Once I finished purging my shelves and getting rid of unwanted items, I moved on to the SORT and ORGANIZE phase of cleaning out my craft room. This sorting is different than sorting out unwanted items. This sorting is putting items into groups that make sense to you depending on your creative process. The organize part of this phase is placing the sorted items into containers that not only fit the items and look cute, but that are properly accessible depending on how often you use them.
I've already sorted most of my items into a system that works pretty well for me (yes, I've done this before multiple times) so there wasn't a lot I needed to change in the way of how I sort my products. Since I work for a couple of manufacturers, that's how I sort the majority of my products--by manufacturer. Then I sort them by collection, keeping most of the coordinating embellishments together with the papers in vertical paper storage containers (Cropper Hopper). So that means stickers, chipboard, brads, journaling cards, die cuts, etc are all in the Cropper Hopper with the matching paper. That makes it easy for me to create when I have an assignment because I'm usually supposed to use all those elements together on a project.
Embellishments that do not coordinate with a specific collection are kept separately and sorted mostly by item and then by color--spools of twine in a basket, washi tape hanging on a shutter, small hard bits (or hardware) in color-sorted bead containers (brads, buttons, eyelets, gems, etc), and soft embellishments (ribbon, tags, flowers, etc.) in color-sorted small shallow bins.
Now, I said I've got my items pretty well sorted, but there were a couple of places where I wanted to make a change.
1) Go-To Embellishments
There are certain generic embellishments (not matching a specific collection) that I find myself using over and over again--sequins, cotton and jute twine, enamel dots and shapes, wood veneer shapes--that I felt could be sorted and organized in a more efficient way. They were all basically sitting out on a shelf in my closet because I used them so often that I didn't want to put them away and get them out again for every project.
So...my solution was to store them all together in the same container--one that is portable and easy to get out and put back. I decided on this darling Amy Butler fabric caddy that wasn't being used. It's perfect because it has lots of pockets to put little packages in and it also has a bigger center compartment that isn't too deep and is easy to sort through to find items. I've got all the items in small ziploc bags to keep them separate.
Now all I have to do when creating is get that caddy out and keep it on my work surface when it's time to embellish. I've got all my go-to embellishments in an easy to access, nicely organized portable container. Score!
2) Go-To Tool, Die Cutting, and Embossing Station
For quite a while I've kept a rolling plastic drawer unit under my work surface. This unit houses my most commonly used larger tools (score board, circle cutter, small trimmer, dies, embossing folders, genius platform, etc). It's been overflowing and not very well organized so I wanted to make a change there as well.
My space is also a home office so there are two small filing cabinets--one that houses all our important papers, documents, and receipts (it also holds the printer), and one that I had filled years ago with patterns, images, pamphlets, and ideas on everything from home preschool, to teaching young children music, to gardening, to food storage, to crafts. Well, guess what peeps? I haven't touched those files in the last four years! Why? Because of the internet and good ol' Pinterest! I have no need to keep files of hard copies with ideas anymore because I store them all online. Good buy papers!!
Once I emptied out that two-drawer cabinet, I placed my most commonly used tools in there and then saved the rolling plastic drawer for only die cutting and embossing.
I've got three drawers in there--one for my We R dies and die cutting accessories, one for my We R embossing folders and letterpress supplies, and one for my dies, cartridges, and accessories from all other manufacturers. I keep my larger dies in plastic ziploc bags, and my smaller ones in magnetic folders. Some of my embossing folders are kept in plastic bags, and some in kitchen drawer utensil bins. Plus, my Cricut E2 sits on top with my vinyl and mats standing in between the cabinet and drawers. Perfect!
After I sorted and organized all of my supplies into their respective containers, it was time to place them all in their proper space. There's a bit of a trick to PLACEMENT when organizing a space, and I'll share those tips in my final installment of this series. I'll also reveal some photos of my finished craft room, so stay tuned!