Remnants and scraps: should you keep them or throw them out.

Most crafters are notorious for pack-ratting supplies and materials, no matter how small. Is keeping all that stuff really worth it in the long run?


Honestly, it really depends on your specific crafting lifestyle.

  • Are you significantly working on crafts all year round?
  • Do you only craft around the holidays?
  • Is crafting a hobby or a form of income?

For those of us crafting as a form of income, you’re most likely working on your crafts all year round. Since many crafters who work for a profit tend to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, keeping remnants and scraps could prove rather handy. If you only craft sporadically, however, you may want to rethink whether you are willing to lose storage space for materials and supplies that may go bad before you can use them again, or might simply never be used at all.


In regards to fabric remnants, there are a few easy ways to decide what is useful and what is just taking up space:


  • Size àsmaller remnants, i.e. usually less than 1.5 yards of fabric, are really only useful for quilters or people who work on small-scale projects, such as accessories or children’s clothing. If these type of projects are most likely not for you, it’s a good idea to pack up those scraps and donate them to someone who can use them. Depending on the type and size of scraps and remnants, you may be able to sell your leftovers. 
  • Fabric typeàif your fabric is obviously seasonal, such as those with specific holiday prints, you will most likely only be able to use it to make items related to that occasion. If you don’t use it immediately you will have to store it for an entire year. Chances are that you are highly likely to forget about that material before the year is out. Many organizers agree that if you’re not going to use it in six months, get rid of it.
  • Useàdifferent fabrics have different uses. If the remnants you have left over have limited project-capabilities on what they could be used for, you may want to pass them on to someone else. A good trick is to pay special attention and see if you’re the type of person who says, “Oh, but I could use that scrap for such and such project.” If all you do is keep saying this phrase and never actually do the project, odds are that you will most likely never do the project.


Since fabric can be so expensive, many of us want to get as much use out of the fabric as possible. With the above three categories, it can be easy to decide what to keep based on size and fabric type, but difficult when it comes to the topic of use. Crafty people are creative people, after all, and can therefore think of a use for just about any spare piece of fabric.


If you do decide to keep remnants for some ingenious use that you’ve devised, it’s a good idea to make a project reminder board.


Once we have decided to keep a remnant, it’s really easy to put the fabric away in a bin and never think about it again. Therefore, to best utilize the remnant pieces of fabric, your storage space, and your time, strictly adhering to a project board method of organization can really boost your productivity.


  • First: Keep all of your remnants in a separate bin that is clearly labeled. You may want to have more than one bin for different ranges of remnant sizes.
  • Second: For each remnant that you keep, clearly establish a few projects in which that piece of fabric could become a part of. Depending on what you do as a crafter, you may want to separate your remnants into bins that are labeled under a specific project type rather than by sizes. For example, if you make pouches and purses, you could have a remnant bin dedicated to materials for only pouches and purses. Additionally, if you are quilter, you can organize your remnant bins based on color, prints, and precut shapes and strips.
  • Third: Set aside time weekly or monthly that you will dedicate to working on remnant projects. If you do crafts all the time, you will most likely incorporate remnant pieces into your current projects.


The important thing to remember about keeping remnants is that your remnants should only be kept if they are going to be used, and not if they are going to just sit around and collect dust.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s