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Fabric Stash Organizing and Fabric Purchasing

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I've been working on organizing my fabric stash. When I opened my former fabric shop, I stored my personal stash of fabrics so I could focus on making things from fabrics that I was selling. Now that most of my inventory has been sold I have room to bring my fabrics out of storage. 

This shelf was purchased to store bolts of fabric. It is not ideal for the storage of stacks of small pieces of fabric. I have a pretty extensive collection of wooden crates and decided to use those to store the stacks. Each shelf houses a different category of fabric. For quilting cottons, I have the fabric categorized by size first, than color. I thought about how I look for fabric for a project and organized that way. I mixed large scraps with fat quarters in one of the crates. I tend to have a lot of scraps and haven't yet organized my huge small scrap inventory. I will share when I do! Also, I folded the two collections I have of layer cakes and put them in a basket above the large scrap storage. I plan to use them in projects as a collection. If I change my mind, I will reorganize by color. Charm packs not being used together as a collection will go with small scraps. I couldn't decide if a layer cake was "small" or "large" so, for now, they're their own category. See more pictures on Flickr.

Which leads me to how I purchase fabric. With quilting cottons I tend to go a little wild with scraps, remnants and sometimes charm packs and layer cakes. I think that is because I don't want to have a lot of fabric left over after a project. I also buy quilting cottons to improve my fabric stash, rarely having a project in mind. If I see a fabric collection that I love but don't have a project for and I think it might sell out quickly, I will purchase it as fat quarters or a layer cake. As cute as most quilting cottons are, my family does not like to wear them as clothing (including me), so I never buy large amounts of yardage thinking that I'll make clothing with them. With knits, home dec weights and other apparel fabrics, I usually purchase with a project in mind. Sometimes, with knits especially, I'll purchase with no project planned if I see a good sale. I tend to buy at least a yard if I think I'll use it for my oldest girl, half yards for my two youngest girls or two yards for me. Especially considering that knits shrink more than wovens after washing. 

Do you have a strategy when it comes to purchasing fabric? How about how you organize your stash?