No matter how many good intentions we have about keeping our craft supplies neatly stored away and organized, it sometimes seems an impossible task - especially when there are one or more sets of little fingers around. Over the years I have learned some tricks when it comes to storing craft supplies and staying organized, and I am happy to share these with you.
Setting Up Your Space
Right now I am fortunate enough to have an office and crafting room which is full of shelves and cupboards, not to mention my desk and work table. While this is ideal, it is not practical for everyone. If you do not have an entire room you can devote to crafting, start out with a corner of a room. The dining room works well as there is already a workspace (table) but you can choose whatever room you have the extra space in.
Devote an entire corner of the room to your crafts. If you can put up some shelving or even cupboards it will make life much easier. I invested in some stackable shelf and drawer units that sit on top of each other and I love them. You can find a combination of open shelves, cubby holes, drawers and cupboard that all stack neatly together to make one large wall unit. If you can't invest in something like this right away, you can use anything from an old dresser to cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, coffee cans, ice cream pails, canning jars, and so on. No matter what items you use, take some time to personalize them using decoupage or painting techniques or with products such as stickers or rub-ons.
It is also nice to have a table devoted to crafting. You will get a lot more crafting done if you can leave unfinished projects out on your work table and ready when ever there are a few spare moments. A card table is handy because it is small enough to stay out of the way yet big enough to allow a few people to work together. It can also be folded up and put away when necessary.
Gathering and Sorting Supplies
As you gather supplies, sort them in a fashion that makes sense to you. In my craft room, I have all my fabric together, sorted by color; I have all my paint together, sorted by use; and I have all my general craft supplies together, such as pom-poms and chenille stems, sorted by type. I prefer to store all my different kinds of glue together in one spot, while others may prefer to keep a certain kind of glue together with the product it is used for. The key is to sort things in whatever way makes the most sense for you.
If you already have supplies, but just need to organize them, take your time and go through each item one by one. Some things, such as paint and glue can dry up or go bad and are taking up unnecessary space. I will admit to buying new craft products or kits with every intention of trying them but then they sit there untouched. If you have any items like this, things you have never used and probably never will, why not gather them together and donate them to a nearby daycare or nursing home.
One of my favorite things to use to store and organize my craft supplies are plastic storage bins with removable lids. They come in a variety or sizes and colors. I prefer the clear ones so I can see from a distance what is in it; plus, I label each bin using either a labeler or masking tape and markers. While I use the large (18 gallon) bins for storing supplies, I use smaller plastic bins (1 - 3 gallon sizes) to hold the supplies for whatever projects I am currently working on; this keeps the project handy for taking with me if I go somewhere. These bins also stack nicely in closets and on shelves.
Another staple in my collection when it comes to organizing my craft supplies are zip-top bag. I use pretty much every different size available. They are great for sorting small items; for example, you can use the smallest bags to sort pony beads by color. You can even put all the smaller bags of pony beads into a larger bag.
There are a handful of other organizing tools you can collect and try:
- Multi-Compartment Boxes: In most instances, these are made to hold small hardware items such as nuts and bolts, but I use them for sorting craft supplies. I use one for my button collection - I can easily sort them by color, shape, ect. For an added bonus, the kids usually love helping with the sorting process!
- Mobile Tool Box: My family thought I was crazy the year I asked for one of these plastic tool boxes on wheels for Christmas! Most have small and larger compartments, perfect for holding quite a variety of supplies and tools.
- Tackle Box: You can transform a fishing tackle box into a great storage box for all your smaller craft supplies. You can find tackle boxes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors!
- Milk Crates: Not only can you possibly find these for free at a school or restaurant, you can find these in most stores in a variety of fashionable colors. They can be used separately or stacked to create an entire wall shelving unit.
If you want to learn more about these organizing tools and explore more, check out this list of my top craft supply storage ideas. You might also want to take some time to visit my collection of crafting tips. In that collection you can find a unique way to store your ribbon, a creative use for a shoe hanger, a way to save shelf space using baby food jars, and much more.
One last thing you should consider using for organizing and storing your supplies is a clipboard. On my clipboard I keep a list of all the supplies I have, and how many of each item. I also keep a list of supplies I need to buy the next time I go shopping, plus items I want to try. This may sound a little silly, but it really pays for me to stay organized because my nearest craft store is almost 100 miles away so I do not want to forget anything when I go craft supply shopping.
If you use all or just a few or these ideas, you will find your craft time more pleasurable and rewarding. Not only will you know what supplies you have and where they are, but you will also have more time for crafting. Hopefully, that means you will have more time to spend together creating as a family.