Is anyone else out there a craft hoarder?! Like, you do a project, buy the supplies, think you’ll use them again someday and pretty much just end up with a mess? I am shyly raising my hand. Haha! I have a closet in my house just for crafts and right now I can’t open the door without things falling out of it, so I figured today would be as good as any day to organize it! Here are my best tips and steps for how to organize crafts:
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The “before” of my closet. Such a mess! Side note, I started painting my hall for my hall renovation and stopped when I ran out of paint. I was originally painting the top half only so I could wallpaper the bottom half. My husband isn’t a big fan of the wallpaper I picked out, so we are trying to find a happy compromise 🙂
Step 1- bring all of your crafts into one spot
First of all pull all of your craft supplies into one spot. If your crafts are in a closet or on shelves or all over your house, take them from where they belong and dump them on the floor somewhere central so you have to touch every single item.
Now don’t get nervous or hyperventilate over the big mess. You can do this! And you will feel so much better when its done! But seriously, crafts are a mess! I felt like I had a good organizational base, but I definitely started questioning that with the mess this closet was. I have two big rules when organizing-
- you MUST get rid of items. Have bags or boxes ready for trash, giving away, and belongs in another room. If you don’t remove some of the mess, your organizing will quickly turn back into clutter. Remember, you have a mess because you have too many items. You MUST get rid of some of it!
- you MUST get a better organizing solution. So once you trash/giveaway some stuff, you will see that your system is flawed (and/or you are lazy and aren’t using your organizing system, so you need to make your system easier to use). As you are pulling things down you will see a recurring theme of what items need to be organized better.
Step 2- start with a clean slate
Step 3- have an organizing system purchased
Before you begin organizing, I’d suggest going to the store and buying a few of these bins. At $1 each I use them all over my house and always wish I had one or two extras on hand. I already owned them and they gave me a pretty good organizational base. They are my favorite cheap organizational tool! You can get them from the dollar store or Home Depot or Amazon for $1-$4 each. I then use labels from Michael’s (from the Martha Stewart line) and a sharpie to note what is inside. I love that no assembly is required (as opposed to Ikea boxes). They are see through so you get a visual of what is inside and can easily see if they are too full. When I am going to sew, I just pull the “sewing supplies” bin and I have everything I need all contained!
If you don’t label your bins/boxes you will most likely forget what goes where and your system will fall apart. I also believe in making labeling easy for yourself. Things change! So if I have to pull out my computer and type up a label and search for the special paper- it’s not going to happen. I know I am lazy when it comes to labeling, so I keep my labels and a sharpie together so I can quickly create the label I need.
Here are the categories I have:
Fabric (black and white)
Tape and Glue
Hopefully those categories are helpful for you seeing if you have enough items to fill a bin. The beauty of these bins is that you can see what you have in your big pile of crafts and create bins for what works for your home. Then if you find a loose item that goes in one of the bins, you just lift the lid and toss it inside. Again, the idea is that you work hard on this project for a few hours and then can be lazy for years and the system will work for you.
Step 4- start putting items away
As I was pulling items down I was noticing what was loose and needed to be put away. If you don’t have any organizational method, here is where you will put your items in categories. See what you have and start filling up bins. As you fill a bin with everything from that category, put the bin away so your pile of crafts gets smaller #momentum
Items like scrapbooks, art paper, crafting books, and sheet protectors all went on the shelves after I made sure I wanted each item and there wasn’t any loose items or trash hitchhiking.
I have a few photo safe boxes for my photos (I don’t have many picture printed out. Here is a post on how I organize my photos)
I have a big accordion file for my scrap booking paper. It is falling apart, but not bad enough to replace yet.
Step 5- throw items away that no longer serve you
As I was going through my stuff I found a file with old receipts- all from around 2010. I had a major shopping problem them and I guess I saved all of the evidence. I was a little depressed at that period in my life and was shopping to try and fill a void (spoiler alert, shopping didn’t work). I can not tell you how good it felt to pull all of those receipts out and trash them. It felt like a ritual where I was literally getting rid of the past and cleansing myself from what was weighing me down. So while organizing sucks and throwing stuff out sucks, it can can heal you too.
Step 6- Take charge of those hard to organize items. The nitty gritty!
I started making piles on the floor of the harder to organize stuff- gift bags, wrapping paper, fabric, ribbon, gift boxes, crocheting items, pictures, all of these things were sitting loose and the main culprits of my closet explosion. Here is what I did with these:
The Organizing Procedure
- I picked up each item and if I loved it or it “sparked joy” I kept it (this is a method from the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” this is a must read book if you have any issues with organizing aka, everyone)
- If I didn’t love it, I threw it away or donated it. Even if it was hard and I thought I might use it one day.
