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9 Tips on How to Get Your Crafting Organized & Keep It That Way!

August 29th, 2012

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Getting craft supplies organized tends to fall to the bottom of my to do list, “After all,” I think, “it’ll just get messy again as soon as I make something, why bother?” But sooner or later the time comes to clear up all the yarn, organize the hooks and needles, and stow all fabric, glitter and crafting supplies away. Good organization can help us make beautiful, useful projects; after all, crafting is much easier when you know where to look for supplies, and can tell right away if you’re running out of something or need to go out and get a new tool.

Here are some tips to help you get organized and, just as importantly, stay organized all year long!

Give everything a home: Things can’t be put away without a home, but more importantly, homeless tools and supplies are almost always difficult to find when you need them. Tired of retracing your crafting steps to try to remember where your shears or glue gun has gone? Then giving these tools a home could be the solution.

Consider labeling: Lots of folks love handwritten labels or using a label maker, but what if you don’t like traditional labels? How about using a small picture of what you’re putting inside? Tassels of yarn on decorative bins, or paper samples on the edge of scrap booking boxes tell you exactly what’s inside with a visual examples.

Work surface does not mean storage surface: Part of giving your supplies a special home means that they no longer belong on your crafting table, especially if you’re short on space and that table also happens to be where you use your computer or eat dinner! Keeping everything out on the table means less space to work, so try looking elsewhere for inventive places to keep your projects.

5 minutes a day: Daily upkeep is the key to keeping your supplies in order. If you’ve got a craft area to clean or a project to tidy up after, try taking 5 minutes a day to clean it up (or if you’re really good, 5 minutes a project!) when you’re ready to leave the table. This not only keeps things tidy, but also helps you avoid accidents (like leaving the cap off of a bottle of glue).

Keep your supplies in sight even when they are “put away”: We all love crafting, it’s why we have all these supplies! Try to find an organization system that lets you look at and enjoy your crafty materials and tools without being overwhelmed by them. Folded quilting fabric and be put in a wall-mounted magazine rack, and balls of yarn can be tucked into over-door shoe bags and large clear vases. Invent your own methods, and use that crafty energy to help!

Find your favorite method, not the method you THINK should be your favorite: Love plastic boxes? My mom does, so all her supplies are in plastic boxes and all of mine are in baskets, jars and shoe bags. Tailor your storage system to your particular home and work style and you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying crafts and less time worrying and looking for lost supplies. Not every method is going to work for everyone (or every space), so find the one that you love and it’ll be much easier and convenient to stick to.

Crafts of a-feather flock together: Many of us love different kinds of crafts. If you’re a knitter who loves scrapbooking, or a crocheter who also loves to sew and make stained-glass, it’s going to be important to keep supplies for each craft together. There might be some cross over (using thread to sew on amigurumi faces, for example) but if for the most part you use thread with your sewing, keep it with those materials. This tip is extra important for organizing your tools!

Display your inspiration: Lots of things inspire us, from fashion shows to flea markets to recipes and more! Save clippings from magazines, samples, or pictures you’ve taken and keep them where you can see them. A beautifully crafted memo board or a special binder will keep all those beautiful images safe from damage and out where you can see them without adding to table-top clutter.

Keep inspiration close, and your notebook closer: For lots of us, when we get excited about a project idea we want to diveĀ  in and get started with whatever supplies we have handy. But will you need a different kind of glue, different knitting needle size or thread color to make the project the best it can be? Make a note of it, draw a sketch, make a plan and then get crafting! Pick out a beautiful notebook or pad of paper that you’ll enjoy using. You’ll be glad you planned ahead.

What tricks do you use to keep your space organized?

Do you have tips to add to this list?

Share them with us in a comment below!

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  • melissa

    oh what a fabulous post!
    i totally agree!
    it gives me so much joy to see my yarn while it is waiting for me but not feel overwhelmed by it!
    i just got the box of yarn i ordered from you to stock up for my fall projects and i LOVE the new divinci!
    i cannot wait to use it on the new slipper pattern i just got!
    melissa

  • Kate

    I find storing my yarn in “space bags” is really space saving. Only drawback is, when you do take something out of your stash, you have to have the vacuum handy to reclose it.

  • Diana

    I bought an over-the-rod hanging organizer for sweater or shoes in my project room closet plus a few plastic containers and a drawer in an old bedroom chest I painted. Supplies for other crafts like coiled baskets and sewing/quilting are divided into the other drawers.

