The Free Motion Quilting Project: Too Much STUFF!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too Much STUFF!!!

Last weekend I started cleaning up my downstairs studio after nearly 4 months of ignoring it completely.

This intense cleaning session soon spawned itself into a Paint-the-Walls Initiative which then mutated into a Remodel-the-Whole-Room insanity spree.

No, I certainly didn't want to spend all weekend painting the walls blue, green, and off white, and definitely didn't plan to be installing a new closet organizer system into the weird alcove space, but now that it's nearly done, I've very happy with the end result:

free motion quilting | Leah DayUnfortunately this cleaning job is only about 1/3 of the way done because now I have to put back all of the things that used to go into this space, plus my fabric stash.

And the thing is, I'm really wanting to downsize.

I know that's a really strange word to hear from a quilter, but I've been hanging onto things, like my stock of knitting needles and yarn, that are just not going to ever be used again.

Josh has been watching a show called Hording: Buried Alive, and while I know my stash has never even come close to this level of accumulation, it has made me stop and question why I'm keeping things when I know for a fact that I will never use them.

Take for instance this set of crocheted snowflake ornaments:

free motion quilting | Leah DayI keep meaning to put them on a beaded chain to sit in the window during the winter, but they've been sitting in a bag in my room for 4 years, and I'm obviously not going to do anything with them. Any takers?

Next up we have a set of doll house furniture from my early days of pregnancy nesting (that was 3.5 years ago!):

free motion quilting | Leah DayI'm SO tempted to keep this because the urge to glue wooden pieces together and make a huge mess over my kitchen table regularly strikes every 2 years.

But what am I going to do with it all when it's all assembled?! I don't have a doll house! I don't even have a little girl to play dollhouse with!

Of course there are a few things I have no question about keeping. This set of crocheted, beaded rings were made by one of my Great Grandmothers:

free motion quilting | Leah DayYes, they're totally out of fashion and actually quite painful to wear, but how in the world could I throw them away?

And I will never throw out this beaded purse I made 13 years ago. There were just too many hours spent over my bead loom to give it up!

free motion quilting | Leah Dayfree motion quilting | Leah DayBut what should I do about the 50 other necklaces I made back when my neck was 13 inches in circumference?

free motion quilting | Leah Dayfree motion quilting | Leah DayA few fit, but almost none are my style. I really don't wear that much jewelry anymore, so it's hard to really see the point of hanging onto this stuff.

free motion quilting | Leah DayI could rip it all up and harvest the beads out of it, but that seems like such a waste. Why rip these up when I'm not going to do anything with the beads? And what if I might one day look back and want to see these pieces again?

Uggh! It's almost easier to just chuck it all into the bottom of a drawer than think about another alternative.

And we haven't even started on the fabric stash!

I guess the best default is to keep anything really nice (meaning not totally falling apart) that marked a significant jump in my skill level. That makes the necklaces a bit easier to keep and the smaller, silly junk a lot easier to chuck out.

But where does that leave those darn knitting needles? Any takers on those?

Feel free to share your stash woes and if you're interested in the snowflakes or knitting needles, I'm definitely serious about getting rid of them. "Free to a good home" is going to be my favorite thing to say this weekend.

I'm off to sort through everything a bit longer. Maybe detour up to the kitchen for a root beer float first...all cleaning tasks are easier with a little sugar and ice cream!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. love the snowflakes
    i will pay postage : )

  2. OOohh! I SO want the furniture for my daughter. DH is going to make her a dollhouse (he doesn't know it yet) and this would be perfect!

    How nice of you, Leah. Your generosity is refreshing.

  3. Hey, as long as you're sending those books tomorrow anyway, go ahead and feel free to throw in the snowflakes or the knitting needles.

    I've been thinking of buying a starter knitting kit for my granddaughter who will be turning 7 on Nov. 26th, so maybe you could actually BE the starter.

    I've been on such a clearing out drive that when the Church I go to decided to have a clothing swap, I had nothing left to swap ! I'd dropped it all off at the local charity ! Feels good to be free of it MY sewing room is a whole 'nother story !

  4. I've been cleaning up my room too, but slowly. I have stacks of books that I am done with. I used a big stack of my stash to make pillowcases for miles of smiles in the last couple of weeks.
    I have yarns, threads, needles, crochet hooks, scrapbooking stuff, beads, needlepoint, and cross stitch. (Still not anywhere near 'Hoarding' proportions, but still.... gotta get rid ofthe excess. Good luck on the cleaning.

