How to Organize Craft Supplies

If you're crafty and like to make things, chances are the materials and supplies that go into your hobbies have stacked up over time, and not in a tidy way. Here's how to regain a bit of control and find what you need, when you need it.


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    Locate all of the craft supplies that you own.
    • If something is basically already organized or put away, don't pull it out now. Start with the stuff that's in your way.
    • Go a bit at a time, especially if you have a lot of stuff. Spend fifteen minutes sorting, or just sort one bag, bin, or area.
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    Cull the excess. It can be hard to admit that a particular activity might have been a passing phase that you've outgrown, or that an unfinished project ought to remain so, but if you can reduce the amount of stuff you'll have less of it to organize and to have to cram in somewhere.
    • Go for the easy stuff first, to help yourself build momentum. Toss anything that's obvious: hopelessly tiny scraps, mostly empty packages, dried-up paints.
    • Remember, you decide what's worth keeping. At the same time, organizing only goes so far if there's too much stuff.
    • Be choosy about what you bring home from the craft store. Do you have a project in mind for this item? Do you have a place to put it? Do you really find it attractive or promising? Can you do the project? Anytime soon? Be realistic, and you'll save money, space, and time.
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    Sort out all of the supplies that you have into smaller groups.
    • Sort by item type. Put glue sticks, bottles, and jars into one pile. Put decorative stickers into a different pile. Put fancy paper into a pile of its own.
    • Better yet, sort by activity. Have one kit, bag, bin, or space for painting, one for paper crafts, one for yarn, knitting needles,
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    Choose where to store your supplies. Think about where and how you do crafts. If you have a craft area already, add drawers, bins, or shelves. If you knit in front of the TV, your organization may consist of a knitting basket or two with active projects that live by the sofa and a bin full of extra yarn and inactive supplies stashed away in a closet elsewhere.
    • Try a drawer organizer or even a fishing tackle box to corral many small items. Something with multiple smaller spaces helps separate little stuff.
    • If you have a lot of small items, like beads or buttons, giving each group its own small container or compartment that seals or closes tight can save spills.
    • Do you craft on the go? A tote bag or even a purse-sized craft kit might be just the right organization system for you. Keep a project at hand when you go out to make use of wait times.
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    Keep on sorting.
    • Sort a little bit whenever you start or finish a project or get new supplies.
    • Rearrange if you notice something isn't working. If it's not where you looked for it, put it back where you will look for it next time. If it's not handy and you use it often, put it back near the top or closer to where you work.
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    Arrange by size and shape so that things are visible and accessible. It's best if you don't have to empty an entire bin to get out one item.
    • Put the flat objects into the container first, standing up on one side if possible, and then place the non-flat objects on top of them or alongside. Put frequently used items near the top.
    • For materials, like paper or fabric, try a filing system that displays them. Stand them on edge in a bin or drawer so that you can sort through them and see at a glance what you have. Smaller pieces might be rolled and stood up in a basket or bin.
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    Repeat this process with different containers until everything is filed away.
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    Label with tape or paper what is in each container. Don't rely on sticky notes or anything else that could fall off too easily. For example, if a certain container holds glue, markers, and crayons, write that out and attach that to the container. This way, you will know what is in the container when you need to get something out of it in the future.
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  • Buy plastic containers that are clear so that you can see through them and find supplies in them more easily.
  • Don't rush this process by stuffing your craft supplies into random containers to get it all over with. A small investment of time now will save time in the future.
  • Put things where they'll be handy when you need them, and where you think you'll look for them.
  • Organization is whatever you want it to be. If you want your colored pencils out on display so you can grab them easily when inspiration strikes, put them in a big jar or cup wherever you like to draw.
  • Don't panic if your craft area doesn't stay neatly organized. If you're using the stuff regularly, it may tend to wander around your work area and get left out. If you can, work in a back room, basement, or garage and simply close the door when people come, or deem the space your studio and let it be messy! A moderately cluttered work area could actually increase your creativity by bringing together unrelated things accidentally or by reminding you of what supplies you have available. Thus, take a casual attitude about neatening and organizing this aspect of your life. Tidy up when you feel like it, when you can't find anything, or when having the clutter around would get in your way.
  • Take the time to treat your supplies properly. Don't store brushes on their tips or leave them soaking in water. Close tightly any paints, ink, clay, and anything else that might dry out. Protect your fabric and yarn from moths and mice, but don't seal it so tightly that it becomes musty.
  • Try to get the plastic containers for a good price, but make sure they are really sturdy so you won't have to get new ones later on.
  • Most importantly, find your own balance between creativity and control.
  • Sort and organize in a way that makes the most sense to you. If you regularly use glue to affix yarn, store the glue with the yarn.

Things You'll Need

  • Craft supplies.
  • Multiple containers depending on the amount of supplies.
  • Paper to label the containers.

Article Info

Categories: Clutter Busting | Crafts