The Big Declutter

I have mentioned that I have decluttered a lot of craft supplies and clothing in recent months but my decluttering has extended to our entire unit. In 2018 Mr StitchNSew and I first started talking about possibly moving at some point. I decided then I wasn’t paying to move crap (not that stuff is crap but you get my point) I started to look at all that was in our place and only keep stuff we were actually going to use or need. If it wasn’t something we needed, were using or liked out it went. I hadn’t had a chance to tidy up or declutter in like 10 years so as you can imagine we had gained a lot in that time. I started to take lots to a charity shop at my work for them to sell at their brick and brac stall. Bag by bag I took books and nic naks we didn’t need over time. For a long time I was afraid to visit their stall as I knew I would see our stuff. Ironically I accidently gave away a cookbook Mr StitchNSew wanted so I am now visiting it to see if it there to buy it back haha.

In recent months I have opened up every cupboard, every drawer, every wardrobe and have gone through things removing items that we no longer needed/used/liked. Sadly I must confess some items did go into landfill however where possible I recycled items or donated items to charity. I even listed items for free on Facebook and got rid of them that way including an old fridge that was nearly 20 years old but still worked. It was actually the fastest thing to go.

I have always given stuff away for free, if I have something you can use then I must give it to you from the goodness of my heart because that’s what friends do. For the first time I tried selling items through Facebook Marketplace to complete strangers and made a few dollars that way. Some people sell items via Facebook as an extra cash earner on a regular basis. It was good to get rid of the items I did but I couldn’t do regularly it. I don’t have the time to answer questions or wait around for people to get back to me on deciding if they want items or not. Also I found everyone wants everything dirt cheap so really there wasn’t much room for me to make money. I sold some items for less than I wanted too just so I could get them out of my place. However it was good to see items I wasn’t using go to a new home where they would be used and not stuck in a cupboard or box like I had them in. The extra cash was a bonus.

Looking back on how much stuff I have removed from our place it has been a real eye opener. I had no idea how much stuff we actually had and what we were actually using. I like the emptiness spaces less clutter or stuff around us is leaving. Yes I know I have packed up a lot of our stuff so that is leaving empty spaces too but in areas I haven’t packed yet you can see empty spots and I like it.

Cassiy

Culling Me Made Clothing And Accessories

So my decluttering journey continues. This time it was opening my drawers and culling items of clothing and accessories that I have made that I just don’t wear.

So what did I cull and why?

Basket Weave Skirt and Scarf

 

I don’t think I have even really worn this skirt since I made it even though the fabric was so soft. I thought I would wear it in Winter but I never did. When I made it the sizing was a little bit big and I know since I have made it I have lost weight so it would be falling off me now so out it went. There is no point in keeping the matching scarf which I made from the leftover fabric so that went too.

Roewood Skirt


As much as I love the colour and the fabric was really funky in texture I have only worn this a couple of times. The fit was a nice fit and I was really happy with that but the main thing for not wearing it I think was the fabric. It is a nylon spandex and I just don’t wear synthetic fabrics. I enjoyed making this skirt. The texture of the fabric was fun as it felt like fish scales but I have so many skirts and I don’t wear it. I would make the pattern again but this time in a cotton spandex not nylon.

A+ Skirts Green And Blue

I have made several of this skirt pattern but these 2 versions I just don’t wear. There is nothing wrong with them. As mentioned I have lost weight and the version I wear the most is currently taken in at the waist by a safety pin (needs permanent alteration) Before I had more skirts in my wardrobe I was wearing these a lot but now I have so many skirts I can’t remember the last time I wore each one

Longshaw Skirt

I nicknamed this my origami skirt due to how it freaked out my brain trying to fold it all together.   wore this skirt a few times last summer. The pockets are fantastic! I don’t know if it is the colour or the print but I always felt this skirt made me look too hippy. Not in the free spirted way more in the hips are huge way (which I know they are not) I want to make a black version of this pattern to see if the shape of this skirt really works for me but I know this version isn’t crash hot on me.

