This past week, I was gifted with an entire storage system for all my knitting supplies and yarn, complete with bins, boxes, bags and a cubbyhole shelving unit to hold it all. While taking tangled skeins and mismatched needles out of their random plastic bins and tote bags, I’m reminded of why organizing your supplies is so important, no matter your craft.
Without things being stored properly, supplies tend to get wrecked or lost, becoming a pain in general to find and use when needed. That being said, you don’t need a state of the art cubby-and-bin system to keep your supplies in check. A lot of money isn’t necessary either, and all of these ideas can be adapted to suit your individual hobby and amount of supplies.
For paper crafts, keeping your papers flat and un-crinkled is the most important thing. Flat, square clear plastic boxes sized to fit 12 inch by 12 inch scrapbook paper can be purchased for under $10 at Michaels. This is really the only storage solution in this article that you need to buy at a craft store. Alternatively, if you typically use standard 8 inch by 11 ½ inch paper, magazine holders from any store work just as well.
Mason jars, the seemingly endlessly useful container, are great for holding everything from buttons to small sticker sheets (rolled up) to beads. Pint jars are the most versatile size, being not too big or bulky. To make items easy to find just by looking at the top of the jars, fit the metal screw-on rings with a cut round of clear plastic or vellum paper.
Check out the kitchen or home department of any store, like Target, for unique ideas to hold supplies. A rotating spice rack is a cool, different way to store beads or small bottles of acrylic paint, and drawer organizer trays can hold scissors, glue sticks, knitting needles, crochet hooks and paintbrushes.
Countertop makeup holders are a fun way to show off drawing tools such as colored pencils and pens and keep them at your fingertips for easy access. Meijer has nice clear plastic holders for around $13. Under-the-floor shoe storage units can hold rolled up pieces of fabric or skeins of yarn and keeps them clean and out-of-the-way.
If you live in a dorm and go home often, and don’t want to/can’t leave your supplies, investing in a good tote bag will keep your stuff neat and make it easy to pick up and take with you anywhere.
While any bag can technically work, a true craft tote is a worthwhile buy, if a sometimes, but not always, pricey one.
If you knit or crochet, having a bag for your stuff also makes it easy to pick up and bring to work anywhere, from a doctor’s office to the bus. Knit Picks (knitpicks.com) sells the cute, sturdy “Knit Happy” tote with lots of pockets and a comfy adjustable strap for $24, in five bright colors, though the lack of neutral shades like black or beige may turn off more conservative buyers. The bag is basic enough to use for other crafts, including paper, painting and sewing.
For a chic investment, Jordana Paige knitting bags (jordanapaige.com) are compartmentalized storage bags masquerading as designer purses. Made from vegan faux leather, the bags are high quality and gorgeous, with prices that range from $69 to $139. I can say from personal experience that they are well worth the price.
As a fun fact, Jordana Paige started her same-name company at age 18, making and selling the bags out of her parents’ garage. Paige, being creative and business-savvy, was running a full company by the time she graduated college, with the bags today being sold in 500 stores internationally. The company also raises thousands of dollars for Doctors Without Borders and the Preeclampsia Foundation – proof that with a little organization and hard work, hobbies and college studies can not only coexist but work together to make a fulfilling career.
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