2016 Final Countdown, Task One

Posted on December 29, 2016 by prairiemoonquilts in Challenges, Studio Organizing Challenge

Here we go with Task One — are you ready?

But first, you need to go watch this video to put yourself in the mood: The Final Countdown. Oh, the hair! And the drummer’s outfit!

What’d you think?

Are you ready to tackle Task One now? Or are your eyeballs burning from things you can’t unsee?

If you’ve been following along all year with the Studio Organizing tasks, you may have a head start on this first mission, but if you’re like me, it’s a never-ending battle, so it can always use some work.

Get your fabric stash under control

If you recall, Task One from last year’s Final Countdown also dealt with this issue. If it helps, go back and re-read that post for questions to ask yourself when contemplating your fabric stash and storage methods. Also, read all the comments left by last year’s participants — they offer some other good ideas for how to deal with your stash.

Then think about what progress, if any, you made in that area this year.

I’m repeating this task simply because I feel it’s so very important.

During last year’s task, I started refolding all my fabric, which I have sorted by color into bins that stack under my cutting table. It took me all year, but I finally got it all folded into the bins and put away. I have one box left that won’t quite fit (yet), and all my scraps that don’t go into those bins are still needing to be dealt with, but that is my next goal.

You may not be able to finish this task all in one day or one session, but at least start and come up with a plan for continuing, so that you can eventually get it under control. My friend, Michelle, said she recently re-sorted all her fabric by color, and it’s the best thing she ever did for her sewing self! You may like a different method, but pick what works for you, and if you don’t have that system in place, start working on it.

I say that the fabric stash is a never-ending battle because if you have a stash, naturally, you’re going to use from it, and keep adding to it. This means that even if you had it under control at one point, if you’re quilting at all, it’s gonna get messy again. So now is the time to bring it back in line with your chosen system, and take stock of what you have as you head into 2017.

I say it’s important because if you don’t get it under control, then you have no idea what you have, and it seriously impedes productivity.

I, for instance, have decided that I have waaaayyy too much fabric! My goal is to use up a LOT of it this year, and in addition, I have placed myself on fabric-buying moratorium for the time being. If it isn’t something that I desperately need in order to finish up something I have started, then I’m not buying it for the foreseeable future — not until some of what I have here is used up.

My goal is for all my fabric to fit in these stackable bins beneath my cutting table, and to also have fewer of the bins than I do right now. Fewer bins that hold my entire stash.

So I have my work cut out for me. I still have lots of scraps to deal with, and I have a lot of fabric to use up. My plan is to make LOTS of scrap quilts this year, and I’ll be showing you what I’m working on in order to use up my fabric as we go through the year. I’ll also be elaborating more on my storage methods,  and providing more information and other ideas on ways to deal with our fabric — and use it up!

Here are my goals:
1) Work on getting my scraps sorted for at least 30 minutes a day, until they’re all put away where they belong.
2) Use up enough fabric that my entire stash fits into the stackable bins beneath my cutting table, and don’t buy any more unless it’s necessary to complete a project.
3) Make at least 25 scrap quilts this year.

I know these are highly ambitious, but I have to get my fabric under control, and this is the only way to do it. And I’m hoping that this public announcement will hold me accountable so I can actually accomplish these goals.

What about you?

Do you have a plan for your stash?

Are you working your plan?

Do you need a new plan?

Is your stash almost under control, but it just got a little out of hand because you’ve been using from it and adding to it all year?

Did it all used to fit where you had it, but now it’s sort of spilling out into other spaces and areas and making a bit of a mess?

What are your plans for your stash going forward?

Are you setting any stash-related goals for yourself for 2017?

I’d love to hear them.

Good luck with this first task — I’ll be back tomorrow with Task Two!