  5. Super thank you for jumping on this junk! Please email me at leah @ (delete the spaces) with your mailing address and I'll get these out tomorrow.

    It looks like Ceamz will get the snowflakes.

    Asiyah will get the furniture (I'm actually really happy it's going to someone who really wants it!)

    And Dolly, I've already sent your books so I'll just throw the knitting needles into another box and send them too!

    Thanks a bunch guys!


  6. haha - I snooze I loose...... it was lovely of you to pass them on to others.....

  7. I have a six year old girl who would love the beaded necklaces, if you ever get to a point where you are ready to part with them.

  8. I watch the hoarding show too and keep one eye on the front door, hoping they don't find my house!

    I have enough knitting needles to start an entire knitting community and yet when I see a post like this, my heart skips a beat :)
    I'm glad they found a home before I read your post :)

  9. I love the snowflakes too. And I will be glad to pay postage as well. . . maybe divide them in half?

  10. hey girl...thanks for your wonderful blog. I read it everyday. And thanks for attempting to de-clutter your studio..I am really hoping that this will inspire me to do something about the room in my basement that holds all of the crafty stuff that I haven't touched for ages. Quilting is now both my obsession and sanity. lol. Problem is that as soon as I get rid of it...I just know that I will need it. What a dilema!! Anyways...I would love to trade you for the necklace in the bottom photo. I live in north-western Alberta and perhaps you would like something Canadian from here. Or maybe I could make you something. Please let me know. Quilty hugs, Debbie

  11. The necklaces are beautiful. Why don't you donate them to a charity to auction off as part of a fund-raiser!
    I am sure that you can find a charity that you support.

    Good Luck!


  12. Very exciting about your studio redo. It's so nice to create in an environment that works for you. Not that I am an example of that! I collect antique sewing machines, make traditional and art quilts, do a little knitting when the spirit moves me and have all kinds of neat stuff to play with. There's very little I can say for sure I won't use in the future, but having too much piled up makes it harder to be creative.

  13. I've got a set of those snowflakes that my mother made for me. Never could figure out how to display them. I like the idea of a beaded chain. I watch the Hoarders show--it always makes me get up and clean.

  14. My 9 year old daughter just got a doll house for her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and now she is trying to fill it with furniture!! If you want to be rid of the dollhouse furniture, she would love to have it!!!

    I'm going to go through my stuff this winter as I move to another room........wonder what I'll come up with???? LOL

  15. Trust me once you start purging, you will get better and better at it. I started about 3 years ago, hubby and I are total pack rats, the first go round was just a small skimming. We lived without that stuff for about a year, and then we were like 'wow, we don't miss it! Let's do more!' and finally 3 years later we are pretty close to having all the cr*p gone!! It was sooo hard because a lot of the stuff we got rid of held a lot of memories, but some of it I took pictures of, the other stuff I still remember, I dont' need the physical object to remember it. My habits are still there though, I would have loved to jump in and say 'I'll take those beautiful snowflakes', but I know they would have the same fate at my house as yours, so I have learned to sit on my hands. It gets better every day.


  16. I am also trying to clean out. Amazing how hard it is to part with some things. Glad I'm not the only one!

  17. I just went though a move from a house we sold into temporary quarters until we can find a new place. We knew we were moving (hubby got new job) so we did a big sort and purge in 2009. Then Labor Day weekend, as we were boxing for the movers, we purged again. Most of our stuff is in storage and during this time I have learned to live without a lot of my stuff. I do, however, seriously miss my sewing/quilting things. I had given away my jewelry making stash, and my scrapbooking stash. And it felt really great to share! When we do our final move, we are purging as we unpack. I feel SO MUCH lighter and freer without things. The clutter in our home lead to clutter in my brain. And I want a peaceful environment. I want to only keep those things we need and make us smile. We will donate all the rest!

  18. The bead panels should go in a wall hanging......with abstract brights in sunburst pattern especially for the volcano. Then they would be out where you could see the progress you had made. I had to move craft supplies away from quilting. Too much of each one and then only kept the ones that I knew I was going to use. Charity and Thrift shop were the beneficiaries! Now going through the clothes....summer all in one box for next year.....winter as it comes out!

