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Organizing Your Craft Room (and Yourself) on the Cheap
Part 2: A Cluttered Room Equals a Cluttered Mind.
Living with ADHD means that I often get started doing something at home, get distracted, and that thing gets left where ever I was when that distraction occurred. This has led to amusing things like leaving keys in the fridge, or my cell phone on my dark grey couch. But it also led to a frustratingly high level of disorganization and clutter in my craft room. Organizing is not my strong point.
Ask yourself this: how often have you gone into your craft supplies (or garage, kitchen, library, work desk, etc…) to look for a specific item? And when you did, how long did it take you to find that item? If you’re anything like I am, the answer to that question is “too long.” Often, I find myself spending 30 minutes, even an hour, looking for that elusive item. When I can’t find it (which happens way more often than I’d like to admit), I usually go out and buy the thing, only to find it again a week, month, even years later!
This stems from my ADHD – I am too easily distracted, and things get buried and consequently lost. I will also get focused on the FUN thing, forgetting that I haven’t yet put away all the floss from the last project. That situation was almost disastrous. It didn’t end in flames, but the amount of doubles I have is kinda ridiculous.
A Girl and Her Craft Room
I have been working on decluttering my craft room for about a month now. It’s a long process, and throughout the process, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I have a high tolerance for clutter – I think I knew that already – but garbage and dirt are anathema to me. Every so often I have had to leave the room, simply for all the dust and dirt I’ve found in the corners. I also found other things in the corners – like a bag FULL of fabric I thought I lost during my last move!
I cannot just go into a room and get things done. It’s hard to keep focused on cleaning and organizing for that long. Worse still, I tend to end up hyper-focusing. It took me two weeks longer than it should to build a little shelf unit for my monitor out of cardboard, because I had to have it JUST RIGHT.
Having a method was vital to this process. For this purpose, I have taken a page out of CHADD.org’s resources – from the section of this post talking about how to declutter an apartment. I’ve been using it to declutter not just my craft room, but my whole apartment, and it’s made a HUGE difference! I will walk you through how I have done my craft room, so you get a chance to see it in motion.
Organizing Step 1: Select the space and estimate/schedule time
This step focuses on “What do I need to do to organize my <insert general area you want to declutter here>?” In the article, they discuss listing each room you want to organize/declutter. For me, it was my apartment, which consists of two bedrooms, a kitchen, front room/dining room, and bathroom. They suggest to rank them as per difficulty of the task – I went with a list based upon priority. My bathroom was first, because it had gathered a lot of unnecessary things since I moved in; and my bedroom came next, as I couldn’t see the floor. I am now on my craft room, because I wanted the office space, and am expecting my parents for an overnight stay fairly soon, so beds are needed!
I estimated about a week to do the spare bedroom. Boy was I wrong, HA!
Organizing Step 2: Divide your space into sections or centers
They have listed different methods to do this, including quartering, around the clock, and zoning. I went with zoning – sorting each section of my craft room by it’s purpose. My craft room has three areas. In the photo above, the left area is my office space. Sitting here are my computer, my various art & craft supplies and tools, and paperwork to file.
The second area is the area to the right – this will be the sleeping area. The bed is a convertible sectional. There is a sectional couch mode, two separate twin beds, or pull them together and you have a double sized bed! I will change the direction of the beds and separate them, with the plush animal shelf between for reading lights and putting glasses, etc on.
Not pictured is my storage closet, the third and final area. I have a 4 x 4 cubby-hole storage unit inside it, where I can sort various materials for crafts. The two shelves above hold my collection of board games (well, some of it, the rest are in my front room). And of course the clothes rods hold clothes for different seasons.
Organizing Step 3: Systematically work on each section
The method suggests having at least three boxes (plus a garbage bag). One box is for stuff that stays in that room. The next is for things that belong in a different room. Put stuff that you are unsure of in the final box. Put this box aside for a later date, when you can decide on what happens to it. Garbage is, of course, for garbage. I have kept mostly to that format. I added a fourth box though – recycling/donation. When I cull my stuff, if it is still usable for others, I will often donate it. I also try to recycle as much as I can.
Once you have your boxes ready, start in the section you have decided upon. You will sort each item you pick up into one of the boxes, which ever is appropriate. Go through each item carefully, thinking through: do I use this? When did I last use this? Is there sentimental value to it?” etc. Once you have gone through everything, you’re ready to move on.
Organizing Step 4: Finish organizing the space
So now, you’ve organized All the things! Well, not quite. You have sorted out what need to be in this space. Now you will decide upon a place for each thing, giving it a home. Give all things their own place immediately, and your area will stay clean longer, or so the theory states. So far, this is proving true in the two completed areas of my apartment.
For my craft room, I have several storage containers to organize my stuff in. Once organized, I decide where I am going to keep it. All that is left is putting away everything into its designated spot. When I move onto my next room (kitchen or living room, haven’t decided yet!), I will go through the box marked “for other rooms”. If it belongs in a previously organized area, I put that thing away where it belongs. If it is for the area I am about to start, I put it in the “for this room” box. The rest stays until later (if anything IS left.)
This is how I’ve done the actual act of decluttering. It has been working quite well, and I am very happy with the results so far. This task has in fact led me to the need to solve the big problem of a craft room – all the LITTLE stuff you have to store. There is so much different stuff around, and so much of it is teeny tiny. How do you deal with that?
To find out, tune in for the third installment where I will discuss how I organized all my embroidery floss and materials, and how I did it cheaply!
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