Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Organizing the Small Stuff - What and How We Organize

by Rita Wetzel, RitasCreationsOnETSY and AndMoreBags

Not too long ago I managed to lose my rotary cutter. I looked under the fabric, in the pattern pile, on the ironing board, and anywhere else that I could think of that the rotary cutter might hide out! It was not to be found. It was indeed another victim of my poor organization. Further proof of this poor organization is the countless spools of white and black thread that I have, the multiple seam rippers, and yes, even more than one rotary cutter.

In an effort to get ideas on how to keep the small stuff under control, I sought help and advice from the members of our HandmadeMN ETSY Street Team.

The first thing I wanted to know was what were the kinds of things that needed to be kept organized for the crafter/artist to be able to effectively create. The list of items was long and varied: small glass bottles filled with expensive essential oils, thread, needles, pins, buttons, buckles, grommets, sundries, crochet hooks, small table clamps, fly tying bobbins, feathers, paper, paint, stickers, tools, glues, brushes, office and mailing supplies, nails, and snaps! Whew! Makes you dizzy just thinking about all of these small things that we need! And I'm certain this list is simply a representation of a much larger list of the small stuff!

Now, how do we organize the small stuff? Andrea of Sacred Suds organizes her essential oils alphabetically in an antique piece of furniture given to her by her mother-in-law. Oh what I could do with a find like this!


Maggie of BodiceGoddess organizes her thread by color, her feathers by type, and sharp, pointy things (a.k.a pins and needles) in lozenge tins and small containers. Crochet hooks and accouterments are in a single bin. Maggie admits that her current system is "Chaos. Pure, unadulterated chaos." She has Snapware containers, built-in storage, plastic bags, and tackle boxes that are all undergoing a reorganization in her workspace. Good luck Maggie!

Jodee of Palettepassion describes organizing as an "evolving process." Her paints are organized by color and her silks by type and size. She writes the name of each paint on the cap for additional ease in identifying. A 10 drawer scrapbooking/stamping rolling cart is now her paint organization system and a closet rod shoe holder keeps her silks organized. Empty paint bottles are cleaned and recycled into containers for push pins, silk clips, sponges, salts, and other small items.



XOHandworks has this awesome media cabinet from Pier One. It is right next to her work table, has the components for her most popular items, and closes up nicely at the end of the day!



Natalie of JuJuBeesBoutique organizes her scrapbooking supplies by color and theme. Her tools reside in 2 Pampered Chef tool spinners (these are awesome, I can attest to that!), her paper resides in white paper cubes, and her stickers and embellishments are organized with the "Clip-It System." Ikea bars and hanging baskets round out her organization system.


Theresa of EgretEffects has many, many containers for her small supplies and hardware that could easily fall through the cracks. One of her favorites is a spice rack that outlived its useful life of holding spices and was transformed into an efficient organization system for many odds and ends.



And lastly, Meredith Dillman uses zip lock bags to organize her paint tubes by color range!

Thanks for dropping by.