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Thread: Organization Suggestions Please?

  1. #1
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Organization Suggestions Please?

    I'm always in awe of you all who organization your fabrics so well! I know its time for me to do like wise. I have a large linen cupboard and built-in drawers for my fabrics, but unfortunately I just started stuffing everything in, knowing I can just close the doors and drawers and none would be the wiser. I feel like I am wasting all this lovely cupboard space that my DH graciously gave me. I need it to look good... And I need to see what I have!

    I will be buying comic book boards for everything I have 3/4yd - 2 yard size, which is pretty much as large as my yardage comes. But my question is, how do you suggest I organize all my small pieces. Most of my stash is 1/2yd - 1/4 yd (not FQ size) or smaller. It's stuff I pick up from thrift stores in scrap bags, so its in all shapes and sizes. I have heard of quilters cutting all their scraps into strips, the way Bonnie Hunter does, but I don't want to cut anything until I use it. I do a lot of applique so I use odd shapes.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one in this boat so I would love to hear any ideas and what worked for you! (I don't really want to use totes or bins either. For me it just works as moving a mess from one location to another!)
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

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  2. #2
    DJ
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    Depending on the size of scrap, I'm tempted to cut all my scraps into 5" strips, or if too short, cut 5" squares (nickles). If they are all a similar size, they would be so much easier to store. They would be easy to sub-cut into 2 1/2" strips or squares when/if needed. The trouble I seem to have is making the time to do it. I think that size would be fine for most applique, right? I know there would be a few pieces larger, but not usually a lot.

    If you don't really want to use totes or bins, how else would you neatly store your scraps? I use clear plastic shoe-box sized storage for my fabric. I fold it in half length-wise and then roll it around my 6" ruler. It fits perfectly in the box, the boxes stack nicely on the shelf, and I can see what's in them.

    There are so many ideas of how to store fabric, but scraps do me in.

  3. #3
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    I'm just starting to sort and store small pieces of fabric and I don't like to cut the fabric until I need it also.
    When I finish a project I tend to want to keep all fabric that's the same together regardless of size. This can be a problem as time goes on so I have to decide what to do there.
    My plan is to sort by size(less than 2 1/2"; 2 1/2"; bigger than 2 1/2" but less than 5"). I have several totes and will put a 3 x 5 card in with the size label. Haven't decided about pieces bigger than 5" yet. But I'm getting stuck on whether to sub sort by theme(seasonal; baby/kids; etc). It could get out of hand if I sub sort too much.
    Sally

  4. #4
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    I generally use a ruler (perhaps a 4 or 5 inch) and ruler fold the scrap piece. Stack on a shelf so you can see the fabric color or design. I want them all the same size/ width on the fold side if possible.

    Example: 1/2 yard piece. Fold in 1/2 selvage to fold. It is still 18 inches wide. Then either ruler fold or fold in half and half again. The piece would be 4 1/2 wide and easily stack.

    The other option is to fold according to size of the drawer height. Stack in the drawer again so you can see the color. I use a double scrap book bin and store smaller pieces like that. I sort by color/type and easily pull just one piece of fabric without moving a stack.

    http://www.joann.com/artbin-double-d...s/1492669.html

    Find a way that works for you and use it for all scraps so they look organized and tidy.

  5. #5
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    I wrap my scrap pieces around comic book boards if I don’t want to cut them. Since I store all my fabric in drawers I cut the comic boards to fit. Just fold your irregular scraps so that you have regular edges and put them on the boards. If I have several pieces of the same fabric then I put them all on the same board. A note pinned to the fabric tells me at a glance if the piece is irregular and how big, or if multiple pieces then how many pieces and what sizes.

    rob
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  6. #6
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    Do you have drawers? I like to organize my fabrics (1/4 to less than 1 yard) in a dresser, by color, front to back. I cut styrofoam board from the dollar store to fit between the rows so they don't fall over.

    You could do likewise or find pretty boxes (think photo boxes) that you could use as "drawers" in the same way. Leave the lid off but set the box inside it so you have the lid handy if you need it, but can see your pretties at a glance.



