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Friday, August 17, 2012

Craft Room Organization

(lord help the Messy Crafter)

I am such a messy crafter! It’s not something that I am proud of, it just naturally seems to happen when I am like Crafting Wonder Woman busting out projects left and right, but never the less I definitely needed help on the organization front so I went to work in my new space, working with what I had mostly and picking up a few odds and ends for holding items along the way. 

To keep yourself sane on the organization front in your own space is a challenge indeed. I’m not saying I have been all together cured of this messy crafting but over the years I have gotten a bit better. I have a few ways in which I have found work for what I need on a regular basis. In so many cases I see these lovely craft rooms in magazines and such and I can’t help but wonder if those spaces have ever been used before or if they were just sets for pretty pictures. Perhaps, but it doesn’t really matter because what I needed was something a little different than the norm when it comes to space.

I have worked in the smallest of crafting spaces, glorified closets and kitchen tables and even end tables before, and today I have a nice sized room in which to craft my little heart out! Despite the nice size, I really needed to utilize every space I had available. It works for me. Here are a few tips if you're trying to keep all the crafting stuff together. 

Sewing Tables: A lot of people will simply buy a sewing table and it provides enough space to convert to what you need. I needed a space that was going to work for at least 2-3 sewing machine stations instead of just one however so I picked up an old odd shaped desk table with a drawer on one side. I still have to add drop down tables to the sides but for now it provides space for 2 machines, one on one side and another at the other side, but can easily convert with a wooden box to having a sewing machine on top of the box so that when I want I have the opportunity to sew both sitting and standing. Here is a youtube video my cutie found that really helps show how you can easily convert your sewing table into one more use friendly. I did this to my table with foam and covered it in the plastic as she suggested and I found it worked really well. Just make sure when you set the foam in around your machine you make sure to cut away some foam from where the grate is on the machine-you don’t want to block the air ways of the motor or you can potentially burn it out and we definitely don’t want that!

Here is a video on how to not kill your back while sewing… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbmQ2riM7Yo&feature=relmfu
And here is a video on how to build a cheap sewing table…

Threads and weaving supplies: Wooden block dowels worked out perfectly and I have so much thread on a regular basis I had to do something to get it organized. Even if it’s in a little box..or a bunch of little boxes..or one big box..or out on the counter so you can see them (but heaven help you if they fall..and it’s never just one that falls….it’s ALL of them at once!), nothing worked for me except hanging them up! And since my cutie just picked up a new dremel tool a few months back, I was eager to make some crafting organization happen! It helps a million and now whenever I am off to the store to pick up supplies all I have to do is look at the wood blocks and see what threads I have available. They also sell these in craft stores so you don’t have to bother making your own if you don’t want to. I also needed a large woven wall dowel essentially for the larger weaving materials on top, and then I decided before I finished p I would just include a hanging dowel below so I could hang my ribbons, elastic reels and materials of that sort up in the same space. 

Fabric Stashes: The fabrics can take up a lot of space and I found a set of 2 hanging closet shelving units at a store a few years ago and they have worked really well for storing fabrics in a relatively organized manner. I like to keep my fabrics folded (or if not folded rolled and tied up) and according to fabric type so two hanging shelves side by side provides me with (usually) enough space to house all of the fabrics I have in my own stash. Of course this stash changes regularly and does not include the fabrics for projects for customers but if you are looking for a way in which to get those fabrics in neat order and out from the dust, in these shelves in a closet works for me! I have also considered putting them in the cabinets in my Craftzies hutch but I use that to house all of my extras such as stamps, paints and the non-sewing related crafts. There are lots so I hate to take over with fabrics when I need space for non-sewing crafts too!

Pattern Stashes: Ohh the patterns…what a space taker-upper I tell you! I have this lovely vintage trunk however and it is as organized as can be inside. I don’t have them laid out flat but standing upright and separated with white board pieces so the sections are separated a bit. This helped a lot when I went to open the trunk and would not know when dresses started and sleepwear ended! I also have an old wooden wine box that I use for the height when sewing standing up, and inside it is also packed with currently being used patterns. I roll all vintage patterns and keep them in storage but right now I seem to have so many patterns of my own that they are overflowing into a plastic container so yes, I am currently running out of space but I’m drumming up a new space saver..not sure what but something will come to me. I think I have a plan but it’s going to require more wood working so until I some of these projects that have been piling up made I’m not moving onto more pattern organization but it will happen sooner or later..I have a plan…

(this is an old photo of the trunk but it's big and holds most of my sewing patterns...)

