Got scraps? Oh, my friend, we all do!

I'm going to share some tips, some grief, a tale of a helpful friend, and how I manage scraps in such an easy way. I can't wait to dive in and share this with you.

Scraps of card stock can overrun our craft spaces in no time at all. You make one project and instantly we have scraps.

I will never forget being at a Stampin' Up! convention with like 5,000 people and the co-founder Shelli, said during a presentation that if it was less than a quarter sheet of card stock, it went in the trash.

The collective gasp that 5,000 stampers can make is unlike anything you've ever heard before. At lunch that day, it was all anyone could talk about.

Story Time with Meg

During this time, I had “a system”. I put that in quotes so that hopefully you can hear the laughter in that as you read it.

I had a bag for each color family. Back then, Stampin' Up! referred to them as families rather than collections. But same thing. These bags became a box for each family. And then when I needed something, I had to practically dump the box to find the one color scrap I knew was in there.

I felt like I had to use these scraps, as quality card stock isn't cheap. So I felt like I needed to be ultra frugal with them – and don't get me wrong – I still do!

But I spent all this time digging for scraps. It was overwhelming. I had a toddler, was trying to really start this crafting business, and I was spending all my time looking for an Only Orange scrap I knew was in there rather than {GASP} cut into a new sheet.

About that time, this lovely lady named Carol, came into my world. She was such a helper to me and I cherish her to this day. She helped me prepare for garage sales, stamp classes, even helped me pack up our house when we had 7 days to move out of a 2300 square foot home.

But during this time, she offered me a gift that brought me to tears. She offered to sort my scraps. What an angel! She took the boxes home with her and sorted them into baggies and labeled each bag with a Sharpie.

This was such a gift!!!

Then we moved and I had to rapidly unpack what I could to continue doing classes and get my business going again after living in a hotel for a month. Good times, let me tell you!

In the hotel, I had about 3-4 sheets of each color of card stock and the rest was in storage. So I had to have scraps, but it was a hotel room, with a 3 year old, and Matt worked nights at the time. Seriously, good times, right?

Then we got the keys to our new house, started unpacking, and had to leave town for a funeral for a friend of ours. My mom was there, and she stayed at the house while we were gone and she finished unpacking my kitchen, Emily's room, bathrooms – a lot!

So when we got home, I was able to dive into setting up my craft room in rapid fashion. From the hotel, the box of scraps was started and just like before, the box started growing.

I know I could have reached out to Carol again, but I was embarrassed, overwhelmed, and didn't have the time to do it. So the box got filled, one box became two, then one for each color family again and I was right back where I started.

I sat down to go through the scraps and sort them myself, and I started crying. I'm not a crier, so this was a big deal. Matt came over to help and within minutes, he turned from loving husband into a black-and-white male.

It's amazing how they can truly see things in such a black and white manner.

He said this was a waste of time. And I kept telling him it wasn't, this stuff cost real money, and we were in a new house, and needing to do work on this house. (We bought too quickly because our first one sold quickly – ugh – and we were ready to be out of the hotel!)

He said that I should throw them out.


Throw them out? In what world?!?!?!

Then he asked me a question that would change everything. He asked how much it would cost to replace the card stock in the boxes. I said I had no idea but there was so much of it.

We sat down and pulled out many of these little, itty tiny scraps of card stock and laid them out to about the size of 8-1/2″ x 11″, so the normal size of a piece of card stock. Scraps like that take up so much more room than a single sheet of card stock. It was so eye opening for me.

We took a random guess that if I ordered 2 assorted packages of each color collection, I would have more card stock than I did in scraps – because your scraps aren't laid out all nice and need and flat. They are in a container stacked on top of each other and on funky angles.

He said to just order the card stock and be done. For under $70, this problem was solved (for now) and I didn't have to spend all day with a toddler running around, crying and sorting card stock. I could do what I needed to do and it was just done.

