So you want to organize your craft room, once and for all. This is the only process you need to get it done, the right way.
Organizing my craft supplies seemed impossible. After a few failed attempts, I took a new approach which I’m outlining below. It FINALLY got me organized. Here I’m sharing my process, some tips, and the mental strength you may need to really organize your craft room.
To give you some background, the volume of my craft supplies is probably a lot larger than the average person, being that I own a business where I teach crafting workshops (no judgment if your supply volume rivals mine ;)). So, if things seem a bit larger in scale than what you may be dealing with, don’t get overwhelmed. These principles can be applied to craft areas large or small.
How to Start – Take Inventory
Starting is the most daunting part of the re-organization. It’s a commitment of time and mental energy, so once you decide to do it, go all in.
The first thing you will do is not touch a single thing. Yep, as tempting as it is to dive right in, don’t. Start by writing down all of the stuff you have, and begin to categorize items into groups like paper, adhesives, tools, clay, etc.
I started by listing out my categories first since that seemed more manageable. After listing 23 different categories (I warned you I have a lot), I transferred the list to an excel spreadsheet. Under each category I listed all of the items that fit under each category.
I did this exercise sitting on my couch, not in my craft room. It seemed too daunting for me to look at EVERYTHING while I was trying to list it out. After the list was made I went into the craft room and filled in the stuff I’d missed.
Plan Your Spaces and Storage
Next, I thought about how I wanted my work spaces to function (and if they needed re-arranging), what supplies should be stored around these work spaces, and how much physical room I would need to make it happen.
Once you have your inventory of everything that needs to fit inside of your craft space, it’s much easier to visualize how big of a container, how many shelves, etc that you will need to fit that stuff.
This was especially helpful to me because as I acquired materials, they just got stuck wherever there was space. To have a place where different materials will live now and in the future takes this planning step.
Take on a Quick Win
Before all of the planning, I had it in my head that I would dedicate two of my shelving units to holding all of my paper supplies. My careful assessment in the planing stage validated that this would be enough space, so I started there.
Having tackled a big area right off the bat was a great motivator to keep going.
Open Up Space
Items that I don’t use very often were taking up prime real estate. I moved them out of the area, and intentionally left the space they used to occupy empty.
Only when I was fairly certain that a location would become the new home to something, did I actually put it there. Having an empty shelf or storage bin makes it easy to assess what space you have to work with, instead of trying to keep a mental map of what can be shifted around.
Temporary Catch All
It’s inevitable that you’ll come across something and not know exactly where it should go right away. I kept all of the things that still needed a home on my craft desk, in plain (and messy) view. By keeping these things visible it was easy for me to grab and sort these stragglers as the overall organization fell into place.
There are also going to be things that don’t belong in your craft room at all. For these items I put them in temporary bins. I had one bin for the garage and one for “upstairs” (i.e. my living area, my craft room is in my basement). These were the last things I put away.
Prepare for the Extra Effort
Yes, you’ll hit some bumps along the way (like, a bin that’s a teensy bit too small for what you want to fit in it). And then you’ll be faced with the stuff that makes you cringe.
For me, this was cleaning out an area underneath the stairs in my basement. It was dusty, full of stuff I hadn’t touched in years, and totally gross. I had to do it as I wanted to utilize the space for supplies.
In these situations you need to buckle down, dive in, and try not to stop until it’s done (so you don’t have to come back to it). Then, reap the reward of having a super organized (and possibly reclaimed) area, and treat yourself to a glass of wine!
Almost as satisfying as gazing over your clean craft room is adding labels to all of the storage containers and shelves to make it official that your stuff has a new home.
I save labeling for last to avoid rework. You never know when you need to swap a bin or change a shelf to make everything fit.
Best of all, labeling frees up your mental space. Instead of bogging down your mind to remember what was where, you now have more brain cells to think up new craft ideas.
Keep It Organized
Your craft room looks amazing, and you’ll never let a single thing go out of place again!
Then life happens, and paper, and glue, and thread, and wooden nickles, and jump rings, all congregate on your desk, and you don’t even know how they got there, or why these things would ever be used together.
Don’t beat yourself up if things get a little messy here and there. It IS a creative space, and you should have that freedom. But, now that everything has a place, take the time when ever you are feeling scattered to put everything away.
Oh, but you have three projects that you know you’ll finish soon, so it doesn’t make sense to put them away. If that’s what you said last week, and the week before, suck it up and put the in-progress stuff away. It’ll be waiting for you, and guaranteed you’ll find it when you need it now that everything is in order.
Live Like a Craft Boss
You put in the work, now relish in your awesomeness. Go make some new rad crafts in your refreshed space!