Tag Archives | craft organization

Craft Room Organization is in the Details!

A lot goes into a new craft room organization project. It isn’t just the big things of moving furniture around, and choosing storage containers. It’s usually the small details of how we deal with individual products that make or break a new organization plan. Today, I’m going to delve into a few of the finer details of my new craft room organization plan to show I’m making this scheme work for me.

Labeling is key element of my craft room organization plan. I label practically everything that doesn’t move out of my way with my Dymo Labelmanager 160. (One of these days, the cat is going to take too long of a nap on her favorite spot by my craft room window and wake up labeled.)

But before I can label, I have to categorize items to label. There are three major ways that I divide things up: product type (such as “dry adhesives”), manufacturer, and theme. Below, you can see examples of those last two in some of my embellishment boxes from on my papercrafts shelves.

Labeled Craft Storage Boxes

I also categorize in where I put my boxes. I have tons of these storage boxes. I try to put similar ones together. So, above, my American Crafts sub-brand boxes are together. And below, my “vintage” look boxes – Tim Holtz and Graphic 45 – are shelved together for convenient use.

When labeling, it matters not just that I label a box, but where I label it. The boxes above are labeled in a usual spot on the middle of the front of the box. Since they sit on a high shelf, that is visible from my seat in my desk chair. But the boxes below, which sit on the bottom shelf, are labeled on the front corner of the lid, which is more visible when I’m seated in my chair. A label is no good if you can’t actually see it!

Labeled Craft Storage Boxes

One other thing is different in the second photo of the bins as well. The labels are clear instead of white. Since I’m viewing the boxes in the lower picture from close up, it’s easy to read them without the high contrast white background. But I need that background on the bins that are higher up and further away.

The clear label tape is also useful for creating labels that are more aesthetically pleasing than just a strip of label tape. The ones below are made using print & cut on my Cricut Explore machine on printable vinyl. I create the blank labels, and then use clear label tape to label over them when I fill the bin. I also used the clear label tape on file folder labels to label all of my small drawers that sit over my Cricut machine on my desktop.

Pretty Craft Box Labels

Sometimes, something is already labeled, but in the wrong place. When some of these dies were placed in my storage rack on my desk, the end that showed was not the side that was labeled. So I just labeled them myself.

Labeled Dies

Drawers make for great storage, but have one downfall – we end up looking down on our products, a direction that they weren’t usually designed to be viewed. In some cases, such as with this embossing powder and glitter, clear containers make that not a problem. But when you have multiple things that look the same but are actually different…such as all this white looking embossing powder….labels are in order. Using a clear label allows the label to be visible while also allowing the container’s contents to be seen.

Labeled Embossing Powder

Labeling doesn’t always mean a labeler, however. These Distress Stains are labeled 1/2″ round circles punched out of address labels, which were then colored with the stain in the bottle and stuck on the lid.

Labeled Distress Stains

Some things don’t work with simple labels though – like these Distress Re-inkers. Jennifer McGuire came up with these ingenious rings that you can print with a pdf download from Ranger’s under-appreciated “Organize Your Ranger Products” page. The page contains color charts and labels that you can use to organize and track your purchases of all of the different Ranger product lines, and create color swatches to help you choose colors to use for projects.

I printed my rings on the same heavy cardstock that I am using for my inserts in my stamp folders, and punched them with a 1/2″ punch and a 3/4″ punch. I punched the whole sheet at once even though I don’t currently own all of the re-inkers, and am saving the extras in a small zip bag to be used as I buy more colors.

Labeled Distress Reinkers

There’s no question that us crafters have some difficult shaped things we need to store. One of my favorite things to use is 3M Command hooks to hang things up. You saw some of them in action in my previous article, holding my rings of small templates on the side of my bookcase, and holding my apron the back of my door. But I also use them for holding my Cricut mats on the end of the bookcase near where my machine sits. They are out of the way, but easy to grab to use!

Cricut Mat Storage

I also use my Command hooks over in my paint area. These plastic cups (some of which I drilled holes in to hang on the hooks) are the perfect way to keep my paintbrushes organized and accessible.

Hanging Paint Brush Cups

Paper scraps are another difficult item to organize, and one a lot of people struggle with. I don’t like mixing my paper scraps together, but instead prefer to keep my scraps with the collection they belong to. I have found a way to do that without making my vertical paper files a mess by using inexpensive sheet protectors. When I have small to medium size scraps from a collection, I collect them into one of these sheet protectors and then just file the protector along with the rest of the papers from that collection. There’s no extra cutting needed, and I always know what collection the scraps are from or if I have a scrap left of a certain paper.

