A place for everything and everything in it's place. Love that phrase especially at this time of year! There's something about flipping the calendar to a new year that inspires us to tidy up and set goals. Or maybe it's the holiday let-down ... we figure we need to do something constructive. Maybe it's the cold days that keep us inside that make us settle down and get organized. Whatever the reason, I know that when I want to make something, I want to be able to put my hands on my supplies as quickly as possible!
Whenever I'm taking my stitching on the road, I always grab this basket first. I rescued the heart box from a Valentine's gift and inside I have a variety of needles, pins, and other small supplies. The basket also holds several sizes of scissors, Papermate pencils, Roxanne's Glue Baste, a little ruler, my Mighty Brite clip-on light and a book of embroidery stitches I've had for a million years. Love to hang little doo-dads off the handle ... just for fun.
Under one of my tables I keep this big wash basket ... it's one we all grew up with and somehow I ended up with it. At first glance, it looks messy ... but inside there are smaller baskets where I have commonly used tools organized by their use. The middle one is all adhesives, sanding disks and chalk ink ... these are basics that I use for any kind of papercraft. Ink pads and stamps in another ... punches in a third and fasteners in a fourth. Whenever I have a group come into the hideout, this is that basket I go to because everything I need is in it.
The organizing containers in my closet aren't that cute but they are functional. I bought a dozen of these small milk crates and have my stuff sorted by what they have in common ... adhesives in one, punches, fasteners, stamps, inks ... you get the drift. I found that by having a lot of crates I was able to categorize my supplies more and sort them so they'd be easy to use. They're easy to store because they're the same size and shape. They let me see what I have. When I'm working on something, it's easy to pull out a crate, find what I need and get back to my project. I always put things back in the proper place for next time. It's easier that way.
I like to keep all of the items that work together on the same shelf if I can. This one holds all of my Sizzix die cuts.
I store some of those bigger things that I don't use quite as often on a top shelf ... I like to keep them in their original boxes because there's usually some kind of visual instruction on them, plus it makes them easier to store. Yes ... even the Holly Hobby Light Up Drawing Desk is in it's orginal box! I love that light box ... use it all the time!!
Love anything I can see through ... especially if it has a lid on top.
Love to find bargains on storage containers, too! This is a great time of year to search them out. I found these at the 'spot' in Target. Magazines are so much easier to search through if they're stored in holders so you can see their names.
I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a bookshelf ... or two!!
When I'm looking for storage, function is important but so is cute! I hunt down items in antique stores or at the flea markets that I think will work in my studio. One thing that I love are those bed tables that were so popular in the 40's and 50's. They give me an extra layer to work with. I can put stuff on top or underneath ... plus they're adorable! If they're affordable, I always snatch them up.
The other things I like to look for are watercolor boxes ... and muffin tins ... and cake plates!
Those BakeLite dresser boxes that women used to put their hair into? Perfect for thread at the sewing machine. I use salt shakers to sprinkle glitter. Buttons and bobbins look great in bottles!
I'm a big fan of bulletin boards, display walls and anything else that helps me get my stuff out of a box and into my line of sight for inspiration and reminders.
Even though I try to stay on top of my stuff, I'm always surprised at what I find when I straighten up. I'm not even going to mention how many pairs of scissors I have ... or packs of needles! Sometimes opening up a box yields a pleasant surprise.
Other tricks I've learned over time is to cut small leftover fabrics into 2 1/2" strips and to pin them to a bulletin board by color. Or 5" squares given the craze over charm packs. In fact, because these pre-cuts are so popular, you should sort through your patterns and books and pull out those that are geared specifically for those cuts and put them all in one place. When you come across a jelly roll that you can't resist, you'll know exactly where to look for a project to use it.
Three ring binders are your friend. And so are page protectors and magazine holders that fit inside of them. I have all of my Quilt Sampler magazines from the very beginning in binders like this. Same with books and patterns from my favorite designers.
Fabric is one of the hardest things to sort and store. Everyone has a solution. I solved that problem by giving away my entire stash when I moved! Kind of drastic. But at one point, they were sorted by color and texture. Flannels weren't mixed in with cottons for instance. Blues light to dark. Holiday and novelty and baby things separated. All folded to the same size. I remember when I did this intially ... it took some time but it was so worth it in the long run!
If you're blessed to love more than one hobby, there are even more challenges to keeping things sorted and easy to use. Whether its papercrafts or painting or beading or knitting ... each one comes with a convoy of stuff you need. But good grief ... they're so much FUN!
I don't feel creative living in a mess ... but I don't mind working in one when I'm making something. There's something about having all the 'stuff' laying on the table that is so inspiring. But when I'm done, I love clearing up and putting away ... and then I'm revved up to get going on the next thing!