Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Organized Craft Closet and Why Now's the Time

Cleaning out and organizing often comes on the heels of frustration.  When you've thrown up your hands in exasperation because you can't find what you need to finish a project, or you go to the store to buy something you thought you were out of only to find a stash of that something in the back of the closet.

This organization project was born out of just that--FRUSTRATION.

I was working on a counting project for Camden and I ran out of hot glue for my glue gun.  I searched through all of my containers for extra glue sticks.  I must have opened five containers that said, "crafts."  Yes, last time I organized my craft supplies I labelled them.  I have some that say "stickers," and some that say, "yarn," and some that say, "ribbon," but too many that just got labelled, "crafts."  I guess I ran out of steam near the end of my organizing project.

I knew I had more glue gun sticks, I just didn't know where!  So, before going out to buy more, I decided it was time to get organized.  I went to one of my favorite places, Pinterest, and started searching for ways to organize.  I stumbled across Kelly's blog, Eclectically Vintage.  I love her ideas for organizing her craft supplies.  Here are three of her tips that I embraced as I began my cleaning out and organizing job...

1. Choose One Space

My craft supplies had gotten out of hand.  They were in the closet, in my desk,  in a cabinet in the Butler's Pantry.  I couldn't find anything!!!  I chose one place, the Butler's Pantry, and decided anything craft/art related, must live there.

2. Store Where You Work

In the house of my dreams, I have an actual craft room with a great big table and walls lines with shelves for all my supplies.  Since I don't live in that house--yet--I have to make due with what I have.  I usually end up in the kitchen when I am working on a project, so it makes sense that all my craft supplies should be in my cabinets under the Butler's Pantry counter.

The paper file box is just a plain box I decoupaged with DecoPage paper.  It is really easy to work with, and the color really makes the plain box pop.  The divided container on the right holds math manipulatives.  Right now it is full of pretend money.  We have been playing restaurant a lot these days, so it's nice that the money is so accessible.  I also have my laminator and three hole punch in this cabinet.  They are in a container behind the math box.

My paper cutter (far right) used to live in my closet and many times I just opted to cut with scissors, when it would have been a whole easier to use the paper cutter, just because I didn't want to run upstairs!  It makes so much more sense to store it where I work.  

3. Label

I have used all kinds of labels.   These are chalkboard labels that I made using rainbow paper from Lakeshore Learning.  I explained how I made mine here, and Kelly also has a tutorial on how she made hers.

Here are three tips from my own experience...

4. Throw it Away!
I came across a container of markers, pens, and pencils that I remembered from my last craft cleanout.  Guess where it went this time?  File 13, as my good teaching buddy, Traci Totherow used to say.  She's always been way better at throwing things away then me.  Most people are.  But let me tell you, that feeling of just throwing the whole mess of pens and pencils away?  So liberating!  And I kind of got on a roll!  Throwing stuff away is so fun!

5. Shop Your House

Before you go out and buy something to store your supplies, see what you already have on hand.  As I was organizing, I realized my husband had two clear containers that could easily be consolidated into one (I learned that consolidate is a word my kids don't know so it went on the word wall--more on that later this week).  I was able to repurpose the other container in my craft cabinet.

6. Stick to Your Guns

Don't quit and shove everything in a closet.  Been there, done that, and I'm sorry to say, it doesn't go away.  The next time you open that closet, you will be annoyed that you never followed through and got it done.  See the project through, even if it means a room in your house may be in disarray until you find a home for everything.  My mud room is usually the one that is a mess while I'm cleaning and organizing, and it does bug me, but the end result, a clean and clutter free space, is so worth it.

This clipboard, which hangs inside the cabinet door, comes in handy for making lists and for the boys' homework assignments.  It used to drive me crazy that it would swing back and forth when I opened and closed the cabinet.  A little bit of velcro fixed that problem, and now it stays put.   I knew right where to find that velcro too!

At the end of my craft item sort, I was left with some miscellaneous items (pipe cleanrers, cork, buttons, feathers), but I didn't want to create a miscellaneous container, so I alphabetized the supplies and divided them up among three containers.  Now, when I am searching for craft foam, I know to look in the box marked f-k.

There's my glue!  It now resides with all the other glue and tape products I have in my craft stash.  I've honestly been thinking of doing a post on glue.  I think I may have a problem.

And why is now the time?  Because I was able to fulfill half of my kids' supply lists for school with items I already have on hand!  Score!!!

That's it for today.  What have you organized lately???