PJ Top

This was my first attempt at making clothing for myself back in 2014 although I never finished this until 2015. I have worn this top a couple of times but it way too big for me. I’m not comfortable in it as the neckline is too big. I am “Miss Paranoid” who is always concerned about getting a chill in my shoulders. This top does not give me the shoulder coverage. I think I even gave the pattern during my purge earlier this month. I don’t wear long sleeve shirts to bed so I won’t be making this again. It was a good learning experience so not a total waste.

PJ Pants

These pants were made from an old poly satin sheet. It was only reading my blog post back I remembered thinking they looked like scrub pants. Not just the style of them but more the classic operating theatre scrub colour. I wore them a few times but I stopped wearing them. From memory they were a bit big and were a trip hazard. Last year I took a tumble when my foot got caught in a pair of store brought pj pants and I stopped wearing anything really long baggy. I still have this pattern and would like to make more of them but this pair I don’t wear.

Pink Beanie

I am not a pink person. I made this when I was volunteering at a charity event with a pink theme. Sadly I don’t volunteer anymore at it. I could save it as a spare beanie for Mr StitchNSew but he has enough beanies in colours he actually wears so this one can go.

Tunisian Scarf

This scarf is now a felted scarf after I accidently washed it on the wrong setting in the washing machine. Even though it is felted there is nothing wrong with it. It is still lovely and soft but I just never get around to wearing it. I’d rather pass it on for someone else to get use out of it.

For me it wasn’t hard to cull my me made items. I know some people struggle to part with things that they have made and I can understand their reasoning for finding it hard. Whatever you make there is a lot of time, costs and hard work that goes into making each item. I don’t know if I find it easier as I have been making gifts for years so I’m used to items I’ve made leaving my house or if it is because I am detaching myself from the emotional side of things when as I am decluttering. I don’t want to get all Marie Kondo and say I have picked up each item and asked myself “does it spark joy in my life?” That wasn’t how I looked at my clothing and all the items I’m in the process of decluttering. I look at it purely from a practicality side.

Do I wear it or use it?
Do I have another item that forms the same purpose?
Do I have the space for it?

If the answer is no then out it goes. I am not short of any clothing so there is no chance of me going naked anytime soon – the world breaths a sigh of relief 😉  I have more clothing than I actually need if I am to be honest. It isn’t just me made items I’m culling there are a lot of store brought items too that have gone and will continue to go from my wardrobe. I’m happy to take them to the charity bin. I would rather someone else get use out of them than them just sitting in my drawers and wardrobe. Every item I make is a chance to practice my skills on or try a new pattern or work with a new fabric. It wasn’t a wasted time making it. In a couple of years I will go through my wardrobe including my me made items again and cull items I’m no longer wearing. By then my style might have changed or maybe the colours I like might change – there will always be lots of blue Maybe I will go crazy and make 20 of the same pattern to find out I’m only wearing the same 3 each time, who knows what will be in my wardrobe.

Cassiy

 

 

Fabric Swap Oct 19

Last Sunday the Sydney Spoolette’s held a fabric swap. Although it is called a fabric swap there is a bit more than just fabric that gets brought along. People bring sewing notions, patterns and books some are sewing related others not. They are a lot of fun and I do highly recommend if you able to get to one in your local area that you do!

I mentioned back in August I used my “I love my fabric party” to cull fabrics from my stash. I did take most of the fabric I pulled out to the stash. Yes a few pieces did go back into my stash after consideration. These were fabrics that I knew I could use in projects that I hadn’t thought of before so they were taken out to be used and not stashed for “I might make something” purposes.

Recently one morning before work I decided to cull my craft books. I was ruthless and culled I think around 50 – 70 books I would say. I divided them up into categories (yarn, sewing, kids toys) To the swap I took most of my sewing and kids toys books which ended up being 4 bags full. The other books will be taken to my knitters guild group or donated to the volunteers at my work to use or sell at their bric’n’brac stall. Guilty again a couple of books have gone back to my stash as I was packing them.

