Stash Storage

Stash Storage

thread label image

Over on Stitchin fingers a discussion has developed about how people store their threads.

Often I get asked as to how I store my crazy quilting supplies so today I thought I would show you what I do and explain why I do it.

I store everything by colour as most often I am looking for a colour. When I am piecing a crazy quilt block  I select by colour and tone. The exception to this is a basket of even weave hand embroidery fabrics such as Aida, Linen and Lynda speciality fabrics. They are all kept together in one basket because they are not crazy quilting supplies as such.

journals and lace

Fabrics are all stored by colour in these baskets. In the baskets in zip locked bags are lace, ribbon braid and items like doilies that I have dyed. I keep them here because as I am piecing I will often think I need a bit of, for instance a bluish lace or braid to fit with what I am doing. If all trims are kept in a bag then it is easy to reach for the baggie that has the blue trims in it.

Buttons and charms are in the containers on the shelf. They are frosted but I can see what colour is what

embroidery thread storage with draws open

Threads too are all sorted to colour because usually I am looking for a colour to match what ever I am working on. I found that until I started to store by colour I spent far too long rummaging around trying to find this or that shade that would just look right as an accent to the current piece of embroidery I was doing.

I really don’t have time to spend more than 20 minutes digging about so I keep all threads in this sewing cabinet Jerry made for me. They are wound on the commercial plastic bobbin cards cards and stay neat enough to simply slip away after I am done. Although rummaging can be very relaxing and fun it can also eat away hours if I am not careful. Since I have kept my threads that way I really have saved on rummaging time.

Here are the draws closed

draws for embroidery thread storage

Beads too are stored by colour. These trays hold lots of little plastic containers which I discovered in a discount shop a couple of years ago. I have 5 trays which can easily be seen making selection easy and quick.

bead storage


That is how I have solved my storage problems. How have others done it? I bet people would love to know. Share your tips in  your comments or blog it and leave a comment so we can visit. I bet we are all nosey.


  1. Colleen
    You observation that "I feel keeping things "grouped" reduces the amount of space required to store them. Less containers less bulk." is right in my opinion.

    Also if you standardise the storage container and make sure that container is stackable it means you can store a lot of stuff.

    Lots of people I know collect things biscuit tins or chocolate boxes – nothing wrong with collecting them and using them for stash storage but it does mean because they are all different sizes and shapes stacking them on a shelf is not necessarily space saving.

    I am only in a small house so I have to think of storage.

    Sharon B
    1. I have a total of about 200 sq ft to keep ALL my personal possessions as I share this 2500 sq ft house with my daughter. Still downsizing after 2 years but it’s working. Can finally get in to my craft/sewing room.

  2. MichelleMermaid
    I picked up on your comment that "I have found, though, that it’s next to impossible to use what I have if it’s not organized."
    Yes I have found that is stuff tucked away in little bags in a cupboard – and the like I simply don’t use it because I don’t see it. I have to be able to see something easily and quickly to remember I have it, and use it. Also if I can see things easily when I am out shopping I visualise what have and don’t buy something I already have.

    Sharon B
  3. Yeah, great dresser! Those thin drawers make a lot of sense. I’m on the lookout for a dresser that will help me with my work. At the moment my "room" is a complete mess.

    I did get most of my threads sorted a few days ago using clear ziploc bags. I think it will help me when looking for colors. The variegated colors were a challenge. Those that had a clear color theme I put in the bags with their main color family.

    However, I have quite a few variegated threads that are exactly half and half or an even combo of three or four colors. So, when I put a pink/green/creme mixed thread with the pinks it looks green and when I put it with the greens it looks pinkish/white! Actually, it’s a great lesson in how to put colors together to achieve a POP effect.

    But for storage, I decided to put these "in betweens" in one of the now empty thread boxes that was created when I transferred everything to bags. I sorted them from light to dark.

    What’s funny is I have so few threads (I’m still working on building a decent stash!) that they all fit in a messenger bag I use to take my craft stuff to work. Sad, huh?

    I think I’ve been able to do a lot with a little budget. Okay, I don’t really budget, I definitely shop on an impulse level and buy when I can. I just don’t spend much at one time. I have found, though, that it’s next to impossible to use what I have if it’s not organized. And organization takes time. So, I may be working at a snail’s pace, but I’m getting there!

  4. Your storage system and degree of organization are enviable! I don’t have nearly so much but I’m trying to be organized. I keep my fabrics in a plastic drawer set with wheels on it [so I can shove it under my cutting table when not in use]. I have one drawer for neutrals, one for warm colors and the last for cool colors.

    I’m a traditional quilter as well and have a shelving system in my closet on which I sorted my traditional quilting fabrics by color. Decided to carry on in that vein with my CQ goodies, so bought plastic bins with lids and have sorted everything else by color in those. So I’ve got my laces, braids, loose and packaged beads all in those containers. I kept the junk jewelry bits separate but since installing shelves in the room, decided to sort thhose [by gold, silver, other] in glass jars so I can admire them. I have additional bins for metallics and multicolor items [which can be variegated thhreads or packages of multi color beads that I think would be best used together rather than one or two at a time — those I would sort]

    I don’t know whether I’m right about it, but I feel keeping things "grouped" reduces the amount of space required to store them. Less containers less bulk. Probably this works for those with smaller stash hordes. lol


  5. Ah I wish I was even HALF as organized as you are! At the moment I have my trims wrapped on stiff pieces of cardboard is sets of color, so I have a card of blue trims..pink, etc This way I can stand them on the shelf just like a row of books and can see what I have at a glance. My threads or a different matter. I have my DMCs sorted by number but keep a seperate caddy by my chair where I work with the colors I am using at the moment. All other threads are kept in another box.I like your idea much better. As of now I still dont have a suitable storage system for my bead and buttons. I keep them in little bags in a box and they are a pain to go through. My fabrics I sort by type over color. I like being able to see just how much I have of one type of fabric. I would love to be able to have such a nice set up like yours!

  6. Hi Sabrina
    I take the dominant colour and put them with that group. Often my over dyed threads are because I have dyed them so I have more than one bobbin of thread. If that is the case I will often put one bobbin in one group and another in the next nearest. I hope that makes sense!

    Sharon B
  7. I have a lot of overdyed threads. Many have multiple colors. How would you handle those?
    At present most of my threads are on metal rings or drawer by type/brand. When I am working on a block, I pull threads that I think would work and put them on/near the block. Then the block is put across the room with the thread/goodie pile. I try to spend time then viewing from afar. This usually easily isolates the best threads to use quickly.
    If I want to keep to a color scheme, I usually pull an overdyed thread and match/play off of it. Since I have threads in all textures and types, I can still produce variety while keeping to a set scheme.

  8. I use the same wire storage system as you do for fabric (Ikea’s Antonius, I think?). But instead of stacking my two sets on top of one another, I put them next to one another and put a spare piece of laminate (less than $3 in Ikea’s as is department) on top for additional work space. I put mine in my closet.


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