The most challenging of rooms to keep tidy, craft zones come with a hefty dose of organizational challenges. Some are brimming with a rainbow of yarn skeins or years of photos awaiting scrapbooking, while others play host to paint bottles and brushes or thousands of tiny beads.
Professional organizer Christine Arundell, with clients from Seattle to the Rogue Valley, claims craft rooms can be as easy to tackle as any room of the house with some willingness to devise a system and, most importantly, a desire for a functional space.
“The way I do organization is really different for each person. Some people have a whole craft room and some people have a closet where they have to pull things out to use them. Basically, they need to find a system that works best for them and use it,” says Christine.
Consider, first and foremost, the necessary amount of space, Christine says, “If somebody is doing crafts on a daily and weekly basis, it’s nice to have an area that is set up specifically for their craft. On the other hand, if somebody only does their craft once a month or once every two months, they can manage with keeping their crafts out of the way.”
First and foremost for getting organized, clear out any items not related to the craft area.
Oftentimes, craft rooms or work areas become “drop zones,” Christine says. Avoid stashing laundry piles or other clutter, such as junk mail, in the craft area. When the pile is whittled down, sort like craft items into piles and consider your preferred container style.
Craft guru and Medford mom Michelle Payne uses a corner of one room for crafts. She keeps piles under control by using two vertical towers filled with plastic drawers.
“One is paints and things I use more often and the other side is for the things I use less often,” Michelle explains. “They’re clear so I can see through them … and I have a system in place so things get put back where they’re supposed to go.”
Also popular for de-cluttering are various shaped and sized bins. “I’m a dollar store junky with storage bins,” says Medford craft guru and scout leader Lynn Barry.
“I find cheap storage bins wherever I can. Clear and open are the best to use; you can see in them. The ones you can’t clearly see into, you label … everything has a bin. If I wind up with something new, I create a new bin.”
Whether towers or bins, Christine also suggests oversized containers, “so they’re big enough to really fit all the pieces inside and there’s room to look through it. I see it all the time where supplies barely fit into a container and when they get into the container it’s spilling over the sides and you can’t find what you’re looking for.”
In addition to like items, consider individual containers or totes for seasonal or one-time crafts. While a bin-and-shelf system works great, frequently used items, like paper and writing tools, can be placed at arm’s reach. Pens and pencils work great in upright containers — utilizing vertical space — while paper should be stored flat to minimize damage to corners.
“One of the hardest things to keep from being a mess is paper,” says Sugar and Spice Paper Co. store manager Gayle Baily.
In addition to bins for separating various items, install wall shelves and utilize closet space. Closet organizers — cubes and racks — work equally as well for wardrobe accessories and crafts.
Finally, with a system in place, avoid bad habits and enjoy your new space. Plan to spend a few minutes at the end of every day putting things back in place and clearing the work area. Michelle notes, “The quickest way to not being able to find anything is when stuff doesn’t get put back where it belongs!”
A well-organized craft area makes crafting easier to do and creates a more motivational, and less frustrating environment to create all those wonderful treasures.