Clutter Busting Craft Supply Destash and Organisation

Craft supply destash and organisation

Recharge your creativity (and keep it greener) with a clutter busting craft supply destash and reorganisation. Reduce waste, save money, and have more creative fun. Whoot whoot! Here are tips to help sort your craft stash, pare it down, and keep it under control for the future. 

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It’s springtime here in New Zealand. Prime time for spring cleaning, including in the craft room. For our northern readers, early autumn is also a great time to refresh and reorganise after the chaos of summer and school break before the busy holidays ahead.  But really, any time is a good time to get organised. Enough with the procrastination (yes, me too). Let’s do it.

Doing a Major Craft Supply Destash

Plan and Prepare for Sorting Supplies

Save yourself tons of frustration. Do a a little planning before you start your destash.  It will deflate your enthusiasm and drive you crazy if you empty things out for sorting but don’t have a plan to corral everything until you reorganise.  Prep work may be as simple as having a few big boxes available to hold things for the interim. For bigger tasks (like those of you lucky enough to have a full craft room) it can help to plan and sequence a staged destash.

Sort Through What You Have 

Take inventory of your craft supplies and equipment.  Prepare for destashing what you don’t use/need and reorganising only what you will keep.  Set aside separate areas or boxes for sorting to keep, sell, and donate as well as a location for repair, if needed.  Have a rubbish bag and recycling container(s) on hand for trash.  Ready? Go for it!

Planning Future Creative Projects

During your clean-up and sorting, consider opportunities to plan projects. Aim for using what you already have instead of buying more supplies or, even worse, more of something you already have in your stash. Remember not to make this your hording excuse for things you aren’t likely to use. I know. It’s hard. Be ruthless.  Enlist some trusted help if you need it.

Purging the Broken and Useless

If something is totally broken, worn-out, dried-up, empty, or otherwise useless, rubbish/recycle it.  Think of all the extra space you’ll have. Think of how much easier it will be to organise “the good stuff” once you clear out the junk. 

Get Rid of the “Good Stuff” You’ll Probably Never Use 

  • Cashing In – If you have equipment that is in good condition, unopened supplies, or a large volume of quality materials, it may be worth your time and effort to sell them online or in a garage sale.  You can use the spoils for upgrades or more (useful!) craft materials when next needed.
  • Plan a Destash Swap – Have lots of leftover or part-used supplies that are too good for the bin, not suitable for sale, but you’re unlikely to use?  Plan a destash swap with crafty friends. Trade your excess for useful supplies.
  • Give it to a Friend – Can’t be bothered with a swap, but have something you think a friend might enjoy?  Craft it forward. Offer it to them as a little random act of crafty kindness.
  • Support Local Groups and Charities – Children’s groups, seniors’ activity groups, church or community centres, schools, charities, etc. are often interested in good tools and craft materials.  Check and see if anyone in your area is collecting donations for use (or donations for fundraisers).
  • Children’s Craft Day – Plan a craft day with your kids or a group of friends or family. Use up some of your stash creating fun crafts together.
Mixed metal and crystal beads on craft table

Reorganising Your Destashed Craft Supplies

Reorganise Your Keeper Craft Supplies

Organise your tools, equipment, and materials in a way that works for the way you like to craft and the space you have available for crafting and storage.  With the exception of materials that you might like to kit into specific projects, a handy way to do this is to group like supplies, where feasible. This way, you can easily find what you need and take rapid inventory when planning future projects.  While you’re putting everything away, give it a re-evaluation and reassign if it should be destashed.  See my special tips below for prepping your fabric stash prior to storage so that it’s quick and convenient to craft in the future. It’s been a game changer for me!

Establish Scrap Ground Rules

It’s tempting (soooo very tempting) to keep all of your potentially useful leftovers and off-cuts. That stash quickly builds up and becomes clutter.  Set yourself some boundaries that work for your favourite crafts. Example ground rules could include a minimum scrap size, a capped volume on a by-type scrap box before you have to destash, or committing to a minimum monthly scrap-buster project.

Resist the Urge to Buy Buy Buy

Know your weaknesses.  If you can’t resist a craft sale or are always picking up interesting materials for someday projects (like me), it may be helpful put yourself on a craft supply diet. Set yourself some firm craft stash rules. This might involve limiting your pending project pile to a certain number, capping your craft budget, an in-for-out approach, or whatever rules you feel will help control your craft supply addiction.  Need accountability?  Share your rules with a friend or family member who will help to keep you accountable. 

