Quilter’s Question: Storing Your Stash

Recently, I convinced the husband that I needed a new desk and filing cabinet from Ikea. I’d seen enough pictures around Pinterest to know that this set-up would work well for my beauty supplies and would relieve my bathroom stink from all the clutter. So I sold it to him on the premise that our bathroom would be cleaner and we’d have more room on the sink.

Low and behold I got my desk and filing cabinet! It took me some time to fill it out and rid the bathroom of all my palettes but we’re now able to see the tile around the sink and all my stuff is better organized. Yay for organization!

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Along with all my makeup things, I realized that this desk would be a great place to set up my sewing machine and there was enough room to start storing my fabric stash here, too. So it doubled as a beauty/sewing center. Score another point for me!

But as I started to dig into my fabric and move it to my new craft center, I realized I had no method at all to my madness. I had a box from work that used to hold reams of paper on a shelf. I opened that sucker up and BAM! I found loads of fat quarters and bundles of fabric I forgot I had.

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A Box O’ Fabric

Then I found another bin with lots of loose material floating around, some finished squares I bought on eBay to be put together to make a quilt (what was I thinking!) and jelly rolls for those quilts I had the best of intentions to make as gifts.

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In short, things were a mess. I started moving some of the stacks to my desk and filled two shelved built into the side of the desk. Then I started to filter through the boxes and bins but got so overwhelmed I had to put them back together and store them in the closet as they were. Then I went to start the binding on my son’s quilt. That’s when I realized I didn’t know where it was!!

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My disorganization was coming full circle and now I couldn’t find the last bit of material I needed to finish his quilt. After some searching, I found it tucked away in some vintage inspired fabrics. It was probably stuck with all of that fabric because the common color schemes are browns and yellows. But it definitely was the last straw.

I need a better way to store my fabric. And preferably a system that won’t require me to spend a lot of money.

My question to all of you fellow quilters is this: What is your preferred method of organizing your stash and storing it? Bucket? Hanging files? Do you wash, press, then fold them into neat stacks? Do you organize by color? Theme? Fabric type?

I’m curious to hear what everyones’ method is and maybe it’ll give me a direction to take when I start to get my mess of a stash organized.

For now I’ll show you the jelly rolls I found in a box tucked into the closet.

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I had completely forgot about these. I think I found them on sale at a Wal-Mart near us that was closing down its fabric section. They have a nice beachy feel so I think I’m going to use these for my next quilt. And instead of using the same four strip squares I’ve been sticking too, I’m going to change it up a bit.

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More to come…

Fresh Poppy Design

4 thoughts on “Quilter’s Question: Storing Your Stash

  1. Wow, that box o’ fabric is a fun surprise!
    So, I’m an ex-librarian with a need to keep things organized and under control. (Doesn’t always happen. I’m the one who recently found the floor in my work room…! I don’t have your email for a reply because Blogger and WordPress don’t play well together, but thanks so much for your comment!)
    Since you asked…Here’s what I do with my fabric:
    Fat quarters are all folded exactly alike and stashed in a dresser drawer. They stand on edge and are mainly sorted by colour so I can see exactly what I have. (They can be sorted however you want, but it does help to have them grouped in some, logical way.)
    All yardage (3 yards, or less) is folded to the same width (lengths vary) so I can stack by colour in my cabinet. I fold the length as necessary to fit the depth of my shelves. I do have most fabric stacked by colour, but keep flannels in a separate stack. I also separate out the Christmas/seasonal prints. Hmm. There are also some prints that don’t fit into one colour because they are so mixed. I have a stack just for those, as well. Again, group as you see fit! (e.g. by fabric line, designer, size of prints, project intentions, etc)
    Larger yardage (over 3 yards) is grouped on a different shelf, mainly because it is too bulky to fold to the same width as smaller cuts. It needs to spread out a bit more.
    Useable scraps are also sorted by colour. I started by sorting into Ziplock freezer bags and keeping the bags lined up in a bin, but now use small drawers to corral my scraps. I love being able to make scrap quilts using particular colours, so this system makes me happy.
    I don’t have a ton of pre-cuts, but the few I have are placed with the yardage in my cupboard where I can see them.
    Good luck figuring out your storage system! Grouping like with like, and keeping things visible seem to help me.

    • Yes your before and after pictures of your space were amazing! Thanks for all the wonderful advise. It sounds a lot like my mess right now just I’m too spread out and in more than one place. I gotta bring them together and I’ll definitely take you up on those suggestions!

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