October 20, 2010

Crafting without Chaos

 I am swapping guest posts with another avid craft lady named Jennifer who I met here.  When you are finished reading Jennifer's post please go check out her blog here and leave a comment to be entered to win a prize.

Take it away Jennifer...

There seems to be some strange, undeniable force that brings crafting and clutter together. All I need to do is look around my office/craft room (affectionately known as the Abyss) to see that it's so. While my creative space isn't magazine-perfect, it's what I like to call organized chaos—it's a system that works for me.

When I'm in the middle of a project, though, things can take on a decidedly different look. That's why I've developed certain a certain system that keeps my crafting days more organized that chaotic:

The first step, as always, is to start with organized supplies.

Everyone works differently, everyone has different needs, but for multi-discipline crafters it's good to keep the supplies for each hobby separate. So, in the Abyss, I have 2 shelving units for paper and paper crafting items, 1 for beading and fine art and a fourth for yarn and fabric. Tools that get used across the crafts (scissors, adhesives, ribbons, stencils, etc.) have their own tower.

But don't stop there! For me the driving force of a project (besides it's purpose) is color, so each type of supply is also separated out into a general color spectrum (a variation on the ROY G BIV rainbow). This allows me to see what I have, what I might need more of the next time I head to the craft store with a coupon and no specific purchase in mind and what I have way more than I need of (and could stand to pare down).

The next thing to address is my workspace, which invariably needs clearing.

For those of us lucky to have a dedicated craft space, it doesn't mean we always treat it as precious as it is. Between projects it's every horizontal surface for itself and my table gets covered with whatever might have come into the room—mail, purchases, materials for a future project, whatever. So, if I want to craft, first I have to clean.

A funny thing happens, though, when I'm tidying up: I get energized. Moving around, putting things away, is instant gratification as my desk clears. Not only do I end up with a clean space, the crafting to come feels like a reward for a good deed. And cleaning up with a purpose in mind is always easier than a chore done out of obligation.

Now we get to the fun part, now we shop. Not in a store, we're going to shop our supplies.

By organizing what we have, picking what we need is like a shopping spree in our very own boutique! To enhance the feeling of our spend-free spree, I have a few baskets and bins picked up at the local dollar store that I can collect my supplies in before I go to the table with them. These baskets come in handy later when I've finished with a tool or have leftover materials, I can just put them right back in the bin and they keep the rest of my workspace clear.

Finally, while you're working, resist the urge to multitask.

Oh, this pains me to say, but it's true. We crafters can be easily distracted by the next shiny idea or a tangent a happy accident sends us off on. Multitasking leads to stacks and totes full of UFOs (Unfinished Objects). If you value the life of your project, see it through to it's end before chasing the next pretty thing. There are always exceptions, of course. When paint needs to dry or a sealant needs several days to cure, that's different. There's also a difference between a table project and the knitting you keep by your living room chair.

Bottom line: whichever way you choose, having your own systems and routines for crafting makes it easier to create whenever and whatever you want.

Thanks Jennifer!  Come by any time and let us know how the craft life is treating you.  Everyone can go here to enter into my draw for organizing supplies until October 31st 2010. 


  1. I totally feel this post. I have so much of my crafting stuff organized and so much disorganized. It's just so hard...

  2. I think someone has been snooping in my craft room... also known as the laundry room. It's really hard to get motivated and creative when the kids leave their CLEAN clothes on the floor in front of the dryer instead of taking them to their rooms... I have to stop and pick up the mess before I can create my own and by then, the inspiration is usually gone. If I could just move the laundry somewhere else...

  3. Great tips - especially the one about UFOs! That's me through and through!


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