My craft supplies used to be a mess! Between the huge stacks of patterns and magazines and the miles of tangled yarn, I couldn't find anything. I would spend hours looking for a specific pattern (even when I knew exactly which magazine it was in!), and everytime I needed yarn (or any other supply), I literally had to shuffle around a half dozen or more boxes! It became such a chore just to find the supplies I needed, that I finally just gave up!
Luckily for me, I found some neat ways to get organized
that don't take a lot of time or money. Now my patterns, yarn, and supplies
are easy to find, and it sure puts the joy back into my craft! Here's
a few of my tips for getting organized!
Start with the patterns!
One of the easiest things you can do to neaten up any craft area is to organize those patterns and magazines. Simply start by sorting them according to publisher, and then put each issue in order by publication date or issue number.
Jennie Gaskin of Country Yarns designed an easy and inexpensive holder that's perfect for smaller magazines like "Crochet Digest" and "The Workbasket". It also works well for those small "Pilsbury Bake-Off" cookbooks you find at the grocery check-out and even sewing patterns! And after whipping together about a half dozen of the small ones, I designed some that will hold larger magazines and leaflets. I even color-coded all my holders, which helps make magazines easier to find.
For all those single page, loose leaf, and freebee patterns that always seem to accumulate in piles, I set up notebooks. I divided all the patterns out into categories, and made use of tab dividers. Sheet protectors came in handy for anything that was too small or couldn't be hole-punched.
But I didn't stop there. I used Filemaker Pro to creat a simple database for keeping track of all those patterns. You can use just about any database, the main key is to set up the appropriate fields and categories for the information you find particularly useful. This has been one of the biggest helps to my organizational process. Whenever I want to make something, I can simply look it up on my computer, and it tells me exactly where to find a pattern for it! No more digging through piles of magazines trying to find that favorite pattern!
Getting Yarn Under Control
There are lots of ways to sort yarn and thread. I use lots of different kinds, so I sorted mine by type, but my mother, who does mostly plastic canvas crafts, sorted hers by color family! Here are some great ideas for storing it once you've decided where it belongs:
Since my craft room is also my bedroom, I opted for the stacking drawers. Several of these sets, side by side and one on top of another, worked well for my needs. Everything is neat and tidy, and you can't see what's in there. Since a large portion of my stash is in balls and small cones, I used some of those honeycomb things used for storing socks. This is great for keeping the balls and cones from unwinding (especially rayon). And of course, one drawer is set aside just for hooks and other nifty little gadgets I use. Neat little boxes and drawer dividers work well in there, too.
My mother's room is a separate craft and sewing
room, so it doesn't matter as much that you can see all her yarn. She
likes it that way. She has stacked milk crates facing out (they take up
half the wall!), and then divided all her yarn by color family. Skeins
go in so that one end sticks out the front of the crate. Also, she never
over-stuffs the crates, so they don't get crowded. This makes it very
easy to find what you're looking for in a hurry.
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