Now, I love my mom. I love her A LOT. So, I want to be careful not to sound judgmental or ungrateful in what I am about to say. In fact, as a licenseable psychotherapist, what I want to do first is sound clinical.
My mom is an obsessive hoarder and a compulsive shopper. I mean this in the most diagnostic and clinical sense. I’m sure that most of the people reading these words could stand up at the microphone and pound at the pulpit and express some level of embarrassment about the state of their “stash.” There’s a reason that groups and projects exist specifically for stash-busting and stash diets and blog giveaways and all sorts of other modes of stash regulation.
As a family, we’ve had to come together and stage an intervention recently. Mom has been slowly filling up their 8-bedroom home with sacks and sacks of creative potential for years — art supplies, unused paints, pristine stacks of scrapbook paper, and the fabric. Mostly fabric. An estimated $12,000 of fabric.
See? It’s gotten a bit out of hand.
Recently, she’s felt a drive to clean out and simplify her life. Seizing on this opportunity, several of my siblings descended on the house a few weekends ago to help her sort through and purge. My understanding is that they only hit the very tip of the stash iceburg. Between me and my two sisters, we split up the wares. Mom brought the first installment of stash stuff last weekend, and I spent this weekend trying to assimilate it into my small apartment.
But what a chore! This photo is deceptive because it doesn’t account for the quantity of fleece, felt (Oh, goodness — the felt!), patterns, notions, and kits that accompanied it. This photo only shows the quilters cotton. It doesn’t even show any of the fabrics too ugly to give away. But I loaded up my car and dragged all of these “acceptables” (mixed with many “very, very cutes”) to the laundromat on Saturday for a huge, tri-county pre-washing event.
What you see above are the results of $30 of quarters, 6 laundry carts, and 5 hours of work. The stack closest to the camera — which measures over 13″ high — is comprised entirely of fat quarters, 1/2-yard and 1-yard cuts. With rare exception, these fabrics are pristene — uncut and untouched. The basket contains pieces smaller than a fat quarter, which will all need to be ironed and sorted into scrap bins. Behind them are two stacks of large cuts — one of whites and neutrals, the other of colors — which will also need to be ironed.
I saved myself the pain of ironing the fat quarters, though, by taking time to right them as they came out of the dryer. I painstakingly smoothed them out into a uniform pile. Some of them came out of the dryer so terribly wrinkled and cinched that I thought they would never untwist. I tried to catch them before they were bone dry, and while still a little warm, and with determined smoothing, tugging, and shaping, they came out nearly as good as new!
Below you see the stack of smoothed-out pieces:
…and compare them with a few of the sad, wrinkled fat quarters that didn’t make it to the smoothing stack:
I am amazed at how much good that little bit of work really did. It is going to save me so much ironing time.
Someday I will have a house with a yard and a craft room. I’ll have a fabric stash which is accessible and turns over frequently. Shoot, someday I’ll have a washer and dryer of my own and can do this kind of chore in small bursts over a span of time rather than in one explosive flurry under the eyes of curious onlookers.
For now, though, I’ll be grateful to my mom for her generosity (and little bit of craziness) and vow to never, ever buy another piece of fabric again. For as much as I love my mom, I hope I don’t inherit her tendencies along with her cast-offs.
I envision some major giveaways in our future. If you’re not already subscribed, might I recommend you do so? You won’t want to miss it as I slowly give away the spoils of the war we are waging with my mother’s stash.
Do you have thoughts, tips, websites, patterns, or recommendations about stash busting? Please share!