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 dive 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!