My Scrap Storage Method

Posted on January 26, 2017 by prairiemoonquilts in Organizing, Stash Tales, Studio Organizing Challenge

Several of you said “yes”, you’d like to see how I store my smaller scraps, so today, I’m here to show you how I do that.

My theory is that if something isn’t organized, it’s hard to use. If I can’t readily find what I’m looking for, I’ll end up not using it, and using something else, and probably making a bigger mess in the long run.

So . . . I keep my pre-cut scraps, and my little shapes I save, fairly organized.

Most all of it lives in this end of my cutting table:

On the bottom shelf, I have a large bin for 1 1/2″ strips, a large bin for 2 1/2″ strips, and my string bucket.

The middle shelf holds little baskets with tiny pieces, sorted by color, that I use for appliqué, when my appliqué project calls for little pieces. I have cut LOTS of leaves and berries from these baskets! The five baskets hold the following color groupings:


The top shelf holds my bins for the rest of the pre-cuts. They are cut into the following sizes:

1 1/2″ squares
2″ squares
2″ strips
2 1/2″ squares
3 1/2″ squares
3 1/2″ strips
4″ squares
5″ squares
6″ squares
7″ squares
8 1/2″ squares

The 6″, 7″, and 8 1/2″ squares are in the bags on the end. The rest are in the bins, labelled. They are not sorted by color.

I also have 10″ squares in one of the drawers in my rolling cart. I use these when a pattern calls for a layer cake, or I use them to piece backings. I also use the 8 1/2″ squares to piece backings for scrap quilts.

On the other end of the cutting table, I also have a bucket for scraps of irregular shapes that I use for appliqué, (right now I’m using a lot of them in my Tile Quilt), and I also use them for “made fabric” Victoria-style.

I’m working on several scrap quilts that use various sizes, so when I’m cutting up my scraps, if any of them fit those projects, I put those pieces with those projects in their bag or bin, ready to sew.

One of my projects is called MixMash, and it uses 1 1/4″ strips, so if something is smaller than 1 1/2″, and fits my color scheme for that, it goes in there. If it’s not the colors I’m using in MixMash, then it goes into my string bucket.

AND . . . I’m making a locker-hooked rug that uses strips 1 1/8″ wide, so if the strips fit that project, I use them for that.

I save trimmed triangles, and sew them together into these little blocks:

The extra triangles I’m not using in that quilt, I give to my friend, Barb, along with all my selvages.

Some of these bins are getting quite full, so my plan this year is to make projects that will use them up, because I’m always making more scraps to put in them!

And anything smaller than all the above that really isn’t big enough to do anything with? It all goes into recycle, and one of our guild members collects it and delivers it to a place where they do something with it to make other products. So nothing goes to waste! I like that part.

Bonnie Hunter has outlined her Scrap User’s System here, if you’d like to read up on it and see if it’s for you.

Heather at the Sewing Loft has some really cute ideas for scrap storage.

You can watch Susan Claire, The Gourmet Quilter, show you how she stores her leftovers.

Do you have a system for storing your scraps?

10 responses to “My Scrap Storage Method”

  1. Lori says:

    Look at you! Miss Organized!

    I do keep strings in separate drawers, and strips of various widths in separate gallon bags. But the organization kinda stops there. I have a huge basket, which is overflowing onto the floor at this very moment of oddly shaped scraps that need to be cut into something useful. And then there is my cutting table…piled high. Sigh…

  2. Kathy Fraser says:

    I am impressed. You’re really doing a great job. I wish my sewing room was larger, but alas, sigh, it isn’t. So a lot of my fabric is stored in bins downstairs. But at least I have a sewing room. I am greatful for that.
    I am in hopes to go through all my stash this summer and sort it out.
    Right now I am in the Emergency room with hubby again. This time they think he might have pneumonia. Here we go again. I hate winter!!!

  3. Wendy says:

    I use the shift method. When one pile gets to high, I shift it to another spot! hahaha. Just kidding. I’m not quite as organized as you, but I have most of my scraps in a three-drawer bin. They are all various sizes and all the colors are mixed in together. So, my question is, do you take time to cut your scraps into strips, squares, etc. or are those pieces just leftover from other projects, or both? I’ve tried taking the time to cut my scraps into strips, etc., but I get bored. So I just cut them as I use them, which is why they are in the three bins.

  4. Scarlett Ragas says:

    I wish my scraps were this organized! Mine are just shoved into two (or more) large tubs. I have great plans to be organized…lol. Moving into my bigger studio will help, right?! Thanks for sharing, Shelly!

  5. I don’t have all of the small pieces saved, but I do have strings and strips of all sizes sorted by color into tubs, and 2.5″ strips in a bin. My blue strip tub is overflowing so I was also thinking I need to make something to get that down a bit! We will see what comes out of that!

  6. Debra says:

    Great system and tips! I seem to save more scraps than I use. My storage containers are labeled based on my Accuquilt dies by size; strip, HST, QST, squares up to 5″ and wedges. My FQ and larger scraps are are stored together by color. Once my cutting bin is full, I separate the scraps then decide if I want to cut them into sizes or donate them to a charity that uses them for string quilts. I especially like that you cut larger pieces, 8.5″ and 10″ squares, something that I don’t do but am now considering.

  7. Kat says:

    thank for this, I can use some of your ideas. Great Post

  8. Meloney says:

    I have too many scraps and have been using them for about 6 months. You won’t be able to tell that, but most of the drawers are able to be closed.
    I am currently doing the Winter Solstice blocks with Pat Sloan using the floral prints that is in the drawer that won’t close.

  9. Wow!! It looks like you’ve really got a handle on your scraps. That is, unless there’s MORE that you’re not showing us!! LOL

  10. Yvonne says:

    The too small pieces of fabric and batting that can’t be used for quilting or other crafts – use for stuffing animal beds for the local animal shelter. I use my “ugly” fabric or yardage that people give me that is not quilt fabric and sew it on 3 sides. It sits on the end of my cutting table and I put the too small stuff in it. When 2/3 full, sew the open end shut and there is a lovely nesting bag for animals. Our local humane shelter can’t get enough of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *