It is often a topic no one wants to face, but being asked to deal with the stash inherited by a bewildered, grieving spouse happens to us, the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild, more often than you might think. On each occasion, the quilter’s sewing room contents are donated to us without any strings attached. Here is a list of considerations before holding that inevitable yard sale.
Before the yard sale
- Create an ad hoc committee to develop a dispersal plan for a really large collection. We once had a donation of two storage containers of fabric!
- Have your Comfort Quilt Committee (or any other committee) select usable fabric, batting, thread and completed quilts before any other action.
- Be cognizant of introducing a large amount of fabric into your region and how it will affect the businesses and livelihood of any local fabric shops. Please try to disperse the fabric far afield.
- Give some fabric to groups who make charity quilts, for example Quilts of Valour. Our guild used some donated fabric in our Big Quilting Bee quilts!
- Take some boxed fabric to an inter-guild meeting and hold a free draw.
- Set some prepackaged bundles aside for guild challenge prizes or appreciation gifts for guild members.
- Donate finished quilts to service and charity groups to raffle or auction off at their own fundraiser (Hospice, Festival of Trees, Food Banks, etc.).
- Find out what quilting items your local 4H® quilt club could use (rulers, cutting boards, etc.).
- Have your guild Library Committee select out any books to add to the guild library.
- Send sun-faded or slightly damaged fabric to a Salvation Army thrift shop.
- Donate any acrylic yarn to your local Snuggles group, who make 6-inch squares destined for South Africa.
- If the donation includes a sewing machine, give guild members their first chance to make an offer and take offers over several days.
At the yard sale
- You may need to have several themed yard sales, which you may spread over several meetings. This method works well if there are a lot of quilts, books, gadgets, craft supplies or garment-type fabrics.
- Offer everything at a price that can’t be refused. Place items into batches. As storage totes empty, sell them too!
- Consider a silent auction table with a suggested minimum bid for any high-quality items.
- A free table might come in handy for those out-of-date, unidentified items.
After the yard sale
- Donate unsold, still-valid patterns, gadgets and craft supplies to a community care centre for seniors, a thrift shop or a hospital auxiliary shop.
- Make another trip to the Salvation Army thrift shop with leftover fabric.
- Recycle unwanted patterns.
Have your Executive Committee decide what to do with the yard sale proceeds. Large amounts of cash could involve input from the membership, too. Our local Hospital Equipment Fund benefited from our most recent stash dispersal efforts!
Be accountable by reporting back to the donor, the guild membership and the public by having a memorial display at your next quilt show.
Janet Reader Day is a member of the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild.