Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stashing Thrifting and Decluttering - a Brain Dump

My creation
I just came from a fabric store and bought only what I needed - a large piece of fabric for the back of a quilt in navy. As I'm congratulating myself for not buying more than I need at the same time I can not stop thinking should I not have bought more when I had the opportunity to be fabric-shopping alone in a real shop.

I have trouble spending money on anything (exception being food and shoes for my children...) so fabric stashing does not feel like a natural thing to do for me. At the same time I would love to have all kind of fabric at hand so when ever I get an idea I could just start sewing. Also sometimes fabric starts to "speak to me" and in order to let that happen you really need to have it at home. So building a some kind of stash would be handy. I try to do that by buying some fat quarters and other small inexpensive pieces, but then I usually end up having too little fabric for the project I have in mind. So I'm constantly debating how much I should buy and what should I buy and is all this buying justified when at the same time our home and the whole world is drowning under stuff as it is... On top of that there is the debate in my head over designer fabric and the cheaper stuff found in "normal" fabric stores. And of course should I not only buy organic fabric... What it comes to designer fabrics some of them inspire me beyond limits so buying at least some feels justified. I also love the quality of it.


I have a small stash of fabric that was gifted to me, some of it is probably 30 years old and still looks perfect. I used that pile for my older son's quilt (will show it to you when I'm done with quilting) and it felt good to put the random pieces together as oppose to ordering some matching designer fabrics as I did for my daughter's quilt. It really felt that I was getting back to the roots of quilting that must have emerged from the need to use every little piece of fabric out of necessity.

More environmentally friendly and less expensive way of stashing could be buying more secondhand fabric. I'm just so very bad at thrifting! I don't like shopping and shopping in thrift-shops even less because you never know what they have. I will also be honest and admit that against all common sense buying used fabric (old curtains and such) makes me a bit itchy. I know when washed it is as good as any other fabric and that there is no logical reason for me not to buy it. (By the way I don't get the same itchy feeling at all when the fabric comes from someone I know).

Having three kids I'm constantly carrying big plastic bags full of clothes they have grown out of to the charity and sometimes I'm thinking this is fabric too. I should be creative enough to make some use of it. But saving it for later conflicts greatly with the other ideal of our times - decluttering. I definitively enjoy having less clutter in  my house but I also think there is a fine line between decluttering and throwawayism.

As you can see, I could go on and on, but I will stop here. Now you have a little glimpse of what is going on in my head. I sometimes think my slogan could be something like "if the answer is simple I can make it complicated!" :)


Minnado said...

I liked reading this post, Mari. To stash or not to stash...the sewer's dilemma! I don't buy much fabric new as I am on a limited budget. At the moment I have lots of fabric stashed away due to being given a lot of fabrics. I don't have anywhere left to store it!

The Muse of The Day said...

This post has soooo much food for thought. I agree with you on all points, from the itchy to the guilty. Having said that I often feel a bit better knowing that my stash goes towards "useful" things ( quilts, clothing,etc.) I often feeli like doing an "art" piece, but feel it may not be worthy of all that expensive fabric. It is a never ending dilemma. I, too, find that if I buy only a yard, or meter, of something it is never rally enough, but if I buy 4 meters of the fabric I feel terribly guilty if it doesn't get used in a project immediately. I sometimes think that I should make one dress a month from my stash and donate it to some worthy cause and that would rid me of the guilt of whatever is still left in my stash. I haven't put enough effort into coming up with a good place to donate them. I live in a very poor part of the United States, maybe I should just put an ad in the local paper or something and start giving away a dress a month - nothing fancy, just a dress. Your post is a very good one. I am sorry I couldn't answer it right away. I will give it some more thought. If you have any ideas, please share them with me. Carolina