Kondo 0.5 Tackling “The Stash”

posted in: Organisation | 13

I hate calling it a “stash” – a word I absolutely associate with drugs. In fact I don’t use the S word. The fabrics I have bought and accumulated in my cupboard are my raw materials, my inspiration, my hobby and my future wardrobe. But while I have slimmed down my actual wardrobe considerably, my cupboard overfloweth.

I started on Kondoing my dressmaking area this weekend. It is an uphill task. I have much more fabric than I realised, despite returning to sewing for less than two years. You can buy a lot of fabric in two years. And patterns, lining, interfacing, zips, buttons, ribbon, elastic etc.


I started by pulling out all my fabric. I am ashamed to say there were several pieces I had entirely forgotten. Bought some time ago, perhaps with a garment in mind, I never got around to sewing it up.

Mess of fabric
Fabrics on the floor

I went through the each piece, refolding it and to some extent reclassifying. I have pulled out all the smaller pieces and those I have cut into. The rest I have arranged roughly by “wooly”/”cottony” and by colour. Everything fits now without falling out. I can see everything I own. But, OMG, I own far, far too much.

The only thing I can do is to stop buying fabric. I have more than enough here for a year or two of making my own clothes and the occasional item for family and friends. Yet I know if I go to a lovely fabric shop I will see material that I want to buy – because it is beautiful, because it is in my colour, because it is a bargain. Just like nearly everything I already own.

I did throw some fabric out, of course. Anything too small to be immediately useful (the local Oxfam said they like scraps and that they sell easily). A few bits I had bought but don’t really care for due to the inferiority of the fabric or the fact that the colour is not quite right. A few two metre pieces that will be ideal for someone else –  I let these go easily. But there was not much that didn’t “spark joy” in me – the potential of fabric is almost the definition of what gives me joy (having said that Cinnabon is pretty close).


As I checked out every piece of fabric I cut off some of the rough edges to make good rectangles – my thriftiness knew no bounds. I folded everything as neatly as I could. The smaller pieces were relegated to a drawer where they can be seen, sitting upright. The larger pieces got shelves. I now have a little space should I need it, but it should become more spacious as I use up my fabric supply.

Fabric carefully arranged on shelves
Tidy shelves


The upshot is that I have resolved not to buy any fabric for a while. I won’t say I will boycott Simply Fabric –  it gives me enormous pleasure to look at cloth. But I am cutting right back, with a deliberate aim of always trying to use first what I have. There are some lovely summer fabrics in there, and summer is coming, so I know what I have to do. I don’t need much.  A few things maybe – a nicer apron, a summer jacket and a shower cap that I would not be embarrassed by. All of these things I can make from what I already have.

BAG COUNT = 6.5 (Including half from non-participant husband)



13 Responses

  1. Lyn

    I’m impressed, very disciplined Kate!

    Meanwhile, I need somewhere to store my growing pile of fabric. I feel some new cupboards coming on.

  2. Demented Fairy

    Lovely. I’m always delighted by a peek at someone’s else’s sewing goodies, and there’s so much variety in the way we choose to TRY to order all the bits and bobs. No avoiding some chaos I’m convinced, unless you’re lucky enough to have a fair sized, dedicated, customised sewing room. Sigh. The very thought…NB I don’t see the lovely piece of pink ‘Liberty ‘Hera’ in your kept fabrics…have you thrown it out?!!!

    • fabrickated

      OK – the pile on the floor is the left hand cupboard (pinks, yellow, neutrals, white) whereas the tidy shelves are the right hand of the cupboard (blues, green, purple), so Hera went back on the left.

  3. Bunny

    All shower caps are embarrassing!
    I try to do what you have done twice a year, seasonally. I always find fabrics that continue to inspire and are must keeps. But I chuck a lot too. I did this about a month or so ago and threw out 6 garbage bags of patterns and fabric. Off to St. Vinnie’s, our local thrift shop. It does feel good when done. I go in my fabric “room” and it is all so tidy and organized and I can see everything. It just feels good.

    Happy Kondoing!

  4. Jay

    If that is your St**h Kate, it’s miniscule, nothing to worry about, under control, perfect as it is. Mine, I fear, is a kondo, fengshui and common sense resistant strain. It’s had shelves, boxes, piles, photographed lists on computer, sample lists in notebooks and files to no avail.

    • fabrickated

      Ha ha ha. Well the blue stuff is only half my S***h Jay – I have the same amount again of red, pink, white and neutrals. And a drawer with small pieces in it.

  5. rosemary

    I am embarrassed to say I found a full drawer of fabrics in the bedroom dresser I had forgotten about. I was making good headway with the fabrics in the sewing room.

  6. Kbenco

    I love patting my fabric collection. I have been on a fabric diet for nearly 3 years now, and have a lot more dieting to do yet. I don’t regret the size of my collection though, the $AUD means that all my fabric purchases a few years ago from the USA and UK are truly appreciating. Maybe I should call it an investment – provided I can keep the moths away!

    • fabrickated

      I like touching my fabric pile too – endless possibilities. I have just started the coat for Esme, using fabric and lining I already have, so that is a great start. Moths. That’s a whole other question. I feel I have been at war with the blighters most of my life.

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