Crafty Organization?

My name is Judy and I’m a creative person.

Anyone who is a creative person (or has been subjected to living with a creative person) knows that being creative is messy. Between WIPs (works in progress), tools and supplies, design materials, patterns, inspirational materials, prototypes and all the other weird and wonderful trappings that go along with designing and making stuff, becoming and staying organized can be more than just a little challenging.

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I sew for a living. I have 6 specialized industrial sewing machines that I use to do what I do. A certain amount of organization is absolutely essential in order that I can work efficiently and be able to complete the jobs my customers bring me to do. When I started up my shop, I was forever looking for my tools. From my seam gauge to my point turner, my scissors to my tweezers… I couldn’t have a set of tools at each of my six machines, that would be ludicrous (and expensive). Out of desperation I made myself a tool belt to keep those tools that I use every day and reach for consistently. It took me a couple days to complete it. Now, I don’t know how I ever managed without it.

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I have a large dresser full of spools of serger thread. I have many spools each of many colours. For a while, I just kept them in the drawers and got them when I needed them. For some orders, I’d need to use 4 different colours. It was a lot of walking back and forth and mucking through 6 drawers to find what I needed. For most of the work I do, I really need quick access to one spool of each colour. I don’t change thread on the machines with multiples very often. So I spent almost a day to set up a rack on my wall next to my sewing machine, where I could have the multitude of colours of thread I use regularly within easy reach. Now, I don’t know how I ever managed without it.

In my shop I repair a lot of outdoors gear; I use things like D-rings, side-release parachute buckles; slide buckles and webbing locks. I had quite an inventory of these items in various sizes. They were in boxes with lids piled on top of each other, on top of the thread dresser. What a hassle! Every time I needed one, I would have to pull down the boxes and although they were labeled, the box I needed always seemed to be at the bottom of the pile. Last time I was at IKEA, I found a little metal cabinet and after the better part of a day of organizing: Presto! I can now see at a glance what is in each drawer. And now, I don’t know how I ever managed without it.

Well, I spend most of my time at work, and being organized there is essential. It’s so nice to be able to just reach for what I need and know it’s going to be there. And then I go home and want to work on a craft project for fun. (Insert BIG HEART-FELT SIGH here.) My craft stuff is a mess. I sometimes work on it upstairs, sometimes downstairs… I don’t really have any kind of system to keep my tools together and organized and to be honest they often just end up at the last place I used them. It’s frustrating! Back in August I blogged about wanting to create a BKB (Beach Knitting Bag). But heck, the thing is I need to come up with something to help me organize all my crafting stuff at home first.

My knitting buddy and I were talking about organizing containers and bags and boxes. She showed me a number of different things she has tried. All of them work for some things – sort of – but not for everything. Some have divided sections, but they’re too small, or too big or not enough or too many. I have a folding knitting caddy, but the pockets in it are useless. If I put stuff in it, the tools just fall to the bottom and I have to empty it out completely to find them. Same thing with boxes and baskets. I have a ziploc bag with the wee little things in it. Heaven help me if I forget to seal it up when I’m done; it’s easy to end up with all my stitch markers all over the floor. I made a roll for my crochet hooks, but it has ended up housing DPNs that are actually too long for it, and interchangeable needle points and a few crochet hooks that I rarely use. ARRGGHH!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and that has certainly been true in my life. So I am now on a quest to get my crafting stuff organized. The thinking cap is on. I have no doubt that I will come up with solutions given enough time.

If you have found fantastic products, methods or ideas that have helped you to clamber your way up and out of the pit of despair that utter disorganization is, I would love to hear from you. I’ll keep you posted on what I come up with.

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