How to Organize Fabric In An IKEA KALLAX Shelving System

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As part of my new COVID-inspired craft room remodel, I’ve absorbed my husband’s desk space for my own personal use.  It’s been awesome planning and finding new ways to use this extra space.  One of the first things I did was figure out how to organize my fabric stash.

After much deliberation, I decided to fold my fabric and use the IKEA KALLAX system for storage.  I went from having HUGE Sterilite storage bins of haphazardly folded and shoved fabric to 3 neat and tidy KALLAX cubes.  It has been SO awesome being able to see all my fabrics at a glance when I decide I want to sew new projects.

I want to show you how I organize my fabric and how I folded it also to get this perfect and lovely look!

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About the Shelf System First

We’re a big fan of the IKEA KALLAX.  We already have one in our craft room for my daughter’s art supplies and one in our formal living room to hide toys.  I believe this is one of the most efficient ways to organize large amounts of things.

For reference, the KALLAX has openings for 13″x13″x13″ cubes or inserts, and you can buy the shelving system in a variety of cube numbers and orientations.  Target has a similar shelf organizer as does Walmart.  While I have no complaints with the Walmart shelf organizer that we do already have (and it’s typically cheaper), the rest of the new craft room was coming from IKEA, so it seemed easier just to have the KALLAX delivered along with everything else.

How To Fold Fabric for Perfect Sizing

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Figuring out how to fold the fabric to the perfect size was a bit challenging at first, but then I had a great idea.  Why not use one of the cardboard boxes I had delivered with my order and cut a piece to the perfect size?  So, this is what I did.  Here’s my cardboard box piece cut to dimensions slightly smaller than the dimensions of the interior cube space.

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To fold the fabric, I had to decide the best way to decrease bulk.  I ultimately ended up laying the fabrics out flat on the floor and then wrapping them layer by layer around the cardboard piece.  Once I had the fabric wrapped up long ways, then it was time to fold the length.  I folded the fabric on itself in the other direction making sure a fold would be on the part of the fabric facing the outside of the cube.  I forgot which way was which so many times, which is why I ended up having to write FRONT on the cardboard piece.  Below is the photo progression showing how I folded the fabric!

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Once the fabric was folded, I was able to slip the cardboard out before it was encased on my final fold.

This made for SUCH pretty and space-saving fabric folding.  For instance, in the picture below, the bottom left gray coffee print is 4 yards of thick knit fabric!  And the flannels on the bottom right are all 2-3 yards of fabric.  Barely taking up more than 1/2″ of vertical space!  Each of the cotton fabrics on the top left is around a yard.  Super thin.

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For pieces of fabric less than a yard or so, folding them around the big piece of cardboard made the resultant folded fabric too thin to see.  I cut one more piece of cardboard slightly less than half the size of the first and then used this to fold the smaller pieces of fabric.

I’m not going to lie and say this was a quick process.  I’m a perfectionist, and I wanted all the fabrics to be fairly similar in size.  Thus, I had to redo a few and touch things up at the end.

When I was done, I stuck the cardboard piece in one of the lower KALLAX shelves for the next time I expand my fabric stash.

Organizing Fabric In the Kallax

Once the fabrics were folded to perfect sizes, I placed them one by one into the cubes.  I tried to put the bigger fabrics on the bottom.  I also tried to organize my knits on one side and my flannels and cottons on the other side the best I could.  Since this is a fluid fabric storage, obviously it won’t always stay this way.  But, again, perfectionist here when it comes to organization!

For the pieces that were less than 1/2 a yard or a bunch of small scraps, I stored them in a nice plastic cube I got from Target.  While it has openings in the sides, it’s not easy to see through, so the messiness of scrap fabric storage is out of sight, out of mind!  I have to dig to really find what I want, but I couldn’t think of any other visually-appealing, space-saving way to organize the fabric scraps in a cube.

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Conclusion

And that’s how I organized my fabric stash using the IKEA KALLAX shelving system.  I’m SO happy to have the fabric off the ground and organized so I can see it all.

And if you’re interested, check out my DIY ironing board tutorial to see how I made my own using wood and quilted ironing board fabric.  It’s been so handy having on my cutting table!

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2 thoughts on “How to Organize Fabric In An IKEA KALLAX Shelving System”

  1. Thank you for this! I spent this afternoon organizing my sewing supplies. I already had the IKEA storage so this made orgazining my fabric super easy! Now, to instruct my kids to stay away!

    I’m looking forward to making a tabletop ironing board now as well! Thank you!

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