Ask Jo: My Fabric Stash

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days. Today’s question is about organizing my sewing room closet.

Judy B asked:
Would you please share what totes you ordered and from where? I’m looking for some new ones.”

As many of you know, I’ve been tackling my sewing room.  Most people might call it cleaning but not me.  I’m all into this so I’m calling it tackling!

One of the places I’m putting all of my efforts into is my closet in the sewing room.  Here’s a rough layout of my space.

house-redo-6

The upper middle of the picture is the hallway.  Our upstairs bathroom in on the upper left.  If you come all the way down the hallway, my sewing room is 14 x 20 room at the bottom of the picture.  We designed it this way as down the road, most people would use my space as a master bedroom.

On the upper right in the picture is my closet off the sewing room.  It’s 6 x 11.  I love the room and it’s a lifesaver for storage.  It allows me to keep more things than I probably should.

In the five years I’ve lived here I’ve updated the closet and time and time again when either time or finances allowed it.  My last big cleaning session had me buying these shelving units (Find them HERE on Amazon) for my closet.  I love them.


They really helped things get better a lot….but still I wasn’t completely satisfied.

At the time I had enough money for the shelving but not nice matching totes that were the correct size.  I made due and that was perfectly okay.  I knew a day would come when I’d afford good totes.  So this time around, it this cleaning session, I’m getting the totes.

What I’ve found that is working best for me are these….

They are clear Letter Legal File Totes.  They are a nice size.  18 x 14 x 11-ish.  I keep my bright fabrics that are all the same color in a tote.  So I have one for each of the most used colors…Primaries plus pink.

I also bought these so I have them for the Kaffe prints I’ve been collecting and the calico prints I’ve been collecting.

I’m not finished getting the things all transferred into totes.  That’s my weekend job.


The new totes are the nice see through ones….

I love them and totally worth the money to see things nice and more clean.

My old totes were spilling over.  These, there is plenty of room.



More totes were delivered last night so today’s job is organize the shelving unit more.

I do want to say this…
This was a harder post for me to write.  People are so judgemental and often don’t keep their opinions to themselves.  Some then end up saying hurtful things in the comment section.  If you don’t believe me, look back on all the blog posts you’re read from other bloggers.  How often do they show off their fabric stash?  The reason they don’t, readers have been judgemental in the past and said unkind things.  Please don’t do that to me today.

Seeing how much fabric I have to some will seem extravagant.  Seeing what I have to others will not seem like a lot.

I decided to risk rude comments and write the post trying to help others make sense of their quilting space.  I know for me, I was starting to feel paralyzed by my space and all of the things.  My sewing room wasn’t a place I enjoyed.  When I walked in I felt more overwhelmed than happy.  I wanted that to stop.  I wanted the feeling of creativity back.  I wanted to feel joy when I went in my sewing room.

I’m risking writing this post because I know some of you feel the same.  I want that sense of creativity and joy for you too.  I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed when you see your stack of UFOs…see fabric that is unorganized and a chore to use..seeing quilt tops you don’t care it they ever get finished.  Most of us have this.  You are not alone.

Of course, my way of organizing isn’t the only way.  It just works for me and I’m hoping seeing what I’m doing might urge you to rethink what you are doing.  Is there a better way to store fabric?  Is there a way to make your sewing room happy again.

Those of you who are lucky enough to not have this problem of feeling overwhelmed in your sewing room, I hope you will share ideas with us in the comment section.  What works for you?  How do you store your fabric?  Is there something you do in your sewing room that really works for you?

The bottom line, is that this is my sewing room.  I feel comfortable about how much fabric I have.  With the projects I make and my commitment to not buy a lot of fabric- taking what I can find that is either thrifted or given to me makes me want to keep more fabric than I might otherwise.  I need to have a way to use it.  This system works for me…I just needed the totes to make it more efficient and cleaner looking.

For me each genre and color of fabric has a tote.  Everything muchst fit in that tote.  If the tote is getting full, it’s time to make a quilt using that color or sort through and see if some of my not so favorites can move on to charity.

In my process of cleaning my sewing room, to date I have almost touched every single piece of fabric that I have.  Each piece has required a decision.  Do I keep it?  Do I donate it to charity quilters?  Do I put it in a box in case I need to make more masks?  It has been wonderful.  I KNOW what I have.  I KNOW what I can make.  The fabric isn’t owning me anymore.  I am owning the fabric and I love that feeling.