33 responses to “2016 Final Countdown, Task One”

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Love to see what you do with your scraps. Been working on my scraps for the past 2 years. Slowly but surely. Not enough time in the day

  2. Mary C says:

    I have my fabric sorted by color, too. I am blessed that my quilting studio was finished in July, so I have spent the last 4 months sorting, stacking, purging. I had a closet built just for my fabric, notions, patterns, supplies, etc. The closet has shelving along the 10 ft wall and my fabrics are stacked on the shelves. I only have one smallish bin of scraps to deal with. I have some scrap projects that will use a majority of that bin. I am going to start now on Christmas 2017. If I make a goal to make one project from my scraps each month, I should be able to make a sizable dent in the scrap bin. Thank you for inspiring me to get busy!

  3. Karen Edwards says:

    Like you, I’m planning to make lots of scrap quilts and buy very little fabric this year. Since I have no room for any more quilts, almost everything I make this year will be donated to The Linus Project and to a camp for children recovering from cancer. Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. Leah G. says:

    I’m working on it, but it’s a never ending battle!!!

  5. Kathi Benchley says:

    I had my stash sorted by color, and that works best for me. I recently pulled a bunch of it out to work on a baby quilt, so I need to spend some time putting it back in order. 30 minutes a day sounds like a good idea, so I will do that. I plan to make several scrap quilts in 2017, but maybe only 5.

  6. Kari says:

    Great.minds think alike…LOL….I also started to look at my fabric stash…I had started to arrange small scraps into useable sizes this year then gave up. Your post was timely. I want to get a handle on my small pieces and use up my stash. I also have made it a goal to make scrap quilts this year so I look forward to your posts on the quilt patterns or blocks you select. I have been collecting ideas in my Pinterest board and am ready to ” rock and roll”!

  7. I loved this post. I have such terrible crafting/sewing habits that I truly need this in my life! It also makes me smile as I remember my gramma’s stacks and trunks of fabric. She was so precious with it, whether it was actually pretty or not. But it was her passion and after she passed away I remember hoarding it all to somehow keep her close…. Happy New Year!

  8. Krista says:

    2017 is the year to get my sewing room reorganized and redecorated. I have a tall metal storage cabinet (purchased at a Truman surplus sale years ago). I have my stash in the cabinet but it is not organized very well. My intention is to sort by color with one exception. In the case where I have purchased coordinating fabric for a specific quilt I want to store it together with the pattern or inspiration for the quilt. The rest of the fabric goes in the color sort area.
    I also want to stop purchasing new fabric until I get my already purchased stuff under control. I want to complete one quilt a month (at least). That is a lofty goal for me but I hope to stick to it. I would like at least half of the quilts I make go to charity.
    I want to get the little scraps organized too. They are in a rolling cart with drawers. I look forward to your ideas for scrap quilts.
    Thanks for your inspiration!

    • T Johnaon says:

      Love that you want half to go to charity–the hubs and I have such fun waiting to see where the charity quilts are supposed to go!

  9. Wendy says:

    I have my stash fairly organized, just needs a little touch up, so I’ll work on that a bit today (while I’m making another mess with a project)! Thanks for doing this — it’s more fun to do this stuff together!

  10. Three years ago I took a long look at my stash and realized here was a problem – fabric in two LARGE closets, four huge drawers under the closets, in the sewing room and a bedroom! Right then I said I wasn’t buying any more fabric – had to use what I have. So 2017 again is a de-stashing year, no buying unless I need it to finish a project or create a backing. While time is my enemy right now, I’ve decided to work on getting fabric put back into its place so I can move forward. 10 minutes a day it is clearing off my cutting table of fabric and scraps.

  11. Kathy Fraser says:

    I have large bins of fabric downstairs. I need to go down there and make sure daughter didn’t mess them up. If she did well I will have to redo them.

    I am purchasing a couple of very sturdy shelving units this weekend to stack them on. I need them off the floor. And this will tidy up the basement up a lot.

    I have a commercial PFFAF machine down there and I want to get back to making my feed bag totes, but I can’t find it.

    We had a propane heater installed and that will take some of the chill out.

    So that is where I am now. I just finished going through my patter books etc. I am getting rid of at least 100 of them.

