National Organizational Month: Boxing Up Your Fabric Stash
1.9.2013

I’m in the midst of organizing my sewing area and all of my crafty possessions. The biggest aspect of this project was trying to come up with a solution for my ever-growing collection of fabric. Though my stash may be small in comparison to many of you seasoned quilters, it certainly overpowers my tiny sewing area. After I found my cat sleeping in a bag of fabric I had left out, I decided it was definitely time to get the piles out of cat-accessible bags and into usable (and easily expandable) storage. If you’re like me and don’t have enough room to have your stash stored on beautiful shelves for the world to see, but rather need to tuck them away in a closet or any nook you can find, then boxing up your fabric might be a good solution for you. I searched around online for cheap storage bin options and found just what I was looking for at Ikea. I like my boxes and bins to be nice and uniform so they fit together snug and look good doing it. I ended up getting a fair amount of boxes for under $20 and they just so happened to have polka dots. Cheap and cute – that’s how I roll! 

Okay, NOW what? I took the initiative to think about getting organized and actually bought the boxes, but where to begin? The problem I have when it comes to organizing is deciding how to organize it. Should my stash be organized by size? By collection? By color? By project?! Too many options! This is where I decided to stop and think about what would be most useful for me. Looking through my stash I realized the fabric cuts are all over the place in terms of size. I don’t have a ton of fabric that is a complete collection, so sorting by collection didn’t seem too logical in my case. Sorting by color, hmmm… that might work. I also like the idea of having project ideas and the fabrics I want to use for them separated out. So, I decided to sort my boxes by color or by project.  This part is completely determined by what your needs are with your fabric. Taking the time to decide what will work best for you is a crucial step. If you work through it, you might save yourself having to reorganize again the next time you’re bitten by the organizing bug!

Now that your fabric is sorted out, you’ll need to fold and tuck them into the boxes. If you have a lot of fabric, a good alternative might be the “filing” method that you can find around Pinterest and the blog world. Since my stash is on the tiny side, I figured folding and stacking would be sufficient.

After you’ve finished divvying out your fabric between all of your boxes, take the time to label them to make it even easier to find just what you’re looking for. There are a lot of labeling options out there. I’m quite smitten with the idea of decorative “chalkboard” labels that would allow you to change the labels as often as you like, but I went ahead and printed out some that I made quickly on the computer. I’ve also whipped up some labels for you as well if you’d like to use some to help organize your own stash. Click here to download.
At this point, take a step back and breathe a sigh of relief because now your fabric is going to be that much easier to match with your next project!
Step 1 – Decide where you are going to store your stash of fabrics
Step 2 – Choose your box!
Step 3 – Determine how you will sort said stash
Step 4 – Actually sort the fabric (pausing to play and pet fabric is encouraged)
Step 5 – Neatly fold and tuck into boxes
Step 6 – Label your boxes
Enjoy!


31 comments

  1. Betty Podschun - January 9, 2013

    I love old suitcases for storing my fabric.

    Reply
  2. Catherine Zaring - January 9, 2013

    I’m blessed in that I have an entire wall of built-in shelves in my sewing room but I still love this idea for organizing my overflowing scads of FQs. The labels you designed are perfect with their borders to denote color of contents. This idea would also work for storing thread for those who have embroidery machines.

    Reply
  3. Judy Abel - January 9, 2013

    This came at a perfect time! I’m actually sorting and cleaning my laundry/sewing room. Thanks for the pretty labels. I’ve run them off already and will put them on my totes!

    Reply
  4. Barbara Forslind - January 9, 2013

    Great idea until your next project and everything comes
    out of hiding!

    Reply
  5. debbie - January 9, 2013

    Love any organizations ideas.. thanks love the boxes.. no IKEA here in the middle of Kansas though..

    Reply
  6. Ann Niea - January 9, 2013

    This is just what I did to store my Stash, got the nicest boxes at Jo-Ann’s and sorted the fabric by color…it is so easy now to look through what I have and want to use. Now I just have to get more boxes as I started out with two colors in each box but now need to give each color it’s own box. I also made one for Christmas fabrics.

    Reply
  7. Jenean McGuigan - January 9, 2013

    I’m excited to see and use your labels. I need all the help I can get! But, when I click on the download, it takes me to pages of downloads. Exactly, where are your labels? Would appreciate it very much.

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth Hill - January 9, 2013

    I have a small fortune invested in photo storage boxes from the local craft stores.. They are inexpensive, especially when on sale. Great for stacking and strong. Great way to organize notions as well as fabrics.

    Reply
  9. Joan - January 9, 2013

    Thanks for the tips on organizing our stash. It couldn’t have come at the right time. I bought some shelves and containers and I’m ready to tackle this job. Costco has several sizes of clear containers at great prices right now, including individual project containers (4pk/$20) similar to the ones sold at Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s.

    Reply
  10. Diana - January 9, 2013

    I store mine in plastic tubs made for hanging file folders. Just fold & drape the fabrics across the bar meant for folders and you have a readily viewable and accessible storage solution.

