Organizing Art & Craft Supplies

Whether you have one hobby or many, organizing the supplies that go along with it can be challenging.  There are very specific tools as well as the more universal tools that function for different aspects.  You might have a whole room dedicated to this or you might have only a small space.  Nevertheless, there are usually many tools that go along with this, things that need to be organized and accessible.

There’s been one room in my house that has repeatedly caused challenges for me – it’s the room I call the craft room.  It’s not just a craft room for me; it’s where I exercise, where the movies live, I used to watch TV, and now where most of my business stuff lives.  It has a walk-in closet where I housed a lot of the craft supplies, as well as many other items.  This closet keeps getting cluttered and I have re-vamped it several times over the years we’ve lived here.

There are many different ways to organize such various, yet related supplies.  What will work for you will likely vary depending on your space, your supplies, and how you use your things.  Quite randomly one day when I was waiting for someone, I did some brainstorming about my closet.  This can be useful for us – just thinking about what we need to deal with.  What are the categories we think of for this space/stuff?  What kind of things do we have – generally, specific types, general types?  What ideas do we have for organizing them?  (You can see my notes typed up here and how I moved through some processing of ideas.)

For the closet, I got a closet system with a section of drawers.  I already had some products I liked for organizing – mainly the 6-drawer unit that holds scrapbook paper.  The complete overhaul of the closet was a daunting process – there was so much to go through and too many things I found that I’d wasted money on that I accepted needed to just be donated.

Although every situation is different, what I discovered for myself was that I would use “rules” for most of the supplies, yet there would be exceptions.  Let me use the scrapbook paper as an example.

I knew I had 6 drawers that I liked for storing the paper, and I started organizing it.  Some of drawers had been storing stickers and stamps.  It took me about 4 hours to sort my scrapbook papers.  I initially started with solids and patterns as a division.  This gave me a better idea what I was dealing with.  Then I sorted the solids: pink, red, orange, and yellow into one drawer; green, blue, and purple into another; then brown, black, gray, and white into another.  This left the patterned paper.  I wanted to keep the Halloween papers separate since I make Halloween cards every year and the easier it is to get at those, the better.  The other patterned paper could be broken into two groups – those I had collected for quite specific themes and then “random” other patterns.  The specific paper for specific projects was not a huge amount, the drawer had plenty of room left in it, yet I decided this was an opportunity to group some other related supplies with the paper.  When I am ready to do one of those projects, having the embellishments right there will simplify the project.  If someone were to come in and look at this drawer, they might think it was a hodge-podge of things since it’s got some honeymoon supplies as well as graduation and some kid stuff.  Yet for me this works best – it’s the exception to the “rules” I established for the “paper drawers”.

6-drawer scrapbook paper unit

My scrapbook paper "drawers"

I used this idea throughout – so most stickers are in a general sticker container, yet I also made some containers for wedding and Christmas/winter.  Those themed containers have all sorts of supplies that are specific to them, while keeping the quite general containers for types of things (embellishments, stamps, templates, etc.).  This makes sense for me and the things I have to work with – what will work for you might be completely different.

There are any numbers of ways to organize such a plethora of supplies and you need to think about how you use your supplies.  What do you want to be able to find when? It needs to make sense for you, both when and where you will look to use specific things and how many you have of certain things.

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  1. Pingback: 13 Posts in Honor of the Beginning of 2013 | Sustainable Organizing, Milwaukee WI

  2. Rules with exceptions… my favorite way to live! I totally agree with grouping stuff together that’s usually used together, even if it means your system isn’t consistent throughout. Function first!

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