    I’m 74 I won’t live long enough to use them all. So I am giving them to my quilt guild and they can have fun at our area meeting to take whatever they want.

  12. T Johnaon says:

    Do you have a plan for your stash? I have a plan, but it goes slowly—I try to cut and sort into “really big, (like half yard or more0 10” 6” 5” 3” 2 ½ and 2—anything less that is too good to toss (tgtt?) goes in the string quilt box
    Are you working your plan? Off and on
    Do you need a new plan? Mostly time management—I like your 30 minutes a Quilting Session.
    Is your stash almost under control, but it just got a little out of hand because you’ve been using from it and adding to it all year? Nope, It is just Controlled Chaos
    Did it all used to fit where you had it, but now it’s sort of spilling out into other spaces and areas and making a bit of a mess? No, the tubs are all sort of organized into years (sewed a lot for kids—so sorting stash becomes a wonderful memory session), or seasons, or colors
    What are your plans for your stash going forward? I think it involves more cutting on a regular basis, and using, using , using!
    Are you setting any stash-related goals for yourself for 2017? Finish the ufo pile started last year—one ufo for each new project. New projects need to rely on stash for supplies whenever possible—items purchased with Christmas gift cards and since Christmas this year because of need for just the right thing in the Quilt for Son to replace the one that was ruined I his last move, do not count as new purchase—they are now stash—I ordered yesterday 🙂

  13. Liz says:

    Yes…the FINAL COUNTDOWN! When watching the video it brought memories to surface “College Days!” lol.

    I have metal shelves (5 tier) to store my fabrics. I have 6 of them to store my fabrics. They are pretty much nicely folded. But I have decided to store them by color. With this said, after this post, I am going in to get as much done as I can for one hour.

    One of my goals for 2017 is to spend one hour and sort them by color. I did get rid of a lot of fabrics that I know I won’t need. AND I haven’t bought any fabrics that are “so pretty” or “I HAVE to HAVE”. So that’s a good thing!

    I don’t keep scraps anymore if they are smaller than 2-1/2″. I got tired of the piles!

    The other issue I have is those neckties! O.M.G. – So glad I found someone that is going to take these ties. The bins are full and heavy to move it out of the way. (= THANK YOU Shelly!

    Anyway, this task will be an ongoing project for 2017.

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

  14. randy says:

    It was interesting to read what I wrote last year. My stash is larger, but I did use the bookcase. I have started moving out of the plastic three drawer units because they do not slide in the way they slide out. I am trying to return to art quilting which uses a lot less scraps. ..


  15. Meloney says:

    I sort by color and show photos and talk about them here https://melsquiltingblog.blogspot.com/2016/12/final-countdown.html
    I like the idea of being focused. We don’t have lots going on right now, so this is perfect.

  16. Donna says:

    I guess I better start sorting by color. I may be in my sewing room for days.
    Sounds like I am going to make a big mess before I can get things sorted.
    I guess It will be easier to pick colors for quilts if it is organized.
    When you make scrap quilts do you try to use lights and darks or just anything goes?

  17. Stephanie says:

    I make quilts almost exclusively for charity these days, a few for family and friends. My stash is enormous, a mixture of purchased and donated, yardage and scraps. Some of it is set up like a quilt store with larger pieces on bolts (empties collected from stores and filled with my stuff). Much of it is…um…not.
    I need to get the smaller yardage under control. My daughter collected and built an ikea kitchen this year, and cut some of the packaging into half height bolts for me.
    So, that will be my stash focus for the foreseeable future. Every time I use a piece of yardage, I will wrap the remainder, and stand it in the shelf unit where it needs to live. Ahem, I may need to remove other stuff from said unit first.
    Oh, and also, I committed publicly to a year of no shopping unless absolutely necessary. The wrapping and not adding should make a huge difference I think. Only 2 sleeps till New Year!

  18. Melanie says:

    Since I am in custom sewing, I’ll be needing to divide my tubs even further into fabric types. Uh-oh!

