Making Time for Craft Organization

I love writing for Craft Storage Ideas. Probably more importantly, I love reading Craft Storage Ideas, because I need more help than I’m giving. One of these days Rebecca is going to ask me to take you good people on a tour of my creative space, and then I’m going to be in trouble, for sure.

Because as much as I can offer advice on what to store where and how to make it look pretty, I have problems getting my space to look the way I want it (organized, functional, serene, inspiring) and keeping it that way.

It’s not a matter of motivation or not knowing what to do. It’s completely a matter of time.

I don’t take the time to focus the attention that’s needed in my space, so it remains piled up with boxes of yarn, stacks of books and random bits of projects.

I’m trying to do better. I have to do better if I’m going to invite you all to take a peek. So as I give myself the organization pep talk, I thought maybe you could use it, too.

dirty desk
My "before" desk.

Decide What You Want

Some organizational guru – maybe Peter Walsh, I don’t remember – always has clients give him three words that they want to use when describing the space they’re organizing. My list is in the second paragraph above and it’s actually four words (organized, functional, serene, inspiring) , but I was never very good at following directions.

The point of that exercise is that it gives you a vision for what you’re heading toward, which can be highly motivating.

It also gives you a way to evaluate what’s in the space, what needs to stay and what needs to go. If it doesn’t help me to be organized, if it isn’t functional, serene or inspiring, it needs to go. That’s tough, especially since my “studio” is my office, but it’s a good goal to have.

Set Aside Time

The timer is your friend.

Like any dreadful appointment, you need to pencil in (or type in, if you’re more modern than me) time to work on organizational projects. Start small, with maybe 10 or 15 minutes and a specific goal in mind: clearing off your desk, dealing with that stack of mail, emptying a box.

Set a timer if you need to, either to stay motivated or to keep yourself from getting sucked in to taking all day to sort through your scrapbook paper stash. It’s best to do this first thing when you hit the studio, because you’ll feel good about having gotten started and you won’t be pulling yourself away from something more fun to work on organization.

Set Small Goals

Just like you should start by working on organizing projects in short increments, you should also have small goals to start with. Don’t think you can reorganize your whole studio space in a weekend unless you’re some kind of super woman who doesn’t have children or need sleep or your space is the size of a shoebox.

Instead, look around the room and decide what bothers you the most. What is most in need of organization? What would make you feel the best if it were in better shape? Start there.

If that project feels like too much and you aren’t sure how to break it down, start at the door. Work your way around the room, one surface or pile at a time.

Or do what I almost always do, and start with your desk or work table. It’s probably the part of your space you look at the most, the most easily cluttered but often pretty easily fixed because a lot of the things that are out on your desk probably have a home elsewhere. If they don’t, make one.

Celebrate your small victory, then go make another one. You’ll have a more organized space in no time.

I think I’ll go clean off my desk now.

When to Sell or Donate Your Cluttered Scrapbook Supplies {Aby Garvey}

We love showing you pictures of beautiful, bright, incredibly organized spaces even more than we like looking at them ourselves.  But let’s get real.  In order for those incredible photos to be taken, some serious organization had to happen.

When you are in the midst of organizing, more often than not decisions have to be made about selling or donating both newer and older supplies.  The very same supplies that you lusted after, dreamed about and generally obsessed over.  Making the decision to sell or donate your lovelies can be very difficult.

Enter Aby Garvey.  And this blog post.   When asked whether someone should hold on to scrapbooking products with hope that eventually there would be a way to “recoup some of the cost” versus selling or donating, here’s what Aby had to say.

“There’s something about these particular items that are different for you — most likely the fact that many of them are new. I mention this because there really is no universal answer for “this is the time to take your loss.” It’s really about you getting to that point…and feeling good about it. The truth is that the loss has already been had. The money you spent on those supplies is long gone. So now your choice is to add time to the supplies to possibly recover some cash. But, the supplies don’t currently have value sitting in your home. It’s only when you add your time to them that they could provide value to you, and that’s if they have a willing buyer. It sounds like time is even more in demand now that you’re heading back to work.”

Donating supplies


I think Aby’s perspective is brilliant.  Sometimes the value of the time it takes to market (eBay, Craig’s List, etc.) your supplies is far greater than what you’d be able to sell them for.

If you like Aby’s blog post, you may be interested in checking out her newest workshop at Simplify 101 called Organize Your Creative Space.

It starts on June 7th, so hurry on over to check it out!

P.S. If you are looking for a place to donate supplies, you can contact local schools, day care centers, nursing homes, retirement communities, hospitals and occupational therapy centers.