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.
Stash Shrinker Free Tool by SewJournersWe 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!
Stash Shrinker Free Tool by SewJournersI 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:
Stash Shrinker Free Tool by SewJournersThis 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:

Stash Shrinker V4

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. 
Multiplier:
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.
Units:
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.
Other Inputs:
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.

Version Updates:
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.

88 Comments

  1. Thank you for this spreadsheet. I’ve been wanting something like this. I do have a question, l’ve only put in a few makes but the “verdicts” columns show #err on both lines. Is there something more I need to do to correct these columns?

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely give it a try. I have committed to no RTW purchases this year and part of that goal is to shrink my stash. This is great motivation.

  3. I love it. Thanks for such a great tool! I’m definitely up for the challenge. Happy sewing!

  4. This is so cool! Thank you, thank you! I need to shrink my stash and I think this will be a great motivator as it tells me when I am “allowed” to buy. Very excited to start sewing and using this.

  5. Yay! I love to sew, I love to track and I love Excel (and I definitely have errrrh… Enough fabric in my stash)! This is great, I have downloaded your file and will get on with it. Thanks!

  6. Yep, I’m in! I need that stash to shrink dramatically so I can buy more of the fabrics I love, not just feel like I need to sew with the ones I already bought.

    • Okay I’ve downloaded it, but now I want to do more! Let’s say I want to shrink my stash by 10x for a few months, and then when I’m feeling recovered/like I can crawl out from under the fabric/see the daylight, I change my percentage to 2x. Can you make the spread sheet do that for me? I suppose I could duplicate it, and then copy and paste into the original with the new multiplier, or something?

      • Oh that sounds like a good plan, yes you could start a new spreadsheet, but let me think on it and see if I can come up with an idea for the Stash Shrinker 2000 😀

  7. Thanks – I can’t wait to use it. Also, I love playing around in Excel so thanks for the password.

  8. I saw this on Instagram and had to come over to get it myself! I’m always losing track of just how much is in my stash (blame all the canvas I bought to make bags from :P) so hopefully this will help me keep track, and not buy more until I’ve made enough from what I already have!

    • I totally get that! I used to have an Etsy shop and once I stopped it was hard to curb my buying habits.
      I hope this helps!

    • Exactly! It’s just like a diet, if it’s too extreme we give in and then binge. I hope this helps!

  9. This is great! I’ve been meaning to make something like this but dreaded the idea of having to go through my stash. This is so much better 🙂 Thanks so much!

    • I’m glad you like it! I need to at least take a picture of my stash so I can show the progress.

  10. Holly Rickerby Reply

    So much love!! I just started using it, and it’s so simple. With added bonus of I can easily keep track of my makes in the description. I’m also thinking it would work really well for skeins of yarn.

    • Yes it will work for lots of things! I’m keeping track of my makes too. I’m surprised I never used to do that.

  11. Its great, I switched to metres and went back slightly to just before a big fabric haul in late Dec. I have sewn 19m but bought 14m, so at 2:1 I have a way to go. I think it’s really helpful, as I would’ve allowed myself to buy more fabric next week as its February.

  12. Leona Collins Reply

    I’m in! I need need to reduce so I have more room. Wonderful idea. Thank you so much. Lee

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s great to have a hard-to-deny accountability tool to remind me of my stash-shrinking goals. Sometimes, when I’ve thought so much about making a particular piece of fabric into a particular garment, I can almost convince myself that I’ve actually done it, so I can go ahead and start buying for the next project! 😛 I especially appreciate the “sew that stash” prompt 🙂

  14. judyinthedyes2016 Reply

    Thank you for this! I have been trying to devise a system similar to this, and you’ve graciously taken all of the work out of it for me!

  15. I arrived here by way of a link that Ruthie posted on Carolyn’s Diary of a Sewing Fanatic blog. Thank you for creating this document and sharing it. I’ve just downloaded it. I have lofty goals for reducing stash this year! This will be a great tracking tool.
    Marji

  16. Love this and have it set up twice; once for fabrics and once for yarn (by the grams). I am allowing myself to buy once I have sewn 50 meters of fabric.

