Crafting is relaxing. Actually, it's a little like meditation with benefits. After taking a break from life's worries and challenges for a couple of hours, real life seems a bit less overwhelming. And instead of just clearing your mind, you get to make something useful, pretty or fun in the process. More crafting and less worrying sounds like a recipe for good mental health.
There's a problem, though. Most crafts involve using lots of tools and materials, and some of those materials are tiny or oddly shaped. Those shiny, fluffy or elegant bits and pieces often seem adorable in the store, but it could be months or even years before you ever get around to using them in a project. You have to buy them, of course. Otherwise they might not be available when you need them. It's all about supply and demand. Shop now while you can so you won't regret your hesitation later. The good news is that you end up with lots of great stuff. The bad news is that you're probably running out of places to keep it all.
There's another problem, too. Once you do find places for everything, if you ever do, you have to organize those places so finding your supplies is intuitive, or at least kind of intuitive. Practically speaking, that means it won't take a couple of hours for you to remember that you put those zebra striped buttons not with the black and white cording, but with the black and white yarn, or over with the black and white silk flowers.
If you're not a crafter, this probably sounds pretty silly. It isn't silly, though. It's deadly serious. Craft time is prime time. The more of it you waste hunting for what you need, the less you'll have to spend on making something. The frustration isn't going to do your blood pressure much good, either. So this organization thing is really a health issue -- don't you think?
Let's take a look at some practical craft room organization tips that will get you behind that sewing machine, glue gun, template cutter or stamper and out from under a pile of bags and cardboard boxes. Assembling your precious and painstakingly purchased supplies shouldn't be like gearing up for an Easter egg hunt.
Craft Room Organization: Pegboards and Containers
You probably want a place for all your crafting supplies, but even if you have space, all storage isn't created equal. One of the most dynamic ways you can make storage work for you is by keeping your supplies visible. Sure, the idea of having a room filled with solid wood cabinets that look spectacular and keep clutter out of sight sounds nice -- if you're an interior decorator -- but being able to look over at the wall and see at a glance the ribbon, paper, yarn, fabric or chain you want has real merit.
To that end, lots of crafters are turning to clear plastic or glass containers, wall hooks and wire shelving solutions that corral supplies but keep them in plain view.
Pegboard -- You've probably seen pegboard (hardboard) holding up the garden spade in your garage -- and dismissed it as a simple hook arrangement with limited functionality for crafting. Pegboard is so much more, though. It doesn't just work with hooks anymore. There are lots of pegboard organizers and accessories on the market that make pegboard a multi-functional storage solution that can grow as your crafting hobby grows. Consider lining one wall of your craft room with pegboard and outfitting it with specially designed baskets, shelves, bins and jars.
Pegboard is available in a couple of thicknesses and hole-diameters to accommodate lightweight as well as heavier-weight items. It can be made of hardboard or metal. It's also available in up to 8-foot-by-4-foot lengths. Pegboard is relatively inexpensive, easy to install and paintable (so it looks good in your craft room). There are even freestanding pegboard dividers on the market if you like the idea of creating functional partitions in your space.
Container storage -- You've probably noticed the proliferation of plastic storage bins on the market over the last few years. From stowing holiday ornaments in sectioned compartments, to functioning as wrapping paper stations, storage containers have never been so organization-friendly. Because many crafts use lots of small objects, we like stacking storage that uses plastic frames and shallow bins that work as removable drawers. They're available at most variety and office supply stores. Even better, they're transparent or lightly frosted so you can get an idea of their contents. That way, you can distinguish a drawer of paint tubes from a drawer of beads without ever leaving your chair. If you like to separate your materials by color, transparent storage containers are doubly useful.
For smaller storage, clear plastic shoe boxes can be very effective and inexpensive, but nothing beats glass slant jars, or what they used to call penny candy jars. These old-timey jars have a tilted mouth that makes reaching inside to snag a button or a bead very easy.
Craft Room Organization: Designing a Craft Closet
If you have a closet to spare for your crafting hobby -- well, lucky you! Closets can hold lots of equipment and supplies, especially if you have a strategy for outfitting them to take advantage of every inch. They protect paper and fabric from sun damage and dust, and can hide bulky or unattractive items like ironing boards and dressmaker's forms. A dedicated craft closet can also provide a home for that serger, template maker or embroidery machine that only sees action a couple of times a year.
The key to a functional craft closet is flexibility. This year, you may think you'll never be into knitting, or beading or sewing, but who knows where your hobby will take you in the future? Experimentation and discovery are two of the delights of crafting, and some crafts just naturally overlap others. To be prepared for your next adventure, choose modular closet shelving you can customize to fit your changing needs. You may benefit from installing shallow shelves to hold card and paper stock this season. Next year, you may want to use that space for your collection of willow and grapevine wreaths or rolls of silk ribbon.
Before you actually shop for shelving, empty the closet and measure the space. You'll need to know how much room you have to work with. Closet height, width and depth are important. Buy a stud finder and locate the wooden studs behind the closet's walls. The shelves you install will be able to hold more weight when they're secured to the studs.
Don't just think about shelves when you're considering closet storage, either. The space just below the ceiling is wasted in many closets, but you can install hanging hooks that can store twine, lengths of chain, ribbon and other supplies. The walls behind the shelves can be outfitted with pegboard to hold small bins and hooks so no space is wasted. If the closet is deep enough, you can even install pegboard on the side walls for flexible small item storage and easy access.
Think in three dimensions. You may have a greater need for shallow shelves than deep ones, so customize where you can. Take the time to analyze the objects you need to store. If you'll be sticking a dress form in the closet, the layout you choose will be different than if you're storing small or stackable items. If you'll have floor space available, consider adding a plastic drawer organizer or moving a small chest of drawers into the closet. This is an inexpensive option that can free up space in your craft room and increase closet storage by using floor space that would otherwise be underutilized.
You're still not done. If your closet has a stout door, install an over-the-door wire shelf, plastic door-storage craft organizer or even a wooden peg shelf for spools of thread. Space along a door's interior may be shallow, but it can still hold quite a few small items. If you can't find the right door organizer for your supplies, try modifying an over-the-door shoe cubby. You can find shoe organizers made of clear plastic that can easily hold rotary cutters, crochet hooks, stamp pads and other precious tools. Even better, you can place often used items on the door for easy access. Heck, you can even place a second organizer on the front of the door to double your storage.
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