Today brings a guest post from the wonderful Jeriann Watkins of dairyairhead.comOften, people who struggle with organization are very artsy and creative. I thought this was great stuff for those of you who enjoy arts and crafts, but need a little structure. – Stacy

In the past year, I have turned my habit of collecting craft materials into a small market booth where I actually make the things I plan on making and then sell them. It’s been a blast, but it’s led to a large influx in the amount of craft supplies I’ve accumulated. As such, I’ve had to implement a lot of different organization strategies to keep things from getting out of control. Below are some tips for keeping your craft supplies from taking over your house.

Taking Inventory

Whether you have a room dedicated to crafts, or just a couple of bins in a closet, the first step to organizing any space is to know exactly what you’re making space for. I find the best way for me to do this is to completely empty my craft room, and group things into like categories as I do so. Then, I examine the empty room and plan where everything can go.

The best part about taking inventory is that it often results in slimming down my collection. Having to move everything back and forth is a great motivation to get rid of items that I’ll never end up using. This includes clothing scraps and other random items that I’ve saved in the hopes of “someday” finding suitable projects for. This last time I organized, I finally gave up on the idea of using the old fencing and wood debris I’ve been saving. Since it was organic matter, I used a junk removal company to properly dispose of everything. Make sure to do the same for any old appliances, electronics, or other potentially hazardous materials you want to throw out.

Choosing Efficient Storage Methods

 

Once you’ve taken inventory of what you have, it’s time to analyze how each type of item is best stored. For example, I keep glass rocks and other accents in clear jars so that I can easily see what’s in each container. I found this awesome tutorial on hanging jars from the bottom of a wall shelf in order to save space. I also read a lot of articles about how to organize craft supplies, which helped spark some ideas.

At my craft booth, I sell lamps made out of wine and liquor bottles. This has led to a collection of over 200 bottles. Bottles take up a lot of space, and can be difficult to organize because they vary so much in shape and size. My husband helped me solve part of this problem when he found a wine rack at a thrift store. It’s a narrow floor stand that holds over 100 bottles. It only fits my standard-shaped wine bottles, but that helps a lot. There are also stackable wine rack units that can be hung on walls and customized to fit your space. http://www.poofycheeks.com/2012/08/mason-jar-storage-shelf-tutorial.html

Here are some other ideas for storing specific items efficiently:

  • Keep construction paper and scrapbooking materials in a filing cabinet. This way you can sort by color and easily flip through your papers to find what you need.
  • If you have a lot of fabric, hang a pvc pipe and put your fabrics on hangers. Pants/skirt hangers with clips can be really useful for the purpose. This allows you to keep all of your fabric next to each other and easy to browse, instead of piled up in a trunk or drawer.
  • Lockers can be a great way for storing paints, books, tools, cloth items, and more. I like to keep my spray paints and other items that could potentially leak in a set of used metal lockers I found on sale. This prevents spills from damaging my carpet, wood shelves, or other storage units I want to keep in better shape. It’s also nice that the locker unit is tall and narrow, since I have limited floor space

Maximizing Your Space

Once you figure out the best way to store each type of item, you need to maximize your space so that all of these storage methods work together. In my craft room, I have a large wicker basket-chest that holds all my picture frames. I also have some small floor shelves, the lockers, a cube organizing unit, my wine rack, and a futon. I’ve had to find the best ways to fit all of these items against the wall and still keep my electrical outlets free for use. Added to this is the challenge that one of my walls is off limits because it has a closet and a built-in dresser unit.

As my craft collection continues to grow, I have to find storage methods that go up, rather than out. To this end, I’ve started collecting milk crates that I plan to hang on the wall. Once I get them hung, I can keep items both inside and on top of the crates. I can also hang a wood board beneath the crates with either hooks to hang things from, or screws for the jars I mentioned before. This will be an extremely efficient way to store a variety of items.

These are only a few methods that can be used to keep craft supplies from taking over your entire home. What are methods you’ve used to organize craft materials? Share in the comments!

Jeriann Watkins is a crafter and writer at dairyairhead.com. She loves to find new ways to organize her craft supplies (mainly so she has room for more!). Check her out at her blog or on twitter!