It’s now December of 2016. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season is now in full swing. December 25 will be here before you know it. Are you ready?
If you entertained family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might have already done massive amounts of cleaning and housekeeping to prepare.
Or maybe you didn’t have to.
Or maybe you did have to, but the amount of cleaning you did wasn’t enough to completely eradicate all chaos at your place. I’ve definitely been there myself.
Back when we were “landlubbers”, Mike and I always used to host Thanksgiving at our place, and it was a mad scramble to get ready for having everyone over. I confess that there were many times in the past when I cleaned the main living areas like a madwoman, but shoved bunches of disorganized clutter into boxes in closets, under beds and out in the garage. Once I even stuffed a bag of miscellaneous craft supplies in the clothes dryer. Then I didn’t remember it was there, and a few days later, Mike accidentally dried it along with some socks and underwear he had washed.
Cleaning up after my cleanup was a confusing, stressful and chaotic situation. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
I have some organization strategies and tips to share after getting a major handle on my own formerly out-of-control crafting chaos. I’m hopeful that maybe my experiences could help some of you get organized too.
Here are the steps I recommend taking:
- Go through all your craft supplies and sell, donate, give away or trash anything you’re not going to use.
- For the stuff you’re keeping, decide on a storage and organization system with two crucial characteristics: everything you store needs to be easy for you to see and everything you’re storing also needs to be easily accessible. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind; and anything that’s out of mind, you might as well have sold it or given it away in step one above. For example, you should automatically reject any system that requires you to store your craft supplies in cardboard boxes stacked deep underneath of other cardboard boxes in an inaccessible area such as the attic, because such a system pretty much guarantees you will never use the supplies you have stored there. If you can’t see them and can’t reach them, you’re likely to forget about them before they ever get used.
- Once you’ve decided on a system, implement it and use it. After every crafting session, be sure to put your supplies away in their proper places so you can easily locate them next time you want to work on your project(s).
- It’s also helpful to designate a spot to keep your projects in progress; I’m now using an ArtBin Yarn Drum for this purpose.
In my experience, clear organizers or translucent organizers work best; they allow you to see everything you have stashed without opening each organizer. This will save you tons of time when you look for your supplies.
It can also save you bunches of money. How many times have you accidentally purchased a duplicate of something, perhaps a duplicate crochet hook or set of knitting needles, because you couldn’t find the one you already own? Getting organized will allow you to both save money and be much more productive than you would be otherwise.
Here are links to product reviews of several of my favorite craft organizers:
Craft Organizers by ArtBin
- ArtBin Hook & Needle Nook, Item#: 6930AB — This hard plastic storage case is exactly what you need for organizing traditional crochet hooks and steel crochet hooks. It can also be ideal for organizing Tunisan crochet hooks and knitting needles that are 12 inches long or shorter.
- ArtBin Solutions Storage Cabinet, Item#: 6994AB — If you do bead crochet, bead knitting, wire crochet or wire knitting, this is an outstanding organizer for keeping track of your beads, findings, tools, and wire. It also works well for organizing embroidery floss and other sorts of craft supplies
- ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment, Item#: 6955AB — This is a fantastic multi-purpose craft organizer that’ll help you organize just about any type of art or craft supply you might need to find a place for.
- ArtBin Mini Sidekick, Item#: 6815AG — This versatile hard plastic caddy is ideal for storing scrap yarn, balls of crochet thread, and a variety of other craft supplies.
- ArtBin Thread Storage Tray — If your toddler or kitten has ever run off with a spool of your thread, leaving a tangled mess in his wake, you’ll definitely appreciate having a solution for wall-mounting your thread collection out of his reach. Even if that’s never happened to you, you’re likely to agree it’s much more pleasant having your thread all organized and easily accessible in one handy spot.
These are all products I own and use, and I recommend them.
There are a few additional items in my craft storage and organization system that I haven’t written about yet. Some of them may surprise you, because they involve some clever re-purposing of boating gear that sailors and yachties use to keep their vessels shipshape — but once you see the logic in the system, I think perhaps some of you will want to give it a try.
I’m in the process of compiling a complete guide to organizing craft supplies, including suggestions for the best organizers to use for a variety of purposes. If this is an area you need help with, I invite you to subscribe to my free knitting and crochet newsletter in order to be alerted when new articles in the series become available; it also assures you of receiving alerts when new free patterns, stitch tutorials, product reviews and other new articles of interest to knitters and crocheters become available.
It really doesn’t matter if you implement my craft storage and organization system or one you devise on your own; what matters is that you get organized to your own satisfaction. If you plan to entertain your family and friends for the holidays this year, you want your crafting to be a source of pride, rather than having out-of-control-crafting clutter and chaos that becomes a source of embarrassment.
I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays this year!