Paper Scrap Storage

Sheet protectors are also a great way to store stencils and keep them from getting damaged or tangled together. I use old page protectors to hold my 12×12 stencils, and then file them in my vertical files on my bookshelf. They’re super easy to flip through to find the one that you want stored this way! This is a great way to recycle page protectors that have damaged bindings on them.

Stencil in Page Protector

I hope that I’ve inspired you on how to handle some of your craft room organization challenges! What is your biggest organizing challenge?

A Look at my Overhauled Stamp Storage

One of my most frequently used supplies are my stamps. So it’s very important that I have a stamp storage system that works to make my stamps easy to find, and that is flexible and expandable. I have struggled for years to find the right solution for my stamps, as well as my 6×6 pads and my metal dies. But I think in my latest room overhaul, I finally have the solution I’ve been searching for.

[Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links that pay a commission to this site at no cost to you when a purchase is made after a click.]

Like many stampers, I’m now using stamp storage based on the system designed by Jennifer McGuire. (Click here to see a YouTube playlist of her videos about the system. But set aside a chunk of time because Jennifer will have you organizing all the things by the time you are done with her amazing organizing playlist!)

But of course, as with every organization project I take on…I modified it somewhat from the inspiration source to fit my preferences and way of working – to make it work for me.

Stamp Storage

The system is based around plastic bins, with plastic bag pouches to hold stamps, and dividers cut from plastic pocket folders. For my bins, I use an InterDesign Divided Fridge Bin and four InterDesign Linus Pantry Bins. One of the pantry bins is devoted to my large Tim Holtz stamp sets, and the rest of the bins are used for a variety of things, including stamps, dies, and 6×6 paper pads.

stamp storage

My original stamp pockets were from Avery Elle, but now since those have disappeared I use a brand called CheckOutStore available on Amazon.

For my larger stamps, I use three other sizes of bags from ClearBags:

I cut the flaps off of the bags that have them, to create open top pouches.

For the paper inserts, I use 110lb Georgia Pacific cardstock that I buy affordably at Walmart in large packs. My labelmaker for labeling my stamp pockets is a Dymo Labelmanager 160 that I previously wrote a sponsored review about.

The larger flap bag (B66XL) is used for most of my supplies. I use it for my larger stamps, embossing folders, and several other things.

Background Stamp Storage

I also use those bags to hold multiple small stamps, such as my sets of Tim Holtz mini Blueprints.

Small Stamp Storage

The smaller flap bag (B6x6) I use primarily for my 6×6 stencils.

6x6 stencil storage

One of the largest places where I deviated from Jennifer’s system is with my metal die storage. Instead of using pockets, I opted to use the 6×7 magnet cards from Stamp-n-Storage. They fit perfectly filed in my bins alongside my other items.

Since the magnet cards are not exactly cheap, sometimes I put multiple small die sets from the same company on the same card. This saves money as well as saving room in my file bins.

Magnetic Die Storage

Like Jennifer, I also use this bin system to store my 6×6 paper pads. I still need to make some dividers for them. I plan to sort them into a few major themes such as various holidays. I also keep a few other things, such as paper scraps that have been cut into a standard size, and a few Close to my Heart stamps, in this section.

6x6 paper pad storage

I’m a major paper hoarder, especially for the collections that I love the most, but that can get really messy in my paper files. I found a way to solve that in the file for the 6×6 paper pads using the B66XL flap bags. Once I start using a paper pad and it has scraps that are getting annoying in the file bin, I put the pad in one of the bags. It allows me to still place it in the file with the others, but keeps the pesky little scraps contained!

6x6 paper pad storage

Initial set-up for this stamp storage system required an investment of both time and money, but now that it is up and running, it is relatively easy to maintain. I have a basket of supplies for my organizing systems that lives in my craft room closet, and when I have new things to put away I just pull it out on the desk to use to get my new goodies all put away.

Are you using the Jennifer McGuire stamp storage system? What modifications have you made to it?

See My Craft Room Makeover Reveal!

It seems that reorganizing the craft room is a constant state of being around here. It was just three years ago that I unveiled the last makeover of my craft room. Now I’m back to show off the recently finished new version, which has been well over a year in the making!

My revamped craft room has two full-sized workspaces in it, to accommodate guests and family members. It is also fully zoned, with areas set aside for sewing, painting supplies, scrapbooking, and general crafts, instead of everything mixed together like in the previous arrangement.

Craft Room with seating for two using Ikea furniture

Much of the furniture and storage items in the room was repurposed from the previous version of the room, or from other areas of the house. A large portion of the furniture is either from Ikea, such as the tables and chests of drawers, or Ikea has similar pieces available. There’s also huge quantities of Sterilite storage in the room – baskets and boxes, mostly. While it’s nice to have a pretty workspace, above all my priorities are practical and affordable when assembling my studio.

