store in long, not deep boxes (like underbed storage) under my 4' X 8' cutting table. Like you, I sew in the basement. Ours is partially finished and has occassional water problems, so I too store in plastic tubs. I did TRY to start sorting and have a few boxes with 2 1/2" strips and some squares. But that start was months ago, and now I've started another quilt!, so there goes my work space!
All-in-all I am stricken by envy! LOL

Vanessa said...

OMG!!!! I want your room!!! It is wonderful

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT!! I'll bet you can get much more done because you have your fabrics so well organized. I use the clear containers also...I need to see what I have, but it HAS to be organized. OCDers unite!

Robin New Zealand said...

WOW - I am truly blown away - this really shows dedication. Is your output in finished quilts as impressive? - and how do you finance this. Of course material is soo much cheaper in USA i know but even so. Would love to see it

Nancy said...

All I can say is WOW, Wish I was that organized.

Linda said...

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Actually, what you've let us see is really heartwarming. First, because I too sew in an unfinished basement. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one working underground, though my complaint has never been water... it's the cold, which is sometimes unbearable. Your stash is at least ten times what mine is, but what you have is impressively organized. I do have the larger bins, but you may have converted me to smaller ones. They certainly are more manageable. You are definitely a neat-nut after my heart - you must be of German descent! Thanks for sharing your organization and tidiness. Bless you.

Deb said...

Ok, You Win!!!!!!

Anita said...

I am in awe and hope to be more like you when I grow up. I am in the process of counting and measuring the stash Bonnie Hunter Style. I can't wait to show my husband that my stash isn't so bad after all. Thank you.

Anita/Idaho

KarenQuilt said...

WOW!!! Anyone know of a website where we could all post photos of our stashes and storage areas? I don't make quilts very often anymore and create utter chaos when I do. One part of me can hardly stand the mess and the other part of me gets so excitied at the creativity that comes forht! I still haven't put all the fabric back from a workshop I took a year ago. I began quiting in 1980 but soon detoured into studing quilt history. Eventually my choice had to be between books and fabric. I didn't think I could ever give up adding to my stash but I did....though occasionally I slip. It's allowed. In someone ways the Internet has made it less painful because I can go look at photos of fabric and quilts by the thousands any time I want. But I now have over 700 quilt history and textile history related books. Only about 100 are how-to quilt books and most of those belonged to my MIL. Organizing my books, paper files and my antique doll-quilt collection are my big challlenges. I'm pretty good at it except we moved to a smaller house 6 years ago and I am now running out of space. It costs so much to add onto a house so it is not worth it. I would rather spend the money on books, fabric or quilts! So I am reviewing my whole system and space in 2011 to see what I can come up with. Or....I could stop collecting. Ha! Fat chance. I don't envy my kids. Maybe I'll show my clutter on my Quilt History Reports blog some time this year! Stop by for a visit. I have an exhibit of my antique doll quilts up right now.

Karen said...

Honey, you are the QUEEN of stash organization!! I bow down before you.....

Anonymous said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say. Wow.......

:>)

Love it!

Kim Boyko

Becky said...

Ok, this may seem morbid, but since we are doing our wills, it came up as to who to give all my considerable ammount of quilting stuff. I listed my friends and the guild. That way it won't all end up with the kids who think what I do is stupid anyhow. So a person or persons specifically. After all, you waant it to go to those who appreciate your treasures.

Barb said...

Thank you for the inspiration! I love it.

One simple tip I can use is the index card with the name of the category on it (instead of labels) for easy changing.

Love it, love it, love it! Absolutely!!

Conda said...

Absolutely love it. I want to be adopted and live in your basement. I'll bring my own machine and kitty. :)

They Forgot to Ask Me said...

OK. I am totally blown away--especially because I just emptied my sewing room to paint it, and then started reorganizing every square inch of it.
I gave away a lot in the recent guild auction.
My fabric is in an antique armoire--practically by color, with larger yardage on bottom shelf.
All of my equipment is in elfa drawers under the 7 foot by 4 foot working table.

btw-The website for displaying your stash: www.amisimms.com Click on her 'Show Me Your Stash' tab.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Very impressive.

Anonymous said...

