Photos of beautiful, ultra-organized craft rooms are plentiful on sites like Pinterest, but for some, the reality is somewhat harsher. If the bits and bobs you use to knit, paint or decorate instead create their own art called “disaster area in the corner”, take heart.
Schae Lewis, Certified Professional Organizer and Co-Founder of Mission 2 Organize, shared her tips with us for getting crafty with organization to create a productive work space. Because when you’re trying to enjoy a hobby or create a masterpiece, you don’t want to interrupt your creative flow because you have to stop to look through a tangled mess for a pair of scissors.
Creating the Ideal Work Space for Crafting
Some people are lucky enough to have an entire room for crafts, but anyone can get smarter about using the space they have, says Schae. Look for any unused area around the house, or work to clear one. Ideally it should have enough room for supply storage. Don’t forget you can use vertical space by adding shelves and cabinets. You don’t have to store everything inside drawers in furniture.
And no matter what kind crafting you do, you likely need a large flat surface to work on. You can add one if it’s not already on hand. “A folding table that can be easily stored when not in use is an ideal option when space is limited,” suggests Schae.
Once you’ve found a workspace, even if it’s shared with other activities, gather your craft supplies from around the house. “Think about all of the things you use for your projects like scissors, tape, glue, stickers, and beads. Until you have them all in one place, you cannot decide what to keep, donate or trash or which container to use for storage,” says Schae.
Once you have everything on hand, start grouping like items so that you can find what you need faster. “The key to good craft organization is separation,” says Schae. Store your groups of supplies in drawers, plastic cases or pocketed bags. You can break it down even further as needed by using dividers within drawers, pouches inside of bags and boxes in cases.
Since many crafters work on different types of projects that require different materials Schae suggests organizing supplies by the type of project. “Choose one shelf or basket for scrapbooking, another for knitting.”
Weight of the materials is also a consideration. “Put heavier crafts down lower so they are easily accessible. For example, mosaic tiles should be stored waist high or lower while lightweight yarns and papers can be kept up on a higher shelf.” Don’t forget to label so you know what’s in each bin and box.
For all this grouping and storing, not everyone can go out and splurge on all-new, high-end organizing products, especially since craft supplies alone can be pricey. So Schae advises looking around your house and using your creative know-how to repurpose items. “Imagine that old spice rack in your basement that you haven’t used in years. It would be perfect for beads, buttons, sequins and other small items. A rotating pencil holder could store scissors, rulers, pipe cleaners, popsicle stick and any other tall, thin supply or tool.”
Organizing Crafting Tools – Scissors, material punches and glue guns can be stored in a pencil holder, makeup pouches, shoe boxes or drawer systems.
Compartmentalizing Sewing Materials – Store fabric in shallow drawers. Buttons & threads in sewing boxes or small hardware cases.
Getting Painting Materials in Order – Repurpose a vase for brushes. Use plastic storage boxes for paints. Store canvases in the back of an extra closet.
Wrangling Gift Wrap – Lay gift wrap paper flat in a gift wrap organizer or stand up rolls in an umbrella holder. Place all gift bags in one just-large-enough bag. Put ribbons in a shoe box or on a spool.
Sorting Needles Arts Supplies – Store yarns in clear plastic boxes or put yarn cakes on a peg board. Needles can be stored a variety of ways, in repurposed paint cans and cookie tins or fabric needle rolls, for example.
Getting Creative with Washi Tape – Contain it in a ribbon box or hardware case.
Correlating Jewelry Making Supplies - Divide tools, beads, chains into organizer cases, tin boxes and repurposed glass candle or jam jars with lids.
Managing Miscellaneous Small Items – Place glitter, sequins and like items in pill cases, mini-baggies and mint tins.
The main benefit of getting your craft space organized is being able to get right to work when your creative muse strikes and being able to spending less time looking for supplies. “Experiencing this stress-free way of crafting firsthand is all you need to STAY organized!” says Schae.
Photos courtesy of Schae Lewis