- Think about how you use items. For gifts, I never put large gifts in gift bags so I gave away all huge bags.
- Get rid of faulty items. I had a ton of gift boxes. Some of them were crappy ones where the lid is attached to the bottom of the box and are a pain to use so I gave those away too
- As I whittled down the items, it was easier to put them away- for me this meant in bins
- I made a pile of items that I didn’t have places or bins for (the fabric, I need to buy a bin for it or use the fabric) or that wouldn’t fit in bins (wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes)
- I went out and purchased organization supplies for those items
I know that the “Does this spark joy” question sounds so cheesy, but it totally works! I love the idea that outside order can contribute to inward calm and I can definitely tell you that organizing and getting rid of items helped me with some inner peace:).
My little helper loved organizing time. So many things to play with!
Another side note, I found these little charms I made for my wedding. I printed vintage valentines I found online and mod podged them onto these little silver frames and hung them from branches on my centerpieces. Oh, weddings before Pinterest! I haven’t used them since I was married 8 years ago, so they are going away (but now I have a picture to remember them by).
Step 7- create an organizing system for what you have left
Now I only had wrapping paper, gift bags, and gift boxes to organize.
Before, they had been shoved in the bottom of my closet and got damaged or I was too lazy to use them because I had to pull everything out of that dark and scary area to find what I needed. Plus, if I ever opened my closet my baby would play with those items that I didn’t really him to play with (eating wrapping paper isn’t my favorite baby activity). All of the sudden, I remembered a beautiful image I saw on Pinterest:Source: Cupcakes and Cashmere
I went to Michael’s and bought this Recollections door storage for $24.99 (it was 50% off):
The problem is that the bins are too deep for my closet (I only have 4.5″ clearance and these were 8″). So that went back to the store. I did more research and found an amazing system from the Container Store (that’s what is used on the inspiration image above), but it is 21″ wide and my door is only 20″ wide- dang! I then went onto Amazon and found another system for a great price ($35), but again, too wide for me. Guys- most of these resources will work for your closet- mine just happens to be tiny. Sigh! Back to Amazon I went and I found a little rack for $4.50! But, it was 12″ wide so I was worried it would be too small for all of my paper (I think it will fit 4 small rolls). I ended up buying 2 of those racks- one for the gift bags and one for the gift boxes. I also bought this matching shelf for $4.50 for my jars of tape, pens, and ribbon.
Later that night, I was showing my husband all of the options and telling how everything was to big- over 20″ or too small- under 12″. He suggested that I make something so it was back to Pinterest we went. Preston (my hubby) really liked this idea:
But I thought it was ugly how you could see the glue. We both loved the idea of making something with supplies we had on hand. We brainstormed and came up with the idea of making a wrapping paper holder with baseboard molding we had at home! So the next day I pulled out my supplies (hacksaw, measuring tape, miter lock, and trim I had at home) and got to work
Let’s be honest- I had NO clue what I was doing! I just made it up as I went along and it is FAR from perfect! I made a bottom bin and a top rack to keep the wrapping paper from falling over.
I put wood putty in the seams (they were a mess) and painted it white and it was good enough! I actually LOVE the look of the trim as opposed to cans or the wires that most of the systems are made out of! I did have to buy some brackets to hang the top rack, so it cost $2. Even if you don’t have the trim on hand, you could go to the hardware store and buy the remnants so cheaply. I love that once again I am able to use my $5 miter block to complete a project!
When my Amazon racks finally came (they got lost in transit for a few days- sooooo annoying!), I put them up and put everything away. The problem that I didn’t foresee was that with the racks not having a solid bottom, all of my boxes and bags fell through. I wasn’t ready to give up so I stapled white cardstock over the wires to make a solid bottom. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it works!
You guys!!! It’s craft heaven in that closet! I love it so much, I just go and open the closet to admire it (don’t worry, I am laughing at myself)! The Door additions are absolutely my favorites. I love that it was an unused space and now it packs so much punch for about $15! Half of the bottom of the closet is now empty- say what?!
Now that the closet is all clean, I actually find myself drawn to use the supplies more. I think the reason why is that I know where everything is and everything is useful to me in there! Some back story on this closet- when we bought this house, this was supposed to be the linen closet, but I took it over for my crafts. I really believe in the importance of creating and having a spot dedicated to that, is totally worth it. My condo is TINY- two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room, and kitchen. What I am getting at is that if I have the space to have all of my crafts in one spot, so do you! If you are living in a crafting mess, please use these steps and concur it! You’ll be happier and able to create more :). XO! And thanks for stopping by!
p.s. want a free course on how to style your accessories to look amazing?