Step 1: Don’t bother organizing craft supplies. It will never happen.
Step 2: Cocktail?
Honestly, I’ve never been able to maintain after organizing craft supplies. I can somewhat contain the chaos and that’s about it. Even when I had a dedicated sewing room with bins and shelves and drawers for everything it was never well organized. The best it ever looked was when I had it staged for showings when I was selling my condo and it stayed that way because I didn’t do any sewing or crafting during that time.
Condo craft room during showings:
House craft room during normal use:
When I had my second kid the sewing room in our house had to become the guest room so now all my supplies are stored in different places in my house:
- Fabric and flowers are in my daughter’s closet.
- Notions, books, burlesque supplies, wig heads etc. are in the guest room closet.
- Thread, buttons, and ribbon are in bins under the weird printer desk we have in the hallway upstairs.
- Felt is in a bin that I use as a footstool when working because my legs are short.
- Everything else is in a cabinet in the bar and desk-sewing space in my dining room.
- Costumes are stored in my son’s closet and the garage.
My general approach is to keep like things together and keep the things I need most in the area where I do my crafting…that bar or desk in my dining room.
As an amateur costumer-crafter I think having an Instagram worthy crafting space is unrealistic. Unless it’s just for show and you aren’t going to actually use these supplies there’s no way it’s going to look gorgeous all the time. Most of the organization pics I found on Pinterest look amazing but take up way too much space or are unrealistic in other ways.
My advice – find what works for you and the size of the space you have and stick to it:
- Be realistic about what you actually need to store. You may not be able to keep all of the supplies on hand that you’d like, so figure out what’s vital and what you can just buy as needed. For example: I stopped collecting/storing sewing patterns – it was worthwhile when I was costuming musicals, but in general it just took up too much space.
- Keep like things together – whatever that means to you (colors, project type, item type, etc.)
- Keep things you use most often closer at hand. Use other, harder to get to storage for unique items you don’t use often.
- Don’t worry about having everything look “pretty.” I focus more on being able to put things “away.”
- Try to buy only what you need for each project so you aren’t storing a bunch of extra supplies that you may not use in the future. This is probably a pipe dream. I can’t say I’ve ever successfully done this.
- Take a deep dive and purge things every so often. You probably don’t need all of those fabric scraps and that last little bit of ribbon on that roll – get rid of it so you can get new stuff!
The best thing I ever bought was a set of small bins.
I have some of these in just about every area that I store craft supplies. I have one for elastic/bra making supplies. I have one for glue. I have one for rhinestone supplies. I have one for fringe. I have one for Velcro and snap tape. I have one with face mask supplies. I have one for sequins. I have one for glitter. They are small enough to find things in and hold a lot of small craft supplies. And they stack nicely. One day I should use my Cricut to make some labels for all of these bins.
Obviously, I have larger bins for fabric and costume storage. But these small bins make it much easier to control the mess when crafting.
When I’m in the middle of a project I usually have a random box to hold all the stuff for that project. I still have the bin with the half-finished costume I was working on when COVID locked things down in March 2020. Not sure if I’ll ever finish, but all the bits that I haven’t plundered for other projects are still in there.
Here are some other things that I have found helpful for organizing craft supplies:
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