    Last edited by zozee; 01-22-2018 at 02:20 PM. Reason: add photos

  7. #7
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    My fat quarters and small (up to 1/2 yard) pieces are folded over a 3 inch ruler and put into boxes- I happen to have collected several boxes with attached lids that are the same size. They stack on top of a drawer unit in my closet. They're labeled "FQ" and I pull the boxes out onto the desk/floor when I want to find a fabric(s) that size.
    Larger scraps that are odd sized or less than a yard, or really long (think trimmed from backing after long arm quilting) are stored in a drawer of the unit in my closet.
    It's not a perfect system but it's the best I've worked out thus far.
    A husband is the perfect confidant to tell your secrets to - he can't reveal them to anyone else because he wasn't really listening when you told him!

  8. #8
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    You could both use up some scraps and sort what you don’t use by color. Make fabric bins. Green gets the green scraps, etc. going to do this when I get home. Lots of tutorials available on the net.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

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  9. #9
    Super Member Teen's Avatar
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    The comic boards will give you such a peace of mind when organized. From there,mit will open up more space for you to continue with smaller yardage. Lots of options...I love Zozee's use of shoeboxes...very clever. I appliqué, as well, so small scraps that can't be folded I just put in ziplocks by color. I have begun to cut smaller scraps up after finishing each quilt and storing them respective bags by size for 2 specific scrap patterns a I want to do in the future. Quilters have great foresight to plan ahead....Spend some time thinking about a future scrap project and start cutting and collecting sizes needed from smaller scraps you get from your on-going quilt projects. You'll be amazed as the collection grows and how quickly you can start a project. Fun fun....love to organize...
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  10. #10
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    I think you may have the answer at your finger tips. My suggestion for organization is to first consider how you use those smaller cuts of fabric. Then store accordingly. I store by sorting by color for mid-sized cuts. That is how I look for what I need.

    Following is only MY way of sorting/storing and nothing more. I have one under the bed type bin for all misc. smallish scraps. When that gets too full it is time to either cut into uniform sized units or make a scrappy quilt. A number of years ago, I cut all my scraps into 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6.5 and 10 inch units and stored in plastic shoe boxes. Now I find that I seldom use the 3 and 4 inch units except to cut them down for 2.5 units. Not adding to those boxes any longer. I did find that I use lots of strips of 2.5 inch width and as long as possible. I also keep all my extra bias binding in a shoe box. Scrappy quilts often get scrappy bindings.

    This sounds like a lot of boxes and work but over time it works for ME. I love it when I need 18 - 6.5 X 2.5 strips and I can go to my box and Ta-Da! there is a piece ready to trim to the size I need!

    Organize for your style of work and be willing to make changes in a year or two after you have had some time to "settle in". Have fun with this process. It does feel terrific to organize and to see all the fabric you have waiting for your next project.
    Last edited by WMUTeach; 01-23-2018 at 05:04 AM.

  11. #11
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    I use plastic shoe boxes for various colors, too, and find they stack well on shelves. I also have a basket of "strings," and shoe boxes of 2" and 2.5" squares. I find the 2" squares very helpful when I need to shop for a particular color. I make a lot of scrap quilts and use them regularly. I wouldn't cut everything into 2.5" strips because I often make my borders 3-4" wide. Multiple yards get hung on hangers in a closet. Good luck with your organization project!

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    I bought the clear plastic bins on sale. The small ones are used for scrapbooking (about 13" x 13" x 4") and the larger ones are probably 17" x 17" x 7". They stack easily and you can see what is in them. The larger ones are filled by folded up larger pieces of 'warm' colors, 'blues', neutrals, etc. They are folded like you would a flat qtr. so they are easily pulled out. I have one that is just precuts and fat qtrs. The smaller bins are full of the smaller pieces or WIPs. I use medium size pizza boxes for my orphan blocks because they are cardboard and I don't have to worry about any moisture and I can write on the side what they are (patriotic, baby prints, black/whites, etc). You can do this one box at a time or (and this is better but harder) take everything out and only put the organized stuff back in. IT IS A LOT OF WORK, but, you will feel so much better when it is done. And, you will be amazed at the treasures you uncover. I felt so energized about making so many new things once I saw what I truly had.

