Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hot Mess...

... and that's an understatement.

My craft studio has suffered some abuse over the holidays, and is a disaster area.  I'm taking this messy opportunity to go a step beyond cleaning and re-organizing.  I want to overhaul the space.

I'd like it to be brighter, cleaner, more organized, and I'd like to better use the space.  I'd like to have enough room to hold small stamping classes and workshops down there.

Now you have to know there are some limitations here...

1)  Since we live in an old house (circa 1920) and my craft studio is in the basement - it's pretty chilly down there in the winter time, and can get a little moist during the summertime. 

2)  The space is long and narrow. 

3)  A full-out entire basement overhaul is in the works sometime in the next few years, but not quite yet.  My craft studio overhaul needs to be a temporary, but functional fix.

4)  My budget is next to non-existent.  I don't want to spend much money on this project, especially since we'll be re-do-ing the entire basement at a later date.   

So here's a quick tour of the space...

View from the doorway as you enter the room... technically my sewing area.  Can you see the sewing machine in all that mess?  Barely!

So much mess!  Crooked shelving units with no backs so I lose stuff behind them... I love my long table, and want it centered in the room so I can use it for aformentioned stamping events...

 Check out all the wrapping paper I got 75% off at World Market!  And remember those tutus from the dance recital?  Oh, sorry, getting distracted...

More clutter... note the ugly (circa 1980) paneling on the walls.  Gag.

Boxes tumbling out of the closet!  I for sure need to use this closet for something other than boxes!

See?  I told you hot mess was an understatement!  So tell me, reader, how would you go about revitalizing this little bit of craft space?  What would you do if you were in my shoes?  What tips and tricks can you share from YOUR crafting and storage space?  How can I turn this (on a budget) into my little slice of crafting heaven? 

Leave me a note and lemme know what you're thinkin'!!! 


Jeanette said...

I would close the door and pretend it was clean and pretty. LOL. I can't wait to read the ideas.

Erin said...

I'm in the process of trying to get my sewing room organized, too! The first thing I'm doing is to remove everything that doesn't belong in that room and finding someplace else to store it, even if it's just in the large portion of the basement.

One thing I would do here is to break down all those boxes into flats. If you reuse them, they'll store better that way, if you recycle them, they're easy to carry to the recycling place. If you want to store them, you could perhaps do so in the main basement, rather than the studio, perhaps shove them behind a bookshelf or other boxen?

Maiden Jane said...

The room has potential and you are on the right track. What do you use the closet for? You can put some shelves in there for storage of items that you don't use too often. Fold fabric or use basket/bins, even boxes to contain fabric, wrapping paper and whatnot. My craft room, for years, was my dining room table, so my few supplies had to go into our hall closet. I now have a craft room/office/computer room with perimeter desks and one mobile table. I would dedicate your sewing table for that and put your ironing board perpendicular to it, if possible. It looks like your current sewing machine table may be deeper than the folding table (although sturdier, too.) Is your second table for multi uses? I would start by clearing both tables. (My table gets filled up so fast and I have to periodically remove things - but it's a catchall for works in progress.) But then put only the things you use there all the time. So sewing machine should have basic threads (if you have a lot, the rest should be stored - so I'm talking black and white.), pins, snippers, main cutting scissors, needles. Just the basics that you need every time you sew. Same with your other table. We have a cup container that has pencils, ruler, scissors, that's out on the counter. Then we use any container we can get our hands on. I love cigar boxes for markers, colored pencils. We use old cool whip containers to hold glue. Any type of decorative boxes that come are way find a purpose. Mostly, we use clementine boxes we've collected over the years for all sorts of crafty items (corks, ribbons, acorns, stamps) Those we store in a cabinet with a door. We placed one row of shelving around the room. It's not always neat looking, but I keep my craft books and a few basic supplies up there. I think I would start with your closet. Pitch the boxes unless you really need them and/or cut the tops off and use for storage. Make sure you label! We have an entire shelf downstairs dedicated to household good that use all the same copier size boxes - one for light bulbs, another for paper, one for batteries. You could do that. But since it's a closet, I'd put the bulkier, less -used items there.

well, I'm rambling on and I am sounding like a bossy boots! It's wonderful that you have a space to start with. Even an over the door shoe organizer for smaller supplies could work. Just keep thinking functionally! Also, I recently was given a fabric lined basket. I don't have room for it in my house, but I put in on the floor in my craft room to keep my alteration projects in it. Those I always put off and they collect in a pile - now they have a neat space. Good luck! I look forward to seeing it unfold.

Sewn With Grace said...

