How does a craft room devolve into chaos so quickly?
My work desk I understand. I’m creating and it’s a messy process. I experiment a lot and use a lot of products every single time I sit down to create.
As long as I put it all away when I’m done or clean it up before I start the next day, it’s all good.
But it’s not. It still devolves into chaos if I’m busy.
I am a homebody. I like to stay home and putter when I’m not at work. I don’t even like to go shopping anymore. I’m really tired of crowds and mobs of people around me. And just for the record, more than 5 people around me has started feeling like a mob.
I work in a building where there are about 3000 people and every 45 minutes they all dump into the hallways to move to a different room.
So I like to stay home and putter. This is a good thing since I live in a fixer upper now and there is a list of projects calling to me.
Don’t get me wrong. I do like to volunteer at the little seaport museum in town. I’m even on the board and I spend time there volunteering as a docent at least once each week when it is open. This is a tourist town and I’m loving living here. I do want to be part of the community. I actually enjoy greeting the visitors and sharing tidbits about the rich maritime history of our little seaport town.
So what’s the problem?
It started when I went to visit my mother over Thanksgiving. Every vacation or day off has involved some travel or house guests. Plus, I spent most of the year battling every virus my students brought into the building. (Our awesome custodian was out for a few months for back surgery. I have not been sick since he returned from his sick leave. That’s how awesome he is. His superpowers keep viruses and molds away so I don’t get sick.) Things really got busy during AP testing season in March and then there was the trip to Michigan for my daughter’s surgery, then on to Florida to meet with the contractor for the little house we are building there, then the gallbladder surgery I had last week. You know what this is like. You live it to.
This craziness affects our craft studios.
I am not a born organized person. My natural tendency is to put things on a pile to deal with later.
I end up with a lot of piles if I’m not careful.
That is how chaos reigns in my space.
The other problem is that I don’t stop ordering new stuff just because I’m busy and have no time to actually create stuff and clean up after myself.
It’s so easy to shop online. On my phone. From anywhere! In less than 5 minutes, I can order a box full of goodies no matter how busy I am. (All on sale, with a coupon code and free shipping. I can’t pass up a good deal. And if they are throwing in a free stamp set or die…SOLD!!)
Yesterday was day 1 of my “Kim’s 30 Day Craft Room Clean Up”.
Day 1: Assess, Purge Garbage, and Corral your supplies.
To begin, you will probably spend a good 5 minutes just staring at the chaos in disgust. At least, that’s how I started.
Keep in mind that I did have an organ removed 5 days ago so I can’t lift anything heavy and I won’t be spending a whole day at this. An hour tops.
This is not a craft room gut and re-do. I’m not painting things or moving furniture, I’m just cleaning up and trying out some new systems for the spots that aren’t working. Your organizing systems should continue to work even when you are busy. That’s the point really. If you have a system in place and you get busy, chaos is kept away. Some spaces in my craft studio aren’t at all chaotic because those areas are working. I can straighten those up in just a couple of minutes.
Grab a box and a couple of garbage bags. Snap a couple of before pictures. I’m trying to decide how to best use the photos I didn’t have the nerve to share with you so that I can shame myself into never letting this happen again. I think I need to make a necklace of these photos and wear them in shame for the next 30 days. (I would have all the supplies that I needed in my craft stash to make it too.)
I started by emptying the garbage cans, throwing away any obvious garbage like the plastic packaging stuff that I pulled out of a box and dropped on the floor. (I know! What’s up with that? I did not in fact, grow up in a barn. Near a barn, but not in it. My mother taught me better than this. She taught me to pile stuff.)
I even took the time to break down the box…and then I dropped it on the floor.
And what is that other stuff doing on the floor? That’s new lighting that I actually managed to go out to a store and buy that is just sitting on the floor. And, ironically, an organizer I need for my ink sprays. Not yet being used very effectively. Organizers only work if you open them, find a home for them, and fill them with good stuff that you can find and use.
So I spent about 15 minutes getting the garbage into bags, opening boxes that had not yet been opened so I could break down the cardboard and put in the recycle box I brought with me, and corralling the stuff that needed to be put away onto my table. I know it’s hard to believe that more stuff went on that table, but it did!
Then I spent another 15 minutes and I pulled out a bin to hold any new stamps and dies that had not been “processed” and put away and I put like things together so I can easily put them away on day 2.
I had my husband take the garbage and recyclable cardboard and plastics out. (I would have done this myself, but he was there and I did just have surgery.)
This task alone really helped clean up the space and I felt good about getting in and getting something accomplished.
Before you stop for the day…
Assess your space.
- What is working and what isn’t? I may not be doing any more cleaning today, but I will be making a plan for what I want to accomplish tomorrow.
- What changes have you been meaning to make to allow your space to function better? Are these quick and easy changes, or will you need to allot more time when the room is all tidied up to do an actual DIY project to fix the system?
- What organizing supplies do you have that you can use?
- What organizing spaces or supplies could be utilized in a better way?
- What will area do you want to tackle tomorrow?
One thing that really works well for me is that I have my studio broken up into areas.
- I have a cutting area that holds my die cutter, circuit, dies, embossing folders and any supplies I use all the time for die cutting. This works really well for me and it took 2 minutes to tidy this space up.
- I have a sewing area. This is a problem area. I tend to pile things here so I need to rethink this space.
- I have my work table. This also works really well for me. It took only a few minutes to tidy this space up as well.
- I have my stamp and paper storage wall right behind my work table. It works well, it just looks messy all the time. It isn’t messy. It just doesn’t look “nice” in photos. I love being able to see my supplies and have them right behind me, but it doesn’t look like a Pinterest worthy wall. I’ll think about how to make it look better without losing the functionality that I love.
- I have a second storage space and table on the other side of my actual work desk. This area is not working at all. It is the problem area and this is where I will spend most of my time fixing. I just have to find the secret sauce recipe that will make this functional and more Pinterest worthy. I imagine that there will be some purging involved here, but not until summer vacation. I’ll put that on my DIY project list for summer.
I purged a lot of old stuff from when the kids were younger and from when I first started crafting 3 years ago when we moved. I’m not ready to purge too much more because I am retiring in December and I will have time to craft…theoretically. I don’t want to get rid of “the good stuff” yet until I have time to see what I want to utilize and then I will sell the rest on eBay. I don’t have time to do that now. That’s a future project and I’m not going to feel guilty about having stuff I’m not using at this moment.
Cleaning up does have benefits! I found some energy in the evening yesterday to play with that Simon Says Stamp card kit from May that was in the picture on the table that I did not have time to play with!
It was heaven!