Craft room with seating for two using Ikea furniture

The largest dedicated area is for my scrapbooking. The larger workspace right inside the door of the room is devoted to my scrapbooking and papercrafting activities. The desk is an Ikea table, with two Alex drawer units underneath it. there’s also a rolling file crate that I use to hold my solid cardstock.

ikea scrapbooking area

Across the center of the table are buckets that hold my basic tools, such as scissors, paintbrushes, and pens & pencils. The buckets came from the Target dollar spot years ago. Each bucket holds a different type of item. Having them in the center of the table makes them usable from both sides of the table. I also keep a pack of baby wipes, a stack of blank index cards, and some post-it notes on the table as well – items that I use frequently while I work.

Supply Buckets on Craft Table

Also on the center of the table, at the end, is this three tiered stand that I picked up at Ross. It holds my spray inks so they are accessible from both sides of the table. One of the reasons for adding the second seat in the studio is that my husband occasionally joins me to make an art journal page or a tag. These sprays are an item that he frequently will use, so having them out is convenient for us both.

Three Tier Countertop Tray

Also on the tabletop, over to the right when you are seated at the main desk, is my Cricut work station! I used two small wood crates from Michael’s and put a plank over them to create something resembling a monitor stand that my Cricut machine can slide under to save desk space. The small crates are the perfect size to store my Sizzix Bigz dies, so the crates are useful as storage as well as support for the shelf.

My Cricut stays plugged in, so to use it all I have to do is slide it out and turn it on! I find that if I make tools have too much set up, I don’t use them. For this same reason, I also leave my heat gun plugged in and sitting on the table, ready to go.

Cricut Work Area

On the shelf above my Cricut, I stacked a bunch of small Sterilite drawer units that hold all sorts of color media such as pens, watercolors, Gelatos, and such. All the drawers are labeled in color coded labels so I know what is in them, and arranged in zones so like items are together. The drawers are designed with a stopper at the back to prevent them from being easily pulled all the way out, but I used a strong pair of scissors to cut it off of all the drawers. This allows them to be pulled out and placed on the table so I can work with the contents.

Small Craft Storage Drawers

Tucked in the corner next to the drawer units are some stacking closet shelves that are now my Project Life storage (among other things). Keeping the cards in bins means that they can be pulled out on to the table to be used.

Project Life Storage

My 4×6 Project Life cards are stored in Interdesign Condiment Caddies, organized by index card dividers that have been modified by cutting the tab off and then sacrificing a card from the kit to staple over the end to make a new tab. The Condiment Caddy will hold 4×6 cards from about 6-7 core kits.

The 3×4 Project Life cards are stored in an Interdesign 4x4x14.5 Fridge Bins similar to this one. I cut 4×6 index card dividers in half to create the dividers, and customized them for each kit for easy reference by cutting up a card from the kit. Each 14.5″ bin will hold the 3×4 cards from two core kits, plus some extra mini kits or accessory card packs.

Project Life storage

On one of the shelves underneath the Project Life cards, there are magazine holders turned on their sides. In them I put large envelopes with paper memorabilia (such as tickets and brochures) from big events, so that it is easily accessible to scrapbook. I write in pencil on the envelopes so that they can be recycled for a new event when I finish the one they currently contain.

Memorabilia Storage

Underneath the table that holds my Cricut is the rolling Ikea Alex drawer cart. Tucked on top of it are my paper trimmer, and glass cutting mat, out of sight but easy to grab to use.

The drawers of the cart contain my most frequently used small items, mostly ink pads and my 28 Lilac Lane embellishments.

Large Ikea Alex Drawer Unit

My inkpads are arranged in drawers by company and type of ink. The top drawer holds all of my Distress ink, arranged in a stacked rainbow of color so I always know right where to find the one that I need.

Tim Holtz Distress Pad storage

I’m very fond of using drawer organizing baskets in my drawers. These ones are by Mainstays – a Walmart house brand) and are very affordable. Which is a good thing since I buy them in huge quantities!

Washi Tage Storage

If I spin my desk chair around, I can easily reach everything that is on the shelves that are behind me when I’m sitting at the desk. All of my patterned paper is on the shelves that are exactly at eye level, in vertical paper holders. My paper is organized partially by company, and partially by special categories such as holidays. I find that this method works the best for me for how I am usually looking for paper.

Patterned Paper Storage

Also on the shelves are loads of plastic latch storage boxes from Sterilite (and a few shoebox sized ones from Hefty). I like storing my supplies in boxes like these because they are easy to repurpose as my needs change. All I have to do is just slap a new label on them! The other nice thing about using boxes is that they can be taken off of the shelf and moved to my work surface to look through very easily.

