How to Downsize a Sewing Studio


Downsizing a 25-foot-square sewing studio to half that size was challenging and a bit depressing. Once we decided to make the 1,000+-mile move from Pennsylvania to Florida, I read all of the articles, blogs, etc., I could find on how to pack and move a sewing studio efficiently. But no matter how much homework I did, nothing prepared me for the physical and mental tasks of purging, packing, and moving.

I was overwhelmed by the size of my stash and spent a lot of time just shuffling items around. Finally, as time ticked away, I had to force myself to sort through my stashes – felted wool, cotton and other fabrics, patterns, books, buttons, decorative threads, beads, tools, and more. I made piles on my six-by-eight-foot cutting table – “keep”, “maybe”, and “outta here”! First, the “keeps” were packed into plastic storage bins large and small. I chose to keep most of my tools and threads, about 75% of my felted and mostly hand-dyed wool collection, one large bin of select fat quarters, fabric purchased for specific projects, and fabric I just couldn’t live without. Then on to the “maybes”. If I had any space in the “keeps” bins, I jammed in some “maybes”. And I think a few bins of just “maybes” squeaked through.

My daughters and sister, all quilters and sewists, had first pick of anything that was not making the move. Then my quilting/sewing friends, then my library’s book sale, my church’s rummage sale, and finally Goodwill. I had a LOT of fabric and a LOT of books. My youngest daughter inherited my beloved cutting and sewing tables, my buddy Joyce replaced her stacks of fabric-filled Rubbermaid bins with my two storage closets, and my oldest daughter took home about 50+ pounds of buttons.

I did make some great finds during the process – about 10 yards of batting, a set of Hoffman Bali Pops that I couldn’t find for about a year, and a number of as-yet-untested quilting tools. But there were some sad moments, too – fabrics purchased years ago for projects for my now-grown children, about a quarter of my felted wool collection that I knew I just didn’t have room for in Florida, and more than half of my beloved collection of books. I’m glad that the items that I could not take with me went on to find new homes, and I like to think that my “losses” have made a lot of people very happy.

More on the move later…