With summer here, you may be ready for a lot of crafting for your kids and yourself. Whether you have an entire room devoted to adult crafting, sewing, scrapbooking or wrapping (yes, I’ve organized rooms dedicated to each of those types of spaces), or just a small closet or portion of a closet… these tips are for you. We are also going to talk about kid crafts. Again, regardless of where these are kept (in the kitchen, the office, the homework room, a closet, or the playroom), I'll break down how to organize the spaces in your home that hold these types of things.
How to Organize Crafts
Step 1: Empty and Edit
Pull everything out. Everything. If that involves grabbing things from different areas around the house, then do it. Bring all the items you have in your home that fall into this category and start sorting and editing.
It is extra hard to edit craft supplies because the entire idea behind crafting is creativity and making something out of pieces of nothing. I totally get that. You quilt and scrapbook with scraps of fabric and paper, kids can create almost anything with popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and beads and I love it… all. Seriously. Crafting is in my blood and my heart and I have loved creating so many things through the years out of literal scraps of fabric and paper and repurposed items.
My advice is this…if you haven’t opened a bin, used a craft, or even thought of the craft in over a year, really think about if you intend to ever use it again. Maybe you have fabric someone gave you forever ago but you’ve never done anything with it. Maybe you scrapbook up through the early 2000s but now have transitioned to digital photo books. Maybe you got a Cricut and made a ton of cool signs with vinyl and a few years later decided that wasn’t your thing. Do you have your grandma’s sewing machine you’ve never used? Guess what? I have the sewing machine AND the vinyl cutting machine, so there is no shame in having things…but the question is, do you use it now and will you use it soon? If the answer is no, consider donating to someone who will use it.
With kid crafts and crafting kits, the decisions should be even easier to make. It is easier to throw away dried-out markers and play-doh, craft kits that have already been used, and coloring books that have been mostly filled. Being choosy about what goes back in will help your kids maintain systems, aid in creativity, create more space, and clear clutter.
With the exception of glitter, which was officially banned from the Martin home on Christmas Eve of 2019, we have almost every craft you can think of. Perler beads, slime kits, balloon animals, play-doh, kinetic sand, paracord, boondoggle, rubber band bracelet kits, crocheting, hand knitting, loom, paint, science kits, art supplies, modeling clay….and the list goes on. If you have a lot of kid crafts, that is fine, just be intentional about what you are choosing to keep. Let your kids get involved and share with you what crafts they are still excited about and which activities they have outgrown or lost interest in.
Step 2: Make a plan and contain
After editing, decide what you want to do with what’s left. Do you keep different categories in different rooms or closets? Do you like where things were stored previously, they just needed to be better organized? Plan where you want them to go, get your containers, and start putting things in place.
My biggest piece of advice here (especially when it comes to kid crafts) is to get rid of the bulky packaging. All of it. If you have an art kit that looks like a cool briefcase that your kids love to take around with them, fine. But that awkward-sized box the spirograph came in…and all it really has in it is paper, 4 pens, and a bunch of spirograph parts that can easily fit in a medium-sized zipper pouch? Get rid of it.
It might feel like I am oversimplifying the product needed for these types of spaces, but I really only use 3 types of products when organizing these spaces. They are lidded bins, open bins, and zipper pouches.
I know I have shared these many times, but they are the best. Here are the different sizes with a few ideas of what I have put in them before:
Accessory bins for small items like crayons
Shoe bins: sewing thread, ribbon, markers, index cards, flashcards
Men’s shoe bins: acrylic paints, vinyl, banners, crafting kids
Tall shoe bins: cards, glue, taller items that need to stand upright
Sweater bins: party supplies, tissue paper, play-doh
Deep sweater: fabric, batting, moments
Under the bed: wrapping paper
Jumbo: lots of fabric, batting, unfinished projects
If you want stackable opaque bins, nordic bins are a great option. They only come in 3 sizes, but if you don’t need to store anything bigger than what can fit in the large, they are a cute option.
