Caution! Stash Busting in Progress (or Not Waving, but Drowning)
The Stash. It lurks in the basement, in the backs of closets, under the bed. Its creative potential is matched only by its unwavering patience. It is rumoured to be able to breed within the deep recesses of totes and storage shelves. Stash management is a hot issue amongst textile artists. Does one cull ruthlessly on a biannual schedule? Does one enlist friends to intervene in weak moments of "I might need it one day" purchases? Does one make provisions in one's will for the safe distribution of the treasure hoard, or leave it to uncaring relatives to dump at the thrift store?

In may case, I move house so often that stash management doesn't usually become a problem until I've been in one place for too long. After two years or so the piles of fabric, the jumble of wool, the midden of buttons and bobbins start to become oppressively obvious, muttering dark criticisms about the failings of my character as I pass by. Eventually the muttering becomes a clamour until I am finally compelled to take action.

I'm in that mode these days. Trying to organize, and when that fails, asking myself if I really am ever going to do anything with that stack of perfectly good wool blankets that once I envisioned making penny rugs with. Or considering whether two huge totes of exquisite vintage linens is too much, and maybe I should release some of them back into the wild. How about that bag of silk neckties? Seriously? A couple of hours of fruitless conversation with myself and the totes are no more orderly, and I have to go sit on the deck with a cool drink.

I am familiar with the stages of change model in treating addictive behaviours.
I am at the point where I realize I need help. Dear readers, I look to your wisdom and experience. Have you successfully dealt with a stash that left your dining/work table clear enough to eat from again? Can you open your studio door and make your way to the sewing machine without having to move more than three totes? Have you developed a management strategy that fosters creativity without sacrificing sanity?

Part of my problem is that I feel responsible for each and every piece of cloth that passes through my hands, and also for the environment. I carry with me the idea that I must not add to the world's problem, but instead try to solve it. I feel good about saving felted sweaters, wool remnants or outdated linens from the landfill because I can turn them into something beautiful - at least in my mind. In external reality there are not enough hours in the day, and hence the totes multiply.

 Help! I can feel myself being sucked down again!

P.S. Swaps and guild sales do not work. I only go home with more stuff.


  1. what a hoot! I have been there my dear. I even inherited 6 totes from my mother! Let me first say, it is a slow process untangling yourself from The Stash. I found a church that makes quilts for the needy, several boxes went to them. I then found a woman who makes clothes for the needy, totes to her too. At that point I needed to decide , my sanity vs The Stash. I experienced every emotion in the process. Finally I'm at the point where I control The Stash, it doesn't control me! lol Let's not discuss my"foound objects" stash. Good luck

  2. I'm definitely the wrong person to ask since I've had no success culling my own multiple stashes! If I can envision a use for it - even if said use is something I'll probably never get around to - I just can't get rid of it. At least I love to organize it all periodically and I'm blessed with lots of storage spaces!

  3. about half a lifetime ago I was sharing a house with a sculptor, she invented the rule that if we brought anything into the house a similar sized thing would have to leave & I still hold to this way of managing stuff, whenever I get gifted more materials by friends or mother nature I take an equivalent amount to the thrift shop!

  4. much like you, i am connected to all of it. ( a few pieces from you i think! I am steadily working my way through it. I organized a sewing group at the local school and donated much of it. I make quick boro style blankets and throw them over homeless people. I dye a few and let them go over at threadcrumbs but they are small bits that don't make a dent. I am planning some large projects/gifts. The best though is to stop bringing stuff home!

  5. where are you, hiding under the stash somewhere?? hope you are on the beach enjoying the weather.


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