I HIGHLY recommend letting go of fabric that you don’t love and passing it on to charity.  Make a guess of how many quilts you make a year.  Double that number.  For me, that number is around 20.  If I look at a piece of fabric and think, in the next 20 (or whatever your two year number is) quilts that I am going to make, what is the likelihood that I would use this piece of fabric in it?  If the answer is probably not, put the fabric in a donation box.  It is just taking up space and not allowing you to enjoy the fabric you still love.  Chances are all of the next 20 (or whatever your number is) likely won’t even come from your stash.  Stores are going to open and you’ll find your way back to the quilt shop and something is going to tempt you and one of your next quilts will be from fabric you don’t even currently own.

If you were in love with Debbie Mumm and no longer are, put the fabric into a box and lets find a charity that can use it.  It’s okay to change your preference.  If you were a big time Civil War Reproduction girl and you no longer love the fabric, it’s okay.  There are those of us who still love it.  Move it out.  Those fabrics you no longer love are not bringing you joy.

I hear so many people say, “I lost my sewing mojo”.  I’ve been there.  I get it.  Perhaps a realistic look at your space is what you need.  Did you fall out of love with quilting or fall out of love with your space?  If it’s your space that has down, sort it out!!  Donate.  Move what you don’t want out.  If quilting isn’t your favorite thing anymore.  That’s totally okay to.  Downsize your quilting stuff to make way for your new hobby.  It’s totally okay.  Chances are if you pick up quilting again, you won’t be in love with what you had.  Allow yourself to change and grow.

I always want to send out a HUGE word of CONGRATULATIONS when someone sends me a box of fabric or a UFO they no longer love.  I know it takes a lot of work to clean a sewing room and more so, I know it takes a lot of “knowing yourself” to know what isn’t bringing you joy anymore.

If you find this all meaningful to you and you have things you want to pass on but don’t know where to donate them to, drop me an email at rogjok@iowatelecom.net.  I’ll help find a charity that could make good use of your donations.

The bottom line is hobbies are meant to bring you joy and give you the heart of creativity.  They are not meant to be a chore.  If your hobby is not bringing you joy, what steps can you take so it does again?

People laughed when I said that this time cleaning the sewing room might take me a whole month.  I have 22 more days and even though I tackle at least one thing each day, I still don’t think I’ll be completely done by then, but when I am, I’m going to be SO-SO HAPPY and the anticipation of that keeps me moving forward.  I have found so many things I passed up on but really want to do.  When June 1st hits…I’m still going to keep moving forward on the cleaning but I am going to start a few new things.  Every day that goes by, I can feel my load lifting.

51 thoughts on “Ask Jo: My Fabric Stash

  1. Sandra Moore

    Jo – you are wonderful, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the fabrics you donate ….. made lots of quilts and quilt tops from them. Sandy

  2. Gretchen Weaver

    Several years ago I went through my fabrics and sorted them out. It’s very freeing to do that. I also have the wire shelving and totes. My totes are different than yours but that’s ok whatever works for a person. When my husband’s sister comes, she stand in my fabric room and says so much fabric, how much do you spend? I tell her it’s none of her business. When my non quilting relatives come, they say this is a lot less than mom/Grandma had. When people make unkind comments, I just delete them. I check the delete forever square and they are. There isn’t even a ‘comment removed by ‘ to say they were ever there!

  3. Pauline

    Thank you Jo. I have persevered with tackling my sewing room too, encouraged by what you have posted of your progress. I have culled some of my stash, but after reading today’s post, I think I can be a bit more ruthless, and generous too. I haven’t done any sewing for over a week, because I might not get back to the cleanup! However, yesterday I found a forgotten bag with 46 donated string blocks, so tomorrow I’m going to make more of those, just for fun. Sunday is Mothers Day, so I’ll get back to the “tackling” on Monday. Thanks for sharing your ideas.
    Cheers, Pauline in South Australia

  4. Deb Praus

    And that is exactly why you have received several boxes from me! I knew you could get them to where they belong. I have finished “tackling” my room and am sewing again. It feels good. Great totes! I only have 2 smallish piles that I cannot bear to part with yet, they are percolating, lol. If I don’t have any desire to do anything with them in a year, they go also. BUT….no one is touching my civil war stash, not using them as much but still love them enough not to part with them. I think of it all as my retirement plan. You go Jo!

