After making all of my Christmas Cards, gift tags and crafting boxes, my craft room was a disaster! I had stuff stacked up on my desk and boxes of supplies on a folding table. There was absolutely no room to do anything – including checking emails on my laptop. So, it required me spending some time to clean up the clutter, do a little housekeeping and find places to store stuff! And, since becoming a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, I have purchased a lot of new crafting supplies — because I never want to be without! LOL!
While I was cleaning, I realized this might be a useful blog post especially since today is Martin Luther King Day. Many of us will have the day off and the holiday provides the perfect opportunity to do a little cleaning. Here are some thoughts that I jotted down as I thought of them. They are in no particular order, but hopefully you’ll find these ramblings helpful in taming the chaos in your crafting space.
#1: Optimize your organizational system. This will provide the biggest motivation for cleaning your craft room. Instead of dreading the clutter, you will be excited about the organizational process! Consider purchasing some new photo storage boxes, creating vertical storage with new IKEA shelving unit or investing in a new rolling cart. If it gives you a larger work surface or more convenient storage – then, go for it! Consider re-purposing items – but only if – you absolutely love it, it’s practical and functional, it creates more work space, and it creates more storage. Otherwise, consider that re-purposed item as a “temporary solution” until you can purchase exactly what you need. The goal is create an organization system that makes you happy!
#2: Getting started. Grab two empty laundry baskets (or large reusable shopping totes) to temporarily store items that need to be put away. Start by removing the clutter from your work surfaces and putting everything inside the laundry basket. Systematically work clockwise around the room – open every box and container, empty every cabinet and closet – remove things that do not belong – sort and consolidate – put items in the laundry basket, pull items out and put them away when you discover the best place for them. The laundry basket will save your back and your steps, plus you can stop and resume the sorting and organization process at any time. The second laundry basket is for things that don’t belong in your craft room or things that you plan to donate or give away. As you work around the room – reorganize, consolidate and purge.
#3: Keep your work surfaces clear of clutter. This is easier said than done. It is so easy to let things pile up, especially after holidays, crafting marathons and even when cleaning your crafting room. But, your work surfaces should be used only for crafting! A clean work surface helps to clear your mind and gives you lots of elbow room to work. Clutter is distracting and interferes with the creative process. Resolve to take the time to clean up as you craft. You will spend less time searching for that item that you just held, spending more time crafting and have a smaller mess to clean up!
#4: Label everything! Labeling will help you keep track of everything you have and where it is located. This will definitely save you time when searching for things and will help make your crafting less stressful. Consider purchasing an inexpensive label maker at Walmart. After all, you are in/out of that store all the time. Why make a special trip to an office supply store for labeling tape.
#5: Cut 12″x12″ designer paper into smaller 4″x6″ or 6″x6″ pieces. This is truly one of the hardest things to do because we love our pretty papers! But 12″x12″ paper is heavy and takes up a lot of space. The best thing to do is cut these pretty papers into smaller pieces while paying attention what’s printed on the backside of those papers. I promise you won’t die! After the first few cuts, you will recognize that these pretty papers need less storage space and that you are more likely to use them. TIP: Store these smaller pieces with coordinating colors of 8-1/2”x11” cardstock – so they are readily available to include in your project design.
#6: Sell, give away or donate. Let’s face it, craft techniques are somewhat trendy and your crafting style changes overtime. If you haven’t used some of these crafting supplies it in a while, then chances are you won’t. Let someone else enjoy these wonderful crafting supplies. It is a WIN-WIN. Everyone benefits – they get to play with new craft supplies and you gain valuable storage space.
#7: Test and consolidate pens, paints, glues and other mediums. Take a few minutes to gather and test the products that you have been hoarding in the back of your craft closet. You will find that many can be thrown away because they are bone dry or rock solid! With the remaining useful items, refer to #6/Sell, Give Away or Donate. For example, if have an assortment of markers or discontinued cardstock, consider donating them to a local school, church or Girl Scout troop as they are sure to love crafting with them and you will gain valuable storage space.
# 8: Do a little house cleaning as you go. As you tame the chaos, do a little light housework – wipe your baseboards, dust behind things and vacuum. I promise you that this process is worth the effort and you will look forward to spending more time in your happy place!
Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!