My experience with Konmari-ing my fabric stash and studio – Work in Progress Wednesday no. 27

Thread in the middle of being Konmari -d
The prospect of Konmari-ing the studio made me nervous, because it’s expensive to replace supplies, and sometimes impossible. A big part of my process is having a stash to work from, eliminating/minimizing the need to go to fabric stores/art supply shops in the middle of a project, breaking the flow and getting distracted.
A craft drawer, during the Konmari process
In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it says this brilliant thing about how the right time to read a book is right when it comes to you. I feel like this is so true with creative ideas as well. Yes, sometimes it is necessary and good to write things down and think about them before diving in. But honestly? 99.9% of the things I write down never ever see the light of day. (And for a lot of them, THAT’S A GOOD THING.) But the time that I have the creative energy and ideas for a project is RIGHT THEN AND THERE, and needlessly delaying things because I am still 7 projects deep and/or busy with a million other things is kind of lame and needs to stop. I wanted to create space (and time!) to be able to ride a project through to completion. I’m looking at you, all five quilts that I need to finish. I do not like projects that drag on indefinitely. I like getting things done. I want my studio to support this.
The question, “Does this spark joy?” is such a perfect one for decluttering your studio. The things we hang onto and the materials we use may be resistant to all other forms of organization. But by only keeping the materials that spark joy, you will automatically raise the vibration of your finished works. How exciting is that?
Thread stash, post Konmari
It was amazing to discover that art supplies have an expiration date. Fabric gets old and stale. I had previously operated under the assumption that you could use and reuse fabric indefinitely, but honestly, if it’s not loved, it actually gets stale and dusty feeling. Even if no dust touches it. (The reverse is true, too: even extremely old things can still spark joy and be very worth using, if they are loved.)
Of course, you could always use the old stale things to make new things…but it’s going to drag the vibration of whatever you’re making down. The odds are good that you won’t entirely love it or use it. Nor will the intended recipient. The odds are even better that you simply will never use it at all. If you’re anything like me (fabric addict), new exciting fabric shows up all the dang time, burying the old and not so loved.


I was distressed at the start by how much stuff I was keeping. So many of the things I got rid of were tiny, making boxes not fill up so fast. And progress was very slow to start. I took on the project of reorganizing my ribbons (thanks Pinterest!) mid konmari.
Completely gorgeous ribbon drawer, post Konmari.
And I committed many errors, particularly giving discarded supplies to my 4 year old, or saving them for when she’s a little older. The reasons for this were two fold: one, giving her discarded stuff to play with kept her happily and creatively entertained while I got this done. (Thus allowing me to konmari guilt free!) two, we actually do a lot of crafts together, and finding forgotten supplies sparked ideas of fun projects we could do together. I put a high value on this, so it seemed extremely worth it to keep these things…thus necessitating a better storage system for the kid craft stuff, which already needed a storage upgrade anyway.

I was really interested in keeping only the supplies that I either knew I would need to complete a project (or likely future Chickenpants commission), or ones that I felt held the right frequency/vibration. I want to raise the vibration of my future work. And if that sounds too woo woo hippy for you, oh well.
Using this as my criteria, picking fabrics was easy. So easy. I was really anxious about going through the fabric. The wall of fabric! It seemed like just too much stuff to go through one by one. But once I started, it just FLOWED. It was actually hard to stop. I was finally deciding quickly! And not second guessing! (Very much!) I held each piece of fabric in my hand and quickly decided: love or toss. And Lo and behold, I tossed!

Going through the fabric taught me not to be afraid of giant hoards of stuff, and also taught me that it is much easier and more accurate to decide very quickly, based on that brief initial knee jerk reaction. If you stop and analyze each thing (do I use this? Will I maybe use this someday? What if…) it takes forever, and becomes just an awful process. Going through this near the last part finally taught me how to go with my gut. Yes or no. Love or toss.

I don’t know if I did everything perfectly, but I know that things are definitely better in there, and that I can’t wait to get into the studio and actually MAKE something for a change. Success!
Work table, post Konmari
Have/ are you Konmari-ing your stuff? I’d love to hear about your experience!

About Claire

Absolutely Small is textile artist Claire Chambers. Claire Chambers is a crazy-pants artist/crafter who spends most of her time indoors, very near to Portland, Oregon. She likes making people laugh, chickens and pugs, and writing about herself in the third person. She is utterly obsessed with making things out of fabric.

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