  5. Cynthia Toy

    Well, you continue to do it! Encourage us to be kind to ourselves and others, let go of things that don’t bring us joy, and maybe best of all (to me) give us permission to change course! Hobbies should be us joy and fulfillment so if they don’t, find a new passion and let go of the “things” you won’t use. I’ve found that the clutter in “my space” stresses me out and like you said, shuts down the creative flow.
    Thank you for risking the back lash to help refocus our attention on finding the mojo again through tubs!

  6. Hedy

    I’ve gone through my stash two times and given huge boxes away, feeling great afterwards. I am a relatively new Quilter, only 14 years, and my taste in fabrics have changed a great deal. I used to dislike batiks, Civil War fabrics and the color orange. Now I love them! I recently went through all of my fabrics and set aside a huge amount to give away but I kept many fabrics even though I might not ever use them. I used to buy fabrics for borders and backings but now I am totally using my stash. In my boxes I found UFOs that I had completely forgotten about, but I am now finishing them. Yesterday I finished a gorgeous one that I had disliked from the day I had won them for a dollar. When I was making it I wasn’t sure where to go so I sent a picture to some friends for help. I received a sarcastic answer back from one of them and I realized that jealousy had reared its ugly head. It’s a shame the quilters can’t support each other but that is life. I only have a quilting room that is 10 x 11‘ but it has a big closet that we installEd wire shelves in and holds my totes. I have big cabinets all around the room filled with fabrics I have bought on sale or at yard sales and thrift stores. I love everything I have and I will use it eventually. I am totally in my quilting mojo now and having a ball. I have boxes in the hall that are filled with homemade strips and squares and I’ll get around to them in a few days, right now it’s me and Sewing Machine.

  7. Donna

    As you know, my stash has dwindled to the lowest point it has ever been. And I still have drawers packed with fabric. Luckily, this time, it’s filled with fabric that will be used. Then there are the leftovers…I hear they multiply at night. ;-) LOL!
    Love and prayers

  8. Donna T

    My new year’s resolution was to not buy any fabric this year except at thrift stores. It has been easy with the virus but I have also used up a lot of fabric; especially whites and blues! I have really enjoyed sewing my stash. I may have to break down and buy some white fabrics before the end of the year! I am still cleaning along with you. Everything is off the floor and put away. I just need to cut up leftover fabric into strips and squares.

  9. sewhappy

    One year, I gave away a good size box of pre-cut scraps. I had used it several time and it was time to move along. The mother and daughter was so happy. They sew for charity and the daughter does the cutting. She could not believe I was donating strips plus to them. I am on another big clean out. I have an Amish community near me who sew for charity and takes most of my donations. Of course now I have a pile for masks. All are together now and in the future. Happy Creating.

  10. Kate Smith

    My fabric stash is slight but as a weaver, my yarn stash is … not. The main thing is to get it to where you can use it when you need it, without having to turn the place upside down! Thank you for your thoughts on this important process.

  11. Kate

    “whoever dies with the most fabric wins!” haha. Recently a gal in my former quilting group (I moved away) was asked to clear out a dying friend’s fabric stash and her sewing related items. She filled three (3) large storage units and then it was distributed to charities and individuals, too. My sister doesn’t have an extra piece of fabric so when she needed fabric to make masks, I had to send her some! She rolls her eyes when she sees my stash, but oh well, I have what I have. Keep up the good work, Jo, I enjoy your blogs and hearing about your family, your dogs, etc.

  12. Lynn C. (NJ)

    Thank you for sharing your sewing room on your blog. I have two of those large wire shelving units in a closet in my sewing room that hold most of my stash. They’re great.
    Stash is such an individual thing–what is a lot to me is maybe not so much to someone else. I feel very fortunate when I look at my fabrics and I enjoy having them. I don’t often show my stash to others though. lol

  13. Trish

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry some people feel the need to judge and share their negative comments. They must be very unhappy people. Recently I was grumbling about my stash, that there was too much of it, and my husband chimed in saying—that fabric has a very important role here and it doesn’t need to be sewn up immediately to serve that purpose. He is so right. Our stashes represent POTENTIAL. Celebrate it in whatever way works for you, but if you feel the need to say something negative—keep it to yourself!

