Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stash Busting or Stash Reduction?

Caroline asked how we felt about our stash. Marji ruminated on it. There are many opinions regarding this topic. I am definitely not a stash buster. Over a 25 year period, I've accumulated  a lot of fabric. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. But I love them all. Acquiring a piece of cloth releases so much creativity in me that I wouldn't think of just sewing, knitting or crocheting a piece just to use it up, make room or pass it on without any feeling. Think of the time and energy you put into making an item only to be thankful it's out of you hair/space/life?

With that said, like Caroline and many of you, my stash/collection has gotten out of control. I've been paying for an off-site storage unit for a number of years to hold the overflow. That $900 a year could be used for 3 car payments or several months of groceries or 6 months of utilites or almost two years worth of mani/pedis, college books for my son, college applications. Need I go on? So one of my goals for 2009  is get a smaller unit. You thought I was going to get rid of the unit, didn't you? Be reassured, I may suffer from temporary insanity when it comes to all things creative but never at the expense of my health and welfare. I like to eat and enjoy the warmth of my home.

So, I have a few caveats regarding my stash usage in 2009:
1. I must love everything I sew. Warts and all. If it's just okay, I will not alter, tweak or massage into a likable garment. I may refashion it into something else entirely. If not, I will pass it onto someone who will love it. I must feel fabulous in it. 

2. It should work with my upcoming wardrobe plans. If it's going to be an orphan, it must be such a dynamic piece that in and off itself, it's great. Again, I must feel fantabuloso when I wear it!

3. If there is less than one yard of fabric leftover, it will go in a donation box that I keep in sewing area. I doubt I'll ever make a quilt, so why am I holding onto scraps? Most one yard pieces can be made into a tank top or camisole. I will try to whip one up while the machine and serger are hot! If inspiration fails me for that one yard piece, it goes in the donation box. After thirty days, the box leaves my house for good. My son is in charge of this and cannot wait. He feels I should donate everything I have in the living room.

4. Since my local fabric store is closing soon, I will keep a running list of fabrics and colours I need. This will help me control my magpie tendencies for when I do make the trek into town. Pretty, shiny, silky things can make me lose control. Causing the wants to outweigh the needs.

5. I'll monitor the fabric the crosses my threshold both ways. I have a purse size notebook where I'm listing all of my projects and fabric used. I will do a final tally at the end of each month. Currently, I don't know how much fabric I have. I did attempt stash maintenance at one time, but became overwhelmed with life crap. I mean stuff. Perhaps, this weekend, I'll try to catalogue what's in the living room and go from there. 

So stash busting just to use up, make room, get rid of...not for me.  Mindful stash reduction...yes, I can!


Ambitious Sewer said...

Now there is a solution I can live with!!! Giving away my stash or even dream of just making things too get rid of some just too crazy for me...I am way too attached to my fabrics too ever consider just giving it away!!! So stash reduction by sincerely considering my options ..sounds good to me.

Myra said...

That is a great goal, and one I am trying to work on, think about a wardrobe, not so many individual pieces unless it is an everyday top (I am a SAHM) or can work with any of my RTW pants. And I have to like living in it. And to only buy what can actually be useful. What good does wool do me for an everyday piece in South Texas? Maybe one basic winter skirt for a cold windy Sunday? Otherwise, it is useless to me.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Your plan sounds like a great one. I especially love the rule that you have to love everything you make!

Where do you donate your fabric? I culled out my stash almost a year ago and the bags are, um, still sitting in my front room. I have use of a car once a month so it doesn't have to be metro accessible.

RiAnge Creations. Ltd. said...

Ladies, thanks for your comment. I know I will purchase fabric this year. I could buy 50 yards in a month, if I catch a good sale. But for the next few months, definitely no buying. It's hard as mu shopping list is growing longer day by day.

Last night I started going through the piles of fabric and I realize quite a bit of it was given to me. Some of the pieces, I should have donated a long time ago. I try to go to My Friend's Closet on Route 1 in Beltsville. They sponsor the ARC. But be warned, sometimes they have some nice vintage fabrics and patterns. That's why I am sending my son inside with the box.

Bek said...

Good luck with the stash reduction! I have just received a pile of patterns and fabric from someone else's stash reduction, so I have some sorting out to do myself.

Krystal (aka Pirouette) said...

I like the idea about donating fabric less than a yard. I'm no quilter either, so I don't know why I'm hanging on to scraps!

And I totally agree about loving everything you make! That's my goal this year: to take my time and create outstanding garments, even if that means I don't make as many clothes as I've done in the past. It's about quality, not quantity, this time around.