Instagram Destash

How to: Instagram Fabric Destash ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

Over the last few months, I’ve started to feel a bit suffocated by the amount of fabric I’ve accumulated. I love it all, and it’s awesome to have options on hand when I’m working on a projects, but let’s be honest – there is no way I am going to use all the fabric in my sewing room. On Monday I decided to lighten my load a bit and send some fabric to new homes.

In some cases, the decisions were hard. I love so many of these prints.

How to: Instagram Fabric Destash ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

I thought I would share a bit about how I ran my destash in case anyone was interested in doing the same. I got a lot of great tips from my friend Katie. (Hi Katie!)

I decided to run my destash on Instagram. Instagram is a App on smartphones where you can take pictures and share them with others. There is a huge quilting community there, it’s a lot of fun!

First, I spent some time going through all my fabric. I store my fabric in tubs (you can see a picture on my FAQ page). I sorted through one color at a time and pulled anything I thought I could destash. My criteria were:

1. Fabric I had already used in several projects (I was ready to move on).
or
2. Fabric that was same shade of color as several other fabrics I planned on keeping.
or
3. Fabric that had been in my stash for 1+ years and I had never used.

Once I had pulled everything, I made bundles. Some were sets of matching designs (Sketch or Mono Pez for example). Others were based on color. And a few were based on type of fabric, like linen. I tried to size the stacks to fit in a USPS Flat Rate Envelope. I ended up with over 40(!!) stacks.

How to: Instagram Fabric Destash ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

I went through and weighed all my stacks with a postal scale. I placed a notecard on top of each stack with a unique stack number, the weight, the approximate yardage based on weight (I used 6 ounces per yard), and a price that I thought was fair (and most importantly, would sell).

Then I took a photo of each stack and posted the information on Instagram. I included the hashtag #thegreatfabricdestash on each post. The first person to leave a comment with their email address (or “ME!”) got the stack.

How to: Instagram Fabric Destash ~ Fresh Lemons Quilts

Katie suggested I make a spreadsheet to track everything and that was the best advice. I opened Excel and had a column for: Stack Number, Price, Description, Winner Email, Winner Instagram Id, Invoice Number, Paid Flag, and Shipped Flag. This made it so much easier to track 40+ sales and packages.

Once the sale was over, I used PayPal’s invoicing tool to send invoices to all my winners. It’s very easy to use, just keep in mind you do have to pay PayPal fees. I also used PayPal to print shipping labels. I shipped everything USPS Priority Mail.

I’m not going to lie. It was tough. (Mentally and physically – this process took me an entire day). But it was also surprisingly therapeutic and freeing. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And don’t worry, I still have a ton of fabric. But less than I did a week ago.

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46 Comments

  1. Reply

    Murphyboyd

    April 23, 2014

    I LOVE the telephone fabric! Sooooo cute and begs to be quilted with.

  2. Reply

    Susan

    April 23, 2014

    Nice destash. I am sure there are a lot of happy quilters out there with new to them fabric.

  3. Reply

    Yolanda in Cali

    April 23, 2014

    Good morning Faith, my husband and I jusr made a small joke about my sewing room this week as the ladies and ihead off to Paducah, KY to the Grand daddy of all quilt shows! I love your idea about how to destash the abundance of fabrics. I too will take some time commit to moving on to and liberating my sewing room. Thank you for sharing your overwhelming experience.

  4. Reply

    Maureen Cracknell

    April 23, 2014

    I started writing a destashing blog post yesterday. It. is. time! I’m having difficulty making decisions, but it needs to happen! Thanks for the tips Faith!!

  5. Reply

    Diane

    April 23, 2014

    Good day Faith,
    Love the destash concept, although I’m still building my stash, the tips are applicable to sorting my existent stash, thank you!.
    I’ve also learned of freecycle, a yahoo group, will be checking that for my charitable sewing and quilting projects.

  6. Reply

    Jackie

    April 23, 2014

    I watched your Instagram destash. You handled it well and if I remember correctly, mailed everything out within 2 days Unfortunately, not all IG destashers are as trustworthy. I was careful who I purchased from – a prominent blogger. A month later, nothing and no response to an email that was sent a week or so ago.

    That said, it can often be good to lighten the load and it gives others a chance to gain some coveted fabric!

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 23, 2014

      Jackie – I’m so sorry about your experience! That’s the worst. I would definitely keep trying to get ahold of the person.

      Yes, I should have also written that everything shipped the day after payment was made. I know people are eager to get their fabric (and I was eager to get it out of my sewing space! :))

    • Reply

      KingmanQuilter

      April 23, 2014

      Jackie – you’ve just identified one of the best reasons to use PayPal as your “escrow” tool for online purchases. If your purchase was made via PayPal, file a grievance on the PayPal site. Your money will be refunded to your cc or PayPal account; the seller will be dinged….I hope this helps.

