By Rachel Paxton
If you're a weekend crafter like me, you probably have a lot of crafting odds and ends laying around that get all jumbled together depending on what project you're working on at the moment.
Over the years, I have found several ways to organize my craft and sewing supplies in a way that I can actually find them again when I need them. As I went through the process of organizing them, I was able to identify items I no longer needed and separate the remaining items into logical groups. As a result, I now have all my supplies limited to one corner of a room and well organized. Now I can find things when I need them.
When I first started sorting through all my supplies everything was thrown together in a lot of cardboard boxes up in a hard-to-reach closet. The first thing I did was dump each box into a big pile and start sorting. My piles were: lace, trim, buttons, quilting supplies, cross stitch supplies, ribbon roses, fabric scraps, craft books, and misc.
I first discarded the odds and ends I knew I'd never use again. I then bought two very large Rubbermaid containers (great for stacking) to store my supplies in. You may need more depending on how many supplies you have accumulated. I also bought some gallon-sized Ziploc bags.
I sorted through all the lace and trim and put lace in one Ziploc bag and trim in another. The ribbon roses went in another. I put all the buttons in a plastic container with different compartments--sorted by color. All these items, plus other misc. like styrofoam balls, contact paper, plastic canvas, went into one Rubbermaid container.
All my quilting and cross stitch supplies (mostly fabric scraps and cross stitch fabric) went into the second container.
All my unfinished projects went into a cardboard box, and all my yarn for plastic canvas projects went into another.
The containers and boxes stack on top of each other and fit nicely underneath a small square "craft table" I have set up in the corner of my home office. It's all out of the way and everything is easily identified.
On top of the table I keep little projects I'm working on, like cross stitch, or photo albums for working on scrapbooks. My embroidery thread is organized by DMC number in plastic containers made for storing embroidery thread. These containers are also stacked on the table.
My sewing machine thread is organized on a small wooden board with small spindles you can buy that is designed to hold spools of thread. My sewing machine sits on the floor next to the craft table while not in use.
Next to my craft table is a stand-alone cupboard that is sold as a pantry cupboard that you can probably find at Walmart for about $100. In the cupboard I store a lot of multipurpose items like my glue guns, all kinds of glue, paper, scissors, and all of my scrapbooking supplies. This cupboard works great for items other family members also use a lot, like tape and scissors. My paper cutter and long stapler are stored on top of the cabinet.
I also have several bookcases in my office, and I use a couple of shelves on one of them for organizing my craft and sewing books. The books are organized by craft type.
All of my small sewing supplies I keep in a couple of small sewing baskets that I can move with me from room to room. In these I keep sewing needles, embroidery scissors, measuring tape, pins, seam ripper, etc.
Hopefully these ideas will help you get in the mood to start organizing your own craft and sewing supplies. It's so much more enjoyable to work on projects when you know what you have and where everything is.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club Cookbook, a cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating, crafts, and frugal family fun, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.