Prior to the swap I went through my sewing notions and patterns. After 8 years of crafting I have gathered a lot of things I’m not going to use. Some were items I won at craft shows, gotten in “sew boxes” subscriptions (sadly that company no longer operates) sewing patterns I’d brought or gotten for free, items I brought at Australian Sewing Guild Industry days which were a “bargain” and I thought I would use. You just gather things in your stash over time without even realising it. If I wasn’t going to use it out it went.

In the end I took 7 bags to the swap. My suitcase contained all my fabrics, 4 bags of books and 2 bags of notions. The day before I also found a set of sewing needles for a sewing machine I no longer have and since a friend I knew had the same machine and was going to the swap I put them in my handbag to give to her.

There was a last minute change of venue for the swap and it ended up being held in a café. We had a room to ourselves and from the outside it looked like a “Spoolette’s Pop-Up” shop from the street. The room was packed with fabrics, patterns, books, buttons, threads. It was a wonderful turn out of people and items. Since I wasn’t “shopping” I pulled up a seat, drank coffee, minded people’s bags and called out coffee orders as the café staff brought them in. I may look quiet but I have been called “Miss Megaphone” in the past so I am happy to yell. Ok so admittedly by the time I factored in the taxi ride to the venue and back it was it was the most expensive cup of coffee I have ever drunk but I didn’t care I still had fun. Every so often I would get up to touch fabric and watched the different layers of the fabric table emerge as people took stuff and the pile decreased. I was chatting to people and looking at the items they took. It was a relaxing Sunday morning.

So what did I come home with…. Nothing but empty bags!!! Yep that’s correct I took nothing home from the swap. I even decluttered a couple of carry bags 🙂 Everyone said I was very restrained but the reality is I wasn’t. For me the swap was the opportunity to declutter my sewing stuff knowing they would go to a home that would use them or at least appreciate them. I didn’t want to bring stuff home and repeat the cycle of having items in my stash. Even though I culled so much stuff I still have a house full of fabric and sewing supplies so there was no FOMO (fear of missing out) by not taking things home. It was wonderful that everyone else was able to take items home but I am in a mental space at the moment where I don’t want anymore stuff. I was started to get overwhelmed by how much stuff I had. In 2020 we might be moving house. I don’t want to pack things I’m not going to use, I am already starting to freak out how I will pack everything in boxes so I don’t want anymore after 10 years in the same place. I’m finding decluttering very therapeutic, each item I remove is like another little weight off my shoulders. To be honest I don’t know if I can really see a difference in my stash with all the items gone. I do have more room on my bookcases but my fabric stash is still packed to the brim, not overflowing but still heavily packed. I have learnt to distance myself or ignore thinking how much I have spent on my craft supplies over the years so there is no guilt attached to giving things away. After the swap I have seen photos of things people picked up and I smiled each time I spotted something that was once in my stash.

Cassiy

 

Embroidery Thread Storage

I am being totally honest my embroidery thread has been living in storage boxes in a shopping bag in the centre of my loungeroom for years. It was right next to where I sit on the lounge and was handy to access when I was in front of the tv but really it shouldn’t have been living there. I am in the process of decluttering and sorting things out so last week I decided it was time to tackle my embroidery threads.

Most of my embroidery threads were my mum’s. She had them stored in plastic boxes that you can buy to store embroidery threads in once you wind the skein onto bobbin tabs. Mum had them sorted by brand and colour number. If you do cross stitching or embroidery where colour number is important it was a good way to sort them. Thinking about how I actually use embroidery thread I go by colour. I’ll have a gift that I need to embroidery and it is a matter of finding a colour to match it. I had 4 boxes of mum’s threads and 1 of my own that each time I was looking for a colour I would look through, most time I ended up using the colour I found in the first box. Another problem I had was that because I needed to put the threads away in number order, I never actually put them away after I used them instead I would just put them aside on my craft table and when I had a heap I would sit down and put them away at once which could be months after I used them. The way I had them clearly wasn’t working for me, top it off where they were I would constantly knock them over or trip over the bag they were semi placed in. They were a trip hazard and trip hazards are bad in our house.

