UHeart Organizing: An Embellished Organizing Plan

OK craft and scrapbook lovers.  My gal pal, Sarah, is stopping in today to share how she is managing all of those itty bitty pieces that come with the hobby we all love so much!  Doesn't it seem like those embellishments end up everywhere?  They can be tricky to manage, however, Sarah has some really great solutions for keeping them all nicely corralled and easy to access.  Here she is now!

I am so excited to be back at IHeart Organizing sharing a project that has literally been two years in the making {if you don’t believe me, ask Jen – she’s been hearing me fret about this for months! }
The lovely gifts my family and friends have given me over the past couple of years have done wonders to diversify my craft stash, but they have also created a storage problem. Solving this storage puzzle required me to tackle a bit of a quandary: I tend to not use my supplies if they are tucked out of sight, but visual clutter makes me crazy. When I see pictures of craft spaces filled to the rafters with stuff and punctuated with competing patterns, I get a little {okay, a lot} anxious. This is a creative and energetic approach that works for many people, just not for me. So how could I both display my supplies so I would actually use them without destroying the calm serenity I seek in my craft room?
I originally planned to purchase some inexpensive, frosted glass jars like these from IKEA - for a symmetrical look with somewhat of a peak-a-boo quality – but I was worried they wouldn’t be versatile enough and I decided I wanted to take this opportunity to infuse some color and vintage flair into my craft space. It took me a long time to get to this big reveal, but the extra time I took to evaluate how I live and work in the space resulted in a final product I love, something I’m not sure I could say had I immediately run out and dropped a chunk of change on products specifically designed for craft storage. While there are great products out there and many of them are perfect for storing a specific type of item, a little creatively and willingness to look at things in a new way can often solve storage dilemmas, better evolve with supplies over time and save money.
Before I did anything else, I itemized my goals for this project:
  1. I wanted to balance my desire to have things on display with my aversion to visual clutter. 
  2. The solutions had to be functional, i.e. easy to get things out and even easier to put things away in an organized manner. 
  3. It had to be designed to grow and evolve. I didn't want the end product to become ineffective the minute I purchased a new supply. 
  4. If at all possible {pretty, pretty please with sugar on top}, I wanted to incorporate apothecary jars into my room design. I ♥ed the idea of five jars of different shapes and sizes, but I would let my supplies dictate the types of containers I needed and would not purchase anything until the whole plan was figured out and I had specific use for each container purchased {in other words, while form was very important to me, it would be trumped by the need for functionality}.
With these objectives in mind, I got started. I first collected all my "perishable" items {i.e. anything that will ultimately get used up}. The only real exception was pens and the majority of my adhesives, which I keep on my craft desk for for easy access.  
Once I had collected everything, I sorted it:

My categories included: 
  • Fabrics: tulle, burlap, canvas, cotton, etc. 
  • Baker's twine/sewing floss
  • Buttons
  • Brads
  • Jewels
  • Flowers
  • Ribbon
  • Craft tape
  • Embossing powder
  • Glitter
  • Ink pads 
  • Spray inks
  • Mod Podge
  • Texture medium
  • Adhesive remover
  • Spray bottle
Then I considered how best to combine things, which allowed me to condense down to 9 groupings of supplies: 
  • Fabrics: tulle, burlap, canvas, cotton, etc.
  • Baker's twine/sewing floss
  • Buttons
  • Brads + jewels
  • Flowers
  • Ribbon
  • Craft tape
  • Embossing powder + glitter + ink pads + spray inks
  • Mod Podge + texture medium + adhesive remover + spray bottle 

Next, I measured the height and circumference of each grouping of supplies, to evaluate what size container each required. When jotting down measurements, I added a little extra to the height and circumference. I didn’t want to be jamming things into their containers or run out of room right away. 

I used this handy flexible ruler I picked up at Michael's a million years ago, which made taking measurements a snap, but this step could just as easily be accomplished with a tape measure or a length of ribbon and a ruler.
Now it was time to start sourcing containers. First, I collected the containers I already had. Here’s what I started with. 

While I can’t guarantee any of these are available where you live, here’s a summary of where I picked up most of these items:
  • Yellow “woven” baskets & turquoise cereal bowl — Target 
  • Yellow tin with handles —  The Container Store 
  • Yellow flower pot & knob–glass teal glass —  Home Goods
  •  Yellow egg tray - World Market

All of the items where under $10 and some were under $5.
From here, I was able to begin matching supplies to containers. Here's how it all played out:
  • Brads and loose jewels found a home in the egg tray. My collection turned out to be too large for one tray, so I also picked up this adorable ice-cube tray from Ikea. The stiff plastic makes it a secure storage option and I scored it for only $.99, baby!
  • Adhesive jewels I slipped into this little jar I scavenged from my husband’s Goodwill pile.

