Can you look me in the eye and tell me you don’t have too much fabric?
If you can, then I’d like to interview you on my blog so you can share your secrets with the rest of us.
If you are like most of us in the sewing community this question might make you uneasy.
We buy more than we make and despite our best efforts, our stash keeps growing. In my attempt to be responsible with my fabric buying last year, I tried to buy less, and it felt like I was doing well, but at the end of the year my stash was bigger. Unless you know how much fabric you are using, it is hard to calculate how much fabric is reasonable to purchase. With the turn of the new year I wanted to come up with a realistic plan for managing that stash. I’m not a resolutions person, but the new year is still a great time to set goals or start fresh. So I pulled out a clean bullet journal and started filling it in. I shared this page on my Insta Stories yesterday and got an overwhelming response of positive feedback, so today I got to work and made a free tool to share so that you can join with me in this challenge to shrink that stash. You can start this process at any time even if it is no longer the beginning of a new year. It doesn’t require you to count your stash, it just keeps you accountable going forward. And the best part – You still get to buy fabric!
I created a spreadsheet for you to use to help you track your fabric purchased and fabric sewn. The goal of this challenge is to keep it as simple and realistic as possible to set us up for success. It is simply yards in / yards out (or meters – you decide!). I’m not even going to get technical with fractional yardage. We’re also not tracking the dollar value of the yard or the type of fabric.
Here’s an example of what it might look like after a few months of use:
This spreadsheet has a lot of geeky formulas to get it to tell you exactly where you stand with your permission to buy. I locked those formulas so they don’t break and left certain input cells so you can customize the sheet to your personal goals. If you are an Excel guru and want to change anything on your sheet, the password is “Admin”.
Let’s Get Started!
Here is the file for you to download:
I’m not perfect and I have found ways to improve the sheet as I’ve received feedback. Please consider signing up for updates to be notified when a new version releases. *See version updates at the end of this post if you have an older version.
The file is not a shared document, so once downloaded, it is your private document, nobody is tracking your progress but you. I think if you click the link it might download automatically so if you don’t see anything pop up, check your downloads folder 😉
How to use it:
*If you are a visual learner check out my pinned Instagram story (you may need to open it in the app). I walk you through the process there and give ideas on how to customize your sheet to track other things as well.
My own personal goal is to sew twice as much fabric as I buy and my rule is that I can’t ever get below that metric. But you don’t have to have the same goal. If a 2 to 1 ratio is too extreme you can decrease your multiplier to a number like 1.5 and that would give you a little more buying power while still shrinking your stash. If you are happy with the size of your stash and just want to maintain it, then you would enter a 1 in the multiplier field and this would keep you to a goal of only buying as much as you make. If you need to rapidly diminish your stash then you can increase your multiplier to 3 or 4. All the formulas will update based on your multiplier.
If you use the metric system, just change the Units to Meters and your chart will speak your language (providing it’s still English 😉
You can also change it to Skeins of yarn or Patterns, or whatever you might be hoarding over there.
To fill out your sheet you simply enter the date you purchased or used your fabric (optional), and the description of your action, like where you bought fabric from or what item you sewed. Then fill out the yardage in the corresponding bought or sewn column. Once you input a description, the formulas to the right will populate and let you know what your current standing is. It’s that simple! I love the feeling of earning the right to buy fabric, and this does just that.
If you want to print your chart to keep your tally in your sewing room to then input into Excel at a later time you can do that, It’s formatted for printing. Do whatever works for you!
Are you In?
So that is it! Do you want to participate in the challenge? If you want to make a formal commitment or show your support, or get clarification on anything, leave a comment and accept challenge. If you make your commitment on social media use the hashtag #STASHSHRINKER.
On 1/9/18 I updated the document to V2, with these listed changes. Please re-download if you would like the most updated version. (1) Changed the number formatting in the final column to allow fractional yardage (2) added more rows (3) unlocked the cells adjacent to the chart.
On 2/9/18 I updated the document to V4 which fixed the formula in column G that notifies you when you have to sew your stash. It now references your multiplier correctly. I also updated the permissions which allow you to change fonts, add columns, adjust widths, etc. while still keeping the appropriate cells locked.
Note: This spreadsheet is supported in Microsoft Excel. That is what I have and because I am making it available for free I am not able to support it in a wide variety of programs. I understand it should also work in iWork Numbers, Google Drive, LibreOffice and Dropbox mobile (The last three are free). It is not supported in OpenOffice at this time. Please email me if you find any bugs. I want to keep this updated and working smoothly for as many people as I possibly can. Thank you!, My email is in my About Page.