  14. Cindy F

    When I started cleaning my room I first focused on projects I had started or gathered fabric for and hadn’t started. I got containers for each of them and labeled them. Then I needed containers for strips and squares since I was starting to cut up small pieces. I also needed larger containers for my neutrals as I had started collecting them more since I’ve been doing Bonnie Hunter quilts. I have the plastic drawer type for all my fat quarters or larger pieces (less than a yard) which are together by color. I also have several large bins for random strips for strip quilts and bins for backings and other larger pieces. Separate containers each for my limited solids, batiks, orientals, Fassett, and novelty prints. I have most of my fabric sorted but I have containers of notions, etc that I need to go through and organize and then I need to get to my containers of deconstructed shirts and organize them…lol I find joy when I look around and things are organized or getting to that point. Now to keep it like that!

  15. Chris

    I love your sewing space I have a small bedroom and closet. I use to have my fabric in banker boxes so every time I needed something it would be in the bottom box. A trip to Walmart I found a plastic storage unit it had two drawers that pulled out I got four units they stacked on top of each other. Now if I need something from the bottom I just open the drawer and there it is. If I didn’t have to share the closet with the dogs I could have two more but I love my furry friends.

  16. Mary

    If people are making negative comments about your stash they obviously are not regular readers! I know that most of your stash comes from thrift stores, donations, or really reasonably priced pieces for a project. And I also know how much you donate, both in time and fabric. Delete the negative and know that those of us who love you know the truth behind your stash!

  17. PAT DAVIES

    Love your space. It is so great seeing a realistic sewing room. I often wonder when you see the “prefect” organization that looks like a store. Where are their scraps? Are they really quilters? Yours is the real world and looks a lot like mine. I have a lot of fabric that “funnels” thru me as I sew for four different charities groups and pass stuff on to other groups. I store my stuff in filing boxes because they stack nicely but mine are cardboard so I rely on labels. keep up the good work and stay safe. (hug the grandkids for me)

  18. Sophie

    LOVE this post! Love your thoughts on keeping fabrics/hobbies that bring us joy and letting go of what other people think. It’s so tough and yet so freeing! I love cleaning my sewing room until I reach the point that I’m so excited by what I find that I want to stop cleaning and start sewing! LOL but I guess that’s the point!

  19. Chris

    I knew someday that something like the virus would come and access to fabric would be limited… everyone said get rid of stuff…I didn’t. Guess who was first in line for masks? Now Walmart has closed their fabric section….no one here is open. I still have lots of fabric ..I used to get shelves like you are using at Target, but that was years ago. They are nice and hold up really well. Enjoy YOUR fabric and YOUR home…

  20. sam

    Beautiful.
    Fabric comes and goes. It may get sewn together into a quilt by me or passed on to someone else.
    Sometimes I challenge myself to use up an ‘ugly’ piece. It’s only for a small baby quilt so I never get quite bored with it.

  21. Andi

    Hi Jo!
    Oh boy, can I relate. I did this about 3 years ago, and with ordering and paying for new totes, it took me 4 months worth of cleaning in my free time to get it all organized and the way I wanted it. When I finish my current project I am going to do it again. Boxes will be coming your way!

  22. Elle

    You are making wonderful progress on organizing your sewing area in a way that serves you! Yes, you are becoming the master. I know it makes a huge difference to have it all organized.

    Containers in general, do not work for me. I never dug in. So I asked hubster to help me build shelving. We did it in an afternoon. (I emailed you a photo for sharing). I do a much better job of selecting fabric as I can see it all at a glance.

    Pat Davies-you commented: Where are their scraps? Are they really quilters?

    Made me chuckle. I am HST crazy and have many projects going with those. I have 2 project boxes of trimmed/bagged HSTs awaiting their turn (this was a winter project getting them all sewn/pressed/trimmed). I frequently receive waste HSTs from my quilty friends. An envelope here and there really adds up! Plus I have my own generated from projects.

    For me, I define a scrap as smaller than a 5″ square. Those get chopped into the largest square and I save them in large pencil boxes I got decades ago. I keep 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 3.5 inch squares. When the box is full, it’s time for a new quilt! I emptied my 2.5 box last year-3 generous sized lap quilts. I started on my 2″ box next. It’s my L/E and I’m doing this one: https://weddingdressblue.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/tutorial-growing-up-odd-quilt/

    I do have 1 bin for those WOF that are narrower than 4″ as I use up fabric from the stash. It’s another place I go for a “splash” of this or that.

