Monday, April 17, 2017

decluttering your stash..."Get see what sparks joy"

Do certain of your crafty items spark more joy than others?  Or do you feel that *everything* you have in your stash sparks joy? 
Below is an instagram post from Marie Kondo.  She is one of several people organizing/decluttering gurus that help me stay inspired and motivated to slim down my STUFF**.

"SPARK JOY" one of Marie Kondo's foundational phrases for her methods to de clutter and organize. 
Isn't she darling?  =D  You can learn lots more about her and her organizing philosophies** by following her Instagram account here or check out her website for her books, etc here She has great ideas with actual organization as well as great ideas to help with thought processes to motivate getting rid of things we don't "need", or that doesn't spark joy in us.     
Seeing her IG post (the pictured above), automatically made me think about how I feel when I go into my "hallway" of fabric stash.  This stash has been getting out of hand.  Maybe not in the amount of fabric so much, but in the organization of it.  I don't know about you, but, for me... taking a fabric or two out for audition in a quilt can be hazardous to the other fabric left on the shelf still neatly stacked.  Either the stack falls or slightly leans over when one or two pieces are pulled out or...when I try to put fabrics back to their original spot.  As time passes, shelves become more and more in disarray.  More time passes and fabrics are left on the floor because they can't fit back onto their original spot - even with efforts to try.
I realized that "getting close to belongings", (as Marie states) is a good exercise for me to do with my fabric stash.  It's a great reason to take messy, falling-every-which-way groups of fabric off their shelves to refold them so that they fit better within their designated area.  I admit, I have a hard time starting this usually seems sooo overwhelming (and to be honest...kind of BOR...RING).  The problem usually gets worse before it gets better.  Before I know it I'm tripping all over fabric on the floor to find the stool that's buried so I can climb up and pull out more fabric as *that* stack tumbles to the ground to join its fabric-mates holding down the carpet. 
Finding my mojo to clean up the fabric stash...could take many more moons.  Suffice it to say that on quite a few occasions, I have great friends who come over and rev up my decluttering mojo motor.  =D  =D  =D
When taking fabrics in my hands to refold, I often get thoughts like..."why in the sam-heck did I purchase this!'s got way too much yellow!"  (Those who  know me, are shaking their heads, I'm sure!  LOL).  There are other fabrics with pretty colors and/or fun prints.  These fabrics bring thoughts of... "Oh, I forgot about this one!  It's sooo pretty! I NEED to put this on the list of quilts to make SOON!"  
If you were to pull out older fabrics to hold/refold, would you get similar thoughts?  Do you certain fabrics bring a big smile to your face?  Do some tell you they are NOT happy in your stash because they want to go somewhere, some place that they could make someone else happy??
It seems to me that just walking by fabrics or glancing at them in search of something particular for what I might currently be working on...isn't good enough to "get CLOSE".  Scanning over the stash isn't good enough to feel whether or not they SPARK JOY for future quilts or projects.  Taking a piece of fabric out and refolding it...even if it's a partial refold, is what I need to feel the Vibes of Joy =D
I know that it can be almost impossible to take down every piece of fabric from it's shelf or out of it's container and refold it all in one sitting or in one day...of course this depends on the amount of stash you keep. I'm totally not qualified to judge on Stash Size!!  LOL! note I'd like to mention here, (imho) the amount of stash a person has isn't as important as how much of it is stagnant, or how much of it is creating a burden, holding you back from positive, forward creative motion.
Maybe if the stash feels overwhelming to dig into and start folding, it could be divided into smaller sections that might only take 30 minutes to "get close to".  Maybe one shelf or container could be emptied, sorting with "JOY?  or "NO JOY".  Then, you'd only put back the "JOY" ones to the original storage spot.  Having  a friend to visit with you while you sort through your stash can be super awesome because the fabrics you're moving out of your stash could be ones the feel JOY for! And, giving some of your stash to a friend is really cool! 
Sometime, though giving parts of our stash away is difficult even if it doesn't spark joy.  We handcuff ourselves with guilt that we spent "good money" on it and we should force ourselves to use it, if not now...then, in the future.  Or, we fear that we might "need" it at a later time.  In many cases,  if it's weighing us down and just adding to clutter or overstuffed stuffed containers now, odds are, it will be in the future too.  One solution might be to put the "NON-JOY" fabrics in a box for possible giveaway.  If you don't miss it and/or there is still no joy in owning it, after a month, you probably won't miss it if you give it away for good. 
** I seriously doubt that I could ever become a minimalist.  I am pretty sure that I will never become a great organizer. AND, I still have a LOT of STUFF!  But, I am learning, and trying to improve.  If an item doesn't spark a feeling of joy, if it feels burdensome, just taking up space for no good reason, it needs to be given away.  As I clear out crafty items that might feel burdensome to me, I gain a motivational and creative energy.  Decluttering for me, isn't necessarily downsizing or living with less.  It's more about getting rid of the old so that I can feel more joy for what's left, even free up space for new more joyous items.   I do give myself permission to bring new things into my life.  Think of an old light bulb just sitting in a lamp socket.  If  the dead/non-light just stays in the socket, there is no spot left to put in a bulb that gives light.  (edit: I'd also like to add here that I don't follow all of the Marikondo methods.  Many are too restrictive for me, personally.  But, the "Spark Joy" idea is one that has helped me tremendously in just choosing what and how to let some things move out of my life)
It's an ongoing process for me, striving to be aware and "get close enough to" my stuff.  It can even be a down right struggle.   I need to set aside specific time regularly to re-evaluate my possessions, crafty and otherwise..  Do my things bring me joy, shine light into my life?  Do they motivate me to look forward, be better, be more creative?  Or are they keeping me in the past, bringing me useless frustration, keeping me from enjoying people and/or enjoying fun activities. I know when I do take the time, even if it's a small area or just a few items, I feel so rejuvenated.
What are your ideas for keeping your crafty items organized?  How do you decide whether to give something away or keep it?   Do you have regular intervals of sifting through your stash?  What gets your MOJO reved up to organize/declutter? Maybe you are one of the great and disciplined ones that actually use your stash up with finished projects - regularly?  =D 
I'd love to hear your comments, ideas, and opinions! 