Keeping the Clutter from Returning 

Stick with your stash busting rules and maintain your organisation system. Commit to putting things back into place each time you use them so that future clean-ups are not as daunting a task.  Need a hand staying tidy?  Check out the handy reminders at Simple as That for keeping (or at least trying to keep!) a clutter free craft space. Good luck!
Clutter Busting Craft Supply Destash and Organisation
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Making Fabric Stash Busting Quick and Convenient

I often like to create on a whim, which is a great match for using on-hand supplies but stash busting fabric is annoyingly inconvenient unless the fabric is already prepped and ready for use. In an effort to make it more convenient to craft with stash fabric, I decided to sort, bulk prep, and adjust how store my fabrics so that I can just grab and go for quick crafting when the mood strikes.

This fits in perfectly with my efforts to use the supplies I already have (read more about sustainable home sewing and textile waste) unless I need something specific for a planned project. The tips below are so easy, but have totally changed the ease of crafting for me. Yay!

Confession: I have amassed an embarrassingly large stash of fabrics over the years. Some leftover from completed projects, some purchased (or salvaged) for intended projects not yet started, and others purchased without a specific plan. It’s so hard to resist a cute print or clearance bargain! Sigh…  

Fabric stash pile of many different fabric designs

Pre-Sorting Craft Stash Fabrics

As noted above, craft stash clean-up and organisation is a great opportunity to sort through materials, plan future projects, and declutter/destash anything that is unwanted. I’d already cleared out anything unwanted when packing up for our most recent move. Sorting for me was less about destash and more about getting ready to prep and re-organise the materials.
 
To start my fabric stash convenience makeover, I sorted my fabrics by material type. This would help with pre-prep (see below), but it’s also how I’m most likely to use them in the future.  Fabrics that were not washable (or had already been prepped) were separated for later reorganisation when the rest of the materials had been prepped. 

Pre-Preparing Fabric for Future Sewing Projects 

The general rule of thumb is that materials should be prepared prior to sewing in the same manner as the finished item(s) will be cared for when completed and in use, with consideration of the fabric manufacturer/type care instructions and restrictions. This may involve washing and/or drying at certain temperatures, dry cleaning, or nothing at all.

Washing and Drying

Instead of leaving my materials in as-purchased condition and preparing when I want to use them, I’m doing the initial wash/dry (for suitable materials) before storage. In the past, I’ve been pretty good with large purchases (full wash loads), but terrible with smaller fabrics. These are, ironically, typically the ones I’m most likely to want for quickie crafts. By getting this time consuming step out of the way, the materials are ready whenever I feel like crafting. Perfect.
 
Washing/drying prior to use helps by preshrinking fabrics, where needed. It also reduces the risk of colour bleed in mixed material projects. Because a lot of my fabrics are small off-the-roll/bolt pieces and fat flats/quarters, pre-washing separately with like colours seemed inordinately wasteful. There were no high risk full darks or solid strong colours, so I opted to use a colour catcher and group the materials into full loads instead. Catchers are not something I use in day-to-day laundry, but had some on hand from when I dyed old matelasse coverlets for DIY dog bed covers, and they worked a treat in the fabric prep washes. 
Preparing fabric for sewing by pre-washing
Tip: Worried about fraying? You can pre-finish the edges with a temporary seam or surging. Since selvage edges don’t fray and shop cut edges tend to need a straighten/tidy anyways, unless a fabric is very precious or extremely ravel prone, I don’t usually pre-finish the edges prior to washing.  I will occasionally pop the material into a jumper/lingerie bag, but usually just wash straight up. 

Ironing

Ironing (where materials are suitable) after wash/dry is not essential as they’ll need to be pressed again after storing before cutting and use, but a quick press (and trim of any significant loose threads) makes folding or rolling for storage much neater and tidier. 

Reorganising Prepared Fabric for Storage and Easy Use

 I don’t have a giant craft room full of pretty shelves and ample storage. Just a little nook. Aside from a few frequently used items, my supplies are sorted into large storage bins that are kept in the ample built-in storage shelves in the garage. Functional, but not glamorous! When I want to start a project, I pop out to the garage and collect what I need from the bin(s).  To make this as painless as possible, fabric is sorted by material type, colour, and size. Exceptions are made for special occasion/holiday materials and for any planned project combinations.
Fabric stash sorted into groups by design for storage

Prepped, Sorted, Ready, and Waiting!

Yes, it seems so simple, but I can honestly say that having fabric ready and waiting for use has already changed my crafting behaviours. It’s so handy! Gone is the annoyance of wanting to make a little something, but not having the time to waste on washing/drying first. Gone is the temptation not to preshrink and chance it (don’t do it…). Plus becoming reacquainted with all the fabrics has sparked new projects and plans. 
 
To keep the stash on a ready use basis, I’m committing that nothing new goes in until its ready for use. Otherwise, I’ll undo all my convenience efforts by not being sure whether a material is ready for use.
Making Fabric Stash Busting Quick and Convenient


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