  19. LOL. I think that you should send one thing out with every pre-order of your DVD set! Now that would be a great way of getting rid of stuff! Wnad rewarding your loyal followers!


  20. You absolutely must keep the rings made by your grandmother...put them in a shadow box or something and hang it on the wall...

  21. Oh gosh, I would take fabrics any day that you wanted to send me some. Being on SSD my fabric(or any purchases) are limited at times. It seems whenever I want to make something I always need other fabric than what I have now.

    I'm sure you'd have all kinds of hands go up in the air volunteering to help you clear out your stuff.
    I have things saved myself that were from my Mom or Grandmother and yet I really have no use for them BUT, I still save them anyway. WHY? Because they are both gone now but, like you, I have no girls so I know anything saved will be sold once I'm gone. My boys are already telling me to get rid of stuff now because they REALLY don't want to go through all this stuff I have in our house. And that show you spoke of I have been watching too. I just cannot imagine how anyone can live like that. I just cannot wrap my mind around living that way I think because I'm a super organizer in my home and I would run screaming from a home that looked that way. Most of the time I am watching that show I sit here eyes wide open and my mouth wide open in shock as well.

  22. Tossing out is hard but, in the end, liberating. I have to do the same thing. Go for it. Toss and breathe!

  23. I was tempted by the snowflakes and the knitting needles until I remembered that I am making a concerted effort to pare down my own collection of projects and supplies. It is so tempting to tell yourself that you'll regret getting rid of something later. I have been trying to "throw three things away" everyday.

  24. The snowflakes are wonderful! I am just starting my blog post for a class I teach to new quilters and I would encourage them as I would you…. Create a quilt of your own style. Make circles of WOW color or Squares and sew the snowflakes with invisible thread into the center. Then create a design of four or nine patch blocks in Christmas colors or cold, blue mountain colors. You could make a center block with a mountain or mountain cabin or dear in the snow and the snowflakes could sound it.

    When its down free motion a snowflake pattern around it.

    So many possibilities!

  25. I have my grandmother's knitting needles and other stuff that my dad can't seem to part with. i get the joy of doing that. It's hard to part with things that have meaning, but it is good to clear out things from time to time, too.
    My latest idea is to photograph things and then give them away. I still have the image of the item that holds the memories, but I can give away the actual item. I had planned on doing my closet this weekend, but my son got admitted to the hospital for an infection, so that project gets to wait until he is better and home again.
    I am hoping the local hospital can use the knitting needles for the antepartum women, who may want to try to make booties or a blanket for their baby.

  26. I remember the crocheted beaded rings!!! My grandma used to make them. I even remember having a few that she gave me :) I don't remember what became of them, but that brought back some sweet memories. Best wishes on putting your studio back together.

  27. Ooh, I'd love the snowflakes!

    And please do consider using your beaded rings as Christmas ornaments - they'd add a lot of sparkle - same with your beaded necklaces!

    I talk a good game on getting rid of stuff, and am good on some things, but if it's hand made, it's staying, and I'll keep bring home things to keep it company!

  28. You have yarn you aren't going to use??? Put me on the list for when you get to that stage.

  29. I love it free to a good home aprouch. I will have to use that one day. Hope you don't mind if I steal it from you.

  30. ow that you are both self-employed you need to consider "multiple streams of income" as I've always called my own way of life ;)

    That beadwork is stunning, and you have a built in bunch of eyeballs already on your blog. Put the beadwork up on Etsy and a link to it on your side bar. They look stunning, and even though you are just starting out, people love to own something that was 'made by' a name.

    Best wishes on the downsizing, you'll never regret taking control. Good stewardship of your finances will repay and repay and repay you.

  31. HA! I think you need an Etsy store, Leah. Or ebay. You could be making some money here!!

  32. Leah,
    You could put the beaded necklaces on Etsy. You could sell all of them to someone. Now's the perfect time for Christmas gifts. PS Thought your presentation at the Rutherford Quilt Guild was wonderful. You are obviously a natural teacher. If you thought you were a little off that evening, I can't imagine what you would be if you were ON! LOL!

  33. Etsy would definitely be the way to go. Read in your blog that you thought you were a little off in your presentation to the Rutherford Quilt Guild last month. If you were off that night I would sure like to see you when you were ON! LOL! We thought you were a natural teacher. Best to yoy. One day we'll be able to say we heard you before you were famous!


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