VERY Impressive! A friend sent this to me saying "I think I have found your long lost twin!" because I, too, am ultra organized and have a large stash. Love your method and containers....I also use the index cards...so much easier. And I refer to mine as my "Fabric Library" which sounds more intellectual. :) Now I only go to quilt shops to "fill in" when I don't happen to have something I need for my latest project. Being this organized is a gift and a blessing! Quilt on, sista!!

nancyc20 said...

Holy cats! Youg go girl! I can't wait to see the book organization. I'm stuck there...

Julia said...

All I can say is WOW!

Mimi said...

You could make money doing this for others! Wanna start with my stash first?

Keep Stitchin' said...

And I thought I had my (very humble) little stash/sewing room organized so nicely! My goodness, you could open a store. I'd never get anything done, I'd be in your sewing room 24/7!! Love it!

Nicki Lee said...

WOW! After spending three days sorting and organizing my fabrics I had to give it a rest -you amaze me with your organization! I had to have my hubby come take a look at your room just to show him that what he "thinks" is a lot of fabric(my stash)really isn't now after seeing yours. Thank you for sharing.

LouAnne said...

Oh, how I wish I had a basement. Very few homes in Califoria have basements. I have been told my stash is huge, but I relinquish the Fabric Queen title to you! LouAnne....www.gettingtocrazy.blogspot.com

Pat said...

I showed my husband the pictures of your stash and now he knows that mine really does need adding to!!! What gorgeous fabrics. I can see why you need to be so well organised.

Dawn Thompson said...

Wow just catching up on emails...Mama Mia some stash...show DH..he said it looks like a warehouse and I thought I had fabric WOW!!!!

Anonymous said...

I recently just got started on learning to quilt. I only have one shelf in my closet of material, but about a month after I fold and organize it, it's all messed up again. The containers are a great idea, and I'm on a kick to get more organized. Thanks for sharing!!!

Patty Ashworth said...

OMG. Too organized for me. I like to be surprized when I'm looking for something. I love allthe fabric I have, but like it alittle more mixed up. Creates more color combinations to look at. I have my kitchen more in plastic containers. Keeps out unwanted critters. But fabric needs to breath. Careful it doesn't get a strange smell being in plastic.

MariQuilts said...

Wow!I think I'm speechless.

Diane Black said...

This is Great! I haven't did a lot of sewing in the last 3-4 yrs. because,Like you I can't sew at ease with a mess around me...My sewing has spilled out from the sewing room (small) into the spare bedroom, dining room, and lots of boxes and totes in our walk in closet.. some in the garage..So instead of looking when you need something we go buy MORE!!!!LOL.. I need some one like you to come and organize mine..LOL
Diane
West Virginia

Porch Days said...

Amazing that anyone could be that organized! My hat is off to you.
Nancy

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am soooo impressed. It's way more than I could ever do. How did you have the time to do this and even on sale,, you have a forrune in the bins. I love it. I may give it a shot to be more organized.
Mary

Quiltalicious said...

Very impressive stash storage and organizing techniques and processes. Kudos to you for keeping it all together and organized while using it too! Although I could never quilt in a basement (I need windows and a spiderless environment), I envy you your space for stash and work in the same general place. Your system is absolutely an inspiration.

Willa said...

I am not a very organized person on the surface but I am in my head!! LOL! I have a somewhat organized sewing room (in process) and I have about a bajillion kinds of organizing thingies because I probably hoard those as much as fabric and embellishments and yarn and whatever. I think your room is awesome. And I love your online "persona". Very uplifting person you are. I seems like you are very comfortable with who you are and that's a good thing. Keep having fun and enjoying life! Maybe I will finish the sewing room this week... getting close! ;O}

edyB said...

YAY and Cheers to you!! This is what I'm striving for in my studio. I have a wonderful studio with lots of space, a collection of boxes (growing collection) and a stash from xxxx years. Time is what I'm short of. I can't seem to STOP working on projects and take time to organize. My goal is to organize just the way you've done. Come on over and help me out, please!

Anonymous said...

Storage bins and material is far more expensive in Australia otherwise, I'm sure I'd forget to stop collecting. My hat is off to you. Put me in your green bin (jealousy). lol.

Suzie blue

knitwitted said...