    I have 1 bin for FQs. I generally don’t buy them but have received 100s as gifts over time. 2y ago I challenged myself to use them up. I got through about 2/3 of them. Now I use one here/there. I really should just put them in my stash.

    As far as my stash, I wind fabric over my 6×24 ruler and then fold in half for a 10-12″ depth. I keep my batiks together as sometimes I want a 100% batik quilt. Others are stored by color in stacks.

    And Jo, I don’t think you have a ton of fabric ;-) Your sharing spirit shines through every single week!

    Take good care and Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

  23. Loris Mills

    Great storage! I had to laugh when you mentioned Debbie Mumm! I used her fabric in my very first quilt in the beginning class. I collected for awhile and have made several using her fabrics. I have 3 totes still, I think but I still love it :-) and bought a pattern by “Just Can’t Cut It” because I like to see big pieces of Noah’s Ark etc. Enjoy all that beautiful new space and organization. You are making great use of this odd time!

  24. Pegeth

    Oh JO, Thanks for your opinions!!! Mine are similar. My room is small and I love it. Yes messy at times and others not so much. This lock in has affected my mojo in different ways on different days
    My goal when it started was to clean out, reorganize and sew. Some has been done well a little of each.
    Massk making and cap creating has consumed me. BUTR I also insert projects in bettween to keep from getting bogged down.
    I have made 2 quilts, even to quilting. I have made clothes, bags, new pillows for my bed. So how do I feel about my initial goals. Great. I am anxious to return to Normal but have enjoyed the change this virus has brought to MY room.
    Keep on keeping on

  25. Pat

    Oh Jo! I know just what you are going through. I had to absorb my sisters stash a few years ago. It is tough to give fabric away, but I feel good knowing someone else is going to make good use of it.. I recently re organized my sewing area and my hubby was good enough to rebuild shelves for me. I am very happy I did that. Some fabric bins went into the storage unit and thats ok. because I now no longer feel overwhelmed when I go in there (well, except maybe for my UFO’s )hahah.
    Thanks for sharing and I am so sorry people feel like they need to leave unkind comments. Now more than ever, we need kindness.

  26. Kim LeMere

    I have changed my quilting room over the years and now I have one large rack of shelving and I also store in clear containers. It makes everything so much easier to manage. I label my containers, children’s, civil war, batiks etc. This works for me and if a container seems rather full, then its time to assess making something or moving somethin on. My space has shrunk quite a bit with our recent move and I try not to overwhelm my space with new items stacked on the floor or in baskets etc….that is truly my struggle lately. I have a few projects going and stuff piled and my space is shrinking in on me. I think your closet is coming along and you are lucky to have it for storage. Happy Quilting Jo

  27. donette kurtz

    i think with this extra time on our hands its a good time to clean and purge keep moving forward. on a side note i ordered some fabric from the quilt shop in Postville the ladies there were so helpful so enjoyed talking to them. they truly are great and they are fond of you also. Hope on a family reunion in South Dakota i can come by to see all you in person.I was unforunately cancelled this year.

  28. Kathy Henderson

    Thank you for writing this post Jo! I think so many of us are in the same boat. I was already in a sewing slump before all this upheaval. Your stash looks to be much like mine. This gives me encouragement to tackle it!

  29. Julie Howard

    I’m so glad to read your post today especially (although I enjoy it every day) because I’m in the process of purging through my fabric. Acquiring it has given me pleasure – –shopping with my friends. Now I too must downsize. Please send me suggestions of the charity quilters to whom I can mail things for completion. Many thanks for all you do and for sharing your family with us

  30. kathy

    I know you are quarantined, but could you please mention something about ‘neighbor girl’. Is she still around?

  31. The Joyful Quilter

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Jo! I think many of us have similar challenges in our sewing spaces. That fabric closet is going to look SEW much better once all of the uniformly CLEAR totes are installed!! My closet is about a quarter (?) of the size of yours. Boy, could it use an overhaul!

  32. Judy Dobbins

    If I could just resist buying new lines of fabric because “it’s so pretty and I love it, and if I don’t buy it now I won’t be able to find it when I do want it,” I would not have such a packed sewing room!

