While traveling this summer, member Michaela McIntosh enjoyed reading an article on stash busting written primarily for quilters in a small newspaper she picked up in New England. Michaela has adapted that article for us here, expanding the audience to weavers, knitters, beaders, and all kindred spirits.
Do you ever look at your stash and feel like it's closing in on you? Do you get the urge to run out to Lowe's or the Container Store and get a whole lot more plastic containers? Do you find yourself mentally having a conversation with your husband as to why he doesn't need to put the car in garage or worry that he will discover you have used the bottom half of the freezer (hidden beneath the 1/2 side of beef he insisted would save you money), to store your qivuit? (editor's note: qivuit definition: the wool of the undercoat of the musk ox).
Maybe your stash is mostly made up of UFO's (unfinished objects). Here are some suggestions to help you the next time you are in a fiber, fabric or bead shop and temptation rears it's head.
Shop your own stash first. Go through it and re-organize it, re-familiarize yourself with what you have. Divide it into thirds. Newest and Favorites is one third, some You Like But Are Not Sure What You Want To Do With It is another third, and the Why Did I Ever Buy That?! is the last third. We'll talk more about that third in a minute.
Go through your books and magazines. Donate or give away to a newbie any that you have used and know you won't use again, better yet, donate to a library.
Equipment, notions and UFO's go in another pile. What do you actually use? If you are like most of us, well meaning folks often give you the contents of their mother's (grandmother's, aunt's, friend's, friend of a friend's. . .) sewing or knitting basket, because they don't sew or knit. If it's old, soiled, or faded -- toss it. If it's dried up, won't open, is only a thimbleful left -- toss it! If it's usable but you don't need/want it put it in the Guild yard sale or teach a young person with it.
Get your guild to have a special Show & Tell/program of UFO"s (they usually have stories that go with them). Why has a particular UFO become a UFO? Analyze what you need to finish it. If you just plain don't like it, you have choices: take it apart and use the fiber, fabric, beads, yarn, or threads for something else, finish it anyway and give it away, or if you are just completely over it -- toss it! Do not give UFOs to Goodwill -- they will just throw them away.
Getting back to the last third -- remember. . . the Why Did I Ever Buy That?! pile
Fabric and yarn that is something you know isn't right for you can be made into simple items for raffles or giveaways. For example nursing homes and hospitals need wheel chair bags that patients can keep their personal items in and then take home. Protective services in most states need lap quilts for adults and children who are in need of something soft, cuddly and that can help them feel cared for.
Reward yourself for finishing a UFO. Alternate those projects with new ones. When your stash is down to the first third, then you can go shopping. Have fun!
Great ideas! Thanks Michaela