Some of my boxes contain types of supplies or tools – such as twine – and some are devoted to containing embellishments from certain companies or for certain holidays.

Storage Bins for Crafting

A lot of my craft storage used to be in modular cubes. A few of the ones I have are still in my craft room, creating a tower that is a combination of album storage and die cutting station.

Album Storage Shelves

This die cutting station holds my Sizzix Big Shot machine and its various cutting accessories, as well as a few large dies. The metal rack is actually a metal vertical file sorter. It works perfectly for this application and fits exactly in the spot that I have for it. It often pays to think outside of “craft” when you are trying to organize!

Die Cutting Station

Speaking of thinking outside of craft for my organizing, right next to my die cut station is my button storage rack! Since I’m the social media and blog manager for Buttons Galore, this means I have a lot of buttons in my studio. This Closetmaid wall and door rack, designed to store canned goods and other items in a kitchen or pantry, is the perfect way to store mason jars full of buttons!

Button Storage Rack

On the other side of the door sits a rolling cart that I originally bought 6 years ago for my short-lived kitchen scrap space. After that, it lived in my daughter’s room for awhile. Now it is back in my craft room to hold my wood mounted rubber stamps. The shallow drawers are the perfect depth for the stamps. I wish it was a color that didn’t stick out so much (like plain white) but once again, form loses to the all-important function in my space.

Stamp Storage Cart

On the other side of the window from my scrapbooking space is my new sewing area! This cube unit has lived in my craft room for a very long time after leaving my daughter’s room awhile ago. The pink bins hold various different fabrics and my active projects. The grey chevron cases are for fat quarters. Mine came from and appears to be discontinued, but similar ones are also available at Amazon. The decorative boxes hold various notions like bias tape.

Sewing Area

Next to the pink unit, on its right, sits a white cupboard that holds more fabric and my sewing machine. The machine, which was previously in the closet, sits here all plugged in and ready to use. All I have to do now to use it is pick it up and move it onto the table top, and then I am ready to sew!

I am very careful about not wasting an space that could be storage in my studio. So the dead space under the end of the table has another small plastic drawer unit tucked into it. This drawer unit holds interfacing, small pieces of batting, and fiberfill.

Sewing Storage

The pegboard existed in the previous version of my studio, but it was installed to store scrapbook items. (Click here for the how to of making and installing it.) Now, it is repurposed to store sewing items, and is working out much better for me in that application. I used small pegboard hooks to hang two June Tailor thread holders on the board, which gives me storage for 120 spools of thread. The rest of the board is covered in the same bins I was previously using, only now they hold things like containers of pins, scissors and rotary cutters, measuring tapes, and other sewing notions.

Sewing Pegboard

Next to the closet is a bookcase that holds all of my Plaid paints, along with my stencils and a few other paint related items. On top of the bookcase are some Iris project boxes that contain my “current” scrapbooking projects in progress.

Paint Storage

The closet is what I consider my “general crafts” space – everything that isn’t scrapbooking or sewing or Plaid paint related. The big white baskets hold supplies and products for projects for each of the three websites I currently blog for (Scrapbook Update, Buttons Galore, and this one).

Craft Room Closet

This stack of Sterilite latch boxes has been the heart of my craft closet storage for a long time. What is in the boxes has changed over time along with my craft activities, but the boxes remain a reliable and convenient way to store my supplies.

Craft Storage Boxes

The large drawer unit on the left has been in my craft room for a long time, but in different form. It originally was a five drawer unit! If you look closely at these Sterilite drawer units, they are modular! You can snap out a level of the drawers to make your unit smaller! By doing that, I was able to fit the unit in the closet, and it is the same height as the small 3 drawer unit I purchased.

Putting the two drawer units in the closet created a narrow “shelf” on top of them that I was able to use to store my sheets of foam core that I shoot project photos. I also have photo props stored in the bottom two drawers of the large drawer unit.

Craft Storage Drawers

The closet is arranged so the items are stored in the center if they are frequently used and up high or off to the sides if they are less frequently used. These items off to the side – like my Dremel tool and clay – are less frequently used but I still need them around!

Craft Storage Closet

Although I tried to be very strict about keeping items in their own “zone”, certain space limitations did cause me to have to violate that rule a tiny bit. On one bottom shelf of the closet, I have a few scrapbooking products stored, as well as some large fabric items like batting, foam and interfacing that won’t fold up to go into smaller storage.

Craft storage closet

Thanks for touring my craft room with me! I’ll be sharing more of the details in features the rest of the week, so if you have a question be sure to leave it in the comments so I can answer it the upcoming articles!