This is a topic I have been meaning to post about for quite some time, but it's a tricky one too. You see, by nature I'm quite a tidy and ordered human being. I like everything to have a place and [mostly] to stay in it. When it comes to my professional life I am the one with a list of lists, am highly organised and methodical.
But... I am also creative. I have a plethora of crafting interests and one heck of a lot of supplies dotted around my home. And we all know that artistic sorts are not always tidy by nature! In other words, I'm a very tidy girl but a very messy crafter. This leads to something of a problem when it comes to keeping all of my arts and craft materials tidy and organised, but accessible too.
The following is how the system currently works. My crafting materials are kept between two rooms - my study and my sitting room:
I call these 'chuck boxes' as while the fabric box is full of neatly folded material, the middle one is for everything that doesn't fit anywhere else, so is just chucked in. Dried lavender, feathers, items to be upcycled, etc. all live in there. The top basket is for projects I have in-progress; I can just grab my knitting or my latest sewing project from the tray whenever I have a spare half hour to work on it. Having Beatrix around means I need to keep such projects out of her reach (she's like a kitten with knitting and tries to sit on it). I also keep a teacup and saucer in the basket which holds pins, needles, spools and all the other tiny parts of any project because I used to put them down and then lose them; again, losing a needle is really scary when you have an inquisitive pet!
This storage 'cabinet' is called a 'Didrik' and was £7 from Ikea. I love it so much because it holds a lot, and I usually keep it turned to the wall so it looks tidy and stays dust-free. I even have a second one for all my stuff in the bathroom. Audrey the sewing machine sits happily on top - I didn't use her as much when she was packed away in her box - and on the top shelf I keep jewellery components and cabochons in a Tupperware box, my smash book, a tin full of paper templates in envelopes, my tile for Fimo modelling, and a pencil case containing, well, pencils, as well as Sharpie markers, fabric markers, a ruler and my craft knives.
On the bottom shelf is a tub containing all of my Fimo materials, a box of lace, lace collars and other fabric items like old cheap leather gloves for cutting up, and my beloved magnifying daylight lamp - a real friend for working with miniatures and embroidery. The didrik is on wheels so I can wheedle it to wherever I'm working, and even has two handy cup slots and a slot for small tools on its top so I can enjoy a cuppa while I work without risking dipping a paintbrush in it by mistake! (It's happened).
Jars for buttons, washi tape and ribbons. The ribbons spring out everywhere like a comedy snake when the lid is lifted. Who said crafting isn't thrilling?
Crafting books are kept together on top of my bookcase.
My sewing box. I was given this when I was very small, and I lost interest in sewing until about a year ago, so it's lived in my loft for years until I rescued it again! It needs some TLC but I love it now, and it holds a huge amount. Everything from my box of embroidery threads, to bias binding, spools, needles and iron-on interfacing lives in here. Again, handy for carting around the house. I also have a fabric pouch for taking sewing materials or a current project away with me, and that lives in here too.
I don't print many articles and tutorials these days because I bookmark them on my computer or use Pinterest, but I keep my notes on blogging, inspiring pictures, the odd magazine article, craft material receipts and magazine subscription details filed in boxes in my study.
As well as boring office supplies I stash all sorts of fun stuff in these metal Ikea drawers in my study. Pens, stickers, markers, notelets, paperclips and staplers, rulers and fountain pen cartridges live in the top drawer. I have a huge collection of notebooks (just can't resist!) and while all of the ones being actively used live on a shelf, the yet-to-be-used and dull-looking ones live here. Decorative papers for crafting live together with lined A4 and plain papers in the third drawer down, and the rather grandly named 'Correspondence' drawer contains jazzy writing paper, my address book, wax stamp and sealing wax, notecards and stamps. Ever written a letter only for it to still be unstamped and on your desk a week later? Me too - that's why I now keep everything together, no excuses. I often wheel this over to my desk so I can access everything I might need.
Some people would be concerned if they saw my collection of glues! Everything from PVA to my beloved mini glue gun (small enough to get to the back of doll's house rooms) lives in a drawer. I also keep all my paints, brushes and sketching pencils in here. Don't inhale!
I often browse magazines before going back to read them properly, so I keep the current issues in a magazine rack on the wall of my study, as well as the odd crafting catalogue. They make the room look warm and inviting, and because the study doubles up as an extra guest room sometimes it means I can give my guest some nice reading material too! I used to buy magazines only for them to sit in piles around the place, but I realised they weren't being appreciated or properly enjoyed so I now subscribe to only two magazines and old issues are filed away in concertina files so I can access the craft projects inside or seek inspiration whenever I like. Catalogues are cut up for projects or recycled.
My doll's house supplies aren't pictured here because they all live in one large cardboard box in a dark cupboard, together with a set of mini drawers full of old jewellery findings, beads and other handy materials for making miniature items.
As you can see my wide variety of creative interests means that I have an awful lot of stuff! My rule is that it must stay tidy and packed away, or I have to have a clear out - and I am relieved to be able to tell you that I do regularly use all of my materials so I don't want to have to do that!
How do you organise your arts and crafting supplies?
Enjoy your weekend!