My first task was to go through the bag and boxes to find all the skeins that needed to be placed on bobbins. I had way more than I thought I had. It was a chance to cull some of them that were poor quality or looked old and manky. In front of the tv I sat and wound each one onto the bobbin cards. I did this over a couple of days so it was really easy and not as a cumbersome task I thought it would be. When you’re watching tv you’ll be surprised at how fast you can do them.

 

After I had them all on cards I did the daunting tasking of emptying all the boxes onto my craft table and sorting them by colour. I did 9 main colour groups – greens, blues, pinks, reds, orange, yellow, purple, brown and other which was greys, blacks, neutrals. This gave me a chance to see what colours I had, how much I had of each and roughly what boxes I could put them in. I had no idea I had so many greens and browns, I thought I would have a lot more purple.

When I placed them in the boxes I did them very roughly darkest to lightest. I tried to keep shades together but I wasn’t so fussy that if I placed a slightly darker one amongst a lighter one that I needed to resort the box to make it fit. As long as I had the colour group in the one box I was happy. I can easily search through and compare colours if they are all in one box. I thought it would take me hours to sort them out and place in boxes but according to my Instagram photos I took I did it about an hour which is pretty fast. I did place special ones together such as all my pearl threads which are thicker or some sparkly threads which I had no idea I had in the one box so I know that is the box I go to for them.

I found a new home to keep the boxes too. In the last 8-10 months I have slowly been decluttering my house, part of what I have done is toss out a heap of my old craft mags creating empty shelves on my bookcases in the study. These boxes fit nicely on a semi empty shelf. I can access them pretty easily, I still need to clean up further in my study but that’s another job on my todo list.

Organisation is very subjective, each person needs to find the best way to organise their things that works for them. What worked for my mum clearly didn’t work for me, however now by sorting the threads in colours and storing them that way 100% works for me. I only have to look through 1 box to find the colour that I need, putting things away if I have used 2 colours I only have to open up 2 boxes to put them away. I’m going to be more inclined to put the threads away straight after I use them in this more simplistic system. By placing them on the shelf I have eliminated the trip hazard that they were in the loungeroom. I no longer will knock them over and have all them all fall open on the floor which was a nightmare each time it happened. I’m starting to see empty space now in my house and I am enjoying how it looks. To be honest my craft supplies were starting to get out of control and stress me as I just saw them as clutter with how messy they looked. Crafting for me is meant to be my way of dealing with stressing, it shouldn’t be the cause of my stress. Decluttering and organising can become very addictive, if you don’t believe me try it. My best friend lives over 4 hours away, we keep sending each other photos of things we’ve sorted out or decluttered. It is very satisfying seeing an area you have cleared up and taking a photo of it. Between us we don’t know who actually started the decluttering bug, we both claim the other one started it neither less we have the decluttering bug and are motivating each other to get in and just do things. Some people might be able to organise things on their own but it is fun to have a friend to do it with. We are proof you don’t even need to live near each other to help each other out in the decluttering process.

Cassiy

 

Letting Go Of Craft Supplies

I was going to blog about something else this week until I discovered I haven’t done the photos of it yet… So instead I will talk about decluttering.

At the moment I am in the process of doing a major declutter of my house. At some point I am going to have to move house, I have been in my current place for 9 years and have gathered a lot of stuff. If and when I do ever move I don’t want to move things I’m not going to use or need. Moving is expensive and I have so much stuff so why move stuff to another place that I am not going to use. My decluttering has included my craft areas. I’m currently putting in the recycling bins all my old craft mags that I don’t want and giving any good books to charity. So far I have filled half a large otto bin up of stuff with plans to toss out more next week.

Scan N Cut Mats Hanging Up

Earlier this year I gave away my Scan N Cut machine and the accessories that went with it. I never had the time to sit and learn how to use it properly so I gave it to my sister so she can use it with my nieces who are getting to the age where they want to make things themselves. It felt good to get rid of it.

The next craft item on my list is my bias tape maker. I think I have only ever taken it out of the box once. It is just sitting gathering dust so I posted it on Facebook offering it to any of my sewing friends. Someone has said yes to it so now I will arrange for her to come and collect it soon. Yes I could have sold it but I prefer to spread the craft love and give things away to people I know who will use them.

