I have never been a fan of the various scrap management systems that you see out there. I always thought it was wasteful to cut my scraps into predetermined sizes - because what if I cut 3", and I pick at a pattern than needs 4" blocks. Or 2" - those I could cut down from the 3" blocks, but then there'd be that 1" waste. It just seemed more conservative to keep the scraps whatever size they end up, and wait to cut them until I need them. So every time I made a quilt, all the bits smaller than about 6 inches got mushed up and crammed into one of my scrap bins.
What I realized earlier last week is that I may be saving some fabric by not cutting my scraps, but in fact I don't know what I'm saving it for because I never make scrap quilts. And the reason is not so much that I don't like them, or don't want to make them. It's because I dread trying to dig through all my bins, pulling out scraps, ironing, and then finding out that I don't have enough of the colour I need anyway. So it's much easier to just grab a bunch of fat quarters (or buy more) to fill the 'scrappy' requirements.
Based on that logic, I then decided that 5" strips make sense. They are big enough that I can later cut them down for 4" or 3" or whatever I need. Or cut in half for two 2.5" strips. So, I decided to cut my scraps into those 2 sizes.
And then, I realized that I'm left with a lot of still rather large pieces - so I cut 2" strips where I could. And the final step was 1.5" squares. I have a bin of these already, for a vaguely planned watercolour quilt - so anything without a larger use was going to get cut down to this size for that future plan.
At this point, I have cleaned out 4 drawers of crammed in scraps, and reduced them to these 3 tidy drawers of strips, plus my 1.5" bin of squares (which is now full, and will have to be relocated). Lots of room left in these bins, now that the fabric is all cut and folded neatly in strips. And lots more scraps to tackle. So far I've done my blue, brown, orange and some purple scraps. But I have big rubbermaid containers and at least 3 bags of more colours waiting for my attention.
I think I'm going to be happy with the end result - I guess the truth will be in whether I make a scrappy quilt in the near future :)