The great destash – step one of finally getting the ‘studio’ sorted.

8 01 2017

It is easy to get distracted.  It is easy to let the urgent overtake the important and be driven by deadlines rather than setting up the foundations that will make meeting the urgent and the deadlines easier.  Too easy to find excuses and to procrastinate.  I have been very guilty of this on a number of levels, but my own personal work space has been ignored and it has made life challenging at times.  This is not the first time I have written about this and I am sure it will not be the last.  In March 2015, I posted this blog post:  I brought it up again early last year and still have done nothing about making this space work.

In fact, a couple of days ago this area was a far worse mess than even the 2015 photos can show.  Despite numerous visits to websites about organisation, I remained very unmotivated.  One of the issues holding me back was an unwillingness to part with ‘precious’ fabrics.  As you all know, I dye a lot of fabulous fabrics.  Every time I dye a full batch of any one fabric, I have left overs and scraps and I have always kept these for me.  Over the years, that has added up to a lot of fabric, most of which I can not even find.  Everything I read about organisation indicated that you ‘can’t sort clutter, you have to get rid of it’.  EEK.  I DON’T WANT TO.  It is mine.  So for the last few years, I have been avoiding the inevitable; much of the fabrics must go and then I have a hope of organising the space.  And I still don’t want to.  Anyway, long story short, 2017 is going to be about doing a lot of what has been put off so the obvious place to start was here.

One box at a time, I started sorting.  The first task was to get all the like types of material into one spot.  Despite trying to keep all the bits in some sort of sensible order, things did not always go where they should have.  We opened over twenty boxes, bags and baskets and do you know what I found.  There was at least one piece of velvet in every single on of them.  I was a little horrified at the volume of fabric we unearthed.

Here is what some of the boxes looked like:




The first one is just Silk Georgette and Velvets.   The second is silks, cotton scrim, hessian and other ‘bits’ while the third is  wool felt and woven wools. Not shown in these photos are all the hand dyed fibres:  silks and wool in particular.  Each of those categories covered the table by themselves.




This does not even begin to look at the hand dyed cottons and linens.  Oh my.

It took a few days, but I eventually sorted all of this into colourways and filled up over 100 different scrap bags.

scrim-all velvet-all



These photos show the cotton scrim and the velvet as I sorted them.





In the end, I have them all on the website, selling them out cheaply.  The best news is that I now can walk all the way around my cutting bench and machine table; clear carpet is visible though it still needs vacuuming.  I have a long way to go, but I am so very happy to have started.  I have discovered, much to my shock, that parting with this fabric did not, in fact, cause me any lasting harm and I know that those who have bought the packs I have sold already are getting great joy from them.

Here are some examples of what the packs ended up looking like.

scrim-3 velvet-3 wool-3 wool-7






A lot of the packs have been snapped up very quickly, but if you would like to help me in the great de-stash, you can see what remains here:

I will continue to share my progress on this space.



6 responses

8 01 2017

I have the same “too much stuff” problem (and not just fabric – also yarn, other craft stuff, even bits of timber that “might be useful for…” 🙂
So… why, when reading this, is my first thought “ooh – I will have it”?! LOL
I am too good at collecting stuff… so (unfortunately for those of you who sell) I now very rarely buy – I already have enough stuff to keep me busy quilting, crocheting, etc textile art… and doing a whole heap of other odd stuff… For the next 1000 years… If I could only FIND it! (and yes – I should be sorting out/unpacking boxes of fabric/etc now, seeing I moved in to this house just over a year ago now, and still have not set up my sewing/etc room properly or unpacked most of my numerous boxes of fabric… I actually was finally doing some unpacking this morning, but my son/his family arrived for a visit, and then I decided I probably should have lunch… I need the rest of the world to stop for a month so I can catch up 🙂

8 01 2017

it is amazing what you find when you start digging into the boxes. Good luck.

9 01 2017
Clare Borchers

Way to go Cecile – I too am in throws of sorting out and rationalising “stuff”. My motivation is the new home office (Studio) the MOTH has built for his return to teaching/the 13yo boyo needing study space. Bit of a sore point, the said Studio is what I have requested for years – so I am trying to show that yes I can rationalise my ‘stuff’ in the hope I too may be invited into the 4mx6m studio to do my thing without the house resembling a trash & treasure fabric market every time I got inspired. Also having a permanent home for sewing machine instead of the cupboard. Having returned to work full time since the children were born (13yo) the creative urge has been there but too time poor. So rationalise, target the stuff I need to finish before I start something new such as teach the 11yo girlie quilting and getting the 13yo boyo to finish his shorts started in yr7textiles. Also revisit felting etc etc etc with everything at arms reach rather than stuffed where it will fit in cupboards. Wish me luck. Your sister in sorting, warm wishes for 2017 Clare
PS I promised I would not look at your stuff, well just a little peak and then I hid the credit card. Yes I am being good, but, if after you finish and find an overlooked box of wool felt and a bit of silk, maybe a few velvets in rainbow colours in say June 2017 – you know where to contact me…I was so glad to get yout post, you seem to have slipped off my email.

9 01 2017

LOL, you made me laugh Clare. Everything I have read suggests when we clear the clutter in our real space, we free up our minds to be creative. I shall report in on that. Good luck with your clean up. I aim to blog more regularly this year, so hopefully that way you can stay in touch more. Cecile

10 01 2017
Debra Lavia

Wow Cecile, you are doing well! I have a garage of boxes of art and textile ‘stuff” , and I’ve lost count of my many boxes of books, that I’ve had to also rent a storage box to contain them since moving here in 2013. It is so overwhelming to start, as I have to move things, to unpack and move other things! I keep telling myself, this is the year! If I really, really want to work at my art and textiles, I have make the effort and start. I love visiting charity shops, and book shops I just can’t resist, but I have to stop buying or I will be lost in the mountain of boxes in the garage. So, here’s to us collectors, who will always have just the thing a friend needs, and who have wonderful creative minds, and who are motivated to do a another box when we read of another collector doing their sort. Perhaps I should aim to post a pic of my garage when I have it organised, it may give me the kick I need? I know I love looking at other people’s collections and studios. Happy 2017 to us, this will be the year we all achieve organisation! Debra.

10 01 2017

It is hard to part with things we consider precious, isn’t it? I am being strong and brave, lol. That is partly why I am being so public so that I will be forced to keep going.

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