Hi! Stopping in from SITS today. Here's what I would do, first I would paint. Color goes along way. You can get paint at little to no cost from paint stores, good will and habitat for humanity. Often people return paint to Lowe's and Home Depot because they don't like the color after they get it home. Stores are willing to sell this at a fraction of the price. I would paint that paneling a fun color that inspires you to create. From there I would go with the less is more theory and also a rule I live by, MUST LOVE IT. See if you can stack your shelves on top of each other to maximize space. Put everything you don't want to look at in the closet on shelves. Get rid of cardboard boxes (they just collect dust, I threw out a ton yesterday). Are you a sewer? If you are, I've got patterns for chair & ironing board covers. Sorry to be rambling, wish I lived close by and could come over and help! Have a joyfilled day!

Meg@MegaCrafty said...

My studio is a disaster too... I'm currently holding new crafty toys (Christmas gifts) hostage in their boxes until I clean it up. I have a good organizational structure- my problem is I've been to hurried to put anything back where it belongs.

If sturdier shelves with a shorter amount of space between each shelf isn't in the budget I'd at least get some storage containers both with and without lids. The ones with lids can be stacked and the open ones can be used to hold things you use all the time.

I group my bins by type of material. All of my paper punches are in two containers stacked on on top of the other. I have a few rubber stamp containers and I sort each bin by season- so all the spring themed things will get moved to the top soon and my container of winter stamps will get moved to the bottom of the stack.

I also think shelves in the closet for bulky items would be good. Maybe some shelves on the walls too.

This might be out of your current budget but you could keep it in mind for the future. Instead of a long folding table I used 2 cheap unfinished base cabinets from the home improvement store. I placed them end to end and put a piece of white counter on top. Plain white was the cheapest color- but it's perfect for crafting. I can sit 8 people at my island, but since it's a counter it's also a nice standing height. It has storage underneath and I think the whole thing cost about $200.

Joanne said...

WOW! Thanks for the great responses and all the ideas! Keep 'em coming!

Jeanette: I'm so tempted to do that!

Erin: I DO need to get all non-crafty items out. Somehow it ends up being a bit of a dumping ground for all things we don't know what to do with!

Jane: I will for sure be tackling the closet first! And I have several of those clementine boxes that I never have the heart to get rid of but don't know what to do with! Great ideas!

The Graceful Stitch: Yes, paint is a must! I'm thinking either a warm white or light yellow. Something pretty to look at but not anything that will distract from artwork (yes, I need some of that too!) or ongoing projects.

Meg: I've sen your studio pictures and LOVE it. I've invested in a bunch of clear tubs, jars, etc. now I just need to organize! I'm worried about any kind of shelving because I'm not sure how that nasty plastic siding will hold up under the weight of shelves... hm... AND I LOVE that you can stand OR sit at your island! Swoon!

M.E. Greene said...

Shelves! Lots of shelves that get your stuff vertical. I know all about limited space and lack of budget, and I've found good deals from Freecycle or Craigslist when I've been in a pinch. I would use warm colors in your craft space to "heat it up" a bit, especially with it being in a chilly basement. Best of luck to you! Looks like a fun project!

French Picnic said...

Keep us posted. We can't wait to see how you use your creative and thrifty muscles to turn this into something fabulous!

Unknown said...

I see great potential in that space already. Just visiting from SITS on a cold night here outside of Chicago. Hope you don't mind if I peek around.

Stop by my garden anytime. Dyeing yarn right now as it's freezing out....

Kate-The Garden Bell

LollyChops said...

More shelves... LOADS more. Can you mount anything on the wall? I got metal braces with the metal arms that hook into them... then you put cheap laminated planks on them and viola... you have shelves. You can see them in my craft room if you want. We got a huge set of brackets, arms and shelves for less than $80.

I think your space has tons of potential! I think it's perfect for classes too! I wish I had enough room for something like that! Cannot wait to see what you come up with!

Joanne said...

Ah yes, shelves! Only problem is that I'm just not sure how that nasty siding will hold up with shelves nailed in? Maybe I can get some really lightweight shelves and just store light items on top of them -- to save me from a potential craft room disaster?! :)

Keep the ideas coming!

judi said...

Your craft area has great potential and it's good to see that you have natural light too. I agree with many of the responses:
1.paint the paneling!- did this in my old bedroom at my parents and the results were amazing. The paneling was white w/blue stripes (yuk!)
2.look at the PB website for organization ideas using baskets, totes, boxes, etc. and then go to the goodwill,target,walmart, dollar store or search your house for similar containers. ie: coffee cans w/lids that can be spray painted, old cigar boxes, crates, canning jars, etc.
3. make a fitted skirt for your tables and hide storage bins underneath for extra storage.
4. take the door off the closet and put up pegboard (painted in accent color) either there or on one wall to hang regularly used items. Put up shelves inside (closet) to hold baskets or bins clearly marked with what's inside.
5. Check out for craft rooms see this video tour (
Hope this helps and look forward to seeing whet you decide to do!

Joanne said...

Thanks for the ideas and links, Judi!