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Craft Supply Organizers: What to Look For

Reported by Jessica Ripley

Recently, fellow reporter Taylor Usry wrote a great article on organizing your craft supplies. It is that time isn’t it? With Spring right around the corner, it’s time to declare war on any clutter in our craft areas. Both to start the Spring Cleaning off right, and of course to make way for all the new stuff we choose to get our hot little hands on.

Luckily, the craft industry isn’t a fool when it comes to knowing we not only love our supplies, but also love ways to keep them neat and tidy. There are a multitude of organization items geared specifically toward pretty much anything we as crafters own. From stamps and ink, to ribbon and beads, to paper and punches, if you own it someone will sell you something to put it in. In fact there are so many options, it can sometimes make your head spin while trying to decide just exactly what will work best for you. And then before you know it you need an organizer for all your organizers!

So what should you look for when shopping for a supply organizer? Here is a list of five things to have in mind to keep you both centered and sane while you make a creative space fit just for your needs.

1. How much space do I have to devote to storage?
Look at your crafting area (or room if you are so lucky) and decide first where organizers and storage could go.

  • Look Up: Do you have shelves already or can you install some on the wall? Are they nice and deep or narrow?
  • Look Down: Are there places you could have a free-standing unit? Like under your work table or in a closet?
  • Look Around: Do you have ample counter space? Or just a tiny work area that is often cluttered with your latest project?

I have square shelves and a large L-shaped desk. I never use the entire desk surface as I tend to keep my projects consolidated, so I knew I could utilize my desktop space for storage too. This carousel by Making Memories was then something I knew would work well for me.

Craft Critique’s review of the desktop carousel will help convince you. It does take up a lot of surface area, however it was space I could spare, and it’s been wonderful for having items right at my fingertips.

2. What one thing do I tend to own the most of?
Do you have so many flowers you could rival the royal gardens? Do you desire every bit of ribbon you see? Or do you have so many ink pads the police come calling when they run out at the station for fingerprinting? Whatever your addiction, that is what deserves its own specialized organizer or location. There’s nothing worse that digging through other items just to find your favorites.

In my case, I tend to collect pens. I have all sorts. Therefore they have their own drawer where nothing else is allowed, and where I can spread them out liberally for the picking.

3. Will I use it if I can’t see it? (or forget I have it?)
Are you more likely to use something from your stash if it’s staring you in the face? Or do you have a mental inventory of what you have on hand and know exactly which pieces you would like to work with?

I need to see as many of my supplies as possible or I’ll neglect them. I am horrible at neatly putting something away, only to find it months later, and then not be as in love with it as I was before (I admit it, I like the newness of the trends). So, I knew I needed something that would display what I had or I’d never get to it (or just keep buying new). The solution to this for me was the Clip it Up by Simply Renee.

It’s been perfect for keeping me using what I have, and fit my need for counter top items. I also have see through drawers to remind me I do not need any more beads, ink pads, etc. You can read reviews of the Clip it Up on Craft Critique here and here, and also a recent review of the upper extension piece here.

4. Is it functional for what I create with?
Meaning, is it a good fit for what I like to keep on hand? Or am I just wanting it because it makes for a pretty view?

I have been tempted by many an organizer simply because it looked pretty on the wall when filled with certain products. You’ve seen the pictures too, where a perfectly organized wall unit or shelf is filled with embellishments all in the same color and they are placed just so. That’s not a realistic and working craft room, that’s a photo shoot. If you have the room to enjoy such a thing I say have at it, but if not, remember the difference when you shop.

And finally,

5. Can I re-purpose something I already own, or purchase something less expensive?
While there are a multitude of products to choose from for craft organization, this elite description does come with a price tag. There are many times when with a little thinking outside the box, you can create or find something not specifically meant for craft supplies, but that will do just dandy. So ask yourself:

  • Have I checked the hardware of thrift store for something similar?
  • Do they have something in the office supply store that would work?
  • If I just washed out this spaghetti sauce jar and peeled off the label would anyone besides me ever know it wasn’t meant for buttons?

For example, I used a clear over the door shoe holder just like this one for many of my supplies. It was less than $10.00, and is perfect for my punches and stamps.


I’ve also found many options at thrift stores. An old paper towel holder becomes a ribbon spool, or an outdated spice rack a place for bits and baubles. There is also a bonus of getting to re-purpose thrift store items. Raise your hand if you like to alter things too!

So, whether you are reorganizing what you already have, or purchasing new, keep the above five questions in mind when you go. It will keep your organization process as it should be, simple and stress free.

You can also find lots more ideas and reviews on organizational products right here on Craft Critique. Some examples:

Organizing Done Cheaply

Librarian’s Guide to Organizing Scrapbook Paper

ACDSee for Organizing Digital Supplies

An Organization Blog Carnival (and Part 2)

ScrapOnizer Toolbox

Ribbon Ring

Photo Storage Boxes

Scrapbook Organization: A Manifesto

Ikea for Craft Storage

And more! Use the handy Google search box in the sidebar to look for whatever you might desire. And if you can’t find it here, let us know you want us to review it!

What other things might you look for when deciding on which organizational items work best for you? Any tips or tricks to share with our readers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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7 Responses to Craft Supply Organizers: What to Look For

  1. Elaine A February 25, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Perfect timing for this post. I need to buckle down and organize my room. Maybe this will give me the push I need – LOL!

    Elaine Allen

  2. Annette A. February 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I LOVE ORGANIZERS…..

  3. H. February 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    recently moved and now have a craft room. I have always wanted the MM carousel. Cannot find one anywhere, it appears to have been discontinued some time back. The Michael’s and Hobby Lobby ones are not as nice. PB Kids spinning organizer, Pampered Chef lazy Susan etc that others have suggested are also not as appealing. I would LOVE any help finding one! It is the #1 thing I wanted for my new space. Barring that, please do a follow up about similar desktop organizers, I hope there is something as nice out there but so far I haven’t found it. Thanks!!

  4. Rebecca Ednie February 26, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    I’d love some cheap options for 12×12 paper storage that doesn’t let in light. I have big windows in my craft room abd it’s hard to find storage that protects paper from the light.

  5. Pam Palmer February 26, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Good article, thanks Jessica. Like “H.” stated – the MM carousel would be a great asset and it is disappointing that is has been discontinued. And nothing else in the marketplace is quite the same.
    Cheers, Pam P, Canberra, Australia

  6. http://ohkianex.blogspot.com February 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Great tips! I just had to share it with my group. Thanks!

  7. Denise March 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Great article. I have the first two products like you do. They work so well to keep me a little more organized 😉