  17. Wow! That’s really cool! And not just for the stash busting aspect, but also to make me record and visualize at a glance how much I’ve sewn in the year! I tend to forget everything I’ve done and I lose any sense of accomplishment. This tool is like a pat on the back for me, which I sorely need. Since I’ve got no one around me to give me such encouragement, your spreadsheet is tremendously welcome! Thank you! And thanks to Meg McElwee (Sew Liberated) for the link in her newsletter to this blog entry! 😀

    • Oh this made my day! I can totally relate. I have not tracked my makes either until now, and social media makes it feel like people are churning multiple garments out per day, and I’m over here with my seam ripper for the umpteenth time LOL. It’s good to know what our actual output is 😉
      Thanks for sharing how you found this. I didn’t know she shared it 🙂

  18. I love this! I have been wanting to build a database to control my stash and notions for several months now. Is there anyway to add pictures to it? Thank you so much for sharing it.

  19. No way! I would not use something like this… EVER!!! I don’t need any guilt trips! There’s enough darkness around. Fabric is beautiful and when I need/want some, I buy it. It eventually gets used up, so no worries there.

    • Yes, this isn’t for everyone, but a lot of people (myself included) are really enjoying it and benefiting from it.

  20. cindy-liveacolorfullife Reply

    I’m SO glad I found this. My goal this year is to sew my stash and not buy anything, or at least drastically cut down on my purchases. I’ll definitely be using this to keep track.

  21. thank you for creating the spreadsheet! Love it and now I have to do the inventory on my stash to get it filled in… I needed to re-organize what I have so this is a great incentive to accomplish that task…
    thanks!

    • You’re welcome! You can do this without inventorying your current stash, but if you want to then by all means!

  22. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide this program. I keep my fabric info in a Filemaker database so was able to find out how many stash yards pretty easily. While I knew I had fabric for more garments than I’d probably ever need, it was a real eye opener to estimate how many garments the stash would make. Whew. Now there is no more “probably.” Ha. Read about this in Folkwear newsletter.

    • Thank you for letting me know how you found this. Yes I think this tool helps us have a realistic idea of what our output truly is. In many cases it is lower than we would like!

  23. This is a fabulous idea and just what I need! Thanks so much for this. Now I can systematically work on reducing what I’ve got by 2:1 so that I can buy better quality fabric. Thanks so much.

    • Exactly. My goal as well is to buy better quality fabric and I feel the expense is justified when the purchase quantity is responsible.

  24. I’m having a problem. I had 4 yards, I used 2 yards. The Verdict column both come up with #NAME?
    What am I doing wrong?

    • Can you send me an email so I can get a better understanding? My email is in my about page. If you can send me a screen shot that would work best, otherwise I’ll probably ask you a few more questions. Thank you!

    • Ohhh, Melfunk! I didn’t think to count donated fabric. I have a whole bag of fabric ends and incomplete garments that’s ready for donation. Now I’m debating if I can include that… ; )

      • I wondered about that too. It’s totally up to you how you want to do it. One idea is to maybe have a different metric for donated fabric. Like you could enter a few yards of donated fabric as one yard so it gives you some buying power, but not the same as if you sewed something with it. Just an idea….

  25. Just found this through a quilting magazine. It was my resolution for 2018, to make a charity quilt every month to reduce my stash. This way I can check that I am actually reducing my stash – brilliant, thank you.

  26. I’m so excited to try this! Some of it is almost like what I do now with a pencil and paper. Does it work on iPad or IMac? I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong to get the download. It takes me back to the blog.

    • There are several free programs that should work if you don’t have the iWork suite. LibreOffice is compatible with macOS 10.8 and up. It should also work on Google Drive. You would download it to your mac, upload it from Google Drive and then open it in Google Sheets. I think Dropbox mobile also can also run Excel. Hopefully one of those works for you!

  27. Hi sewingwithd. I haven’t been able to get it to work on my iMac. If you figure out how to do it, please let me know. I’d love to have a working version.
    All the best.

    • I couldn’t figure out how to get it to my iPad yet, but it did download into numbers in my iMac. Now that it’s there, I will try Michelle’s suggestion to put it on Google drive. (see her comment above).

  28. Thanks so much for this tool! I downloaded it a couple of hours ago, went back through orders to the beginning of the month and put those in and calculated how much I’d sewn as well. What fun! I love that it allows you to buy fabric when it’s due, like a reward system!

  29. Thank you so much for this spreadsheet and the inspiration to use up my stash instead of increasing it.

  30. Still using this and loving it. I’m at 73.5m and bought 42 m so far (I back dated to 30 Dec when I bought lots of fabric) so not achieving that parity yet. I have mine set at 2 to 1, though I am NOT including the 4 bags of fabric I have ready to give away. Finding it very easy to use and very helpful. Thank you.

  31. Thanks! It’s so nice to actually calculate this. Hopefully this will help control my impulsive fabric purchases!!

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