    Good for you Jo!

  33. Jo Post author

    Kathy….I’m not going to write a blog post about it as they started reading my blog. My Neighbor Girl really doesn’t really come by anymore. Her sister had a baby and now she takes care of the baby quite a bit. I hadn’t seen her since Christmas time but she stopped by the other day. Before that I hadn’t seen her since Halloween. After Kramer died, she didn’t make the transition through that to be okay to be here. I’ve tried but nothing has quite worked. Also she got in trouble with her family as she would say she was at my house but was hanging out with friends instead not making good choices. I think her family clamped down on her being here as she was using it as a way to sneak around. I miss her…

  34. Judy

    Good job, Jo. I don’t have a sewing room. My dining room is where I sew. My basement is full of tubs. I really need to weed out some scraps. It is over whelming and I don’t know where to start. I did make a nice scrap quilt for a wedding present without ordering anything but a wide backing. I made a bunch of masks for friends and family, only buying pony tail elastics. I have been quilting for a looong time. I guess I’m a pack rat. But I can sew up a present on short notice with fabric on hand. I’ve made two quilts during this pandemic and some pillow covers from orphan blocks. You do a lot of good with your sewing and no one should say mean things about you.

  35. Penny Guglielmoni

    Who gets to choose how you live your life and spend your time and money? Not me for darn sure. You do good things and share of yourself freely. I don’t presume t o be smarter or more in touch with my feelings so I won’t say that people who offer you advice are wrong but please consider you have obviously made many wise choices and you don’t know their track record. BTW. I have enough fabric to make lots of quilts and don’t care who thinks what about it. I give away àt least 10% of my quilts to charity . I am qualified to make my decisions and feel good about it.

  36. Frances in NC

    I’m so sorry that people have been rude to you about your posts. I enjoyed your posts about cleaning out your sewing room. I wish someone would come clean mine! I’ll get around to it sometime. Don’t pay any attention to the righteous readers.

  37. Brenda

    Love the job you are doing and it”s such a good idea! I do not have a closet in my sewing room, so I have much of my stash “under the eves” in opaque totes. What a pain! Hopefully we will be moving within the year and I am looking for a Quilting room with a closet! I used to blog a few years ago. Whenever I made reference to my stash, (one year I kept a tally of stash in/out) people would email me and ask me to donate fabric to them. What really floored me was that they were all from overseas, and none of them offered to pay postage!! I’m sorry people feel that they can be rude behind the keyboard, I like the one lady’s idea, permanently delete! ;D

  38. Jeri

    I have 2 of the site racks in my sewing room closet (doors removed) I wrap my fabrics (yardage) around comic boards then by yardage amounts starting with 1 yard then up to 4 yards. This way if I’m doing a pattern and need a certain amount I know where to look. I also have a vintage Pie Safe that has Batiks, Fat Quarters, kits and larger scraps separated by shelves. And have clear totes for pre cuts.

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  40. Judy Brundage

    T hank you Jo for sharing your sewing room and for letting me know what totes you bought. I love them and I did not find any like that when I was surfing the web. I just may get some too.

    Love your Blog and your family. Wishing you many blessings.

    Thanks, Judy B

  41. Wendy P

    Great work Jo on getting this far. I did some similar organizing awhile ago. Thing I found helpful – making a paper label (eg. Blue or Kaffe prints or calicos) in bold large print on the computer – trimmed it down and struck it on the outside of the tote with some clear contact paper. Helps to see at a quick glance what is in the tote especially if it’s a mix. (eg. plaids/landscape/misc.) . It feels good to get stuff organized.

  42. mpv61

    I did a big cleanup of my sewing room in April of 2019. I posted before and after pics on Instagram. This is the earliest one (I think you’ll be able to see them) and there’s an arrow to go between the before and after: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwHnuM4FkgV/ Then if you go through the next 4 or 5 pictures, you get before and afters of different parts of the room.
    When I look at those pictures, the “before” pics stress me out, and the “after” pics are so calming. Now it’s back to being messy, although probably not quite as messy as a year ago. I’m slowly trying to get back to the sewing room that gives me a sense of calm and makes it easy to work, and then I want to keep it that way.
    I have a lot of fabric. Some of it was inherited from my grandmas’ stashes, given to me free, or found cheaply at thrift stores and estate sales. Some of it I bought, although I try to be thrifty. I do love having almost anything I could possible need. I guess if someone wanted a quilt made with unicorn fabric, I wouldn’t have that, but I COULD use the fabric I have to make a unicorn shape!
    We have a few of those metal shelves. One is holding some of my fabric and others are used elsewhere. They are strong and versatile.
    Thank you for bringing us along on your sewing room cleanup. I love seeing people’s sewing rooms and people’s stashes.