  19. Judy says:

    I am determined to put a dent into my 2-1/2″ scraps this year. Hope you will have some inspiration for me. Also need to make a big dent in Civil War fabrics. I’ve collected for years, there must be 5 or 6 quilts in there.

  20. Sue H says:

    Worked on it some this morning – I have two bins that I keep all of my smaller scraps in. I dumped them out an sort all children’s prints in one bin and all the colors in another bin. These are the scraps I have been cutting into 2 1/2 inch squares and making scrap quilts. Hope to make a couple more quilts with these this year. Goal is to have one by year end.

    I also have 2 bins with large pieces of fabric – 1/4 yard or more. I started to work on these but got distracted by finding coordinating fabric and cutting out another quilt. That’s what happens when I play with my fabric. Will try to work on it more this weekend and organizing my stash.

    Good Luck everyone – if this was an easy task we wouldn’t talk about it so much.

  21. Pam in KC says:

    I have the plan, but need to do task # 2 first to begin working on it.

  22. Well, I need more storage for my stash, like some shelves. Currently, I have yardage sorted by color in plastic drawers under my cutting table and in my closet. Scraps are sorted by color in free-standing, stacking drawer units. Precut units, such as 2.5″ squares, are in plastic boxes. But unwashed fabric is all mixed up in tubs. I really need to work on them so they can be part of the usable stash.

    So today I cleaned, oiled, and changed the thread on my serger. And now I’m serging the edges of my fabric so that it can be washed without shredding. And then I’ll have to figure out where to put it. My color sorted drawers are full, so I may have to rearrange the stash so that certain colors can go into the newly emptied bins.

  23. Darlene says:

    Oh what fun the next few days will be!!!! I have spent several hours the past few days, putting away things that were pulled out and needed to be put away. I have organized storage boxes on a bookshelf – one for projects to be finished- strip boxes in 3 sizes and one box for neutrals. I have a larger tote 12″ x 15″ w/Christmas fabric. One square basket of misc maybe I will organize by color. This is my first year and I can’t wait to see next task.

  24. Swooze says:

    I’m working on scraps I inherited from my mother to see if I like the plan I’m following. I had previously sorted my scraps by color but have since added to them and need to repeat that task. I also now have a freed up bedroom that I am moving my overflow into. That’s still in progress.

    My scrap Wrangling is talked about here:


  25. Susan says:

    I’ve started working on my stash in preparation for a quilt project. Needed to find the fabric first! So a quick question. Do you have a particular folding method you use! My pieces are of varying sizes and I’m using clear bins and sorting by color with a few exceptions. For the example I’m keeping my batiks together and my flannels together in their own bins. So how to fold to efficiently store? Trying the 15 minute timer to get started. I usually keep going a bit when the timer goes off but it chunks the task o a manageable size when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

  26. Louise says:

    My goal for 2016 was to use up all the random scraps that were gifted to me, and I accomplished that goal. So, for 2017, I want to get my own fabrics organized by color (for larger pieces) and then make a scrappy rail fence quilt to use up all my leftover binding strips.

  27. Barbara says:

    We moved a little over a year ago and for about five months everything pertaining to sewing, quilting, etc. including my sewing machines were in storage for about five months. Most of my scraps are pretty much sorted by color but I keep finding odds and ends that have not been put in a designated spot. So I have started to tackle the leftover and progress is going well, finding things I forgot about that were packed away. Going to be some fun projects to work on! And some cold, snowy weather to take care of inside projects.

  28. katie z. says:

    I resorted my fabric this year. I folded, cut up, or whatever, to get everything in a more useable state. Solids are separate from prints, but all are sorted by color, My scraps are sorted by size and then color. I need to stop buying teal/turquoise/blue!

  29. Karen says:

    I worked on my non-quilting fabric stash and tried to organize it. You can read about it here:

    And congrats on getting all those bins filled with your folded fabrics! It must feel great and looks great, too!

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