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Dealing with a mess of tangled ribbons, loose buttons and spilled glitter can take the fun out of any craft project, so organizing a craft room is essential if you want to get the most out of your creative passions, whatever they may be.
Whether you have an entire room dedicated to your hobbies, or you’re integrating them into an existing room, streamlining your craft supplies is the best place to start. Not the most ‘artistic’ of tasks, we agree, but it’ll make for more inspirational – and efficient – craft room ideas overall. Plus, once you know what you’re working with, you can be as creative as you like.
Keen to make organizing a craft room your next project? We’ve gathered expert advice from the professionals on how to store, arrange and display your supplies, as well as top tips on how to put your own creative stamp on the space.
How to organize a craft room
The key to organizing a craft room effectively is to ensure you’ve dedicated space to everything you need to store and do. Before implementing any home organizing ideas or investing in any storage ideas, be clear about how you’re planning to use the space and put together a list of the things you need, from work surfaces and seating to supplies and equipment.
Sort through your existing stash and replenish anything that’s running low but be strict with yourself – clutter is not conducive to creativity, so you want to keep things as streamlined as possible.
‘Do you really need three cutting machines for everyday crafting? Probably not. Be strict with yourself and donate any unwanted machines and materials to schools, churches and other non-profit organizations’, advises professional crafter Tisa Jackson.
1. Set aside essentials
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to stop what you’re doing to track down sticky tape, or a pair of scissors. Certain supplies that are always useful to have close by, regardless of your chosen activity. Make a list of what you use most, group them together and store them in prime position, separately from the rest of your supplies – a portable caddy that can be moved around easily is a practical choice.
Consider tying bright ribbons around one handle of your scissors – they’ll be easier to spot when you’re busy.
2. Separate supplies items by type
‘Beyond the essentials, make it easy to get started on any particular activity by keeping sets grouped together’, advises Sarah Grant of Be.neat Studio . ‘Whether it’s scrapbooking, knitting, painting or jewelry-making, have everything you need for that activity in one place, a particular cupboard, drawer, bin or basket, for example’.
Once you’ve worked out your categories, you’re able to work out the best way to store them. ‘I like to use small jars for safety pins, bobbins and buttons, etc, and I sort them by color and size. I designate a drawer or cubby to keep slightly larger items such as seam rippers, rotary cutters, tape measures and pin cushions. Fabric stores are best rolled or stacked on a shelf, so you can see the pattern easily’, says Jennifer Lindsey, founder of Inspired Wraps.
3. Label everything
Labeling is an effective technique with any organization task, but particularly so when it comes to a craft room. With so many different items to store, all varying sizes, colors, patterns, etc, things can quickly descend into chaos if you don’t know exactly what goes where.
If your storage is on display, consider using chalkboard labels. As well as looking lovely, they have the added benefit of being easily updated, so you don’t have to replace the whole label each time. Or if you are into Mason jar craft, you may have extras you can use for storage.
‘You could take it further by putting more general labels on the shelving as well as the individual boxes, so you know what category it holds’, says Sian Pelleschi, APDO Conference Director and founder of Sorted!. ‘For example, you could have a designated "sewing" shelf, with boxes labeled "needles", "threads", "sewing patterns", "thimbles" and so on’.'
4. Repurpose storage containers
While it’s tempting to invest in brand new baskets, bins, and containers for your craft supplies, it’s not always necessary. In fact, some of the most useful craft room organization ideas can be repurposed from items you have at home.
A cutlery tidy slides neatly into a drawer and is the perfect place to store pens, paintbrushes, sticks of chalk plus scalpels and spare blades. Shoe boxes and toiletry dispensers are also useful. For ‘on display’ storage, Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens recommends vintage-style jam jars and spice jars.
‘They have the added benefit of being clear so you can find what you need quickly, and notice when supplies are running low, not to mention they add color and interest to the room when filled with your prettiest crafting items; buttons, ribbons, fabric squares etc’.
5. Plan a practical layout
A craft room is first and foremost a functional space, so an effective layout needs to take priority over prettiness (although the two can work in tandem, of course). Think about how you use the space and designate areas for them accordingly. It sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference to how effectively you work.
Assign areas for specific activities such as cutting, assembly, and painting, and store the items needed for each one nearby as best you can. Be careful not to overfill the room; be sure to leave plenty of open space, factoring in door opening areas, so that you can move around freely as you work’, says Oberon Copeland, founder and CEO of Very Informed.
Position the desk away from the walls to allow room for storage and displays, and to offer an alternative view when you sit down to work.
If you are planning to invest in new furniture or storage for your craft room, Sian Pelleschi advises you thoroughly assess what you need beforehand.
