Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Storage is a Lovely Thing

Women in my family love their fabric. I clearly remember my mom's sewing area as a kid and her stacks of cotton prints stashed in the aptly named "pink shelf." Her mother was a trained seamstress and in my grandmother's retired years she had a wonderful sewing room with a view of the Sierra Nevadas. I remember a lot about that room, but one thing that stands out now is my recollection of her organized walk-in closet -- a place where a kid could look up at a floor-to-ceiling world of colorful storage boxes, sewing supplies, and a small rack of her many dresses in-progress.

A few years ago I was bitten by the textile bug as well and started picking up the odd yard of vintage fabric here and there when I was out on buying excursions for my antique mall booth. My stash has continued to grow, so I'm thankful for the storage my new crafty space allows.

Here's a little photo tour with some thoughts on what things I've found to work well for me:
Yep, I do like those IKEA Expedit shelves for fabric storage. They are affordable and the shelves are nice and deep for larger pieces.
I definitely prefer shelves over drawers for visibility reasons, but I've got a little hand-me-down dresser in the closet where I've organized smaller fabric pieces by color. It keeps things neat, but honestly, sometimes I forget what's in there. To help with that, I found that it was worth the time to neatly fold all the pieces to the same size so that when stacked on their ends I can see every piece with one pull of the drawer. You can see a better picture of that here.
I keep my buttons in old glass jars and my ribbon and trims in little suitcases and boxes.
The messier side of the closet has some very deep shelves that my dad cut for me. These are great for bulky items like cutter quilts, vintage bedspreads, and other voluminous pieces of fabric. I do keep smaller, random bits on the top shelf, which has good visibility when you step into the closet. Down on the floor, the two floral fabric-covered boxes are from IKEA and are perfect for infrequently used items. I keep old wool pants and coats in there now (great for making little bears and such).

And of course I always keep a few silly friends on the top shelf to brighten my day:
Although some of the pictures I've posted of my home on this blog probably give the false impression that I'm super neat and organized, it's definitely something that doesn't come naturally to me (just ask Erik! :-). But I've found that things come together with less struggle when I have a space that makes it easier to be organized than not. Visibility, accessibility, and room to grow -- that's what it's all about in my book!

If you're looking for more inspiration, Flickr has a fabric stash & storage group. I also like this idea and this crafty space. Happy sewing!