Spring cleaning (of your stash): try these 3 simple categories

If you break into a sweat when you think about the state of your sewing space…

You might need a spring cleaning.

If towers of fabric teeter as you dig for just the right color and print…

You might need a spring cleaning.

If you’ve ever sighed as you stood knee-deep in fabric…

You might need a spring cleaning!


How to organize your fabric stash

So, what’s the best way to organize a fabric stash that’s starting to spiral out of control?

Stash LabFrom Stash Lab - detail of Leaf Pile quilt author Tonya Alexander loves making scrappy, stashy quilts—and part of the reason is because she knows where her fabrics are and can scan them at a glance, instead of spending her time digging for treasures. Today we’re sharing some of her tips for prepping your stash and scraps so that they’re easy to manage, easy to skim, and easy to pop into a quilt, just like that. Read on for the three categories that Tonya uses to streamline her stash—spring’s the perfect time to whip your stash into shape!


SORTING AND STORING FABRIC SCRAPS

Tonya AlexanderBy creating scrap categories for sorting your fabric, you can begin to see the options that are open to you. What are the fabric cuts and sizes sitting on your shelf? One-yard pieces? Fat quarters? Precut charm squares or Jelly Rolls? Consider the sizes and shapes in your inventory to help you decide what to do with them.

I sort and store my scraps in shape and size groupings, in addition to color families. Here’s my storage strategy.

best way to organize fabric stashFAT QUARTERS AND LARGER PIECES stay on the stash shelves grouped by color or style. Batiks, splashy Kaffe Fassett prints, flannels, etc., each get their own pile.

STRIPS OF VARIOUS WIDTHS (1½", 2½", and 3½") and squarish pieces that are less than a fat quarter each go in separate bins.

EVERYTHING ELSE THAT’S TOO SMALL—these random scraps go in a basket so they don’t get mixed in with larger pieces of fabric or those of specific sizes, such as strips.


A strategy that doesn’t require a master’s degree in organizational skills, but keeps your fabric neat and tidy and ready for action. Hooray for simple solutions!

What’s the best thing about organizing your stash? Once you stash-storing plan is in place, new fabrics always have a place to live when you bring them home—plus it’s a snap to DE-stash. In Stash Lab, Tonya’s designed quilts for specific cuts of fabric, but even more useful are the three creative “equations” she’s created for you follow (don’t be alarmed by the word: trust us, there’s zero algebra or rocket science involved).

If you have a lot of 1½"-wide strips, a project like Carpool is a great option.

Carpool quilt
Carpool quilt

A favorite Jelly Roll would work well in Sparklers.

Sparklers quilt
Sparklers quilt

If you have mostly fat quarters, a design like The Big Spin can put your stash and scrap fabrics to use in a beautiful way.

The Big Spin quilt
The Big Spin quilt

See more stash- and scrap-friendly quilts from Stash Lab >

How do you store your stash fabrics: by color, by style, by size of cut? Tell us in the comments!

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