I admit it. I am a fabric hoarder.
I used to see fun fabric and buy it, thinking "that would make a nice dress", or "I'll think of something to use this for, it's such a great price!". (Darn you Wally Mart $1.00 fabrics!!) I kept my stash in plastic bins, and when I needed fabric for a project...I'd go out and buy it because it was too hard to get to the right bin without emptying the entire closet.
I came across a way to organize my fabric so I can see what I have, and I can pull it out without having to move a lot of other fabric. Mini bolts are so easy that I almost feel a little stupid for not thinking of it myself. I don't know who to give credit to for this idea, but I'd like to bake you a pie!
You'll need: 1/2 yard or more of fabric (any smaller pieces, like leftovers and fat quarters are too small). I guess you could use smaller cards and make mini-mini bolts if you wanted. For now, all my scraps are in a bin, waiting for me to make a quilt. Of course I'll get around to it! I hope.
You'll also need some stiff paper, such as cardboard, chipboard or very thick cardstock. Cut the paper to about 6"x11". This works well for fabric 45" or 60" wide. I tried the heaviest weight of cardstock I could find between nearby megamarts, craft stores, and office supply places. This (110 lb) cardstock only worked for very lightweight fabric-cotton print was too heavy. My sister found some paper about twice the weight of cardstock at a specialty paper store that worked well. After I'd finished rolling my fabric I realized the cardboard from a cereal box would be perfect. Just have your friends save their boxes for you for a while...
If you don't want to bother cutting down paper, you can purchase mini bolt cards.
Fold your fabric selvage to selvage (that's the uncut length of your fabric).
For 45" wide fabric, fold it in half again, as shown in the picture. If you have a piece 60" wide, fold it selvage to selvage, then fold that in thirds.
All you do is roll it around the card.
You can store them on shelves, but I found some boxes that were the perfect size to put the bolts into. Now I need to get sewing and reduce the number of boxes. The idea is that I won't need to buy fabric for a while unless I need something very specific. I can also quickly thin the stash of odd fabric that if I am honest with myself, I know I'll never use.
It also feels really good to be so organized and not feel like I'll be buried if I open the closet door a little too far.