In my ongoing battle of keeping my sewing space organized, I am preparing (read this to mean: thinking about it) to declutter and reduce the amount of “stuff” I have. Before I start, I’ve decided to make a plan so I can do this purposefully and see it through to the end. We all know how difficult it is to give up our stashes of fabrics, threads, buttons, and notions. I’ve come up with a list of eight questions to ask myself when I get stuck so I can clarify my priorities, focus on what I need, and make decisions objectively, rather than emotionally (which leads to holding on to everything!). I created a printable of the list of questions so if you plan to declutter, keep the list handy and use it to help you move forward. Click here to download the PDF.
Do I have a plan for using this item?
If you know what you are going to do with particular fabrics, trims, buttons, etc. then set them aside. Once you have decluttered the rest of your supplies, you can reevaluate and decide if you think you will actually get to all of these planned projects in the near future.
Have I used this in the last year?
In most, if not all cases, these items should be donated, shared or thrown away. Especially if you had forgotten you even had it and that was the reason you hadn’t used it.
Can this item be replaced in 20 minutes for $20 or less?
How much time and energy is this item costing you because you are storing it, moving it around, losing it among the other piles of things in your sewing space and/or spending time looking for it? Most of the sewing supplies we have are readily available with a quick trip to the fabric store, craft store, grocery store or office supply store. Let it go and enjoy shopping for it again…if you REALLY need it.
Do I want to continue to store this?
I hate to think of my sewing studio as a storage unit but in many ways that is what it has become. How much fabric and thread am I really able to use? Yes, it is wonderful to look at it, touch it, and think about the possibilities of what it may become but it can easily become so overwhelming that it’s hard to see the beauty amid the clutter.
Do I have room for this item?
For years, I thought I just needed a larger sewing space, but each time I got a larger space, I just filled it up with more “essential” sewing and craft supplies. I have shifted my thinking and have decided that the amount of supplies I need is exactly what will fit within my space. As I declutter, I will make sure everything has a home where I can easily find an item when I need to use it.
Would I buy this again?
How many gadgets do you have that don’t do what you thought they would? How about fabric that you once thought was beautiful but now can’t remember why? If you are holding on to them because of the money you spent on them, think again. That money is spent, and nothing is going to bring it back. Just donate or share and resolve to be more thoughtful about money that you spend in the future.
Do I know anyone or any organization that could use this?
There are so many places to donate fabrics and sewing supplies, especially now when so many people are making masks and doing more sewing at home. Ask around or go to the Internet to find organizations that accept donations.
Do I LOVE this item?
Sometimes there are items you just can’t part with because they speak to you and touch something within you. That’s a great thing so definitely keep one or two of these but select the most special ones and let someone else enjoy the others.
Sorting Method: This or That?
Here’s a way to keep your focus as you sort and purge your supplies. It especially works well for situations where you have duplicates, such as 20+ red fabrics or seven rotary cutters. When trying to decide what to give up and what to keep, try this method. Instead of looking at all your things at once, for example all of the fabric in your stash, select two pieces and decide between them. Which one do you like best? Continue looking at pairs, selecting one to keep and one to donate/share. You’ll soon have your stash whittled down to 50% of its former glory. Place the giveaways in a bin or box so you can immediately get them out of your house. It may be too tempting to bring some of them back into your stash. Once you have purged, keep it that way! Move on to other stashes such as thread, trims, buttons, etc. until you have a manageable amount of supplies.
Don’t forget to download the Decluttering Printable!