    Reply
  11. Henrietta Russel - January 9, 2013

    Lables are at
    http://www.connectingthreads.com/ctimages/pdf/Organizationlabels.pdf

    Reply
  12. DeAnn - January 9, 2013

    Jenean, click on the Freebies tab. it’s the last item there.
    I have a great cabinet that I got at Ikea and found a better way of folding to see more of the fabric. I wrap it around an appropriate size ruler (for me 6 x 24 works, since cabinet is 28″ W I can fit 4 stacks),then fold it in half so I end of with a good fold of fabric visible (6 x 12 or so is my finished size)!

    Reply
  13. Diane Ogg - January 9, 2013

    I make “mini” bolts from cardboard; wrap the fabric and place them in drawers; standing on edge. I can easily see what I have, when I open a drawer. Saves a lot of space and aggravation.

    Reply
  14. Kate Sullivan - January 9, 2013

    I clicked on the space where I was to click to down load labels and it sent me back to the entry page. I would love to have labels even for the frosted boxes.

    Reply
  15. Donna Houde - January 9, 2013

    Is there an Avery label that corresponds to the size of these pretty labels? I’d love to run them off onto an Avery sticky back label.

    Reply
  16. Esther - January 9, 2013

    When I clicked on the link for the organization labels, it took me back to the home page, and at the top of that page if you click on freebies, it will have a drop down menu with the labels. Just click on that and it will get you to the labels.

    Reply
  17. Debbie Keno - January 9, 2013

    I use vintage picnic tins and bread boxes and stack them.

    Reply
  18. pat ford - January 9, 2013

    I love the polka dot boxes. Where can I get them?

    Reply
  19. Judi - January 9, 2013

    I have semi-clear plastic storage boxes with tight-fitting lids. Use my P-touch to label. Currently have sorted by size, but am thinking of re-organizing by color.

    Reply
  20. Sue McNeil - January 9, 2013

    A lot of great ideas. I use clear plastic shoe boxes for my fat quarters and anything larger gets washed, ironed and folded accordion style and put into a five drawer file cabinet that has drawer fronts that lift up and displays the full front of the drawer.. All my colors are in stacks and are easily accessible. I only have to lift the drawer front and stand back. My sewing room is very small so I have to go vertical and be really organized.

    Reply
  21. Corinne demonstoy - January 9, 2013

    I use clear plastic containers that are not as pretty as your boxes. Will use the labels, thank you

    Reply
  22. Margie Fields - January 10, 2013

    I am in the process of having a sewing/sun room built.The room will have a storage area of 4’x12′ and I have been trying to organize my stash. I sew for Linus and new borns at a hospital so my stash is large as I shop for all sales. I enjoyed all the tips and will put to use the one with colors and project for my other sewing needs. Love the boxes and lables no dust and order,what a time saver.

    Reply
  23. Sherry - January 10, 2013

    Too, bad you don’t sell these colorful boxes. I would like to have purchased them. Unfortunately, there is not a store near the town I live and only 3 in Texas. Thanks, Sherry

    Reply
  24. Jolene Ellerton - January 10, 2013

    I sort my fabric by color, except for batiks, gracies and civil war. Instead of boxes I use the large clear plastic totes so I can easily see what is in each box.
    For scraps I use the large shoebox size and sort by color. I plan on taking my scraps and cutting them to some specific sizes and try to start using them for scrap quilts. I look forward to reading the rest of your organization articles – LOVE your catalog!

    Reply
  25. Dolores - January 11, 2013

    Catherine Zaring:
    Could U please post some pics of Ur sewing room

    Reply
  26. Paulette - January 12, 2013

    I fortunately have a cupboard of cubes with doors and have chosen to sort by color. I put two colors in each cube. In front of the stake I put the smaller pieces so they won’t get lost in the bigger piles. I have shoe
    box type storage for those odd pieces–a bin for 2″ squares left over from something, a bin for UFO’s–finished blocks that I made as samples for something or in a class; strips of 2 1/2″ wide fabric for possible bindings or strip quilts; half-square triangles left over from a project, and 5″ and 6″ squares of fabric that I have cut from left-over fabric that I don’t necessarily want to keep for anything in particular.

    Reply
  27. Lorraine LaCouture - January 12, 2013

    This couldn’t have come at a better time.I’m packing my sewing room for a move. the label will be a great help.
    thanks
    Lorraine

    Reply
  28. Elaine flaim - January 14, 2013

    I use the 16oz plastic containers that pre-washed mix lettuces come in. They are really good for fat quarters and glass clear. Also a good way to recycle and save money. I also use clear storage boxes for large cuts of fabric and fabrics that i have kitted up

    Reply
  29. pat jones - January 16, 2013

    I organized my craft room…
    the boxes I used were the SEE THRU plastic tubs(with covers) made it a lot easier for me to see what was going on…but boxing is the only way to go..for neatness

    Reply
  30. pat jones - January 16, 2013

    I also am trying to organize my yarn, so I am trying to use a hanging sweater organizer…I have two which will hold a BIG bunch…and what ever is left over will go to a teacher, any teacher who wants them in the Naples area.
    one year I tried to give this yarn away and all but one teacher was very fussy. the teacher that got it all sent a gift from the very artistic students…

    Reply
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