[drooling] You are a true genius!!

Anonymous said...

You are very organized. I too organize my fabric. But I do not organize my fabric by color. I went to a guild meeting and the speaker was talking about organizing your stash. She said to organize your fabric by size and don't worry about organizing within the size by color. She said that when you see them all together you see more possibilities. I have used it more since I started doing this.

Passionate Quilter said...

speechless! Amazing! I could only wish to be so organized! Thanks for sharing your process. anyone can do that, if only on a small scale. It might be EASIER to start when you don't have as much..new quilters--TAKE NOTE! :)

Anonymous said...

Do you make housecalls?? LOL

I love your organizational skills - that's what I had in my office when I worked outside the home. But, somehow, nothing translated to the home environment -- except for a few areas.

My silverware drawer, for instance. Took me 3 hours to make according to how I use things ... and, in case I messed up the order of everything during washing/cleaning, I made a schematic and that's in the drawer, too.

Whatever works for YOU . . . probably would take ME more time in organizing than in stitching.

Nana Ninja said...

thanks for sharing now I have seen genius at work ,you go girl love all the titles,makes so much clearer were you need to go........i am giving you the crown .......Carol

Anonymous said...

Like so many comments awsome.i have tried to organize my stash and the minute i start i get side traked lol trixie cant wait to read how you do your books -- i have plenty

Brooke said...

That is FANTASTIC! I love how organized it is....you can easily put your hands on exactly what you want!!! Very inspiring indeed. Do show us more please, I love it!!!

b.carr962 said...

I'm going to show this to my husband. I will never be accused of having too much fabric again. Wish I did though!

Suze said...

Wow, you've got some great tips there. I just got more bins to store my fabric. Thanks for the ideas!

pat shiels said...

Wow, nice job organizing! I just finished organizing the walk-in closet in my sewing room - it's not nearly as big as your basement...but what a job it was! It took a day to paint the closet and then a week just to put all the stuff back into it in an orderly way.

yetunde said...

omg, i need to organize better i just throw the fabric in the container and let it go.

Anonymous said...

WOW, you are super organized. Are you like that with everything else?

Anonymous said...

how do you have time to do any sewing LOL

OhGoodie said...

Wow I love how organised you are and I am just a tiny bit jealous of your incredible stash!! I have the urge to now go and reorganise my stash!

Anonymous said...

I sew lots of different things, and my stash comes in larger amounts than fat quarters usually. But I noticed that you still fold them the same way. I'm going to revisit my stash organization methods as well. Thanks for the great ideas!

Anonymous said...

WOW...now that's what I call organized! I just finished organizing my sewing room. Had to split things up between my sewing room and bedroom so I bought 4 cabinets which ended up in my bedroom for storage. I even got rid of some things but my sewing room is still FULL!! After seeing your organizing it looks like I need to start again. You did a fantastic job!

Linda said...

Oh my! I think you're my new hero! Off to re-organize my stash now!

Fabraholic said...

I'm green with envy! Here am I hiding my stash behind my clothes...

Anonymous said...

I love you! You have inspired me to go toe-to-toe with the fabric monster that ate my house.

Elena said...

OMG! I'm really impressed. You're really organised. I have to learn a lot :)

The Calico Quilter said...

You are my hero. I'm an organizer at heart and I use a bin system to keep my fabric, but NOTHING like yours. This is a system I could aspire to!

Unknown said...

Wow and double wow...I have decided to become a more organized quilter but wow! You are really organized! I am going to send a linke to my mom so she can see this. W!O!W!

Barb said...

Oh my word.......that is just sooooo stinking amazing!!

Nancy said...

Thank~You, Thank~You!! This is such a big help to me!!

Nancy
coeurdalenegifts.blogspot.com

Sue said...

We have just moved into a new house we built, and I have a spare bedroom for my sewing room. I really want it to be as useful & neat as possible, so this has been a GREAT help, THANKYOU SO MUCH!! Hugs n Blessings from Sue in South Australia x

Vicki said...

yikes!
During your years of hoarding...ah...I mean collecting fabric, how much of a piece do you buy? A little 1/4 yard? or more? I am imagining you scooping up a new collection and getting little bits of it all. lol

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