With tears streaming down my face, and no idea where I was going to find an extra $70, I walked the boxes out to the recycle bin, and put them in there, boxes and all.

And you know what? I lived.

I felt a huge weight lifted off of me. I was just free from all the guilt, all the time, all the everything. AND I didn't even need to order the assorted packages of card stock because I had more card stock already.

While to non-stampers, this may seem silly or dumb. But if you are reading this far, you may know exactly what I am talking about.

I went back to my baggie system. And you know what, some of those baggies are the same ones in Carol's handwriting. I know my Early Espresso bag is still in her handwriting as Chocolate Chip. The bag was still good and I was too lazy to re-write it, lol!

So that's where the frugal comes in. A baggie for each color – and you are set! I even created labels and shared them with you in this blog post so you can label your baggies if you want to.

Now I did this with Stampin' Up! colors, but this works with company! Keep your scraps with the original color ALL THE TIME!

I did need some new baggies recently, and let me tell you – I was so excited when I got to the store and there was a coupon for the quart baggies! I felt like a million bucks.

I love to save money where I can. And I like to spend money on quality. So if I can save on baggies, I can spend on the craft supplies that will last and give me great results.

Story Time Over, Here's What's Next:

If your scraps feel overwhelming, here's my advice.

Take a deep breath, grab your scraps, and head to the recycling bin. Don't go through them, don't sort them, just grab them and go.

It may hurt, it may sting, but it's temporary. We were living on next to nothing when I did this, so I understand completely that this may feel painful.

Go the store and buy quart size baggies. Get the regular squeeze closure, not the slider thing – those cost a lot more and you won't close these bags anyway. I have card stock strips that hang out of the baggie, and have for over a dozen years. The baggies are never closed.

Get enough for all your colors. This is a great deal if you need a lot and are just starting out.

I shared this in Stamping Family the other day on a Zoom, and the look on one member's face was just pure shock – it was priceless! That was on Tuesday, then Wednesday, another member messaged me that she did it!

This is what she said…

“I keep looking at my 2 scrap drawers thinking its going to take forever to sort these scraps. These 2 drawers can be used for more stamp sets.

I got up extra early today and threw ALL my scraps away. I recycled them.  I'm thrilled. Just wanted you to know.”

So I know that this doesn't work for just me!!!

Once you have this set up, it's easy to maintain. When you are working on your cards, put those scraps right into their bags when you are done and you are just done.

Next Level

You will know that you have truly embraced this system when you go to pull out your bag of Real Red, or whatever color, and that bag is full of these weird and small little scraps that have been in there for a while. They aren't being used as the bigger pieces have been whittled down to bits of nothingness.

Take that baggie, hold it over your recycle bin, and empty it out.

Keep the baggie and start again.

That baggie of useless nothing is probably the equivalent of 1-2 sheets of card stock TOTAL.

So let it go and all will be good. I promise!

What You Get In Return

After I posted about Managing Your Patterned Paper, Jen left me a comment. You can see it there for yourself, but here's the part I want to highlight and make sure you see…

“With so much patterned paper I feel overwhelmed when I want to make a card that I usually turn around and walk out of the craft room.”

That's heartbreaking to read! Just heartbreaking because I know Jen, I know she wants to create, and I know exactly how she feels. Been there, done that!

What you gain is freedom and this giant weight off your shoulders. You gain back time in your craft space!

And wouldn't that feel wonderful?

Close your eyes and think on that for a bit. Picture your craft room without that icky feeling.

Feedback Time

Now it's time for you to comment. The good thing about a blog is that I can share info with you. The great thing about Stamping Family is that we have conversations about it. I have no idea though if these ideas help you in anyway if you don't let me know.

It took me over an hour to type this up after I had my notes written on what I wanted to share. So probably about two hours for this post to come to life.

If it helps you or you have a question, please take 1-2 minutes and leave me a comment.

We've gone over patterned paper, now card stock scraps, next up is stamps! XOXO, Meg

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