12 Ideas For Organizing Fabric Scraps So You Will Actually Use Them


Organize and store your fabric scraps in ways that will help you to actually use them. It’s not hard to do, and it could even be fun!

I must admit, I’m a fabric collector. I have more fabric that I’ll use in my lifetime, but that’s another story. I also can’t bring myself to throw away scraps from expensive fabrics that I absolutely love! The thing that helps me use my stash the most is having my fabric organized in ways that let me see what I have.

The same principles apply to storing your scraps. But before I store a scrap of fabric, I have to decide how much I love it…

A scrap basket tower or other system for your favorite scraps

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

These are only my favorite scraps, and I love that I can move the tower around. Sometimes it is next to my sewing machine – like when I’m making QAYG fabric or crazy quilt blocks. Sometimes, it’s next to my embroidery machine, like when I’m making little ITH (in the hoop) quilt blocks and projects.

For you, a ‘scrap basket tower’ can be any set of storage containers where you can keep your favorite scraps organized by color.

Some people I know use see-through plastic drawers for this so they can see their scraps without opening the drawer. I think that’s AWESOME, but not for me. I just hate plastic dressers – sorry! I’d rather work a little harder digging through baskets.

Organize your best scraps by color

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

One thing you’ll notice in almost all the organizing ideas here is that fabric scraps are organized by color. Doing that really helps when you are searching for fabric to use for an applique piece, a scrappy or low-volume quilt, or any other cute scrappy project.

If you have kids, ask them to help you organize your scraps by color. My kids used to love that. Maybe someday I’ll have grandkids to assign that fun task to.

Clear plastic bins

Photo credit: A Spoonful of Sugar

Lots of people (like our friends at Spoonful of Sugar) use lidded plastic bins to store adorable scraps. I love this idea, but my bins would have to be huge. Like Home Depot size, lol.

Cute scrap jars

Photo credit: The Sewing Loft

Along those same lines, Heather of The Sewing Loft uses these cute jars to store her scraps on a shelf. That’s pure eye-candy for quilters!

Shoe organizer

Photo credit: Heather McFarlane

Once at a friend’s house, I spied this genius way of storing fabric scraps by color: a plastic shoe organizer! She kindly sent me a picture to show you.

Turn Your Scraps Into Pre-Cuts

Photo credit: Lori Holt / Bee In My Bonnet

I haven’t tried this tip yet – but it inspires me so much that I really want to. Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet presses and cuts her scraps into the sizes that she uses most so she can quickly make quilts with them. Read more about her technique here.

Store different sizes of pre-cut fabrics together

Photo credit: Amy Smart / Diary of a Quilter

In addition to cutting scraps into common sizes and shapes needed for quilts you like to make, Amy Smart suggests keeping like-size pieces together. That way, when you are ready to make a quilt – like this 2 1/2” square patchwork quilt – you have all the pieces in one place.

Keep coordinated scraps together

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Sometimes when I finish a quilt or other big project I have a bunch of coordinating scraps that I wouldn’t necessarily LOVE individually – but as a coordinated set, they are just awesome.

Coordinating fabrics are like ‘kits’ for a small project

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

One of these fabric sets might even be enough for a little quilt, a few zipper pouches, or potholders.

I keep these scraps sorted together in zip-lock bags, so when I need to stitch up a quick project, I already have coordinated fabrics set aside.

Label medium-sized pieces to help you remember the size

Photo credit: Patchwork Posse

Becky over at the Patchwork Posse labels her fabric pieces to help her remember the size without unfolding and measuring each piece again and again. I have found this tip to be very helpful with my medium or large-size scraps.

Treasure chest storage

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

When I have scraps that I don’t love enough to put in the tower, and they aren’t part of a coordinated set, they go in the Treasure Chest.

I can really appreciate having a ‘treasure chest’ of scraps that I like, but don’t love. These scraps are great for testing the tension on my sewing or embroidery machine, sewing a ‘trial version’ of a project, or letting my kids sew with. Whenever people ask if I have scraps to share, I let ’em at it!

When my treasure chest gets too full to handle, I also have a friend who is happy to clean it out. Yay!

Unusable scraps can be shredded into stuffing

Photo credit: Swoodson Says

Stephanie of the blog Swoodson Says has a great solution for scraps that are even too small or ugly for the ‘treasure chest.’ She shreds them up with her rotary cutter and uses them for stuffing! Read more about her scrap solution here.

What about pretty shredded fabrics?


This is just a tangent, but what if the fabrics are too pretty after you shred them? I found this picture of shredded fabrics. If these were mine, there would be no way that I could hide them, which would be a problem. It’s a good thing those aren’t my shredded fabric pieces.

Storing Bigger Fabric Pieces

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

If you need help with your stash of bigger fabrics, check out 3 Ways to Organize and Store Fabric – there’s even a video where I show you my system!

Storing Quilt Blocks

Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

When storing quilt blocks for a quilt that isn’t finished yet, the best thing I have found is scrapbooking bins meant to hold 12” stacks of paper. They are amazing!

More from SewCanShe: How to Use Up Those Scraps!

Photo credit: Amy Smart / Diary of a Quilter

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