My fiber diet the Weigh in

Well, make yourself a cuppa as I have a story tell. Pass the biscuits I know I shouldn’t just after Christmas but I am going on a different sort of diet. Back in October I thought about a decluttering the studio. I have a small workroom and for the last 6 months particularly I have been feeling really claustrophobic in that room.

I did propose it as a challenge but there were not enough takers. People wanted a design challenge so the Take it further challenge was born instead but I have decided I need to clear the decks to get things done.

It got to stage where when I went in my work room I saw a to do list rather than a place of creative production. As I said at the time of discussing the Take it Further challenge I would not be stitching along as I wanted to reduce my to do list this year. I am embarking upon a getting things stitched year! This is my personal challenge and I plan to blog it.

First step is to de-clutter and I thought readers might be amused to see the process. De-cluttering for me involves working on current projects, even if they are WISPs (Work in Slow Progress) of course clearing up UFOs, and de-stashing as a sort of getting things done challenge. I just want to clear the decks and feel that my work room is a place to enjoy rather than a to do list.

The best decluttering advice I ever heard was to take everything out of your studio and then put everything back cleaning out what you don’t need before you do. That is what I have done.

Everything came out of my room between Christmas and New year. Now the problem with most UFO challenges and de-stashing challenges is that there is no actual easy measurement that you can look back on and see what has been achieved. It is very easy to feel that it is an endless process of finishing and no progress, in other words simply another to do list which I did not want. I use all sorts of psychological tricks on myself in order to get things done and having a clear measurement of achievement is one of them.

I decided weight of stash/supplies/projects at the start of the year and weight it again at the end of the year. My measure of success would be how much I had managed to reduce the weight. So in the last few days I have weighed everything fabric, lace, ribbons, buttons, beads, charms, threads, haberdashery, wool, UFOs (unfinished objects), WISPs (Works in slow progress) current projects, and since I also work with paper include paper, ephemera etc too.

When I proposed doing this last year some people felt it would be too much work to weigh everything but actually it wasn’t because I weighed everything in their containers. At the end of the year will weigh everything in their containers again so that the reduction of the materials will show up as the difference.

Some people asked how would they would decide between standard supplies and stash. I don’t think you have to do that, because when you go on a diet you do not set a weight goal of below normal body weight. For me standard supplies are like your normal body weight.

Now I don’t know what my normal body weight is when it comes to fiber, but I think I will know when I feel easy about it. So I am going on a low fiber diet for a year and then after the weigh in at the end of year decide if I feel emotionally OK about what is in that room.

It took me a day to empty the room and weigh everything and put everything back, sorting and tossing as I went. Most of my stuff is fairly well organised, so it was easy to take out and put back.

As you can see the contents of my room made its way down the hall …

And into the lounge…

Everything was weighed in containers…

I do not usually have PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) but some went into grocery bags for purposes of of the weigh in.

I even weighed paper products and ephemera

Here the first empty cupboard.

I did not weigh visual journals, files, tools such as embroidery hoops and the like and the bag of stuff you see are my sewing patterns. There is also a skein winder and drawing board in there. These are tools rather than stash. So they were not put on the scales


At the bottom of this cupboard is a small desk top printing press which has not seen the light of day for years but I hope to get it out this year and do more printing and collage work.

On the shelves more visual journals and tools, such as a skein winder, portable day light lamp, brushes (in the cans). These were not weighed as they are tools too.

More empty shelves with the exception of my current visual journal …

I did not weigh art materials like paint, gesso and the like or files used to hold embroidery designs.

Then it all went back into my room, sorted lots of stuff, reorganised a little, and tidied

It already feels as if I can breathe again

Everything got a good clean along the way too!

Anything I purchase through the year I will weigh and add to the total. Since I am not a huge shopper I don’t see this a huge task.

The final weigh in weight of all my stuff in its containers?

I am ashamed to say I have 399.450 kilos of stuff! Using this converter that is 880.8 pounds or 62.9 stone! Do you think I can shift a third this year and third next? Do you think a basic stash and supplies should be around 20 stone / 130 kilos including the containers they are in?

