Sorting and SUUDDS-ing

Overwhelmed with the need to sort your supplies and make sense of them?

Sort your quilting fabrics and scrapbooking papers in roughly the same manner. This acronym will help us. SUUDDS Yep, sort of like washing the dishes!

Here we go--SUUDDS and SORT
OK are we ready? I came up with this approach for my own stash. I call it the SUUDDS approach to washing out the stash DUDS!


Ask yourself the following questions for each item in this color stack.

Be honest Do you have over 30 sheets of this exact paper? Twenty fat quarters exactly alike? If you have 30 sheets or more of the exact same paper for your personal use, why? If it was not designated for a specific album, then you really may have too much of the same thing. Even neutral and plain cardstock of over 30 sheets identical is getting to be LOTS for any one person. You don't run a
store. And if you are a consultant or shop owner of some sort with a big inventory, that consumer-destined paper should not even really be mixed in with your personal supply should it?

Paper and fabric don't really 'go bad' especially in neutrals but come on....Don't hoard. Honestly, I say if you have more than 6 of any one paper-- and it is not for a specific page set yet--consider gifting a few. that's surplus. Same for fabrics. If your surplus is bothering you, sort it out. The only exceptions here might be stocking up for people who live in remote areas and don't have local stores handy to replenish basic colors. Otherwise, use it or lose it. You won't miss it.

Start with the obvious. Is this item-- by first impression to YOU --flat out ugly? Yes? Well, put in donate pile--easy right? Not ugly? Keep going to next question with this same item. But you'd be surprised how many ugly pieces we all have in our stashes! If you are not going to actually USE it, time for it to go. Which brings us to our next question....

Ok it's not ugly, but do you have a use for this piece RIGHT NOW with the projects you have ready to work on in your home? Did you buy this with a specific project in mind? Yes? keep it. Consider starting a kit with it very soon. NO immediate use? You'd think you can still keep it on hand right? Not yet.....go on to the next question.

Is this stock mediocre in quality or in color scheme? In other words, of all the items you own in this color stack, is this really the most vibrant and true of THIS color? Some teals are dull; some are vibrant. Face it, even national brand name vendor lots don't all match up on quality. If this batch is a dud in the vibrancy dept even in it's own color scheme, donate it. If that fabric is flawed or loosly woven, will you use it? Be honest with yourself. What are your TRUE preferences? Some of my scrapbook slab papers are dull and others are great...even within the same pack. If it's dull, let it go.  Ok if it passes the dullness test, let's move it on to the next question.

When you see this item, even though it is not ugly or dull and it may have some it really, really dated? Being dated means you can tell it is 3 to 5 years or more old. Really dated means over 5 years to 15 years. If the answer is yes, does this fact bother you at all?? Triple yes might mean donate. If it seems dated but this is NOT really a big issue for you, bravo! It can stay but only if you will truly USE it. Scrappy quilters and scrapbookers like me will know just what I mean! But if dated is not so desirable to YOU, let that piece go bye-bye. No guilt.

Don't trick yourself about your style. Know WHY you bought that fabric or paper. Did you buy it with your buddies at a convention? Are those fat quarters from a special sewing retreat or a trip to a foreign country? Good times.  Does it remind you of an event--even though you have already scrapbooked that event? Is it just plain Yummy looking and it reminds you of a warm happy place in your "shopping nirvana zone"?

Really --do you know you that in your heart of hearts you will never EVER find a use for that fake leather paper that you can't die cut, can't tear, can't scissor cut, and have no imaginable use for other than you HAD to have it one Saturday? Then let it GO! Sentiment is NOT a reason to keep a
product if it has no possible future use to YOU. Specialty fabric and papers often represent 'potential' of something we want to try or learn or do as a craft. Saying no to a product or tool is not the same as saying no to your own creativity.

For example, if you know in your heart that altering things and collagey things are NOT your style, then GIFT those kinds of kits or items it to someone else. If you know bold batiks fabrics are just not YOU, let them go. I may love fabric with little lambies on it and cute baby motifs but I have to say NO to myself because I have absolutely no use for that right now. One thing about retail, they will make MORE current adorable new stuff if I ever really do need it.

You can do this!
If you run this method a few times you get faster and faster at it. After you give a few items in your stash the SUUDDS treatment, you will just whip through quicker and quicker. Piece by piece you can analyze if it will really do the job for you. If it can't pass all the steps in this SUUDDS test, that stash item really isn't earning its real estate space in the craft room.

SUUDDS. say the keywords over and over a few times--or write them down.


 Donate what you are getting rid of to a worthy cause. Clean up your stash!
Once you make a decision to donate or gift something away, don't forget to follow up and put it in your car so you will actually DO IT!

Sort your keepers by color family.  More on that in a future post. Above all--have fun sorting!

(copyright 2008 Kathleen Aho aka Nana Bluebird)