Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting Your Craft Space Organized

If you craft, you’re probably familiar with the challenges of keeping all your supplies and tools organized. Sewing, knitting, jewelry making, decoupage and other crafty pursuits all have one thing in common: they take a lot of stuff. Books, patterns, tools, glue, fabric, thread, glitter, xacto knifes, and yarn all jostle for space in drawers and closets among half finished projects and that great yard of fabric that you bought two years ago and still don’t know what to do with.  Weather you work in a garaged, second bedroom, the kitchen table, or in a studio apartment you can have a more organized workspace, I promise. And guess what? Getting all that chaos in order can help you get more done and have more fun!

In the next few weeks I’m going to be overhauling my own workspace using the same methods I’ll be blogging about here. I’ll be giving practical and actionable steps to follow as well as some food for though as we take on this awesome organizational challenge together.

I found these funky retro illustrations in an old sewing book that I inherited from my great-aunt. Pictures of organized spaces help keep me inspired so I’m sprinkling throughout the post. That brings us to our first step: GET STARTED!

Step 1 – GET STARTED. Now is the perfect time. Can’t seem to get your rear in gear? Here are some myths we tell ourselves that hold us back.

 “I have a million projects that I need to finish before I start organizing.” Part of the reason why you have a hard time finishing projects is because your workspace is chaotic. It’s incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to finish a project if you have to spend ten minutes trying to find your scissors. I know, that happened to me yesterday. Put aside your half knitted scarves and the half assembled scrapbook from last 4th of July until you’re done organizing. You’ll complete all your projects with joy when you can finally find all your tools and can spread out a little bit.

“I could get organized if I just had ______.”  Fill in any one of the following: more space, nifty storage containers, that $2000 sewing table with drawers and built in bread machine. Cool organization stuff from The Container Store or Joanne’s may help you stay organized but believe me, you already have everything you need to get started NOW. And believe me, having more space doesn’t solve all your problems; in fact it may make it worse. I was way more organized when I lived in a studio apartment. Now that I have a workspace/office in a second bedroom, I just have more space to make a mess in.

“I’m so overwhelmed I don’t know where to start.” Me too! That’s why I’m breaking this down into steps. Let’s just focus on ONE step at a time. Keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas as you go but don’t let daydreaming distract you from the task at hand. So, what’s the task at hand? That’s step two!

Step 2 – SORT. Haul out all your stuff and take stock. What goes? What stays? If you had something for more than a year and haven’t touched it, it’s time to say good-bye.

You will need three things to do this:
• a garbage bag (for trash, duh)
• a box for donations
• a box for things to give to your crafty friends (this is great if you have something that is too special to trash or donate)

There been a lot said on clearing away clutter in the organization and productivity world so I won’t beat a dead horse. Just be firm with yourself and challenge any excuses you’re using to keep stuff you don’t really need.  

Well I’m off to get started! I’ll post some pictures of my progress tomorrow. Good luck to us all!


  1. your illustrations are adorable! thanks for inspiring me to take my crafts organization project to the next level!

  2. Hopeful I'll be done soon! I've just got a few finishing touches and I'll be posting my "done" photos. Good luck on your organization project, let me know how it goes!