I spent part of my morning sort-of helping my friend organize her crafting supplies. I say sort-of simply because I pretty much just sat there and kept her company while she sorted. I may have thrown out an idea or two but it was nothing mind blowing that she couldn't have come up with on her own. And when I say crafting supplies, I really mean massive collection of yarn plus a few other odds and ends. Not being a knitter, I had no idea that one could accumulate so much. But I suppose I have an unheard of collection of scrapbooking papers that I might use "someday," so I guess I get it.
Which brings me to the point of this particular blog. In her particular craft room, she had already purchased a fabulous Ikea shelf that I had been drooling over for two years, plus several bins that fit in the cubes. (Like I said, she didn't really need me.) We spent a couple hours sorting her yarn into groups: keep for me, keep for gifts, and donate. Because yarn is bulky and doesn't stack nicely, those lidded bins were a perfect fit for storing all that yarn. There was a bin left over for her son's various craft supplies and one for projects that are currently in progress. Plus she has a few magazine files she could use to store coloring books or scrapbook paper or patterns. She also had some super cute woven baskets she received as gifts that will look very decorative and cute holding scrap yarn. While we worked, she made a small list of extra bins she would like to purchase to store her sewing supplies. But after that two hours, what looked like an incredibly overwhelming, jumbled mess is now neatly sorted and stored in beautiful boxes.
Some of you will say, but it's still a jumbled mess - inside a box. Is the expense of those darn boxes really worth it? My answer - it depends.
It depends on what you want your space to LOOK like. Because really, it's only partially about function. The rest is aesthetics. If you are super duper creative and just can't generate ideas in a spic and span art room, this method is not, I repeat NOT, for you. Highly creative types need what I refer to as "clutter" in order to create their masterpieces. They can see a random corner of a scrapbook paper and come up with an entire design. Having to dig that out would hinder the creative process. But if you are like me, and you want to live in your house but have it look like a magazine layout, then, yes, the bins, boxes, totes, and various organizing products are absolutely worth every penny.
As many of you know, I love bookshelves. I love bins. I dislike clutter and I HATE toy boxes. I love bins on shelves for three reasons: 1. They look really pretty. 2. When you no longer need the toys, art supplies, or whatever, a bookshelf is a pretty useful piece of furniture. 3. When your child wants to play with cars, just not in the basement where the playroom is, you grab the bin and head up stairs. No digging to find enough to keep him satisfied. No full hands while you walk up and down the stairs. Easy clean up. Easy storage. My kids are also more apt to clean up when they know where things belong.
But, I am also a bargain hunter and bins can get expensive. I want things to look fabulous without the dollar sign. So, while I don't claim to be a master, I have figured out things I can re-purpose for organization.
This is what our art supplies look like. This small shelf is in the basement. The big box on the middle shelf contains all my printed pictures that haven't yet made it into a photo album. The two small boxes contain various papers, large foam sheets, sticker sheets, and coloring books. The three bins on the bottom, however, are my favorite. They are pretty heavy duty bins with cardboard on all sides, so they will continue to hold up when carried up the stairs a million times since we tend to work on crafts in the kitchen. Two of them hold all of our art supplies while the third holds extra containers.
Containers, you ask? Yes, containers. This is where the re-purposing comes into play. I have gotten into the habit of washing and saving plastic peanut butter jars, fruit containers, etc. That is what I use to store various supplies like pom pom balls, googly eyes, glitter pens, ribbon scraps, etc. So those two bins filled with art supplies actually hold containers of art supplies, thus relieving the need to dig around a modge podge of stuff to find what we need. The empty containers I don't need yet are stored in the third bin and are also available for craft projects, like the Tips and Fines jars pictured in this blog.
This shelf unit took me less than $50 (all boxes and bins were from Wal-mart, by the way) and maybe an hour of my time. Granted, my supplies were already stored in re-purposed jars and I've had the shelf for years which saved me both time and money. To me, that was $50 very well spent. The art supplies are still easily accessible and now it looks nice. You too may already have just what you need to get organized.