Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Storing {and Using!} Those Scraps

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to Life on the {Scrap}beach!

The other day I was chatting with a friend about scraps & whether or not we use them, how to store them, etc. She keeps her scraps, but doesn't use them ~ gasp! I used to be the same way, but I made some adjustments to how I store my scraps and now they are much more user-friendly. So, I thought that I would share my scrap storage system with you guys in case it will help you use your own scraps a little bit more.

I store my scraps in two Artbin One Compartment Super Satchels like the one below:

I keep my patterned paper scraps in one, and my cardstock scraps go in the other. Then I have large 12"x12" tabbed dividers I use to separate each bin by color:

1. Black & White
2. Natural {vanilla, kraft, browns, etc.}
3. Pink/Red
4. Yellow/Orange
5. Green
6. Blue
9. Purple

Now, the secret to me actually using my scraps has less to do with how they're stored and more to do with how they're cut. I used to keep all my scraps and I never used them. Now I only keep some of them & I use them all the time. The difference is in determining what to keep.

The first thing I do after completing a layout or dismantling a page kit is cut my scraps down into certain sizes. The sizes are different for patterned paper and cardstock, so I'll break it out by type.

1. I check to see if there are any scraps sized 8.5"x11" or larger. These I cut down into 8.5"x11" sheets and keep those in my paper racks with my other solid cardstock. This almost never happens.
2. Then I look for scraps sized 5.5"x8.5" or 4.25"x11" or larger {but smaller than 8.5"x11"} I cut those down into card bases and store them with my other card-making supplies. This gives me plenty of ready-to-go card bases in a variety of colors.
3. After those have been trimmed down and set aside, I look for any scraps large enough to cut into 4.5"x6.5" photo mats. These get filed in my Artbin by color.
4. Once I have sorted all those out, I cut the rest of the scraps down into 3.5"x5" pieces. These are great for smaller photos, for journaling spots, for tags and also for running through my diecut machine.
5. Any remaining scraps I run through my paper shredder. I collect these brightly colored shreds and use them as packing material for gifts.

Patterned Paper:
1. First off, I look for any scraps sized 8"x10" or larger. This is a good size for a large accent piece on a 12"x12" layout, and I use that size often on my layoutss, so it works well for me to have options in this size. Of course, I almost never have scraps this size, but when I do, I file these in my Artbin by color.
2. Then I look for scraps sized 8"x8" or larger {but smaller than 8"x10"} and I cut those down and file them away.
3. After those have been trimmed down and set aside, I look for any scraps large enough to cut into 4.25"x6.25" photo mats. I often like to use a piece of patterned paper between a photo and a cardstock mat, and this is a great size for that. This size also works very well for decorating the fronts of cards or the pages of mini albums.
4. I cut the rest of the scraps down into strips of 3"x6" or 2"x6" depending on how much I have left. These are great for accent pieces on a page, or for card accents, and they're especially great for decorating mini book pages.
5. Like the cardstock scraps, any remaining patterned paper scraps get run through my shredder to save for packing material for gifts.

So, what does all this math actually do to help me wth my scrapping!? It means that my scraps are all nice and neatly sorted into easy-to-grab and easy-to-use sizes. They're so handy that I can easily make cards and even entire mini albums just from scraps. If you've seen my Engagement Mini Album, it was made entirely from scraps stored in this method & sent to the bride in a box filled with brightly colored shredded material made from my scraps that were too small to save. What I like about this method is that all of the scraps are used, one way or another ~ either in projects or as packing material.

If you already have a great storage solution for storing and using your scraps, please let me know what it is. My solution works well for me, but it can always use some tweaking. ;) And if you store your scraps but don't use them, you might consider cutting them into sizes you frequently use in your scrapping or cardmaking. That will make them easy to grab for a project!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.


  1. Great idea to cut them down to usable sizes. I have my cardstock scraps filed in a drawer by color. But my patterned paper is a mess since I never know how to sort it. Thanks for the tips, very helpful.

  2. I keep mine in an accordion file sorted the same way but cutting them into useable sizes would probably get me to grab it more often! Thanks for the tip!

  3. Thanks for stopping by, DD and Amy ~ you're welcome for the tip! :D Before I started cutting my scraps down, I had them sorted by color in a accordian file and I never used them. It wasn't until I went to this system that I really started using my scraps a lot. It is very satisfying to make an entire project just from scraps & it really helps me stretch my creativity! Whatever you do, good luck wrangling & using your scraps!

    Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

  4. You continue to teach me!! Thank you, I used to use my scraps all the time (back in the day that paper was soooo expensive) but I have gotten incredibly lazy with that usuage. So, with that said - my NON-System, System is out of control.
    I love the idea of deciding immeiately if "left over" paper is viable for future use. and, using the true "scraps" to make shredded paper for gift giving...brillant!
    Thanks for sharing, again!

  5. I wonder who this "friend" was that you were chatting with about scraps. It's funny that you post this today because check out my blog for tomorrow! LOL!

  6. I keep my scraps as well...but hardly ever use I will!

  7. Thanks for sharing your storage system. I have so much trouble actually cutting into my paper so I keep all my scraps. A nice idea but not very practical. I think I will give this idea a try.

  8. Totally a better idea to cut scraps down to organize them by USEABLE sizes...right now I have them in two piles, plain cardstock and patterened, but in all different sizes and all thrown together....I feel horrible wasting paper, but I think I might invest in a small shredder. Thanks for the ideas, Kathryn!

  9. This is such an AWESOME system! I had always placed my scraps on the top of the drawer within the same color category. But I would almost always reach down to a 'full' sheet. This totally streamlines it. Can't wait to start this! TFS!!

  10. Thanks, everyone! I'm so glad this gave you some ideas! I like this new system because nothing goes to waste ~ scraps that are too small for me to really use on a project get recycled as packing material, wich means no money spent on bubble wrap and packing peanuts!