How To Successfully Destash Half Your Stash

Destash your fabric stash

In the lead up to moving back to Australia in just 5 1/2 weeks now (eep!), I had to do a harsh sort out and destash of my craft supplies –  fabric, scrapbooking, bits and pieces. You see, we’re moving back solely with our checked in luggage. Granted, that does total up to 240kgs all up thanks to a couple of bonus flights from Japan to Australia over the next 4 months, so it isn’t quite as drastic as it sounds like. We aren’t taking any furniture, half our clothes have purposely been worn down and won’t be coming with us either, and visiting family last year have also helped take a bunch of stuff back – kids’ books, scrapbooking albums and supplies (11kgs worth!!), and some quilts. I should make a note that a lot of the scrapbooking stuff I will probably destash when back in Australia, as it’s easier to do it from there than here in Japan. As I’m digitally documenting 2016, I don’t need so much.

Destash before

So, after all that preamble, how did I destash so much so “easily”?! First of all, turn the emotional connection/sentimentality dial riiiiight down low. You need a little bit but not very much at all. Secondly, find the joy that comes with the feeling of decluttering/reorganising/making space. Hoarding is not fun, because it takes up space and you don’t get to enjoy the process of using it and enjoying the finished product made from your favourites! Thirdly, prepare to go through every single piece and/or collection. Not all at once in one day! That’s just crazy talk. But mentally commit to going through your whole stash of stuff before you declare you’re finished.

Let’s get cracking… Start with the easy stuff, the things you know you will never use, because it’s no longer your style, or too small/big, etc. Either put it in the bin, a box for the kids to use up, or a box to donate/sell NOW. Don’t make new piles, sort it into those categories straight away. For me, this was the pile of odd-sized solid fabrics. I so very rarely use solids, and when I do, it’s in bulk yardage of neutrals. I’ve kept a few on hand, but the rest was passed on to a friend. I also straight up binned scraps of scrapbooking paper that I kept “just in case”… Which very rarely actually ever happened, let’s be real. Same with fabric scraps – I just never used them, so most was passed on to a friend too.

Then tackle the harder-to-deal-with piles. For me, that was my stash of colour-organised fabrics. I sew a lot by colour, spending hours choosing the right shade to use! So, I asked myself three questions:

  • “Do I LOVE love this print?”
  • “Is it unique – either the design or the shade of colour?”
  • “Is it big enough to be useful/will I actually ever use it?”

By doing so, I was able to pull out about a 1/4 of the fabrics! Which is rather impressive for me!

Destash after

You know all those bits of ribbon and trim and buttons that just collect somehow, possibly even breeding while tucked into that corner? If you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t touched them in years… if ever. Bye buttons, too-short ribbons and trim and zips. This bookshelf? Previously full of notions and thread and such stuff. I also culled about 10 spools of duplicate/very very similar shades/will never use this shade of thread. If you love Aurifil as much as I do, you’ll understand how that was hard, haha!

Decluttered sewing notions

How about patterns, magazines and books? Do you actually ever make anything from them, or read them again? That harsh truth helped me get rid of some more things there! I love hoarding books and the look of a full bookshelf, but those things are darn heavy, haha! So I’ve kept my friends’ books, and a couple of others (hello Heather Ross and Tula Pink!), but passed on the others.

It really is all about your attitude. Granted, I had the pressure of an international move pushing me to be harsh in my cull, but if you’ve got the mindset of wanting to spring clean and declutter, you’ll be just as successful!

Alyce (226 Posts)

Living in Japan, Alyce spends her days mothering 2 little monkeys, quilting, blogging at Blossom Heart Quilts, and revelling in the fabrics of Japan!


  1. Great job, Alyce! You must be getting really excited! I have a question about magazines… do you know of any good way to store or back up E-mags? I made the switch for some subscriptions due to the space factor and the high cost oof international shipping, but now I wish I had a “shelf” for them– that allowed them to be in color and didn’t fill up my cell phone. I feel like I might be missing some simple solution.

  2. Thanks for the motivation — I am drowning in fabric currently and really need to purge so that I can better appreciate the great things that I do have that i need to put to use.

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