I love multipurpose bins for paper (it stores 12x12 scrapbook paper beautifully), coloring books, gift bags, note cards, folders, and anything you want easy access to or stored vertically. I also use multipurpose bins to store zipper pouches. Because we have so many crafts, and not enough space to put each craft in its own bin, I put each craft in its own zipper pouch and then put the zipper pouches in a multipurpose bin to keep them contained.
White bins with handles: I love white bins with handles when I want an opaque option instead of clear multipurpose bins and when the dimensions fit better than that of multipurpose bins. They are not as tall as multipurpose bins which can be a good thing or not depending on what you are wanting to store.
I love zipper pouches for crafts. It is so easy to separate different items, put all the pieces from big bulky craft kits together, and really maximize the space you have when using zipper pouches. They’re also great for taking on the go. I love being able to grab the boondoggle and face painting zipper pouches when we are heading to our cabin. You can get them in variety packs or all the same size. The Amazon zipper pouches are thinner and more plastic feeling but very budget-friendly and the zipper pouches available at The Container Store are thicker and softer.
One of my favorite craft room organization tools is this acrylic caddy from Mdesign. Mdesign makes a larger one as well. I love having all our kid craft supplies (markers, colored pencils, crayons, kid scissors, and glue) easy to pull out and use for anyone in the family. It could be great for other crafting tools as well (sewing, scrapbooking, painting, etc.)
Wrapping paper can be tricky to store. I love this white cylinder trash can for storing wrapping paper vertically. If it works in your space, an under the bed box can be a nice option as well. If you have the wall space, my favorite wallpaper company, All Wrapped Up sells a wallpaper rack that is super cool.
I love using these organizers with a lot of little compartments when there are projects that have little pieces that require sorting.
Photo organization looks different for everyone, but if you are looking for a way to organize photos, cards, or similarly sized items, and 5x7 photo boxes are great products that can help organize small, flat items.
I have shared the products I’ve used to organize 90% of the craft spaces I have encountered (including my own), but I have done a few spaces with very different products and they have turned out beautifully. If you have open shelving, you can use glass jars to store beautiful items like thread, clothespins, or art supplies. Acrylic bins are always great as well if your shelves fit them better and you want that crisp clear look. I’ve also used hinged acrylic bins to store fat quarters and fabric scraps. I only share this to remind you that every space is different.
See what a difference containing items makes in this before and after?
Step 3: Label
You know the drill. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just THAT you do it. Take the time to label what you just spent so much time sorting and containing - and make it last. If you don’t have time to make the labels on the day of your project, writing on blue tape is a great way to temporarily label anything.
You'll see what a difference labeling makes in this before and after. The before picture had some good systems in place, but the after is labeled, clear and concise.
Step 4: Let the crafting begin
Enjoy (or let your kids enjoy) your newly organized space. I do a quick reset of all our crafts every 6 months or so (summer and after Christmas) and it is hilarious how excited my kids get to remember some of the items that get forgotten. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to take everything out, edit, make sure that recent birthday and Christmas gifts have a new home, and put it all back with labels. However, that day usually turns into hours of crafting just because the kids are so excited.
Tip: Just in case you were wondering what to do with all the completed paracord bracelets, hand-knit scarves, boondoggle keychains, and painted ceramic unicorns…they make the best gifts. Teaching your kids the joy of creating and also the joy of giving helps provide them with the fun and saves your home from clutter. Kidding, not kidding.
Jen Martin is the founder of Reset Your Nest, Utah's premier home organization business. At Reset Your Nest we believe pantries should be just as beautiful as living spaces, and living spaces just as functional as pantries. To schedule a free consultation with Reset Your Nest, click HERE. Make sure to subscribe to the Reset Your Nest blog for new posts in your inbox, and follow Reset Your Nest on Instagram for organizational tips and tricks.