Tips and Ideas on how to organize your craft supplies, or how to keep track of the stuf you own. Coming from a fairly organized creative clutterbug with good 3D-Tetris skills. ;D
This post has been long overdue!
Life kind of happened, and before I knew it, there was only one week of February left! But better late than never.. Enjoy! :)
In this post, the example used is wool, but creating a photographic inventory list works for other supplies as well.
Does the size of your yarn stash create problems in finding a specific ball of wool? Is finding the right weight and amount next to impossible? Or do you simply have way too many boxes in your craft room that you want to move, and you are worried that you have to climb into the attic just to check which wool has been stored there?
Then you are in the right place! Whether your problems are fabric, or other large quantity craft items, carry on as well, as this method can be applied to many items.
The basic idea, is to create an inventory of your boxes, before they are stored somewhere out of the way. But instead of taking hours to make lists (which can
now be done later if you so wish) the method is photography!
This works well for supplies that you do not need often, and are too bulky to keep in the craft room.
The steps are fairly easy. All you need are your boxes, or totes, or other storage containers, your supply of wool or other materials, a few labels and your camera. Some empty space on a table or
floor is recommended, as well as some good lighting. It may be a good idea to do this while you have some decent sunlight, so colors are captured as lifelike as possible. So here we
label your boxes. I personally just label them A, B, C etc. If you have more than 26, you can continue with AA, AB and so forth. Numbering is also possible. Make sure the labels are large enough so that you can easily see them at a glance, even if more boxes are stacked. You may want to stick labels to two or more sides of a box, just in case. For my boxes, I simply printed two letters per sheet of A4 paper and cut them in half.
On the pictures they are still on top of the lid, but I later put them inside, on the sides. (the boxes are translucent, and the letters show through) You can also tape them on, of course. :) Whatever works for you!
Prepare for taking pictures. Make sure you have plenty of space on your camera storage. You may want to set your image settings to a smaller size, so the images are not too large in MB.
Set up 1 box that you want to take the inventory of, and empty it. Now sort the contents (in this case wool), into piles of the same brand/type/color.
Take pictures; First, take a picture of the label of the box!
Then, take pictures of the wool. First, take a picture where you can see the total amount of the specific type in one photo. Then take an additional photo of one of the labels. (You may need to take more than one photo if it doesn’t fit into one picture). Continue this for the other balls of wool.
You can see the contents of 'box D' in the slideshow below.
If there were any labels with important information (like weight, or material) these were photographed. You can find all information in the pictures, without having to grab the box.
Continue this for the other boxes. So first; photograph the label, then photograph the various types of wool per lot. (If you are working with other things, like fabric, you may need to take measurements and write these on a note, which you can then photograph along with the fabric)
Step 5: Create a folder on your pc or laptop, and name it ‘Wool Catalogue’ or similar. Copy all files from your camera into your folder. Do not rename them! The
camera automatically numbers the pictures in the order in which you took them, and you need them to remain that way!
Optional Step 6:
Create a zip file from the folder and save it somewhere in the cloud. So if anything happens to your hard drive, you still have the files!
Enjoy your wool catalogue! Open the pictures in a photo viewer that allows easy browsing back and forward by using the arrow keys. Now you can flip through your wool photos until you find the one you need. Then you flip backwards until you find the label, and you’ll know in which box it is.
The photographic wool catalogue works well if you need to know which wool you have, but don’t have it that accessible. One of the downsides is, that you need to maintain the catalogue; every time
you remove a few balls, you’ll have to either update the photos (edit them in paint and cross out a few balls) or retake pictures, and number them such that they fit into the right sequence. (Or
redo the whole box and paste the pictures in at the end). For this reason, it's a good method for stashes that are not used very often, or that just need to be stalled somewhere for a time.
(If you're like my mom, and have boxes up to P and more, it may be time for some nice stash-busting projects! ;D)
If you liked this post, please share it with your friends on Pinterest or other social media! Thank you!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, or send me an email. :)
How do you organize and store your craft supplies?
First of all, let’s talk a bit about organizing. It is nothing more than implementing a system, or set of habits, which makes life easier for you (and usually less messy!)
I think most creative people have a preference for a visual organization system. Basically we need to be able to see the stuff easily. On the other hand, having everything out in the open can be overwhelming.
Organization is different for everyone, because everyone is different… What may work for me, may not work for you. The space you may have available may range from one desk to an entire room. That being said, there are some general ‘guidelines’ or things to think about.
This post is meant to give you some ideas as to how you can organize your items.
So let's dig in... :)
As a start, let's break your supplies into main categories first. These categories are mostly based on the frequency of use.
The main supplies: The items that always get used. You know the ones!
Paint for painters, the standard paper and pencil sets for drawers, scissors and the general card stock for card makers, wool for knitters etc.
These are the items you use almost every single time you do your crafts. They should be easily accessible, or even out in the open.
