How to Get Your Quilting Fabric in Order

Now is the perfect time to organize that quilt fabric stash. Unfinished projects, new purchases during a summer shop hop and those darned gremlins can make your stash look more like, uh, trash. But don’t worry there’s help.

Even the least organized person can restore a little order in the fabric stash with a few (OK maybe several) hours and three simple steps.

First, realize your fabric is yours, so the way you organize it shouldn’t be what your best friend or neighbor would call logical. What works for you is what works. BUT throwing it in a pile, stuffing it in a closet or hiding it under the bed does not qualify as organized.

There are three simple steps to achieving organizational bliss:

STEP 1 Sorting
Sort fabric in broad categories, such as color or manufacturer/designer. Then further sort each lovely pile into sub-categories – lights/darks, pattern/solid what ever you decide. If you have children, they can help sort too.

For a small stash you may only need to go this far. If you have a large collection, you want to keep subdividing until you can easily determine what you have. For instance you could have several blue, floral prints from Amy Butler’s Lotus line, there should be a box for those particular fabrics (more on storage below).

STEP 2 Storage
With every fabric collector there comes a favorite way to store the fabric. Ideally fabric should be protected from the elements – dust, pets, sunlight, curious children etc. – yet easily retrievable.

Plastic bins are a popular option and come in a variety of sizes. Shoe boxes and zippered plastic bags are also inexpensive ways to store your fabric. Also, if you’ve got the budget, consider adding a closet organizer unit to your craft room. Its shoe cubbies and shelves are perfect for parking your piles of material.

STEP 3 Labeling
The purpose of organizing is to know where everything is. That’s where labeling comes in. Some people suggest keeping a catalog with a square inch swatch of each fabric next to the fabric name, manufacturer, location (which shelf is that on?) and date purchased.

You may not choose to go to those measures, but it helps to list a bin’s contents so you know what you have to work with.

Helpful Hint: If your stash is beyond organizing in a few hours, set a timer for 20 minutes and start sorting. When the timer goes off, take a break or stop for the day. You’ll be surprised how much you accomplish in that time.

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