Just One Tip: File Cabinet Makeover

Cicily here with a quick, just one tip for you today. If you like to peruse second hand stores, chances are you come across your fare share of metal file cabinets, usually at a steal! Why not give it a makeover and turn it into craft storage?

Here’s a cute one with an entire tutorial for the chalkboard makeover at Design Improvised.

Just think of all the craft supplies you can stuff organize in here! LOL

This is my final post with CSI. I’m going to miss posting for you all but I feel after 2 years it’s time for me to move on. Thank you so much to all you crafty organizers!


Product Highlight: Yarn Container

Today’s product highlight will be helpful for our readers who knit and crotchet. I am trying to teach myself to crotchet, and one of my biggest pet peeves is having my yarn get tangled while I am working. I also have cats and a 4 year old, so keeping my yarn contained is essential. I came across these great Snapware yarn containers at Jo Anns.

Snapware Yarn Container

Pretty ingenious, right? While I did a quick search for these containers in use, I found many DIY versions that work just as well.

Source: Hooked on Crafting

Source: Simple Joys

Source: Till We Quilt Again

Source: Chatter Box Jenn

Repurposing antibacterial wipes containers, oatmeal canisters and tupperware all work well to contain your yarn. I love that two of these examples were made pretty by using ceramic tiles or duck tape of all things! Whether you purchase a ready made container or create your own, your yarn will be safely stored while working on your projects!

How do you store your yarn while working on a project?


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: Rubbermaid Bento Storage Boxes

I don’t usually think of “Rubbermaid” and “stylish” at the same time, so I was really interested to learn about the Bento storage box system the company has recently released and to see if they were as cool as they looked.

I first learned about this storage solution a couple of weeks ago thanks to a review and giveaway over on Craft Test Dummies. I didn’t win the awesome collection she was giving away, so I went ahead and bought one myself to try out.

What Is the Bento?

The Bento collection features sturdy fabric-covered boxes in a variety of sizes with internal flexible dividers that allow you to divide up the space easily for different storage needs. The boxes are available in a range of sizes:

  • small: 5.63 x 5.63 x 4.53 inches
  • medium: 11.42 x 6.22 x 4.88 inches
  • large: 12.05 x 12.05 x 9.49 inches
  • extra-large: 19.61 x 12.68 x 9.92 inches

Lids for the boxes are sold separately; there is, apparently, no lid for the small box. rubbermaid bento box

The boxes have two dividers inside that make it possible to divide the space into four even holes, one smaller hole and one L-shaped compartment, or a completely open box.

Using the Bento Storage Boxrubbermaid bento storage

I picked up the large box because I thought it would be great to store knitting projects in progress. Because I’m in the last throes of a book deadline, there is yarn everywhere in my house — worse than normal — and I’m working on a couple of projects at once all the time.

This box would be great for holding three or four small projects and keeping all the yarn separate, which is always a good idea. bento yarn storage

I also loved the box with just one of the compartments divided because I happen to be working on a project using a cone of yarn. The yarn fits perfectly in the one spot and the project in the other. This way I can actually keep the yarn in the box while I knit and store it all away when I’m not knitting (keeping it safe from the cats).

I like the bright red box, too, because it looks pretty and not so much like storage, which is important since it will live in my living room (there are also beige and gray ones and a couple with prints; check out the whole line on Rubbermaid’s website).rubbermaid bento lids

When you add the lid, you can either use it with the raised portion sticking up or down. With the lid in its taller position you can store slightly taller stuff inside, but flipped around you get a recessed lid that allows you to keep little bits and pieces handy while you work. Since the goal of my box is to keep things out of little hands, I use the lid with the recessed part facing the box.

One problem I have with this system is the fact that the lids are sold separately. I guess it is done that way because the boxes are meant to be stackable without the lids, so then you’d only need one lid if you had a stack. Or maybe some people don’t want their stuff covered.

One reason it’s a problem is that the lids cost almost as much as the boxes. On Rubbermaid’s site, for example, the large box is $19.99 and the lid is $14.99, so in the end you’re spending $35 on a box. I don’t know if I like them enough to buy a bunch at that price (I actually bought mine on Amazon for $1 less for each piece), but they are pretty, heavier than you’d expect and seem sturdy and useful. I’d really like to get the full six-piece set, which includes the four sizes of boxes and lids for the large and extra large, but at $79.99 on Amazon or $99.99 from Rubbermaid I don’t think I can justify it.

What do you think? If you’ve tried these boxes, or if you’d like to, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Just 1 Tip: Using Shoe Organizers for Craft Storage

I am a multi-crafter, but mostly I knit. I actually knit for a living, more or less, so I have a lot of yarn in my house, and I’m always looking for ways to keep some of it close, on display but still organized.

After we moved into our new house a year and a half ago, I bought an over-the-door shoe organizer for my office closet door.yarn shoe organizer

The door is always open, so it hangs on the outside of the door. The 24 clear compartments hold yarn I’m interested in knitting with soon or just pretty things that I like to look at.

It’s nice to be able to see some of what I have and grab it easily without having to hunt through a bin.

I like it so much, in fact, that I recently bought another organizer for the office door itself. I couldn’t find another clear one, so this one is black, and it hangs on the back of the door (this door is always open, too, so I can’t really see it).shoe organizer yarn storage

This one holds my collection of one particular kind of yarn, Cascade 220, which is a good basic wool that I have in a lot of different colors. It’s great to have these skeins at the ready whenever I’m thinking about a colorful project, and the range of colors is inspiring even if I’m not using that yarn.

Other Ways to Use Shoe Organizers

Of course yarn is not the only thing that can be stored in over-the-door shoe organizers. Squeeze bottles of paint, tubes of beads, jars of buttons and containers of glue could easily hang out on your door, just to name a few options.

I could also see storing paper punches or rubber stamps in these organizers, though of course you wouldn’t want to store very many in each compartment to keep them easily accessible.

I’ve also seen shoe organizers used to store kids’ craft supplies such as markers, paints, pens, glue sticks, stencils and stickers, and the adult version of all of those could be stored in such a manner as well. I’m very tempted to get another organizer to do just this sort of thing in my daughter’s playroom. Doesn’t this example from I Can Teach My Child look awesome?craft supplies in shoe organizer

Have you ever used shoe organizers to store craft supplies? I’d love to hear what you use them for!