Organizing scraps….oh boy

Hello again!

First of all I want to thank all of you who left your thoughtful comments and suggestions on my last blog post~ I really appreciated them and considered them all very carefully. The one suggestion I got the most was to place my machine by the window. You all enjoy looking out while you’re sewing I guess ;).  If I was looking out while sewing I would probably sew my fingers! All kidding aside, I thought this suggestion over a lot, and in the end decided that having my machine under the window would

  1. not allow me to get to my windows easily to open and close them
  2.  put me on “display” at night
  3. allow me a view of the neighbor’s driveway~not the most inspiring view.

I am up and down all the time to press and cut and trim, so every time I stand up I can enjoy the view. And having my machine face into the room allows me to interact with other people more easily (not to mention that I can stop belting out my false tunes as soon as I notice someone coming in..hahahahaha). In the end, I am going to keep furniture where it is for now and live with it for a while. Then I’ll make changes if they make sense.

I have yet to spend a lot of time enjoying my new sewing space. Most of my time has been spent sorting, because I would really like my new space to be as organized as possible. I realized that I didn’t use a lot of my items ( both for quilting and stamping) because they either weren’t accessible, or not visible. I am hoping to address both those issues with my organizational plans. Today I will share a few hints on how I’m organizing my scraps. Some of these ideas may work for you, or they may not. Over the years I have read and seen many ideas. I have tried some ideas but have come to the conclusion that what works for one person’s space/personality/hobbies does not necessarily work for the next person.

This is what I tried in the past: I had a rolling cart ( the kind with 3 big drawers), divided into color groups ( red/pink, blue/green, and white/yellow/brown/black). In these drawers I would throw any pieces left over from projects that weren’t big enough to be considered a Fat Quarter.

rolling carts for storage

The problem was that the pieces got thrown in and were therefore very messy and wrinkly and it was hard to open the drawers, as well as to find anything ( as a matter of fact, I hardly ever looked in there, instead I would grab a new FQ off the shelf).

So I took out every one of those scraps and ironed and cut and organized them ( a long process and I vow to keep on top of this task on a weekly basis from now on( hey,  a girl can dream, right?!).

Then I organized my scraps by shape and color. If it was easily made into a strip size (more about that in a minute), I cut it into a strip. If it was almost a FQ, I trimmed it and folded it into a square, and if it was an oddball shape, I trimmed it a bit, ironed, and folded ( if necessary).


I know some quilters will cut all their scraps into strips. But what if you need a little piece for applique? Or for a collage quilt? If everything is cut into strips, that probably won’t work. This is why I wanted to keep my oddball shaped pieces as pieces. I bought some smaller plastic container with lids and organized my scraps that were not strips or almost FQ size by color in those. Then I labeled the outside with the color. My containers are all stackable so that is handy. Now if I need a certain color for applique, I just grab that container and find what I need.

My scraps that were cut into strips, I placed into larger plastic bins with lids and I labeled all the outsides with their sizes.


So my strip boxes have colors of all sorts, but the strips in each container are all the same size. So now if I am making a quilt that calls for certain size strips, I can pull out that bin and have strips ready to go.

I purchased all my containers at Walmart and they were very affordable, especially because I bought them in multi-packs. Previously I had some strips organized in shoeboxes. I found that these were a little small, and the nonuniformity of them was bugging me ( but if money is tight, shoeboxes are a great, FREE option!).

I don’t have any way of knowing if this system is going to work well or not. Only time will tell, but I will certainly let you know how I like it and if I actually use my scraps now ;). I can tell you that I got very tired of ironing and sorting scraps so I took my box of “strings” and just started sewing them into these fun blocks:

And my box of strings is actually getting empty!

Next week  I will share how I organized my quilt books because this week’s post is already wayyyyyy too long. And p.s., next week’s post will have a give-away because I found a double book…only 1, not too bad ;).

And if anything is not clear about my organization, please ask! I am happy to explain more if necessary.

Until next time~happy creating!




33 thoughts on “Organizing scraps….oh boy

  1. Your the best! I love your site. I too cut my left overs in strips thin or fat depending on leftover. No plastic containers, but I label everything. I too organize my books by theme. Seems to work quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like you, I don’t sew looking out of my window. I would prefer seeing other people in the house and I can look around when I walk to the ironing board. I purposefully placed it across the room so I get some steps in when I need to press something. Thank you for your organization tips.


  2. It’s a little insane but I think I’ll give it a go, this organizing thing. I just put my scraps in a bag and once in awhile grab a few and sew them together however they go and see what happens. When a piece gets big enough I turn it into something.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is pretty much how I ended up doing mine as well! I was going to do like some where I cut them into certain size squares etc, but I do so much applique and EPP that I like to keep my oddball shapes as well! I do keep my strips separate because I was attempting a strip scrap quilt…I saw on Pat Sloans blog or somewhere that she used 2 1/2 in squares as her stitching starter and then when she has a bunch she makes it into a quilt so I thought I will cut a bunch of muslin foundation squares and keep my strips by my machine and sew a strip down as my starter each time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen a bunch of quilts lately that were made with starters and enders so that is another great way to keep those scraps under control for sure.
      And yes, unless you always make scrappy strippy quilts, you need those oddball shapes for sure.:)


  4. I too have all my scraps in a rolling cart and I can hardly get the drawers open so your post inspired me to get some clear bins and do the same thing and then I would be most likely to use my scraps. I always enjoy reading your blog and your Facebook site Monique. I always get such good inspiration from you and the other ladies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great idea! I had a bunch of those plastic shoe boxes from Dollar Tree that I was no longer using. This will be a perfect way to organize scraps. I sure LOVE your blog!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m working on part 1. Taking quite a bit of work. I had wondered about the books and magazines. And now you have answered my question. That will be worked on also. Thank you. I love your posts!


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