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Real Estate

10 ways to tame craft room messes

Creative minds are rarely tidy. That adage goes a long way toward explaining why many craft rooms look like they should be declared official disaster areas.

If yards of unfolded fabric, spilled glitter and dog-eared photos are taking the joy out of your sewing and scrapbooking, you may want to try to add some organization to your crafting.

As with any organizational project, sorting is the hardest part. Sift through your craft materials and divide them by type: glues, trims, fabrics, tapes, stickers and so forth. Pay attention to which supplies you use most often, which you use less frequently and which you use together.

Once you determine how much of each item you have to store, you can decide the best means of corralling them. These 10 tips should get you started:

Put a lid on it

Glass jars offer clear views of buttons, sequins and rhinestones; use recycled jars and you’ll save money along the way. Jars can sit on shelves, or consider fastening small embroidery hoops or T-bolt clamps to the wall, then adjust them to hold the jars tight.

Reuse old furniture

Your old armoire-style TV cabinet won’t work with today’s new flat screens, but you can give it new life as a craft storage unit. The TV section should provide ample storage for your sewing machine and iron. Use drawers or shelves to store fabric. Mount a bracket on the side, and you can hang your ironing board there.

Pick pockets

Fabric or vinyl hanging shoe organizers are great space savers. The pockets are perfect for paint brushes, markers, pencils and more. Hang the organizer on a wall or the back of a door for easy access to supplies.

Corral the ribbon

There are a variety of ribbon organizers on the market, or you can repurpose a stand-alone paper towel holder to store a dozen or more spools of ribbon at the same time.

Hang it up

If your craft room includes a closet with a clothes rod, consider hanging your supplies. Fabrics can be folded and hung from pant or skirt hangers. Or, you can organize decorative papers by color and store them in clear folders that you hang from skirt hangers.

Bind and store

Three-ring binders with clear page protectors are an ideal storage spot for scrapbook embellishments. Use tabs to sort by theme or color.

All on the board

Pegboard — the same stuff you use to organize your workshop or garage — can help tame the mess in your craft room. Cut pegboard to the desired size and paint it a color you love. Hooks for pegboards come in various shapes and sizes, so select ones that will easily hold the items you plan to store. Once you determine exactly what you want to store here, consider neatly outlining the item in Sharpie, so everyone will know exactly where they need to return your scissors or paper punch.

Spice things up

Walk into any second-hand store and you’re likely to find an old spice rack. A fresh coat of paint can give it new life as storage for beads, pins, rubber bands or similarly sized craft goodies.

Keep it under wraps

Investing in specially designed paper dispensers with built-in cutters is probably a good idea if you’re buying large rolls of craft paper. But if wrapping gifts is a more sporadic activity for you, consider storing rolls in a shiny galvanized garbage can. Extra tip: Instead of taping the loose end of paper, slip a 6-inch chunk of panty hose around the roll. The hosiery should be tight enough to hold paper in place but not so tight that it squeezes and dents the roll.

Define the space

If you don’t have a separate room set aside for crafting, focus on keeping all your supplies and work area in the same room. You can use bookshelves with baskets as storage units that double as dividers between your workstation and the rest of the room. Or, you may find that the deep drawers in an old dresser are the spot in which to store fabrics, paints and more.


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