Thursday, June 20, 2013

Decluttering - The Craft Room

This is how my craft room mess made me feel....I say ENOUGH!

My craft room is not a dedicated craft room. It is partially my office. But in general, I have lots of 'crafty' stuff in there. When I inherited the craft room (from my mother in law, a long story!) it is/ was a GIANT mess! I'm sure this is like most peoples' craft rooms, full of odds and ends of crafts long ago dead, done or forgotten. I'm a pretty fantastic organizer and it even had me stumped! I spent about two months trying to redesign layouts, find organizers, figure out what should stay, what should go.

Almost always I heard someone in the house saying "But we could use that some day..." and that, my friend, is the crutch of hoarding and clutter! My minimalist extremes kicked in and I said "That is ENOUGH! It has a purpose or it ALL has to go!" and that was about two months ago.

But with renewed determination - I am tackling the craft room with a VENGEANCE! (Hey, I might be able to do an ACTUAL before and after picture! Isn't that something!?!)

My strategy is simple - It is a tool, appliance or in a kit then it stays. And I'm going to do an entire post about kits, don't worry! As far as odd and end pieces, if it doesn't fit in a rather tall and limiting drawer system (I may get rid of that too!) then it has to go.

Now, most of you crafty types (I swear, I'm crafty) are cursing and swearing me off. I'm basically saying 'throw it all away! It can't be organized!' and no, that is not what I'm saying. My approach is geared towards families with children (not you notorious scrapbooking types!) that have wobbly eye things and tongue depressors coming out of your ears.

How do I get rid of everything in my craft room that doesn't have a purpose but still have crafts to do?!

This is the part where you shake me and scream "Make sense!" and I'm getting to that part. It's a whole other post but I'm getting to it.

The problems that goes hand in hand with a 'craft room' or a craft area at all is as follows:

  • Everything is a mess - nothing has a place
  • Every organizer on the planet but still not organized
  • Lots of some craft items, hardly any of others
  • The kids raid the craft area and don't always put things back or wastes things
  • Clean up is so much work - I'd rather not (Me!)
  • You have tons of things pinned on Pinterest but nothing to craft
  • Whenever you sit down to do a craft you are always missing at least ONE thing
To me - this sounds like you LOVE to give your kids crafts to do but HATE the clean up, figuring out what you have enough pieces for, and dealing with finding homes for all the pieces. Well, I hear you!

My epiphany moment - Our mall recently got a $5 and Up store (or whatever it is called). In the very back of the store is a wall of craft things. These are those bracelet kits, keychain kits, all those 'kits' with the pictures of teen girls just having SO much fun putting beads onto plastic stretchy bracelets that always say friend forever. You know what I'm talking about? Let me try to find a picture...

Bingo - right on the money! This is one of those kits exactly! Of course, Amazon is listing this at $15 but the kits at this $5 store are roughly $5 which is pretty good! Now, if I have each girl pick one a week, that's about $50 a month in crafts. Why is it worth it to me to do it this way? Because I don't have to think, they get to pick and I will absolutely not feel bad about tossing all the extra pieces afterwards.

But just can't be so reckless. (And we probably won't do that but once or twice). Sometimes you want to try and salvage what you can of what you already have. (Did that make sense?)

My final Solution for the Craft Room:

I am going to take ALL of my craft materials and separate them into planned crafts (enough for each girl). All the rest of the pieces will be thrown out unless it is something I use often for random crafting - like ribbon or fabric or something.

This will get rid of a bulk of the TINY things that are just floating around. If I have extra pieces, I will have to either donate those to a friend, a thrift store, or just toss them. Of course, I could just have a junk bucket with random craft bits but WOW could that get out of hand fast!

You have teachers - you could always donate a bag of crafting goodies to your kids teachers once a month! If you can't organize it - pass the mess on to someone more able to handle craft stuff galore!

Solution Summary - 

  • Convert the Craft room into PrePlanned Craft Kits containing all items needed for each child and clear instructions with the craft stuff
  • All extra pieces need to fit in a restricted/small area of craft storage or be donated/gifted/thrown away.
  • When purchasing craft items in future - purchase for a craft you are planning, get all the pieces all at once, and know how you are going to handle the extra pieces before you bring them home i.e. donate, gift, add to another craft kit.

  • Sometimes, compartmentalizing a mess just complicates matters instead of making them easier.
  • If you are over compartmentalizing your mess and it is still causing you nightmares, it is time to stop trying to find another organizer and face the music - the size of the mess is too big to organize and must shrink.
  • Kids love gluing and cutting and beads - if it is just a pile of glue and feathers they will still have fun making a mess. Stick it in a kit and call it a craft monster project and let them destroy until the feathers fly! (And then make them pick up their mess!)
  • Need ideas for Craft Kits? Look and see what is for sale. Don't like the price tag? They list what is IN the kit. Make a list and pick it up for a fraction of the cost at the craft store with more personalized options. Now you're ahead of the game! If the kit is on the shelves, it is something your kids will love whether it came prepackaged or mompackaged.
Want to know more about Pre Planned Craft Kits? We've got a post on that!

It all comes down to how much mess you are prepared to deal with. If the clutter starts to get under your skin or you look at it and have to close your eyes because it overwhelms you then that is your cue! 

No time to organize it? Clear out all the craft mess that you don't have a home for and give it to a friend - and go get a $5 craft kit and call it a day! Crafting is about memories - not about headaches and more cleaning. Say no to the extra cleaning - say no to the Craft CraziMess.

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