Craft Rooms and Home Office Space:
my top practical tips for organisation
Making better use of my space, and in particular my office/craft rooms, has been my goal for the past few weeks. When baby Jack came along, it just did not feel right to be taking him into my craft/office space but I still needed to work and write, so I moved my computer into the lounge room and shifted a few things around to create a tiny pocket of space in one corner. It was a tight squeeze! At first I sat on the floor with my computer on a small side table but getting up and down was a big problem with a still very flexible pelvic floor area!
So I swapped tables for a taller version, and grabbed one of the kid’s chairs from Ned’s lovely Ikea table setting. This is how I’ve been working for the past few months.
But having my office paraphernalia, my crafty photography ‘studio’, and all the thousands of bits of paper I work with in my lounge has been doing my head in. So it was time for a better solution.
In this house, the main bedroom is at the front and the other bedrooms down the back. Having Ned so far away from me during the night doesn’t feel right and since his bout of whooping cough last year, he has been sleeping on his mattress in my room. I’ve always pondered swapping my bedroom to the smaller bedroom next to Ned’s, thus moving my craft/office space to the bigger front room and so last week, with the help of Chris, I did it!
It’s been the best move ever. This (below) was the main bedroom before the move, and the picture at the top is what it looks like now. I am loving having MORE room to create and store, and the smaller back bedroom is perfect for sleeping without the noise of the street, and much more cosy to boot. And I’m now metres away from my boy’s bedroom (when they finally go in there!). Perfect.
My craft room is definitely a work in progress…it definitely does not yet look like the room of my dreams but it’s a start, and it is practical. For now, I’m using my two molded trestle tables in one long row and have my Ikea expedit shelf by the window. My photography set-up is temporarily balanced on two chairs by the window for natural light! (Such a first world problem- not enough furniture! But I’m going to head up to Ikea in a few weeks so that problem will soon be solved. Then the design project can really kick off! I’ll show you when I’m done.)
But having tried a few different configurations over the years, I’ve got a handle on what works for me. Would you like to know?
These are my top tips for craft rooms/office organisation.
- Keep your favourite things in view. I love to stamp- whether it is making my own hand carved stamps for a particular project, or using gorgeous lower case font stamps from Kikki K, but I know that if my stamping paraphernalia is hard to access or in a hidden drawer, I rarely use it. So I bought some lovely looking plain white hard plastic containers (about 20cm by 15cm wide) from Ikea that look good on display. They are the perfect size too. Things don’t get lost in them yet they also hold just enough. I have my stamps in one, my stamp pads in another, my paper punches in another- and all three boxes fit onto one shelf in my expedit unit. Tidy yet efficient organisation, I love.
- Use all the wall space. Store stuff vertically, whether on a cube shelf like an Ikea expedit, or on an upright book shelf. I love clear boxes about A4 size. I pop the lids straight into storage as I want easy access at all times to my crafting supplies, and label each box with a list of what is in there. In some of these boxes are more smaller containers for really little things such as paper brad fasteners, safety pins, mini stationery pegs and the like. I keep everything as separate as I can, otherwise I can never find what I’m looking for. Right now, this is what I’m lacking so some of my everyday supply boxes are lined up on my trestle table. Not great, but ok for the minute.
- I store my favourite scrapbook paper, origami paper, tissue and crepe paper, cellophane, brown paper rolls, and card making stuff in a set of drawers in my cupboard. I’ve tried lots of ways to store paper and having a chest of drawers solely for this purpose is the best, most accessible way I’ve found to keep paper in good nick.
- I keep my sewing machine out on a table and plugged in. If it is stored in the cupboard, I rarely pull it out as I’m lazy. But if it is visible and quick to set up, I love it. It saves me so much time when I make my crafty projects.
- When I’m writing, my computer table holds only my computer, my basket of pens, and my container of post-it notes. The rest of the table is clutter free. Except for a cup of tea of course!
- Ensure one area is left free of stuff so you can create in peace. My next purchase will be one of those Eero Saarinen-style tulip tables from Ikea. I’m so looking forward to having a round table in the room that will be exclusive for crafting work and photography. For now, I use the front section of one of my trestles.
- My wool, fleece, felt pieces and ribbons are all stored in plastic containers and I put them up and out of harm’s way but readily accessible too as these are the main materials I work with.
- I separate my works-in-progress (eg books on the go, or craft projects) into big plastic containers. This helps me to stay focused and remember all the bits and pieces that must go into a particular work. As I finish up a project, these boxes go into storage, or I give away the samples if I don’t need them any more. You can see some of the crafty book projects I’m working on under the table on the right. But I also keep my props for workshops in boxes too. Handy to grab and go when I need them.
- The best fun of having a craft room is keeping all my favourite things in one place. I LOVE my japanese magazines, my Living Craft magazines, my stamping books and my folders of tear sheets to be nearby. I have a bunch of very sweet pictures all waiting to be framed and placed on the wall in front of my computer. And I have a few quirky mementos (some of which I’ve been carrying around for 20 years) that must be on display- a Japanese good luck daruma doll, a few Japanese kokeshi dolls, and two soft toys. The other thing is colour. I love muted rainbows (somewhere between bold and pastel) and plenty of white too. So I display my coloured felts, my cotton play cloths, and my rainbow pencils in view. Colour makes me very happy!
So, over the next few weeks, this room will evolve and change to become more like my vision. When I’m done, I can’t wait to show you.
But for now, I’d love to know what you do…
How do you organise your crafty and officey bits?
Do you have any special tips or tricks?