13 in 2013: Wrapping Paper Oganization

 

 

Do you find that after Christmas you find yourself shopping for the next year due to all the fantastic sales in the stores?  Maybe you’re like me and you manage to collect more wrapping paper?  If this is the case then storage options may become limited.  Looking for unused wall space in your home may be the perfect solution and very inexpensive.

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Unfinished basements or under the stairs you may have unfinished walls that are not closed in. You can use wire and attach the wires to the wood beams.  In the case where you have larger rolls of paper, you may need to secure in two places, at the top and the bottom, to keep the paper from falling forward.

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Closet ceilings are a perfect alternative when you prefer to have the paper off of the floor.  Look for ceiling space in hall closets or a pantry in the kitchen.

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 This is a very simplified way to organize your wrapping needs on the back of a closet door. You only need a few products: three door eye hooks, two bungee cords, four screws, and two clear, plastic baskets.  You’ll screw the plastic baskets onto the door in two places and then screw in the door eye hooks and attach the bungee cords around the wrapping paper. It appears you can get up to four rolls in each plastic basket.

Happy Organization!!!

13 in 2013: Yarn Storage Solutions

I am a knitter, first and foremost. I dabble in other crafts, but a look around my craft room office reveals mostly lots – and lots – of yarn. I’m always looking for new and creative ways to store it, but before we get to that, we need to take a moment to talk about organization.

Organizing Your Stash

Whether you’re a new yarn crafter or have been going at it for years like me, odds are you’ve probably got a collection of yarn hanging about, otherwise known as a stash. The very word stash connotes something that’s hidden, possibly stuffed in a dark corner where one hopes it will go unnoticed.

But the random nature of stashing makes it easy for things to get disorganized, even if your stash is a lot smaller than mine.

The first step, then, is to gather all your yarn from its various hidey holes into one place. This can, admittedly, be difficult if your stash is huge, in which case you might need to take it one section of your home at a time.

Decide if there’s anything you can part with and make plans to donate it to a knitting club or senior center.

Then decide how you want to organize your yarn. There are many possible options: by color, by yarn content, by weight, stuff you love and want to knit with right away versus stuff that can go into deeper storage and so on.

I have some things stored in all these ways, truth be told. I have a giant box of cotton yarn and another of acrylic. I have sock yarn all in one place. Some inspiring yarns I want to work with soon are in a basket on a bookshelf (others, I’ll admit, are just sitting on my desk).

The main thing is that whatever system you choose will work for you and make it possible for you to find what you need when you need it.

(As an aside, if you really want to organize your stash, consider some sort of database or system for logging what yarn you have, how much of it there is and where it’s located in your house. I always dream of putting my whole stash on Ravelry, but I’m just not ready for that kind of radical honesty.)

Storing Your Stash

Once you have an idea of how you want your stash to be organized in storage, it’s time to figure out how to store it. As much as I love having things visible and accessible, I just can’t do that with all my yarn, so I’m really making an effort to only keep things close that I intend to use soon or just find really pretty.closet yarn storage

For deep storage I have giant bins that live in the master bedroom closet. I should not admit it, but there’s some really deep storage in my attic, which I really need to take care of soon, since that’s a pretty awful place to keep yarn.

Things I’m thinking about using soon or that I’ve gotten from yarn companies are in one shoe organizer on the closet door; a bunch of plain wool in different colors is hanging on the other door.yarn basket

That aforementioned basket is heaped with things to review and recent yarn purchases that I really want to knit with soon. For reasons unknown to me, there’s also an aromatherapy ball in there. I guess it’s pretty, too.

More Good Advice

I love the idea of using an old shelf or cabinet for yarn storage. I have a giant bookshelf that used to house yarn, and may again someday if I ever pare down my book stash.yarn storage cabinet

This gorgeous storage unit was meant to house DVDs, but I like its current use a lot better (via the Loopy Ewe).

yarn storage cabinet

Or there’s this lovely drawered unit that I guess must have been part of a desk at some point and is now home to a lot of yarn (Sunset Cat Designs).yarn storage cabinet

Ravelry user lesliehsimon has another beautiful cabinet with pull-out drawers that is a colorful inspiration.yarn rack wine rack

Or how about a “yarn rack” instead of a wine rack, like this one from Prudent Baby?