‘The biggest mistake crafters make is getting excited about a storage solution they’ve seen but not actually working out if it’s suitable for their needs’, she says. ‘Do you need open boxes for easy access? Shelving for larger items? Or is it drawer space for smaller items you require? These are the questions you should be asking yourself’, she says.
6. Keep your workstation clear of clutter
Minimalism is key when it comes to your workspace, so decluttering regularly is ideal. The less you can leave out on it the better. Everyday essentials deserve a spot; keep them in a caddy so you can move out of the way quickly and easily when you need to.
There is a case for leaving some items out on the side; heavier equipment that you use often, such as a sewing machine or a printer for example. However, anything that’s not used as frequently should go away into a cabinet. Be sure to store it at waist height or lower if it’s heavy, you want them to be accessible without stretching or bending down too far.
7. Customize a pegboard
Wall space can be extremely helpful in a craft room, playing host to all manner of storage helpers – shelves, racks that hang over the doors, hooks, rods, paper roll holders, the list goes on and on, but perhaps the most useful is the humble pegboard.
The beauty of a pegboard is that it can be so easily adjusted depending on your current project. Organize your supplies into hanging storage (baskets, bins, rods and pegs can all be attached with hooks) according to craft, then simply swap them in and out as you need – essentials such as scissors, tape, pencils and measuring tapes can have a dedicated spot at all times.
As well as being an accessible way of storing supplies, it also doubles up as a beautiful mood board. Let the things that inspire you set the decorative tone.
‘I like to use my inspiration board for tear-out pages from magazines, hand printed wrapping papers, greetings cards, photos and scraps of fabric – in fact anything that catches my eye’, says fabric designer Vanessa Arbuthnott.
8. Create a closet craft room
If you don’t have space for a designated craft room, consider transforming a closet into a crafting area instead… simply close the doors when you’re finished to use the room for other purposes.
Depending on your crafting needs, you could build in a desk or use it simply for storage. Bespoke cabinets, shelving and drawers utilize space to great effect, but store-bought versions can work just as well – be sure to measure the space beforehand, factoring in door and drawer opening areas.
If you don’t have a closet, professional organizer Emma George of Declutter with Emma suggests a portable trolley as an alternative; ‘it’s an excellent solution for ongoing projects as you can move your craft supplies around to where you need them to be, then store it away when you’re finished’, she says.
9. Dedicate space to your creations
It’s easy to get caught up in organizing craft supplies, but don’t forget to factor in space for your creations.
‘Whether they’re finished or a work in progress, it’s important to display and enjoy your creations at all stages’, says professional organizer Sarah Grant of B.neat Studio. ‘Depending on your craft, make the most of vertical space by hanging additional shelving, hooks, or magnet boards for preliminary drawings or finished pieces.
If your creations are on show, it’s important to put some thought into how you display them. Taking the time to create artistic, meaningful displays can inspire further work and add to the room’s décor, while still contributing towards an organized and efficient crafting space.
10. Do a daily declutter
According to the experts, it’s almost impossible to think creatively if you’re surrounded by mess and clutter, so if it’s efficiency you’re after, you might want to think about instilling a daily declutter routine – at least once a day, if possible.
‘It doesn’t have to take long, just five minutes or so, but adopting a ‘put away at the end of a day’ habit, so you walk into a calm, tidy space, can make all the difference to how you approach your tasks the next day’, says Sian Pelleschi. ‘If you’re amid a project, it’s ok to leave things out but tidy away what you can or move it to one side of the room to free up space’, she says.
How do you declutter and organize a craft room?
Whether you’re organizing a craft room that's dedicated solely for that purpose or planning a crafting area as part of an existing room, you’ll first need to establish exactly what you need from the space. What crafts are you planning to do there? How much room will you need? What about storage? Put together a list of all the things you want it to house, from furniture to craft supplies, then work out how much of it you already have in your existing craft stash – don’t be tempted to buy extras, it’s almost impossible to think creatively in a room filled with clutter, so streamlining is key.
How do I keep my craft room tidy?
The first time you organize your craft room is going to involve the most investment in terms of time and effort. However, once it’s to a standard you’re happy with, it’s surprisingly easy to keep tidy. The trick is consistency. At the end of every crafting session, set aside five minutes to declutter. Putting everything back in its rightful place will ensure you’re set up for the following day.
It's also worth scheduling a ‘deep declutter’, perhaps once every few months, where you go through and take stock of your supplies. Replenish, recycle, get rid where necessary. Use this time to evaluate any half-finished projects. Be strict with yourself – if you’re not going to finish them, get rid or find them a home elsewhere.
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For 10 years, Tara King worked as a Content Editor in the magazine industry, before leaving to become freelance, covering interior design, wellbeing, craft and homemaking. As well as writing for Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, Tara’s keen eye for styling combined with a passion for creating a happy – and functional – family home has led to a series of organization and cleaning features for H&G.
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