  • dottie devine

    cylinder ice cube trays are great for organizing brushes,
    crochet and knitting needles

  • mgquilts

    Thank you for this article. It’s just what I need to get moving on my good intentions to get my sewing/craft room organized.

  • mary m young

    I noticed in a yarn catalog a spiral holder for double pointed needles to keep them together. I thought of a couple ideas that I now use. Remember the wall mounted telephones with the longer than life cords? Cut up in sections they make an excellent needle holders. Also those cheap ball point pens with a coil base work well for tiny things. Both hold the needles tight and secure.

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  • Ema

    I keep my yarns and some other things for crochet and sewing in a big suitcase.

  • Nancy

    Here’s a new handy storage tip for knitting supplies. I use clear plastic zipper pencil pouches for my essentials, ie, small scissors, measuring tape, stitch markers, etc. I can see everything that’s inside and that means I can find whatever I’m looking for!

  • sanfitch

    I use hanging sweater and shoe bags for my yarn stash. I tend to knit or crochet a lot of prayer shawls – so I store the # of skeins I need for a shawl in a large zip log bag slipped into the sweater slot. Then I can just grab and go when I’m ready for the next shawl. I just started using a folding storage box (think roll out with pockets rolled up into a box) for my shorter needles and crochet hooks, It’s working great!

  • Clm

    I use a silicone like pencil bag for my crochet hooks, a pen, a gauge, small scissors, stitch markers etc. the flexible material won’t crack with time or cold like a plastic pencil bag and I can easily shove it in my project bag. For my project bag I save the thick plastic zipper bags my sheets came in and keep it zipped up when I’m not working on it. Just be careful of your yarn near the zipper!

  • Mary

    I made a tall case for my knitting needlessly buying a “poster tube” from the post office, cutting off the top at the length I wanted and then covering it in a nice fabric from my stash, using craft glue. The little cap still fits perfectly as long as you don’t use a fabric too thick. Perfect for the longer knitting needles and you also get to craft and use some of that pretty fabric you’ve collected.

    • Mary

      *needles

  • http://www.facebook.com/tiffany.alziebler Tiffany Alziebler

    I have 2 wood cabinets in my walk in closet 1 has knitting and sewing stuff in it the other has scrapping and painting supplies. Then I have a ceder chest with my good yarn in it and a plastic bin for my basic yarn. Have my dream book for idea scraps tip: I use the magnetic photo pages so I can pull out the ideas when I need them. My problem is I don’t have space to really work until we move again.

  • Deb

    I use the ten minute rule for keeping my studio orginized. When things are out of place and I have a spare 10 minutes I run in there and do 10 minutes of orginizing. The studio was a disaster since I do so many types of arts andf crafts….after about a month it’s really looking pretty good and I can find my work table!

  • mrst

    I cannot remember what post I read that suggested using lengths of1/2″ pvc pipe with end caps to store knitting needles on. Wow How easy and organized. I am sorry I can’t give credit because it is a wow storage idea. I labeled with cutesy labels. Ahhh. Now I can find any size, any length, any time.

  • Roni

    If I am using yarn and have only a fist-sized ball of whatever color left from a project, I always store them in a plastic sandwich bag. You can see what colors you have left and use them all at once to make a scrap yarn afghan or scarf or whatever!

  • Sandra

    A thoughtful post. As a non-knitter I have to think out a few questions to find the best organizing method for me.

    What will I be organizing?

    Will other people use it?

    Do I want to carry this item to different places like my living room or on the bus or to the community item. or just keep it where I will use it?

    Do I want these items easy to see and get to or not visible until I look for them?
    What do I use most frequently?

    How often will I use that item?
    *Remember frequently used items should be assist to access and tallest items to the back.

    Do I want to see through to the contents or not?

    Do I need to label these items?

    What about expiry dates?

    Will I keep back up supplies with the stuff I am using now, or do I keep replacements elsewhere, or buy it when I run out? How much of that stuff do I keep on hand?

    Consider carrying index cards for notes and inspired thoughts or ideas you have on the run, or better yet a camera to take pictures of ideas you may want to try.

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  • Monica

    I store my knitting needles in a tube that’s meant to hold a wine bottle to give as a gift. You can find them at craft stores and they come already decorated. The lid is incorporated with the handle so it cannot get lost.

  • Ashley

    This is such a great post! My craft station kind of became my storage area as well. There are some great tips in here. Looks like I am going to be headed to the store to get some bins..

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