  43. Joyce Mullis

    Stash maintenance for me is never ending. My studio evolves as my quilting does. I hope you find as much joy touching all the fabrics as you reorganize – it’s all part of being a creative soul! Give yourself a pat on the back and March on!

  44. Jean Wimm

    Dear Jo, I was saddened to hear what you said about the people that are rude and ignorant. I am old and one big thing I teach my grand kids is do not ever allow people’s opinions push you into a situation where you feel you have to justify your decisions. It sounds like that has happened to you. Yank yourself up by the bootstraps and tower above those comments and never look back. My observation is that you have a full and satisfying life and have no need to respond to any negativity that is directed your way. OK, I will now get off my speakers box. Just consider this information as food for thought.

    My sister had Alzheimer disease and died here at my home after I cared for her for over three years. We had lived many miles apart for all the prior years so I treasured every minute I was able to spend with her even in the diseased state. She was an avid crafter and her biggest projects were the punch rugs. I have several of her unfinished rugs that I have tried to work on but just can’t get the technique mastered. In your contacts do you know of someone that does that and would be interested in having them. Her children have no interest in them and I would like them to find a loving home. I appreciate any help you could give me.

    I read your post all the time and can relate as I am a retired nurse from critical care so I was interested in your husbands illness and your daughters current working careers. Best of luck to all of your family.

  45. Diane Nagle

    Thank you Jo for this post. I sometimes feel guilty getting rid of fabrics that I paid so much money for–so I end up keeping them. And you are so right, our tastes change over time and fabrics I loved before are not so great to me anymore. I had a lot of it straightened out when a good friend passed and left a lot of her fabric to me. It actually overwhelmed me and so much of it was her taste, not mine. It is time for me to go through it all again and get those projects that I love up front and center in my closet and storage bins. You are so right when you say it can weigh you down. It is so true!!! I really appreciated this post so much!

  46. Lisa B

    Great post. Great comments. I love your organizing of fabric as I can totally see it working for you. Thank you for the inspiration. And thank you to everyone who commented for additional ideas.

  47. Terri Overton

    Such a beautiful, and heartfelt post. Thank you for taking a chance and sharing with us. The comment you made about feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed is exactly what I have been feeling. Your sharing that you were tackling you room and asking if anyone wanted to come along was perfect timing. It is so nice to know I have someone else on the same journey.

  48. Ellen

    It’s good to read about your thought process regarding what to keep and what to pass on to others. In the past 4-5 years, I’ve had to empty out and rearrange my sewing room several times for various reasons. Each time, my fabrics have been culled and rearranged to fit a new setup. It is a difficult yet rewarding task to touch and think about whether you still love the fabric enough to fold and keep it. I have a 10×12 room with no closet so I’ve used kitchen style cabinets for storage. Like you, I bought plastic containers that perfectly fit the space so it stays organized. I did splurge a little and bought a glass front curio cabinet that is large enough for all my tone on tone fabrics. It is wonderful to see what I have at a glance and it’s easy to pull out a colored stack to find just the right fabric. Your sewing space is fantastic. I love how you have multiple machines set up and ready for your daughter to spend the day sewing (I know with all the grandkids, those days are few and far between).

  49. Myra

    Jo, your room looks great, I have 3 rooms, with cutting table and sewing machine in one with fabric everywhere, then I have one with only fabric, stakes around the wall in containers and shelving, then stacked in the floor, it’s terrible, then I have a huge room with the machine I quilt with and the table I pin on with space on the floor where I lay out my quilts to make sure they are how I want them and fabric on racks around the inside wall. I can say, I probably have WAY to much fabric to ever quilt up at 72 years old. but I am addicted to this and it happens. I would get more done if I didn’t work a 40 to 50 hour week job and then I have a huge yard that I mow myself and flower beds, that I love, so I would be afraid to show anyone my rooms, people would go nuts on me. Thank you for sharing yours, it give me ideals to clean mine up.

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