Notions: I’m like the ‘Notions Wiz-Kid’ these days with my little plastic wall pockets. I was originally going to just pick up some shoe holders in clear plastic but I don’t know if they still make those anymore or you just have to hope to find one left over from the 70’s that hasn’t faded to yellow. Yeah see, when I thought about that I wanted to make my own too, and in the sizes I needed so it all worked out well. I had some left over from when I covered my craft table in the plastic sheeting and just sewed the edges and added pockets, trimmed the seams in seam tape (I have a ton!!! Eager to use…) and well, wha-la! I FINALLY after years and years of ‘kind of’ knowing what notions I had but would still have to plow through all sorts of notions in order to find that one thing. I really find it useful to be able to see through the clear pockets so I can quickly grab what I need or recognize that I am not seeing something in the designated pockets and need to restock. The images below are of one of my smaller notions wall pockets.

Inventory: I have 2 sets of inventory. I picked up these 2 metal cubes with wheels and they are pretty great. They stack (providing your bottom cube isn’t too packed) and then you can wheel them around together. This 2 cube stack is essentially my Craftzies inventory. For Sophia, since I like to keep the dresses hung beautifully, I picked up a plastic garment rack and that is out in the room because it won’t fit in the closet or crawl space, but this way I have easy access to both inventory sections for both shops. The Craftzies cubes fit into my shop closet in front of the storage door and easily wheels about so I can get into that area beyond for extra shipping materials and rolled patterns that don’t fit in my regular sewing pattern stashes. Tagging items, bagging them and then storing them in a cool dry place will do the trick when it comes to keeping items neat, clean and ready to ship out. This of course applies to those who make and sell items or for those making a lot of items for family and friends. They can pile up when the holidays are roaring in…

All the rest: My Shipping & Receiving/ Wrapping Station department is kept in the top part of the closet with 3 separate bins -one as an In BOX, one PENDING and one OUT BOX along with wrapping paper rolls stored under the boxes as they just happen to have little feet on them.  PENDING box isn’t used too much, sometimes when a customer has asked for an item to be placed on hold, awaiting another item that is currently in the works to be included in the shipping box, so I usually just throw my tape, scissors, and all my other tags, bags and shipping materials in there or slipped underneath the bins, next to the wrapping paper rolls.

Books and additional resources go on a bookcase in the corner by the closet and sometimes I have to move the bookcase slightly to get into the fabric stash but it isn’t too often. My book stand for reading instructions & pattern directions can be found on top of my sewing hutch where I store my extra sewing patterns and use the box for height when standing up sewing. I store my styrafoam head mannequin on top of the wooden box as well to utilize space.

(old craft room zipper area)

Zipper organization is a big one and for me, separate than my regular notions pockets because I need to be able to see those regularly so I know what colors I have, what colors I need, and I definitely don’t want to have to pull out a bunch from a little plastic pocket just for one zipper. Why, because I told you messy crafter’ runs the risk of not putting the others back and then they end up on the floor and that is not how you keep an organized craft room! I used to hang them horizontally in my old craft room and that is where this image originated, but I needed the wall space for other things when we moved so I opted for a small 3” corner wall between the desk office area and the closet. I just strung up some twine and clip the zippers up with wooden clips.

This way I know what I have when ‘Crafting Wonder Woman’ rolls through in a fury looking for a specific color it is easy to spot and it’s really easy for replacing the zippers as the wooden clips just go right back up to that area when not holding zippers so the space is ready for more when I go to restock. 

(current zipper area-definitely need to add new zippers that just came in but as much as I like the hanging horizontal zipper collection, this vertical zipper assortment works just fine and I have more wall space for everything else)

Receipts and business info are mostly on the computers (and don’t forget to make a backup up of images and such just in case a computer dies on you) and then shipping is logged in a shipping book. I use a large basket for holding weaving scraps that are awaiting being turned into weaving supplies for woven rugs and a wire rack with wheels on it for pre-made fabric balls for weaving and also for small fabric pieces in a basket on top of the wire rack.

I think that’s about it on tips for keeping it somewhat organized. Hope it helps and happy crafting!

Lindsay J

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