Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Archives: Storing Scraps

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing to re-post older blog posts with useful information. I've chosen posts that answer some of my most frequently asked questions. This one is on how I store my scraps. This blog post was
originally posted on September 16, 2009.

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. My Engagement Mini Album was made entirely from scraps stored in this method AND sent to the bride-to-be in a box filled with brightly colored shredded material made from the 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.

Engagement Mini Album, Part One:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Two:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Three:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Four:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Five:

Finished Engagement Mini Album:

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. Do you also file the patterned paper scraps by a color group, or a product line, or anything? That is what I have trouble with. Thanks in advance!

    1. I leave my patterned paper and cardstock scraps with the kit they came from until I am done with that kit. Then I file my patterned paper and cardstock scraps by color.

      ~Kathryn :D

  2. I am unable to view any u-tube videos or imbedded videos at all! Any suggestions? The little wheel just spins and spins.

  3. This is funny I just sored all of my scraps last week. I can see your way make much more sense. I just sorted mine by color but I see that cutting them to size would be so helpful. I use my scraps and right now I have a ton and making myself look at them first LOL. I have to go get my cutter out. Thank you for the tip on sorting scraps.

    1. You're welcome! I find that I am more likely to use a scrap if it is cut down into a size that makes sense to me than if they are a bunch of random sizes with irregular edges. Might just be the little OCD in me, too, though!

      ~Kathryn ;D

  4. I love this. (I have been considering running away from home.) Especially the part about shredding the little bits for packing material. Thank you so much. I'm off to measure and cut. Woo Hoo

    1. Scrapbook supply craziness can make a person want to run away screaming! I hope you find this system useful for you!

      ~Kathryn :D

  5. It's a rainy day for reading and watching your videos! I am so bad about 'scraps', b/c I don't want to throw anything away, just in case. I used to throw them into a box and the boxes got fuller and bigger and I found I wasn't using them. One of Costco trips they had a 16 drawer rolley cart for clearance and now I have all my scraps divided into colors by cardstock, pattern and one for metallic and christmas. The cart sits right beside a cabinet w/cardstock, etc. and I have found that I use these scraps and if smaller than 4" it gets recycled! I just recently made 60 tea holder cards to sell !from the scraps and made some Starbucks change! Cutting them to size would help me out and save time even more, thank you Kathryn :)

    1. Congrats on using your leftovers to make some coffee cash! I like everything nice and neat & it just helps me to use them if they're sorted that way. It's good that you've found a way that works for you!

      ~Kathryn :D

  6. This is possibly the most helpful blog post I've ever read at any time. I have piles and piles of scraps, sorted by color. But it never occurred to me to sort them by this method. I am a neat and tidy girl, so this idea really makes my heart sing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, O Goddess of All Things Paper.

  7. I Love the idea of using the shredding for the odd bits of paper so there's no waste!! I never thought of it. I Keep mine in an upright Cropper Hopper organized by color & pattern colors in a similar fashion. If you're interested you can see it on my blog under the tab SNT Tutorials.
    I love your blog!!