  13. #13
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the suggestions! I've been looking on Pinterest too for ideas. I think I'll buy a dozen plastic shoe boxes and organize that way.

    Klswift, where did you find the plastic bins for scrapbooking? That does sound more like the size I want.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  14. #14
    Senior Member Faintly Artistic's Avatar
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    NZQuilter, most of my stash is FQ's to half yards. I cut my boards in half and wrap. Even if some of the FQ is gone, I can still wrap it around a half board. I like having everything standing on end where I can see it and it's easier to pull out. My really small scraps (5" or less), I do cut into squares and store by size, but I don't do much applique. I like the small, stacking drawers for scraps. Anything too small to wrap, but bigger than 6" gets saved in a small bin until I know what to do with it. I don't think I have near as much fabric as some others though...
    Here are some pics...
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    Name:  scraps midway.jpg
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  15. #15
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the picture, FaintlyArtistic! I like the idea of wrapping as much as possible on boards. I think it will be easier to keep tidy that way, instead of digging through a stack of folded fabric.

    I'm actually getting excited about organizing!
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  16. #16
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    i got some free fat qtrs and they fit this dresser just fine folded. sorted by color and design. and quilt mags in holders.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  17. #17
    Senior Member Fizzle's Avatar
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    Faintly Artistic. I think I just saw this photo somewhere???? I recognize the sheets on the bottom!!! Some blog on organizing your scraps....
    yours look great.

    i am glad someone posted that this is hard! I think it would be and yet everyone seems to pull it off.... well, not all of us!

  18. #18
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZquilter View Post
    Thanks for all the suggestions! I've been looking on Pinterest too for ideas. I think I'll buy a dozen plastic shoe boxes and organize that way.

    Klswift, where did you find the plastic bins for scrapbooking? That does sound more like the size I want.
    Not Klswift, but I got mine at JF, at a steal price during the New Year’s organizational sale. I use them for the “personal precuts” used most often; layer cakes, jelly roll strips, etc. They are also used to get the pattern, thread, backing, and fabric for a project together in one place, so it doesn’t accidentally get used in something else.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it difficult to plan the day.

    Kris

  19. #19
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    NZquilter, I’m sure you will feel good when you get your stash organized...I just did it this past week. I touched every piece that I own (luckily I don’t have a huge stash), folded and organized by color. I do have a few bins for small scraps labeled “crumbs” and “strips” for scrappy projects.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  20. #20
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    NZ- I just bought some of those comic boards as described here and they are nice! Way sturdier than I imagined and each pack has 100- I paid 11 and change on Amazon and free ship b/c I have Prime.
    I'm working on that right now. Feels so good to get organized!

  21. #21
    Senior Member DonnaFreak's Avatar
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    I put everything that is one yard or larger on comic book boards. Anything too large to wrap around that is folded and stored in a dresser. For anything that is between 1/2 yard to a yard in size is wrapped around comic book boards that are cut in half. My fat quarters are folded the way several websites recommend and are stored in a 25 slot wooden shoe organizer. Finally, anything smaller than a fat quarter is placed in bins that are the same color as the scraps.

    Donna
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  22. #22
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    For my scraps I sort by color, then size. I do use Bonnie Hunter's method and it's been very good for me. WHEN I cut, I cut the largest piece possible out of the scraps. Fat Qtrs etc get folded and stacked. Same with the larger pieces and yardage and cut strips of that color go in a clear bin. I keep the 2.5". 3.5", AND 5" squares in drawers by size in some sort of color order. This way I can see at a glance what I have in each color. I'm culling the herd this year. I want to be able to buy some newer stuff.
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  23. #23
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    Never thought about using something to separate the rows. Makes good sense and easy to keep them straight. AND keep the colors in order too.
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

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