I am actually finding decluttering very therapeutic. It is good to get rid of things that are just collecting stuff plus I am liking the empty spaces they create. I have always been a person who can get rid of things the problem is that I haven’t done it for a while. My clutter was starting to stress me out a little and that included my craft clutter, it was just out of control. In recent times I have stopped and thought about purchases before I made them but that has only really been in the last 6-8 months, before that I would just hand over the credit card without putting much thought into things.

Cassiy

 

Sew-A-Thon March 2015

Last weekend we had another Sew-a-thon in my local region held by the Australian Sewing Guild. Unfortunately this time I couldn’t attend all 3 days so I missed out on all the fun of Saturday.

Quilted back of a mug rug

I took a couple of mug rugs to quilt.  I can only show the back of them as they are for a gift. I got to practice some of the techniques I learnt in Deborah’s class from the previous weekend. I marked out all my quilting lines with a frixon pen in the same colour as my quilting cotton so if I strayed from the lines and it didn’t iron out it wouldn’t be so noticeable but luckily all ink came out (and I stuck to the lines) By the end of the weekend I got this one finished entirely and got another to the binding stage.

handmade gifts

As with all sew-a-thons we were spoilt with food and gifts made by the organisers. Among the things we were given was a pen that had hexagons on it (I love pens, I love hexagons) a needle keeper, a lavender drawer pouch and a soap washer pouch (not pictured)

Sewathon Completed Projects Mar 15

It was a fun weekend with lots of laughter, eating and the odd bit of sewing. On the Sunday it was amazing to hear a room so quiet as everyone happened to be working on hand sewing projects at that very moment. Everyone was in deep concentration. There were so many projects completed over the weekend or nearly entirely completed. When a project is finished it is hung on the brag wall. I love the diversity of things people were working on. Quilts, clothing, household accessories. I think the next sew-a-thon is September. I should be up to Christmas presents at that one. Before the weekend I did a bit of a clean out and found a stack of old craft mags which I took and placed on a table ‘free to a good home’ Everyone happily looked through and took what they wanted. I’m going to do this again next sew-a-thon as a way to pass on any craft items I don’t need knowing they are going to people who like and appreciate them.

 

2015 Use It Or Lose It

I’ve decided that in 2015 I need to get tough with all my craft gadgets, machines, books etc… They are all take up valuable space when I’m limited for space so I’m going to adapt the use it or lose them principle.  I’ve mentioned that I’m slowly using the features of my MC 11000 I’m gaining confidence with that and its getting used. Its my main sewing machine. At first it scared me but now I’m concurring it. This year I’m going to learn how to use it to its full potential.

Sewing Machine Large

I need to pull out my Scan N Cut machine and figure out how to use it. When I used it last year to cut fabric I couldn’t get it to work for me. In the end I packed it in the box and only took out to draw a stitchery design. I watched youtube and things at the time but I couldn’t get it to work just like they did. Its a great machine and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I’ll use if not I’m going to lose it and pass it on to someone else so they  can get the hang of it.

ScanNCut Failure

Recently I just brought a couple of items including an electric bias binding maker and electronic strip cutter. I’m going to play around with these just as I did with my sewing machine cause I know once I get the hang of them they are going to be useful. I have a couple of gifts that I want to complete or at least start this year which are going to need a lot of bias binding and strips so I need to get these machines to work.

Craft Gadgets

I have a slight habit buying craft books. I’m going to limit myself as to what I buy. No more buying books on a whim. If its not a super discounted price which I’m unlikely to see again then I’m not going to buy them. A book for of knowledge is never wasteful but at some point you do have to say no. I need to do a cull of what I have too as some I won’t ever use so they may as well be passed on to someone who can use them.

Needlecraft Book

I generally don’t buy a lot of fabric as I have so much of it already but this year I’m going to refrain even more from getting it on a whim. Unless its for a specific purpose I’m not getting it. I’m not about to give away my fabric any time soon I just won’t add to it as much. The same applies to the rest of the stashes I have.

I’m hoping by the end of 2015 I can look back and say I was successful with following the Use It Or Lose It rule this year.