Make Your Own

Finally, baskets, bowls and cute little storage pieces are a great way to show off little special bits of yarn or contain current projects. But why not get double craft bang for your buck and make the containers, too?sew sweet knitting tote

There are great instructions at Sew Sweet for a knitter’s tote that holds yarn on the inside and has space for needles on the outside. It even has a handle so you can carry it wherever you’re working.sewn yarn baskets

I also like the Sewn Stash Baskets from Purl Bee, which are great for holding a small amount of yarn in a lovely way.

If you have other ideas for storing yarn I’d love to hear them. Goodness knows I need all the help I can get!

Review: Martha Stewart Living Stackable 9 Cube Organizer

It’s a curse of parenthood that sometimes out kids have nicer things than we do. In my house, my office is in a perpetual state of crazy, while my daughter’s playroom — well, it’s still pretty crazy but there are at least pockets of good organization and one of these is her art area.

Nestled in the back corner of the room, next to the window, is an oasis of creativity I can only dream of for myself. Supplies are (relatively) well organized and accessible, making it easy for us to create together or even for her to do some things by herself at a moment’s notice. playroom art corner

The reason this is such a happy place is simple: Martha Stewart.

Or, more specifically, the Martha Stewart Living Stackable 9 Cube Organizer. I got mine, along with six canvas baskets that perfectly fit the shelves, at Home Depot, where the shelf currently runs $49.98 and the baskets are $6.98 a piece (we found two-packs in the clearance section that I think were about $10).

The shelf is made of particle board and seemed to weigh a ton (OK, almost 42 pounds) in the box but is easily scootable when assembled. Assembly is pretty quick and easy, even with a toddler trying to help, and only requires a screwdriver, and a hammer if you want to install the paperboard backings that are available for five of the cubbies (I opted against them). There’s also a mounting bracket you can use to mount the unit to the wall; we ended up using a hook and chain instead because our baseboards are so deep the enclosed bracket wouldn’t work.

martha stewart organizer shelf

Using the Shelf

There’s not much to say about this shelf, other than the it helpfully contains a lot of stuff. I stacked our baskets on one side of the shelf, leaving three open cubbies on one side. That allowed me to store extra paper that was to big to go into a basket and some other fun crafty things like modeling clay and the crayons and colored pencils that didn’t fit in the basket with the markers and other coloring supplies.

I tried to organize like things together, as you’re supposed to do, so there are baskets for:

  • paint and paintbrushes
  • stickers and stamps
  • beads and pipe cleaners
  • markers, pencils and crayons
  • random project materials like paper towel tubes and bubble wrap

marker basket

The final basket has some random busy box type items like tanagram shapes, and I’m planning to put projects from her Kiwi Crate subscription in there, thinking that if she comes across them on her own she might be more willing to do them than when I suggest it.

The durable canvas baskets have slip-in places for tags, which are still blank on mine because my daughter is a pre-reader. She has a really good memory, though, so as long as we put the baskets back where we got them she can find what she needs.

The shelf is 36 inches tall, and she’s taller than that, so I can store stuff on top and she can still get to it. Up there is a little tin with her scissors and tape, a box full of “clippings,” some more rubber stamps that happen to still be in the box they came in and a bit of sensory stuff I wasn’t quite sure what to do with.

Assessment

All in all, I think this shelf was a great purchase. If I showed you the before picture, you would understand. We had stuff on and around a microwave cart, which came nowhere close to holding everything. Paint was somewhere else because I didn’t want her to be able to get into it by herself. (Now she potentially could, but she can’t see it, so that might slow her down a bit.)

Now everything is in the same area where it is used and there isn’t all the visual and actual clutter there was before. It’s a lot more fun to be in that space, and I think we’ve both been making more since we got the shelf organized than we were before. It’s easier to both get things out and to put them away, though you can see we still leave projects out on the table a lot!

Do you have a storage solution you can’t live without? We’d love to hear about it!

Storage Tips {Maggie Holmes}

Papercrafter and photographer Maggie Holmes recently posted a few organizing and storage tips on the Creating Keepsakes blog and they are a great combination of pretty and functional!

Metal basket storage
Vintage tray and bowls

For more ideas and details, check out the full post at Creating Keepsakes as well as Maggie’s blog!