Thursday, January 26, 2017

Organize Your Space in 5 Steps {and a tour of my creative space}

Do you have that one place in your house where things get dumped? When you don't know where to put something, it ends up there? We have two such places at our house. My bedroom and my craft room. I have been working hard to keep my bedroom free of clutter. But the craft room was out of control. I didn't even want to go in there to make anything, which defeats the whole purpose of the room.  It was time to take action.

Organize your space in 5 steps

I spent two long afternoons and went through the entire room. I got rid of a LOT of stuff, I organized what was left and I now have my space back. Today I'll share my tips on going through a large space and organizing it. Stick around, I'll give you a tour of my creative space too.

First, and most important! - I had to get myself in the right frame of mind. 

I am by nature a bit of a pack rat. I tend think in the back of my head "what if I'm going to need that?"  So I had to try to be more like my dad. He's not one to get attached to "things". If it's not useful to him, it's gone! And that's the attitude I tried to go for.

Second, I set myself up some rules as I was going through things.

Rule #1 - Do I see myself using the item in the near future?
Rule #2 - Do I have a specific project in mind for the item?
Rule #3 - Have I used it in the last year?
Rule #4 - Do I absolutely love it?

If I couldn't say yes, to any of my rules, then I had to let it go.

Third, as I was going through things, I sorted the items into one of 6 groups:

1 - trash
2 - items to donate
3 - items to recycle - paper or textiles
4 - items I don't necessarily want, but that the kids can use to make their "creations"
5 - items to finish, use or get rid of within 1 year
6 - items to keep

I grabbed trash bags, for the first three groups.

The items for the kids went into a pile, and then into a plastic drawer organizer once it was cleaned out.

I also had one tote. If there was an unfinished item, or something I haven't used in ages, but couldn't quite part with, then it went in the tote. I'm giving myself a 1 year deadline. If, by next January, I haven't used or finished the item - I have to get rid of it.

The items I kept were organized back into their spots, whether it was a basket, tote, box or shelf.

I went through the room systematically, starting at the door and working my way around the room.

The first thing I did was go through my sewing patterns. I have a lot of patterns that I've picked up when they are on sale for $1. As I went through, I tried to think objectively. I knew I wanted to keep the dress patterns - I love making little girl dresses and even the one's that are too small for my girls, could be used to make dresses for others. I had a lot of patterns for crafts too. However, I don't see myself or my kids ever using them. Into the donation bag they went.

Next up was the fabric. I had a ton of fabric. I mostly used the "Do I absolutely love this?" rule when sorting the fabric. I do like to have fabric to choose from when making projects and not having to run to the store. However, I had a lot of fabric, particularly flannel, that I just didn't think I'd ever use. I also had fabric that I didn't even like! Out it all went into the recycling bag. I consolidated my fabric totes from 3 to 2, with room to spare.

And so it went, as I sorted through scrapbook supplies, stamps, beads, paint, ribbon, crafting books, glitter, thread, and more. I even went through the closet. In the end, I hauled 11 trash bags out of that room! Two that were trash, and the others were either donated or recycled. I have one tote that I need to use this year, and one plastic drawer organizer for the kids to dig into when they want to create.

There's is so much more room! I've already been spent an afternoon down there working on my kids scrapbooks. I've got my space back!

Fourth, get those things to donate or recycle out of the house! 

Once I had gone through the room, I immediately through out the trash and the paper items that could be recycled into our household cans. By then it was dinner time and so I hauled the other bags up, but couldn't take them to be donated/recycled until the next day.
I'm not sure why, but I had this little niggly feeling in my head, that I might need something I had put in those donation bags. Until I had taken them to the donation center, I struggled with that. Is that weird? But as soon as it was gone, I haven't given a thought to it at all.  So my point is, I had to get rid of the junk before I lost that frame of mind I had put myself in.

Fifth, maintain your space.

I don't know about you, but after all the hard work of cleaning out a space, I don't want to do it again anytime soon. I've decided that I will:
1 - put things away in the correct place when I'm done using them
2 - be conscientious about what new craft items I purchase - am I going to use it right away? do I have a specific project in mind? or do I just like it?

So now, as promised, a little tour of my creative space.

Craft Room Organization

 As much as the before picture disagrees, I really do like to have a place for everything. Starting from right to left, the first set of plastic drawers is the kids supplies. The totes stacked on each other are fabric, the picnic basket has my patterns in it, the basket on top of it has all different colors of burlap in it.  The smaller set of plastic drawers holds my yarn, scrapbook embellishments and random supplies. The jewelry boxes hold small brads and eyelets and other scrapbooking supplies.

Craft Room Organization
 The corner desk was a $9 yard sale find. I painted it cream with an antique finish. The shelves on the right hold scrapbook paper and the shelves on the left hold my jewelry making supplies. The basket on the shelf holds glue and other random supplies.
The closet {not pictured} holds my kids pictures to be scrapbooked, ribbon, stamps, a couple spare sewing machines, a crib, a playpen, batting and a bag of the kids old sports t-shirts that I eventually want to make a quilt with. 

Craft Room Organization

 This corner is my sewing table. It was a free find, that I painted. The frames on the wall were all yardsale finds that I painted white. The basket in the stool holds sewing supplies, and the drawer in the desk holds thread and other sewing essentials.

Now, I haven't mentioned this before, but my craft room doubles as a guest room. It's also where I store my Christmas trees. We also have that old tv in there and the kids hook up the old nintendo 64 on occasion. When guests come the Christmas trees and the smaller mattress are hauled out into the living room and the larger mattress is laid on the floor.

It's not very glamorous, I know. It's kind of like the redneck version of a murphy bed. But I try to be real and open, even if I can't display a room worthy of Pinterest.

I would really like to get a box spring and have a real bed in there. I'm fine with getting rid of the smaller mattress and the tv.

I just don't know where else I would keep the Christmas trees. I can't think of any other storage space that they could go! Do you have any clever places that you store your Christmas trees? Am I overlooking someplace obvious that I could put them?

Craft Room Organization

This is the longest post I've written in a while. I hope you find something useful in your efforts to organize your home.

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