Crafting · Organization · Sewing

How I Contain and Inventory 1,228 Yards of Fabric

fabricstorage5At the beginning of this year, I had one definite goal/ resolution… don’t buy anymore fabric!  I had 4 full totes in my craft room closet and many of the spaces in my cube bookcases were stuffed with fabric.  I really wanted to whittle down my stash before buying new fabric.  I would only allow myself to purchase fabrics for swaps or gifts if I did not have something appropriate on hand.

Rewind a few months before that to October 2015.  I happened upon an estate sale on Craigslist that boasted lots and lots of fabric.  I, of course, showed up and left with a nice amount of fabric.  The host of the estate sale took my number and said she would call me as she brought out more sewing goodies in the coming weeks.  I kept going back every time she called and I never left empty-handed.

By the time 2016 rolled around she was calling me to just give me fabric (and other sewing notions and craft items) each time she found more.  She would find 20-gallon totes full of fabric and give me free range to take any and all that I wanted.  Needless to say, that squashed all efforts and intentions not to bring in any more fabric.  After all, I did say I wasn’t going to buy any more.  She was giving it to me, and why would I pass up free fabric?  Before I knew it, my house was bursting with big, black garbage bags full of fabric laying around everywhere.

The presence of so much fabric and lack of organization began to take its toll on my psyche.  I loved having so much fabric, as any seamstress/ sewist would, but I was feeling guilty for letting it take over my house.  The first thing I had to do was get the fabric out of the plastic bags and out of sight.

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These totes reside in my living room.  I used my labeler to number them and inventory the fabric inside.

I purchased 6 18-gallon totes and filled each one up, but that was not enough.  My craft room closet was already full and could not handle any more totes, so I gathered up all the colorful milk crates around my house and began to fill them up.  Lastly, I purchased fabric bins from the dollar store and folded and organized smaller pieces of fabric in them.

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The teal and pink bins on the cube bookcase hold fabric.  Since taking this picture, I have labeled them with numbers.

The only thing left to do was inventory the stash.  Say what?!  At the time it felt very impossible.  My very organized, very type-A personality best friend told me about her system of inventorying her sewing supplies and fabric using spreadsheet software.  I tried it, but I have to admit it was overwhelming.  Not because there was so much to keep track of, but because there was no way my feeble mind would know what each fabric was on the spreadsheet based on words.  I needed a way to keep track visually.

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The stack of crates on the left hold fabric, the stack on the right hold various crafting items.

Then I remembered Pinterest.  All I needed to do was measure each piece of fabric, take pictures, and pin and describe them all on Pinterest.  It took me almost all year, but I finally finished and I am glad to share it all with you.  Just a warning, the pictures were taken during different times of the day, in different rooms, so the quality of the pictures I posted on Pinterest may vary.  I wasn’t necessarily interested in the quality as I only needed something good enough to jog my memory of what I have hidden in bins and totes around my house.  There is no way I could ever remember what I have, but that is the beauty of Pinterest.  When I need a fabric for a project, I go to my fabric Pinterest board and browse.  I use the descriptions given (amount of fabric, type of fabric) along with the picture to choose what I will use for a given project.

Now 471 Pinterest pins later, I spent tonight both writing this post and adding up all the measurements.  I did not include fat quarters and scraps.  The final number was 1,228.68 yards.  I’m shocked and a tiny bit embarrassed.  This definitely qualifies me as a hoarder.  I guess I’d better get to work making things and chopping that number down.  If you would like to take a look at my fabric stash, click here to go to my Pinterest board.  Say hey and follow me while you’re there!

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6 thoughts on “How I Contain and Inventory 1,228 Yards of Fabric

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