These are out in the open because I use them often. My pens, pencils and scissors in front of my little green jungle. :)
And my sticky tabs, stuck on my cork board for easy access.
If you have more than one craft- I love to experiment, so I know what it’s like! – It is probably easier to have a box or two per craft for the most commonly used items, which are then put at an easy-to-access location. Like in the front of a closet. So when you want to use them, all you need to do is grab a box and get started.
When it comes to boxes, clear boxes are best, as you can immediately see what’s in there. But you can also use opaque or cardboard boxes if you want, and stick a nice label to it. There are plenty of nice printables to make your own labels or you can use simple store-bought labels. The main idea is that you can quickly see what is in each box.
Other than the Main supply category, you have:
The add-ons or embellishments – These are the items that get used sparingly, or on special projects; special effect paint, glitter beads, little hangers for on knitting projects, buttons etc. As to not clutter up your main supply boxes, it's easier to have these in a separate container. It'll also save space on your desk or craft surface.
Seasonal items are another category. This will probably be most effective for stampers or sticker fans. It could be handy to have an Easter box, a Halloween box and a Christmas box, for example. This way you don’t need to search for special occasion items when the need arises.
And the other way around; your stamp drawer or box won’t be cluttered with Christmas stamps in February, when you have no need of them.
Now when it comes to actually storing items, there’s a whole list of things that come into mind…
Are the items fragile? Do they need to stay dry? What size are they, how many are there and are any oddly shaped? Do I save the original box with manual?
I find storing per type and size the most logical.
What works best for me, is to store like with like;
so pen with pens, stamps with stamps etc.
My pencils and pens are out in the open, because I'm draw most often. I do have some stamps however, which I keep in a set of boxes. Whenever I need them, I just have to grab these, and not dig
into a humongous pile of random craft stuff.
I have to admit that my organization is still a work in progress, so I do have ‘miscellaneous boxes’, usually with ‘back-up’ supplies, like duplicate pencils and pens for example. I rarely need
these, however, so it’s not that big of a problem to have to look through the contents of one box once in a while.
Occasionally it’s easier to have more than one flat box, instead of one higher version. This way, you don’t have to dig through stacks.
What I really like are drawer units on casters. I personally have two from the IKEA. They are great for smaller items, and because the drawers are not very deep, stuff doesn’t get stacked up very
much. You could roll them under a desk or table, or worktop.
If you have really small items, like beads and buttons or pushpins, you can use transparent plastic divider boxes. I use one for my washi tapes, but they will fit a lot of small products, while
keeping them neatly into one place.
A special paragraph for the flat stuff; paper and stickers especially.
If you have a lot of colored and decorated paper, making stacks is usually not the best idea, as you can’t find the various sheets easily. If possible, store them upright. This can be done
in magazine files, or in boxes that are high enough so that you can put the paper on its side. If you put the paper in boxes, simply leave enough space to be able to flip through them. You can
also add some divider tabs. If you need to stack, try using paper trays, so the individual paper stacks are not very high. You can also build your own custom storage with cardboard!
Stickers and labels can be easily stored in a binder with transparent sleeves. Some tabs could be added to make different categories. You can then easily flip through the sleeves to find the stickers you need, without having all these loose sheets. The downside is that it takes a while to put your whole collection into these sleeves first, and very large sticker sheets won't fit. But overall, I really like this method, because now my stickers are all in one place and accessible.
If you have larger items, it makes little sense to put these into small boxes, as they’ll be full with just one or two items. Wool for example, can be stored in larger boxes, or in a laundry hamper. The problem is usually if you have a lot of wool, it will end up in a big load of boxes, and you'll run out of space quickly, and still do not know what or how many you have.
The key to prevent the latter, is to have an inventory handy. With a good inventory, you can store some boxes in a less accessible place, like the attic. You then only have to go
there when you need a specific item. The inventory list will tell you where to find it. Or create a
Most of us will have some ongoing work-in-progresses (WIPs) lying around. Depending on your amount of tools and materials, you can leave the tools in the project box, or leave a note which tools
you used. (Or put it in your project book). To make sure the WIP boxes don’t increase exponentially, it’s
probably a good idea to put a maximum number to them, and then ‘force’ yourself to either finish, or dismiss a project before starting another one.
Some additional notes:
It’s a good idea to leave some space in your bins, for when you acquire additional items.
If your boxes are crammed to the rim, it may be a better idea to store the items in two separate containers instead. You don’t want your items to get jangled up, or worse, break because it didn’t really fit. And if the box is too full, you can’t really find anything without having to get everything out in the first place.
If you get overwhelmed easily, it’s a good idea to store your boxes in a closet or other space which can be closed. That way, you only have the boxes that you use in sight, which makes the room a lot calmer.
Other ways to organize are color-by-color, brand-by-brand, alphabetical, size-by-size. Do that which works for you, even if others say it looks disorganized.
Let me know if you have any organizing tips in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it on Pinterest or other social media, thank you! :)