  7. Reply

    KingmanQuilter

    April 23, 2014

    Your destash was one of the coolest things I’ve seen on IG. Not only was it wonderfully colorful, but it was so fun to watch just how FAST everything moved! I was fully entertained while cleaning house on Monday; each time I walked through the living room I’d stop and check my phone to catch up on the action.
    No time to take a moment and “think about it”, because when I’d come back 15 minutes later, the selection was spoken for. Loved, loved, loved it – was eCommerce at its finest!! Nice job, Faith…..

  8. Reply

    candy

    April 23, 2014

    OK I have never been on instagram but think now I’m missing out so need to explore. Sounds like you did a tremendous amount of work but I have a stash to get out the door too so gives me ideas. Thanks

  9. Reply

    Pam

    April 23, 2014

    I think you did it well. I have a hard time winning anything since I live in the sticks and internet access is not that great. I do love IG though. I’ve made friends I wouldn’t have otherwise.

  10. Reply

    Danette

    April 23, 2014

    I am so going to do this! Great idea.

  11. Reply

    Liz Fong

    April 23, 2014

    The guild that I belong to allows us to sell our “stash” at our annual quilt show. I have not done this before so I am compiling those fabrics in the corner of my sewing room! It looks very similar to your “destash-ing!”

  12. Reply

    Dana Henry

    April 23, 2014

    I love the de-stash concept. I’m still building my little stash, but at some point I will have to do the same.

  13. Reply

    JulieAnn

    April 23, 2014

    Faith, I am so late to the party and sooooo sorry. I loved the fabric and would have loved even more to have it arriving at my house. Maybe next time. Congratulations to all who have added this wonderful stash to their stashes!

  14. Reply

    liveacolorfullife

    April 23, 2014

    Faith, thanks for describing your process and organization with excel, etc. I don’t know much about excel but could probably figure this out? Anyway, I think Instagram has made it so much easier to destash. When it first started, on a whim I listed two fat quarter bundles. They sold within minutes and I shipped them out the next day. It was awesome. My husband was impressed.

  15. Reply

    angela

    April 23, 2014

    sorry I missed the chance at some great fabric. I guess I have to get on instagram.

  16. Reply

    Debbie Rines

    April 23, 2014

    Loved today’s blog on de-stashing. Inspiration for all of us I’m sure.
    While digging a little deeper into your blog, (which I never have time to do) I found the Ice Cream Dress. It is the cutest. I see it is a really old blog so is there any hope of finding out about the pattern and where I could get it?? Would just love to make that for my granddaughter. By the way your little model is just darling. Thanks for your help and thank you for sharing so much. It’s always fun when you pop up in my email.

    Debbie

  17. Reply

    Malini

    April 23, 2014

    Great idea! I would have to start doing some De-stashing as well!

  18. Reply

    kathyh

    April 23, 2014

    Reminder to think of donating fabric (tax write-off – photos required and suggested per-yard price are available on many tax programs).

    1. quilting group on street always needs cottons for their Linus Quilts. I believe they passed 3500- made quilts this year – which they in turn donate to local hospitals for children in need.

    2. 4-H leader friend who teaches sewing. Her girls want to play on knits & cottons.

    3. local thrift store (Kiwanis) will take everything else.

    All three of these are non-profits – worthy of the above-mentioned tax write-off.

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 23, 2014

      Great suggestions Kathy!

    • Reply

      Vanessa

      April 23, 2014

      I second kathyh’s suggesting of donation, especially 4-H clubs. I’m a county agent and we have youth who want to sew but don’t have fabrics nor much money to buy fabric. Call your local Extension Service to find a 4-H club 🙂 They will really appreciate your generosity!

  19. Reply

    Samantha

    April 23, 2014

    I’m in the process of relocating my sewing room, and have spent the last week up to my elbows in nearly 20(!) years of stash… Some of it needs to move on! I wonder, do you have tips for reaching a large audience on IG? I don’t have a ton of followers and I wonder if the hashtag #thegreatfabricdestash would help to reach beyond my normal audience?

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 23, 2014

      Yes, definitely. Many people search that particular hashtag and it is the best way to reach those looking for fabric.

      • Reply

        Samantha

        April 23, 2014

        Thanks, Faith- now all I need to do is overcome my hoarding tendencies and pick fabric to part with…

  20. Reply

    Amy McAllister

    April 23, 2014

    I am sorry I missed this! I have used #thegreatfabricdestash too and it is work, but very satisfying to get fabric into the hands of folks that will use it.

  21. Reply

    Deb H.

