I’m getting ready to do a huge de-stash. When we finished our basement this summer and I moved out of my office space and into the new basement studio, I packed up box after box, and even though I was sure that I had eliminated every item I could POSSIBLY bear to live without, when I unpacked the boxes again in the new space–which combined the office with my home sewing space in our dining room–I found, really, appalling levels of fabric that I didn’t have room for and didn’t really need.
It made me feel sad inside.
Sad because I have accumulated so much, sad because the resources necessary to purchase, store, pack, move and maintain all these things for years (decades, in a few cases) could have been put to better use. Sad because many of these fabrics and notions and patterns are things I really LOVE, but that no one human could possibly be capable of utilizing in a given lifetime. I want to do two things by de-stashing, by selling these items to someone else: I want them to find a home where they can live out their destiny, and I want to re-direct the investment I made in them into a project I’m actually going to sew.
So here’s the deal. Over the next week, I’m posting fabric, notions, tools, and studio equipment to my Instagram account. I’m pricing them at or below what I paid for them when I purchased them, because seriously: they really need to go live with someone who loves them. And I’m DONATING 20% OF THE PURCHASE PRICE to my favorite charities (more on that below).
In addition, I’ve got some samples from both of my books, and some skirts from my Craftsy class, that I discovered when I was packing and unpacking. A few of these were giveaways on the blog that were never claimed, and others are treasures that were shipped back to me from the publisher or from trunk shows and have lived inside cardboard ever since. I’m going to auction these off to the highest bidder as part of the destash, and then GIVE 100% OF THE SALE PRICE of these auction items to the same charities.
Everyone wins, you guys. I meet my goal that nothing in my house lives in a box, you get a great deal on fabric that you want for holiday gifts, the fabrics and tools get used, and the charities get funds to continue their good work.
There are a handful of philanthropic organizations I go back to again and again, because I admire their focus on sending the most funding to the needy, and because I appreciate their perspective on HOW they help others–not only by air-lifting supplies, but by getting on the ground, asking what they can do, and working with local populations both domestic and abroad, to do the most good. As I sell my surplus fabrics + supplies, I’ll be sending 20% of all sales and 100% of all auction proceeds to these groups to benefit their work.
Charity: Water works to ensure that our earth’s only truly non-renewable resource is available, clean and healthy, to as many communities as possible. By sinking wells and directing ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of their donations directly to the projects they plant, they have brought fresh drinking water to thousands of communities around the world with an unparalleled level of transparency in their operations. Clean water that’s freely available in a community means more school for children, more time for family for mothers, fewer infectious illnesses, and better long-term environmental health for communities. It is an absolute game-changer that most of us take wildly for granted–a fact brought home this past year when Flint, Michigan struggled with their own water supply. I have donated my birthday to this group in the past, and love hearing the story of their founder’s journey to starting this incredible charity.
Days For Girls
Like Charity: Water, Days for Girls works to win back educational time for girls around the globe. In this case, girls miss school in their communities when they have their period and access to basic hygiene supplies is limited, forcing them to remain out of class and at home for the duration of their cycle–some of them finally quit school altogether, never to return. This group not only accepts cash donations, they also invite volunteers to sew re-usable menstrual pads and build + ship kits to girls around the world that make it possible for them to remain in the classroom and grow into the leaders their communities need for the future. It makes me tear up to think how something so small can change the entire world, but that’s exactly what this group does, and I am honored to donate to them.
This has long been one of my very favorite charities for one simple reason: Heifer International works WITH local communities, in the US and around the world, to provide locally- and culturally-specific assistance that helps individual families and then asks them to pay it forward. By sponsoring the purchase of one pair of breeding livestock for one family, not only can we allow that family to create a sustainable income for themselves over the long-term, but they can pass along the offspring from that pair to invite another family to do the same, creating a virtuous cycle that build up whole villages and communities with a very small gift. I love that the animals that are donated are very specific to the area of the world and the cultural practices of the families who receive them, and that Heifer has training facilities here in the US that teach traditional methods to American students. They also offer gift options that are perfect for the holidays–give something that isn’t a THING, but that shares a better life with others!
I think part of the theme of these organizations is that they ensure not just assistance, but DIGNITY for people in need. Local Atlanta charity re:Loom does the same thing, and has my heart for that. Some of the fabrics I discovered when I unboxed things weren’t anything that could be sold, they were just scraps–such small pieces that while they weren’t useless, couldn’t be easily used or stored. I boxed them back up and took them to re:Loom, where they will be turned into beautiful weavings in their Weavehouse, which employs low-income and homeless women from the Atlanta area and puts their feet on the path to self-sufficiency. It’s such a great concept, and the fact that they keep fabric out of landfills and turn it into something all of us would be proud to have in our homes creates a perfect circle of kindness.
De-stash starts TOMORROW on Instagram, details are posted there now! If you can’t participate, please consider donating to one of these organizations, or making a purchase from their online store. Let’s be the good we want to see in the world!