A semi-retired professional longarm machine quilter
This post may sound like I’m ranting but honestly I’m not. I’m simply stating facts and what I believe to be true for ME. Some readers have misunderstood the point of my getting rid of fabric instead of using it or selling it. The post before the previous one explained why I was purging. Just scroll down the page to read the previous posts. This one will explain a bit more about my reasons. No rant. Just facts.
I have too much fabric. I have more fabric than I could possibly use in four or five lifetimes of making quilts and rugs and other things. Most of the fabric was donated to me with the understanding that I would pass along what I couldn’t use to someone else. I do know several people and also several groups that are always in need of fabric. Some are art teachers, some are quilt groups that make charity quilts, and some are craft makers of other items.
The whole point of my purge is to get my fabric stash down to an amount I’m comfortable with. My house is very small. I do not have a garage. I do not have a basement. I do not have an attic. I do not have a storage building. I do not have closet space for fabric. I do not have furniture to hide it in or under. In other words, absolutely no storage space for large quantities of fabric.
Ten large storage tubs, five rollie carts with 6 drawers each, ten rollie carts with 3 drawers each, a drawer tower with 9 larger drawers, two large cardboard boxes and three big storage size plastic bags full of fabric is way too much for my small house. If I had to guess then I’d guess I have about 3,000 yards of fabric in various places in my house. Its more fabric than I can possibly use. Even if I am a prolific quilter and rug maker, that’s still way too much for me.
I would rather have room in my house for people instead of all that fabric. Take a look at all the photos I’ve posted in this and the two previous posts. Clicking on them will make them larger so you can get a really good look at the STUFF in my house. Would you want to live this way? I don’t. No one comes to visit me. Why? Because my house doesn’t have room for visitors. There is no place for people to set. My house is so filled with STUFF that there is no room for people. No room for my kids. No room for my grand kids. No room for my great grand kids. No room for friends. No room for anyone. Fabric can’t give me hugs. Kids and grand kids can. Fabric can’t give me friendship. Other people can.
Yes, I could probably sell some of the fabric and maybe, just maybe, get a dollar or two but that would mean I have to keep all of it UNTIL or IF it sells. It would mean I have to set up some type of money exchange like ebay, etsy, paypal or amazon so people can pay me. I’d have to spend time taking photos and putting them online. I’d have to get a supply of suitable envelopes and boxes for mailing. More stuff to bring into an already full house. And, a delay to making room for people.
Ok, lets say I did keep all the extra fabric and started making lots of quilts again. There are only so many quilts a family member will want. After everyone has several quilts each what then? Give the quilts to charity? Sure. At what cost? I don’t mean dollars, I mean people costs. I do plan to make quilts but its very hard for me to be creative when I can’t find the creative materials I’m looking for because its hidden in a box someplace.
I don’t want all this fabric anymore. I can’t possibly use it all. Yes, I’m still going to make quilts. Some quilts will be for charity too. I’m still going to make rugs. I’m still going to be sewing and crafting. I’m just simply not letting the over abundance of STUFF control my life anymore. I see people on the internet with hugh fabric stashes. More power to them if that’s what makes them happy and they have room for it. I’ve asked a few of the prolific quilters what they do with all their extra quilts? No one has answered me yet.
Its not just fabric I’m purging from my house. I’m getting rid of other STUFF too. Each day I ask myself, “What if I died today, what would my kids do with all this STUFF?” I do know almost everything would be taken to either the thrift store or put into a dumpster. I don’t want my kids to have to do all that. Better to give them keepsakes now and see them enjoy it. Better to pass along fabric and other stuff when I know someone can use it.
There is a saying; She who dies with the largest fabric stash, wins. Well, I really don’t want to win that contest. I want my extra fabric in the hands of someone who will actually put it to good use right now. Not after I’m gone. I guess you can say I’m downsizing. Downsizing is what lots of seniors are doing these days. I’m doing my downsizing while I can do it for myself and not waiting until there is a need or some reason I can’t do it myself. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
All the STUFF around me also stops my creativity. I feel like I’m smothering and like I can’t clean the house. I mean really, how do you clean stacks and boxes of STUFF? You can’t dust it like a dresser. You can’t mop it like a floor. You can’t paint it like a cabinet. Its just stuff. I want my house to have furniture to polish and open floors to wax. I want curtains to wash and beds to be made. I want normal PEOPLE items in my house. I want to feel like I’m living in a home instead of like I’m living in a garage. I want to cook a nice meal, invite people over, and know there is room for everyone.
I hope this has helped answer some of the questions and concerns from my earlier posts. Again, its not a rant, just stating my thoughts and my reasons for a fabric purge. I believe the best storage area for my future stash will be the fabric stores or the thrift stores. Before I end this post let me tell you this….
The last time I checked:
cotton is still being grown;
silk worms are still spinning silk;
sheep still have coats of wool;
plastic bottles are still being recycled into cloth;
there are still manufacturers producing and there are still retailers willing to sell us gorgeous fabrics.
If any of these things cease to exist I’m quite sure you will have much bigger concerns than obtaining quilt fabric.
Realizing that other “stuff” will still be available if and when you need it later, is a key step in getting rid of stuff you can’t use now. I applaud you for all the reasons you’ve mentioned in this post. I too am constantly getting rid of stuff. Somehow it keeps coming back and I have to get rid of more. Good luck. Once you do it you will feel free.
Its a slow process but I’m looking forward to the result.
It makes so much sense to go through your stash, keep out only the fabrics that inspire you and that you love and let the rest go to other quilters who maybe can’t afford to build a stash. Having room for your family and friends is essential. Wish I lived closer, it would be fun to help you shop your own stash and reorganize the smaller amount you really want.
I wish you lived closer too. It would be fun to have company. Thats why I’m doing this.
Good for you. I started quilting in 2012. So my fabric stash isn’t too bad. It’s all the arts and craft stuff that is out of control. I will follow you lead and downsize. Besides, I have to pack and move so now is a good time to unload this good stuff to others.
Where you moving from and going to?
I think you are spot on. You really do need to let go. It will free your mind, heart and spirit! Good luck to you in this endeavor.
Cindy N. UT
Cindy you make lots of quilts. What do you do with your finished quilts that are not QOV?
Anita, YOU are singing MY SONG!! I SO know what you mean. “all of the above” seem to apply in my situation as well. The MAIN thought, WHAT will my children DO with all of this? Yes, i see A HUGE dumpster in the drive after I am gone. BUT WE can CHANGE That. We can SAVE our loved ones from the stress and sorrow of “doing away with mom’s STUFF”. I say GO FOR IT!!! AND PLEASEEE keep reminding me of what OUR GOAL is.
Yes, we’ve been down this road a few times before haven’t we? I’m determined this will be the final time but I said that all the other times too. Slowly but surely things will leave here.