Hi! I am so happy to say that I finally, FINALLY got my large scrap stash organized.
I prefer not to throw anything out that could be put to good use, and I am thankfully blessed with the good sense to be able to imagine a use for any scrap. But having all my many scraps of all different sizes and shapes and contents stuffed into a big "barrel" pop-up hamper was definitely not working for me!
I have worked so hard on getting and keeping my sewing room clean and organized, and this was the last problem to solve. I want to make art quilts to raise money for Alzheimer's (see the link in my sidebar), but I have been avoiding making any scrap projects because the barrel issue made such a mess. First, let me show how it's all better now:
Here is a picture I took the last time I made a scrap project, to show what a ridiculous mess this scrap storage system would make. Before I moved the scraps up to the barrel, I used a smaller version of this messy system, a scrap bag or basket. This has always been a mess and much less than optimally organized!
I love keeping my sewing room clean and organized and I am so glad I finally got this big problem solved!
I searched around on the internet for various scrap management ideas and I stopped to read this post at quiltville, Scrap User's Organization System. When I sew her system, I thought AHA!
So I decided my baby son really didn't need those plastic drawers in his closet, and that I needed them more!
Here's how I sorted my crazy mess of scraps into a workable order:
The top drawer holds red, orange, yellow, purple, and black and brown quilter's cotton scraps. I see now that they are not in that order! I was working quickly to get this done. It took me a full day and a half to do this project, by the way.
I have a lot of blue and green cotton scraps, as these are my favorite colors- so they each got a bin. The pink bin holds both pink scraps, and also pink pieces that are as big as a full yard. The smaller bins hold small scraps of felt and silk. I don't actually keep the bins on top of the drawer unit, but rather stash them neatly beneath my sewing table, which is well within arms length. I can pull them out and put them on top when I need to work with them.
This middle drawer holds "crumbs:" These are little small scraps to be used for string piecing and such. The maximum size for the Alzheimer's Art Quilts is, I think, 10 by 12 inches, so I know I will be able to make something using even the smallest crumbs. These small scraps are confined using a white open bin, so that this drawer can also hold muslin and batting scraps that can be used in making these small quilts or other little scrap projects (such as my favorite scrap project, soft crazy quilted color books for baby)..
This bottom drawer holds scraps from sheets I have already cut, a bag of plaid scraps, and a ziploc with denim and corduroy scraps, as well as some patterned white and light neutral quilter's cottons. So it is kindof a miscellaneous drawer.
I had a lot of scrap knits, but no good bin to fit them; this reusable bag is the perfect size. So for now, the knit scraps are in here, stashed under the sewing table next to the bins.
There is a couple more categories of scraps that I save. One is the "stuffing scraps." I stuff tiny pieces, even thread chains and serger trimmings, and small batting scraps, etc, into a drawstring garbage bag, which I use for stuffing things like pillows and toys. Someone recently gave me an antique wardrobe which I am using as my "sewing room closet," although it doesn't fit in the sewing room and is at the end of our hall instead. That "closet" holds the bag of stuffing scraps, a bag of larger felt scraps, and also some sheets I haven't cut yet, interfacings, and some other things.
I also have two large shoebox bins, one holds apparel fabric scraps for making Barbie doll clothes, and the other has novelty scraps, which I am collecting to make an I-spy/ Alphabet quilt sometime soon.
The last step to make this system workable is one more basket, empty now. This is also stashed under my sewing table and I can use this to store daily scraps in for quick daily cleaning of my mess, and then sort these away every week or month or whenever.
It can be a good, useful, and productive thing to save and use lots of scraps, but this will work out MUCH better and be easier to do when the stash is workably organized. Towards that end, I hope this post is helpful!
Have a great day!