I will post at least weekly on this process of clearing the decks.

Tune in tomorrow for the UFOs and Wisps I found. I plan the embarrassing process of listing them. . . Then normal link heavy blogging will resume

Oh and do check out the comments in yesterdays post as some people have started blogging their progress for the Take it Further Challenge

42 Comments

  1. 62 stone? is that all? … your stash is positively skinny! LOL
    – I don’t have a clue how much mine weighs, but I know it is way more than that!
    DH thinks I need to throw most of it out, but I don’t agree … some can go, but it takes too much time and organisation to decide what … I am the opposite to you Sharon – my ideas/inspiration come from things like being distracted looking out the window, or from finding an interesting bit of fabric or something while I am madly searching for that bit of whatever that I need for something and know I have … somewhere … LOL
    Last year I emptied most of my fabric and stuff from my sewing “room” (not sure one can call an area with one wall, one side open and the other 2 sides all windows a room!) so I could move furniture around and add a couple chests of drawers the kids didn’t want/need anymore and then got as far as putting back my beads/etc and some stuff I wanted to work on … but I still have not put most of the fabric and stuff back yet! … it is mostly in boxes under the pergola and in the dining room! … I need another 50 hours in each day to do all the stuff I want to do – and I still wouldn’t be particularly organised … sigh …
    odd thing is – I am ok at sorting out/organising other people’s stuff, just not my own!

  2. Hi Sharon
    Just thought that I would let you know that I have been inspired by your weigh in etc and I have now attacked my room and culled and cleaned but I didn’t weigh it all because they don’t make scales big enough for this job.
    I must say that it has taken me 4 days and nights to complete this task.
    Thanks for the inspiration–maybe now I can get on with the TIF challenge and all the other things that I have planned for this year.
    Regards Doreen
    http://doreeng.blogspot.com/

  3. Congrats on the cleanout, Sharon! I’ve been hard at work on my own dismally disheveled space myself and am beginning a series of posts about my clean out and reorganize process tonight. I’m not weighing in, though – too much mixed media and no reliable scales in the house!

    Ginny B.

  4. Sharon,
    Thanks for the pics! I will save them to show to my husband whenever he starts thinking I have too much stuff! So if any of your supplies are weighing you down too much, you can send them my way to California…LOL. I don’t think I could ever destash like this….

  5. I was drooling while looking at your stash and was seriously envious of your great organizational skills. I was astounded by the weight! It looked like tons but with all that great organization, I’d never have dreamed it weighed THAT much. Now I’m wondering if I should consider hiring a structural engineer to brace the floor of my new sewing room! I don’t have anywhere near the amount of buttons and do dads you do, but I’m a serious fabriholic who enjoys sane quilting too.

  6. Sharon, what a great way to close out one year and begin the next! I have felt similar leanings, so of COURSE I’m now inspired! I’m still at the library for the nonce, but once I get home, the sorting begins. Actually, I can’t wait! As always, thank you so much for your thoughtful sharing…very on-time and much needed.

  7. Would it be easier to weigh a completed item, and subtract that from your total, instead of re-weighing your whole stash at the end of the year? You could put the scrappy bits that end up in the trash into a sack, and weigh it before emptying from time to time as well.

    I’m going to have to show this entry to my husband whenever he mutters about my stash, because your stash makes mine look like nothing. LOL!!

    Deb L
  8. Thanks for showing us your process, Sharon. I had to go on a major diet six months ago when we were moving ourselves across the country (VA to NM, USA) to a much smaller house and I would have to share my workroom space with the guest room. Although I didn’t weigh my stuff, space useage for the moving truck and new house were really important. It really forced me to de-stash. I’ve since wished I had a couple of things I got rid of, but not having them forced me to be more creative. I’m also wondering why I kept some of the things I did–perhaps some things to further get rid of. I’m focusing on UFO’s and WISPS this year, too, except for your Take it Further Challenge and a few other things. I can’t wait to see your UFO’s. Glad to see you’re not counting paints and stuff, because that’s mostly what I’m adding. Have a great new year in your newly organized studio!