doodlebugmom said...

Honestly, I would have a hard time parting with fabric. I always think I will use it "some day." Maybe I will change down the road, but for now, I am loving my stash.

I am the same with yarn. My cousin passed away a few months ago. I inherited her yarn stash. Six scrappy afghans later (and I still have more to go!) with her yarn. I will take them to our extended family Christmas this year and make sure everyone has a little part of her.

Tangos Treasures said...

Wow!! I'm going to check her out!! Right now I have fabric everywhere!! LOL

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I wrap all my fabrics that are a yard or more, around comic book boards (the size of a magazine). They look neat, and stay mostly need on bookshelves. It also makes it easier to pull fabrics out, and put them back on the shelves.

Sarah Craig said...

Awesome post, Annie! Do you mind if I refer back to it in my scrap post next Wednesday?

tisha @ quiltytherapy said...

"I'm totally not qualified to judge on Stash Size!! LOL! note I'd like to mention here, (imho) the amount of stash a person has isn't as important as how much of it is stagnant, or how much of it is creating a burden, holding you back from positive, forward creative motion."

That right there. It's the fabric that makes you feel like you have to create something with it or you can't move forward. That was very true for me and I destashed it. It's not missed because what is left, makes me happier.

If you need something later, you can find it. It's important that we let go and drive our creativity forward.

Great post!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Sarah from Confessions... sent me here. I've been trying to declutter various parts of my home, but the stash is NOT one of them!! My stash is my "Retirement Fund" and I don't plan on parting with much (id any) of it! I would like to try the comic book board storage system, though. Seems like a GREAT idea!

Pamela Arbour said...

I also got this link from Sarah from Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I have started cutting my scraps into pre-cuts and sort them by color. They become more usable to me and that gives me joy. However, I don't know how long that process is going to take me because I have a lot of scraps! I also have a large number of bolts of fabric but they are patiently waiting for when they are needed. I could very much relate to your stepstool dilemma and the falling fabric! LOL

Kate said...

I'm a comic book board user - I've found it makes my stash more visible and easier to pull from, vertical instead of horizontal stacks. Right now, I'm just trying to shop my stash first - I have so many projects that I really don't have a reason to go out and buy more. So unless a fabric really catches my eye (or, ahem, is at a really cheap garage sale price!) I'm just not buying until my UFOs and stash are manageable. I Kondo-Maried most of my house (so freeing in my closet!) but I just can't do the fabric. It all brings me joy!

Robin said...

Where can we get these comic book boards?