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Hey everybody! I was cleaning up the other day (I hate cleaning up) and found a shoe caddy, the kind that hang on the back of a closet door. Weird thing to find right? Well originally I was going to use it to grow plants in but I have discovered that my porch gets way too much sun for anything to grow so I was wondering what to do with it. 


 
 
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Do you like holidays?  All of them or just one or two? I like them all! I celebrate New years, Valentine's day, Easter, St. Patrick's day... I could go on but you get it. I have special decorations for most holidays and I love to buy items on sale after the holiday -  like valentines for my daughter's school class or Easter grass and plastic eggs. I am also big on using things over and over if possible (yes that includes the .99c Easter grass).  


 
 
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Spring came and went and I'm still in Spring cleaning mode. Today I was cleaning out my closet. I wish I had before pictures. I threw away a bag full of junk and donated 2 more. Yay me. Some of it was old crafts I no longer do (cross stitching), crafts I didn't like (punch needle embroidery) some clothes that don't fit (some went to mom for crafting), some clothes I just never wore (see previous statement) and on and on. 


 
 
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Crafting takes a lot of space for a lot of supplies especially if you do many different types of crafts. There can be yarn, buttons, spools of thread, cloth, ribbons, you name it and we’ve got it. The real question is what to do with it all. Where do we put all of this stuff so that we can have space for all of it and space to work? We certainly can’t get rid of it, we need ever little bit and every skein of yarn is special. Even the yarn I am sure I will never use is too good to throw in the trash. So what do we do with it?

Not every person has a devoted craft room; I know my apartment doesn’t so I’m going to address both situations, craft room versus no craft room over a period of two weeks. This week: no craft room.

If you do not have a craft room you may have to bite the bullet and pare down your wares or find somewhere to store everything. I live in a three bedroom apartment with my husband and two children which means there is little room for storage so I’ve had to greatly limit my on hand supply. Thankfully I have Mom’s craft room to store most of it. You will have to address your unique situation and figure out where you have space to store your items. Then you will need to determine the most useful form of storage. In my case I mostly hold yarn and some minor supplies. I have all of my supplies in my closet in two containers, one narrow and tall set of plastic drawers for the yarn and a short fat one for other supplies. Having limited space helps me to make sure I use up the yarn I have before I get more (in theory if not always in practice).

Other ideas are the door hanging shoe holders, they are a great size for skeins of yarn and if you get the see through ones it can hold projects or supplies for easy view. I like to keep completed projects in a Ziploc bag to keep them safe and unsnagged.  Ziploc bags are also great for storing works in progress during any stage of progress. They even make big bags now for larger projects (like our cloak pattern).

I keep the scrap yarns wound up and put in Ziploc snack size or quart size bags depending on how big they are. It would be great to organize them by color, type, etc., but I do not have enough room for that. Instead I store the scraps in the drawers and store the large skeins on the door in the shoe holder.

In summary:

1: Assess your needs: what type of storage you need based on what you are storing.

2: Assess your space: do you have a closet, a table, a small corner? Maybe a couple spaces?

3: Be creative; if you have a door, hang a shoe holder or if you have a bare wall, try some shelves. My favorite are the plastic dresser type drawers, they are lightweight so I can move them as often as I like and they are see through so I can tell which drawer I want.

4: Put it away neatly and organized so you can find it later. It does not help to organize if you throw it all in a drawer, it will get messed up or it can get lost.

5: Create! Now that you know where all your supplies are you can create to your heart’s content and know where whatever it is you need is located.  

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Organization with a craft room

Ok so let’s say you are one of the lucky few who have a room dedicated to your craft. Maybe your kids moved out and you have an old bedroom, maybe you always had an extra room, maybe you were so daring as to add on an extra room just for crafting, perhaps a tower room with a view. Maybe I’m just thinking wishfully about that last one. Whatever the case may be you are standing in an empty room (or maybe not so empty) and wondering where to start.

Step 1: Assess your needs. What crafts do you do? Do you crochet or knit, do you sew, do you scrapbook, do you bead? Get a piece of paper and list what crafts you do, what supplies you store for said crafts and approximately how much space they take up.

Example: Our craft room:

Crochet/Knit: Yarn of varying weights and colors, hooks, misc. other supplies

Sewing: Cloth of varying sizes, sewing machine, ribbons and elastic and other various supplies

That’s pretty much all we have supplies for right now but your list may be different.

Step 2: Assess what would be the best form of storage for your supplies. Scrapbooking is a whole world on its own that I don’t play with but it has many organization options that are just for it such as paper storage and such. For us Yarn seemed best kept in those plastic drawers that are clear so you can see the colors. We keep them color organized, each drawer has a different set of colors so they are easy to find. The cloth we felt would be best folded up and put in a way that we could see all the edges but not covered so we could easily reach over and touch them to feel their weight and texture. For the miscellaneous stuff we decided to go for something simple, baskets to hold our supplies. Also think about work space when you do this, do you need a sewing table and a comfy chair? Do you need an easel? Do you need a couple tables so you can stretch out? Whatever you need fill it in on  your list or make a new one.

Example:

Yarn: Plastic drawers

Cloth: Some sort of shelf or open container

Misc. supplies: Baskets

At least one table, preferably 2 (there are 2 of us after all)

And a photo area (very important for us).

We also needed somewhere to store finished projects ready for sale.

Step 3: Organize what you have. Some of it may be no good but you are hanging on to it because they are your supplies. We had some yarn that looked nasty, either it got dirty or it was so rough that it would never make a good project but it was still really hard to get rid of them. Cull whatever you don’t need, don’t want,or just will not work for you anymore such as damaged goods, ugly goods, or generally unusable items and scraps. If it’s still useable but you don’t like it sometimes schools will take items for crafting but ask first before you donate. Now that you have exactly what you want to store, how many storage solutions will you need? Think about storing what you have now with some room to grow if you think you will collect more in the future (if you are like us, you will). It’s a good idea to do some measuring before you go shopping and I always suggest using what you already have on hand whenever possible. Do you already have a craft table? Do you already have some storage (likely you have some to start with or where else would your stuff be?) that you can use or repurpose?

If you can (not all of us think well this way) draw a map of your room as much to scale as you can and fill in your dream room. Map out where your work area will go first as it is actually the most important. If you need a table and there is nowhere to put it because of all the drawers and cabinets then you will not want to work in there. It’s also great to give it the prime realty like in front of the window, for example. Around your work area(s) map where you want the previously listed storage options to go. If you are pretty close to scale you should be able to figure out how many of each you can store. Begin arranging what you have (if you need to paint or re-do the floors do that before you move stuff in of course) and then fill in what you want to get when you get it. If you are like us you are on a tight budget and may not be able to get it all at once. If you are handy or have a handy person around you can build some storage options like we did. Lastly don’t forget to personalize your room. Put in decorations, inspirations, pictures and such.

Step 4: Most important! Sit in your new craft area. Look around, maybe work on a project. Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel crowded? Is it too dark, too bright? As you work on your project are you able to find what you need? Are your most used items close at hand? A small basket for often used items is a good idea, one with a handle so you can carry it with you or a tote bag so you can pick it up and go. If you don’t feel comfortable fix any issues that come up. It may take a few tries before you get it perfect but don’t get discouraged. You may even find that your needs will change as you grow as a crafter. Just re-assess your needs and adjust accordingly.

I hope this helped you organize your thoughts for your craft room; don’t forget to put it in use. It won’t do any good if you don’t actually do it. Tune in same day next week to see how our room is organized. 

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