  • Buttons got a combo treatment.  These little plastic jars that come with an embellishment set {about the size of spice jars} were perfect for sorting buttons by color.  I then popped the jars into this little pot.  {By the way, muffin tins are a great double-duty item: you can sort small items and make delicious treats!  Wash between use #1 and #2...}

  • Vintage buttons that were too large for the jars found a new home in this adorable tea tin. 

  • Craft tape was piled in this re-purposed cereal bowl. 
  • Ink pads, embossing powders, glitters and spray inks were all collected into these two baskets.  The smaller basket wedges nicely into the top of the larger.

  • Liquids/gels that need to stay upright were a perfect fit in this little yellow tin.

I was more than pleased with the results so far. Now it was time to evaluate what supplies still needed containers: 
  • Fabrics: tulle, burlap, cotton, etc. 
  • Baker's twine 
  • Flowers 
  • Ribbon

Now I could finally, in good conscience, buy my apothecary jars. I had been stalking Home Goods for a while, which has a huge selection at really reasonable prices, and I was so excited to finally go home with 5 jars of various shapes and sizes. {Before loading up the apothecary jars with supplies, I used Un-Du to remove any stickers, wiped them down with a damp cloth to remove the display shelf dust and residue and shined them up with glass cleaner, allowing time for each to fully dry before putting anything in.}
The twine/floss got its own jar and the flowers another {this is my favorite one!}

The ribbon I actually spread among three containers. The ribbon I use most frequently I piled in this little wire basket I picked up at an end of season sale at JoAnn’s.

I found this amazing segmented jar which allowed me to sort my patterned ribbon by style into the three shallow sections, so no digging at the bottom of a deep jar to put my hands on just the right roll.

All the solid color ribbon got its own jar.

Finally, the largest jar was saved for my assortment of fabrics that I use in scrapbooking. 

Now that everything had found a home, it was time to arrange all my pretty containers. The apothecary jars got pride of place on this low-profile bookcase. I separated them to give a little bit of visual interest and so one side of the bookcase didn’t look too weighty. I also tried to vary the jar heights and lid styles {a factor I took into account when making my selections in the store}. 

Now I just need to come up with something to decorate that bare wall… I’m thinking a triptych of graphic flowers!
The rest of my containers I put on top of the bookcase that my craft table is attached to, which will keep my most frequently used supplies within arm’s reach. In a surprise turn of events {pun intended!}, I was able to make things even more functional with these Lazy Susan I got for $7.99 each at Ikea. Now that they’re in place, I don’t know how this project could have been completed without them.

I just piled my containers on top in a way that was both appealing to the eye and safe and secure {buttons and brads flying around the room were not part of the plan...}.

I could not be happier with the end results. My two “stations” of embellishments are both functional and pretty. Using a combination of solid and clear containers — and limiting the supplies in the glass containers to like types — helped avoid the visual clutter issue I was so worried about. In fact, because everything is so nicely organized and arranged, I actually love seeing everything displayed and don’t find it stressful at all. Yeah!
This project was the product of months of planning. I have been squirreling my pennies away for almost two years in anticipation of enhancing my craft room’s function and decor, including this embellishment storage project. While I splurged on the apothecary jars because I was going for a certain look and feel in my space {the five jars set me back $60, which I actually think is pretty good}, more thrift store finds and DIYing would have been another feasible approach to this project. But my room is now so much more functional that I know I will recoup that expense many times over by actually using all the supplies I purchase.
These are obviously solutions designed with a dedicated space and an at-home-crafter in mind. But I think the same guidelines apply regardless of budget, space and approach to crafting. The real key to success for me was taking my time to evaluate: 1) how I craft and use my space, 2) what types of containers would most inspire me to use my supplies and keep them organized and 3) how I could put my thrifty nature and DIY skills to the best use.
Have you found a container that is perfect for crafting embellishment storage? What is your proudest “you used that for craft storage?!” moment?

"My name is Sarah Eelkema and I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN with my husband of almost two years, Eric, and our two adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Hermes and Brontë. I am a Communications Consultant by day and by night/weekend/any spare moment, I indulge in my passion for writing, crafting and organizing. I am honored to share with all you dedicated iHeart fans my tips, tricks and secrets for organized crafting, which will not only help you get control of your craft clutter but also allow you to make more efficient and productive use of your precious crafting time. While I am blessed with an entire craft room, I promise to explain how all the solutions I share can be tailored to your specific situation, whether it be a dedicated room, a small storage space or mobile crafting. In the meantime, Happy Crafting!"

No comments:

Post a Comment