    April 23, 2014

    Would be nice if those of us without instagram could participate.

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 23, 2014

      Sorry you weren’t able to participate Deb! The reason I chose Instagram is because it is free for me to sell the bundles there and it is an extremely quick way to destash the fabric. In the past I’ve sold through Etsy, but there are listing fees and commissions taken out of each sale. It really adds up, because PayPal then also charges fees.

      There could be a way to view and comment on Instagram posts in your browser rather than on a phone. I’d start by searching on Google, maybe “online Instagram account”, and see what you can find out. Good luck!

  22. Reply

    Lee @ Freshly Pieced

    April 23, 2014

    Awesome post! Thank you for conveniently collecting all these thoughts for me. : )

  23. Reply

    Tamie

    April 23, 2014

    Sorry I missed out. It looks like you had some lovely items to share. Glad you are feeling “lighter”.

  24. Reply

    Rebekah walden

    April 23, 2014

    Adorable material. Where do you buy your fabric. I’m having trouble locating pretty reasonably priced fabric

  25. Reply

    Katy Mccoy

    April 23, 2014

    While this was interesting, why tell us after the fact? A quick announcement before posting to Instagram would have been nice. I can only subscribe to so many things and I’m not going to spend hours on Instagram waiting for someone to post a destash. Sorry to sound like a curmudgeon – and please feel free to delete. I very rarely comment, and even more rarely post a negative comment but this seemed like an invitation to skip the blog and move to Instagram. Usually I’ve found your blog interesting and helpful.

    Kathryn

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 23, 2014

      I’m sorry you are disappointed Kathryn. I blogged about the process only to help others who wanted to learn about destashing their own fabric – spread the knowledge. Honestly, with so much information coming at me and things to do, I have to spread out my methods of communicating. I do try to post thought out and meaningful information here on my blog 2 to 3 times a week – the gathering of content and blogging is no small task. It is a full time job for me and I do hope you and others appreciate what I try to provide in this location.

      • Reply

        Susan

        April 24, 2014

        Thank you for sharing your experience. I am new to quilting and welcome any input I can get. I’m glad you had success!

  26. Reply

    Melissa Quinn

    April 23, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your tips! I need to destash soon but keep postponing because I couldn’t think of how I would organize it. You’re eliminating my excuses!

  27. Reply

    Adele

    April 23, 2014

    Oh lordy lordy…… I feel sick that I missed out on some great fabric! I can’t bring myself to destash, it would be like selling one of your children (sort of…). Well done you!
    Love your work.

  28. Reply

    Daily

    April 24, 2014

    kinda understand ur stashing … i have same problem with yarn … 🙂 come visit me sometimes

  29. Reply

    Donna

    April 24, 2014

    Hi!
    I’ve only just discovered your blog, but have signed to follow now.
    I love your de-stash idea. I’m going through something similar with all my craft supplies at the moment, but rather than go through the trouble of selling them, I’m giving the majority of them to our local children’s hospice for the kids to enjoy. Will sell some of the rest, but would prefer to know those kids are enjoying it!
    Donna x

  30. Reply

    Trish

    April 24, 2014

    Just found this. What an amazing idea

  31. Reply

    Missy

    April 24, 2014

    Great post! Looking to do something similar and appreciate the tips. Thx!

  32. Reply

    bobbi

    April 24, 2014

    I need to destash big time! 🙁 I have no idea what to charge though. Do you just get rid of FQ’s? Did you do a scrap bag type item too?
    Thanks,
    Bobbi

    • Reply

      Faith

      April 24, 2014

      I don’t have a ton of FQ’s, but I could see them going in a set of all FQs and being really attractive to buyers. 🙂 I’ve done scrap bags in the past, but not this time. My scraps are usually small though – I keep everything. 🙂 So applique sized.

  33. Reply

    Diana Nelson

    April 28, 2014

    Just read your email re destash and will have to try it myself as I have much too much myself. Thanks for the idea and of course your blog.

  34. Reply

    Claire

    April 29, 2014

    I had acquired a vast amount of “stash” especially after a very wonderful fabric shop dissolved; also a Bernini Dealer where I purchased my 630 Artista. (and still using it). I just had way to much and decided to donate much of it to various rescue groups and church groups for A. raising money by selling and auctioning groups for animal rescue and B. for several church groups making quilts for overseas, military and children.. it was the best decision I could have made.

  35. Reply

    Sarah

    May 12, 2014

    Oh those Instagram destashes are deadly! I went a bit crazy on the Australian one just recently. I’ve sold some stuff on them before too. Great idea with the spreadsheet if you’ve got lots of bundles moving. You’re pretty ruthless. I thought about using the one year rule, but think I have to extend it to two years! I still have some stuff from last year I’m too attached to.

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