Last week, I shared that I am designing my studio for our new home. The first step is a fresh step and a big move. We are paying movers, so every pound counts – literally!
The first step then is to PURGE! That is probably the hardest step for most quilters – destashing. I had started this process during lockdown in 2020, but apparently, I did not go far enough. Let me share the steps I took, both then and now.
The first thing I did was to empty my studio and put back only what I thought I would use or need. This also gave me a little time to reorganize. That made the second purge two years later even easier. Let me break this down into chunks. This first step has more detail in “Love Your Creative Space” by Lilo Bowman and
During that first purge, I found lots of fabric from when my kids were born…. They are now in their 20s and that fabric is nothing I will ever use again. So, it was donated. I organized the fabric by color and type. It was stacked neatly on shelves. Kits were bundled together and placed in the closet on shelving. Patterns were put with projects in bins, which were also put on the closet shelving. Small scraps (less than 1/4 yd) were corralled into bins. Then, there was a little order to the chaos.
In the second round, I critically looked at my kits and and projects. As a designer, I have plenty of my own projects to tackle. Did I really need some of the kits I bought 10 or 15 years ago? Would I ever finish that project I started 8 years ago, before I started my own pattern line? Did I need some of the bolts of flannel I purchased when making masks by the hundred? The answer to this question, honestly, was that I had enough of my own projects that I was itching to do. Most of these I didn’t even remember buying. That fabric had a better purpose. I donated over 600 yards of fabric to my local quilt guild, which is a non-profit. The proceeds helped with charity programs and a large donation to a quilt museum. That was a much worthier cause than collecting dust in my closet. I had the pleasure of knowing other quilters would enjoy it.
If you have more time and are not up against a moving deadline, consider using some of this fabric for donation quilts. Here is a handy guide to places needing quilts “Be a Quilt Volunteer – Where to Donate Quilts for Charity in 2022 – Quiltripping.”
I found lots of vintage thread, during my first purge. That made its way to the garbage. No sense in keeping old thread. The remainder of the thread was organized in bins so I could readily access it. It also gave me time to think about what thread I would keep in stock in the future. I really only use color thread for top stitching and quilting. For piecing, it is black, white, grey, and cream. The lighter colors tend not to show. That meant that I would use up the colors I had and focus on quality top stitch threads for decorative projects, rather than just collecting colors that I might need, someday, for a yet to be imagined project.
I love to crochet and can whip out projects pretty quickly, while binge watching something or traveling. The only problem is that I end up with plenty of left-over yarn. We have lots of crafty folks in my neighborhood and a bunch of crafty kids. I put a notice on our neighborhood Facebook page that I had yarn for free. That disappeared from my front porch quite quickly. I still need to get rid of another bin full… I keep thinking I may use it for a future project, maybe granny squares? They are the equivalent of a quilters nine patch, which are present in so many projects. Or maybe I will start couching quilts. Ok stop thinking and start purging… Time for a second post on the neighborhood Facebook page.
I have a healthy collection of beads, zippers, buttons, ribbons, etc. I went through them carefully and pitched things that I had just kept “in case.” That includes stamp pads and other little bobs that I no longer would use. I gave rolls of wire ribbon to a neighbor who makes wreaths. I threw out a much of glass ornaments that had been crushed in a move. This took a lot of time, but I organized things into boxes and bins so that I could find it again easily.
Patterns and Magazines
Old quilt patterns were donated to the free table at the guild. I kept some of the pages from the magazines that were inspiring or instructional, the remainder were put in the recycle bin. Paper weighs a ton and so much of this is available online now, even old issues of magazines.
Let’s face it, we all have a drawer, bin or mug full of pens, pencils, markers, etc. I set one of my kids to testing them all. If they worked, they went in one pile. If they didn’t work, they were trashed. The pile of working ones was evaluated for “would I really use it.” If yes, it was put in a mug or bin. If no, it also was trashed. You would not believe how many dried-up pens, markers and highlighters I had accumulated!
Rulers and Templates
This was a huge surprise. As I was excavating during the first purge, I found these in so many different places. In fact, some of them were hidden so well, I had more than one because I forgot or couldn’t find them. Broken ones were tossed in the trash. Duplicates were donated to the guild. Then, I evaluated what was left. I had a box of templates that I would probably never use. They were Fons and Porter templates for specific patterns, which I probably would not make. Again, as a designer, I like to come up with my own way. Don’t get me wrong, I love to incorporate specialty rulers in my work, but not quite that special. If you know what I mean. These were donated to the guild as well.
I took this time to evaluate my collection of scissors and rotary cutters. Most of them were in good shape. They maybe needed a little sharpening or blade replacement. The mats were a different story. I had one that was too well worn to keep using. It was pitched. The rest were cleaned and stacked so they would not warp.
I took a serious look at some of my other cutting tools as well. My Sizzix from scrapbooking days had not been used in years. It was time for it to find a new home, along with its dies. A neighbor purchased it for me – saving me an Ebay surcharge and shipping. Much of the scrapbook paper, stickers, etc. went to the same neighbor. Most of my albums are now digital and quilting is my passion. Time to hang up the scrapbook adventure since, frankly, I was 20 years behind.
Other Tools and Things
There are probably items that I missed on this list, but you get the picture. I went through everything and seriously evaluated and asked a few simple questions:
- Was it in good condition?
- Was it a craft I would continue?
- Had I used it in the last two years?
- Would I really use it in the near future?
- Would someone else put it to better use?
My stash of stuff decreased by about half in this time. It actually felt good – kind of like walking out of the salon after a good haircut. It was a good time to evaluate and decide what I wanted to be and do in the future.
You are probably thinking my now, that you wish you were my neighbor or in my guild. They did receive quite a bit of my stuff. I am just glad that it will be put to better use.
Step one was a serious undertaking and is still underway as I am still trying to lose a few more pounds for the movers.