    Rev Deb
  9. Happy New Year to all. I’m going through a similar renaissance, trying to use up the stash, but the main problem comes with what to do with the made items. My struggle is to make things that can be sold or given away (not fobbed off) and not put back in the attic.

    rag hugger
  10. Whoa Sharon, 62 stones – makes me feel like a size zero! And your room now looks like a place to go to get things done. Well done. I have a small sewing room and make a terrible clutter when I’m in there but I can only stand that for so long before feeling the need to tidy up and clear surfaces. Then I can think clearly again and start another muddle.

    alice m
  11. Wow – thanks for sharing your pics of your de-cluttering – my hubby would love for me to do this too and I do plan on it – hopefully in the next two weekends – I also plan on trying to use more of what I have rather than buying stuff every week (sometimes 2-4 times in a week)I also do paper collage and there are so many goodies I think I need πŸ˜›

    any who – thanks for the new challage and the de-clutter post πŸ™‚

    goatgoddess
  12. I have to admit when you first mentioned your plans, I absolutely loved it! I’m just in the throes of moving officially interstate, and I’d be a bit tempted to join you in your challenge … after all, I’ll be unpacking everything out of storage at the end of the month – what better/easier way of cataloguing your successes than by weight! πŸ˜€ Look forward to watching your progress πŸ˜€

  13. Jan – no I don’t have an ‘inspiration’ or visual stimulation board – I keep a visual journal and that is it – I am afraid I am a bit of a no nonsense type.
    I have up on the wall what I am working on – and when I am working I close the blinds I don’t want to be distracted – sounds a bit work a day I know and very unromantic but it is how I work. I want to focus on what I am doing not day dream while looking out the window

  14. I thought it lacked a bit of visual stimulation and looked too much like a store room. Do you have an inspiration/ display board anywhere? Or do you just look out the window? Possibly it is all filed away in the books and journals. I like a changing display of this and that in my work room.

    Jan
  15. Sharon, why do you think you have too much? It all looks like it has a home — you know, “a place for everything, and everything in its place?” You are a great example, and I think I’ll go and put some things in those containers I bought several months ago! (I found that if I put the discards in a black bag I don’t get tempted to put it back. And I’ve gotten several bags out of the room that way…. ) I look forward to your upcoming progress reports.
    Georgia

    Georgia Moncada
  16. Thank you, Sharon, for showing us your destashing process. I’m intrigued with your distinction between “tools” and “stash”. I’d been considering it all as “too much stuff”.

    I’m still procrastinating with the cuppa before I square my shoulders and go down the hall to open the door to my own claustraphorium. I won’t be weighing the stash, but I will pull everything from the room and sort it before putting anything back, just as you did. Your photos have shown me that I need to work on compacting materials into containers.

    Thanks for the inspiration to get to work! And fascinating Challenge topic. I’m not officially signed up, but I do plan to follow along on my own.

    daisy
  17. oh my god you’re brave. I changed my mind, YOU are the one I admire! πŸ˜€

    I wouldn’t have the courage – or possibly the literal strength – to weigh in my stash, and I haven’t got a bathroom scale… argh, the thought is terrifying. Maybe I could go on one of those pre-diet diets? Where you write down everything, and your consumption goes down just because you’re aware of every little bit?

    Maybe I could set off a small bomb in my studio? Never mind, looks like someone already did…

  18. This is resembling a 12 Step Program, LOL. 1/2 the weight of a stash like yours surely is measured with an aura of disorganization.I’m sure you lost many “stones” just by the virtue of reclaiming your space . Congrats on your “new” studio” and your perserverance! I will definately stay tuned..

    crazyhereandnow
  19. I am certain that I have twice as much as you and I’m embarrassed by it! I don’t think I would have the nerve to actually weigh it all. I did once totally empty, remodel and reorganize my room and it was so worth the effort!

  20. well… after seeing this I’m ashamed to even call my stash a stash. I must have the Kate Moss version (can’t say the same about myself)! I am so impressed with your set up. I need a room I can expand into I think!

    paulahewitt

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