The Dos and Don’ts of doing a big cleaning overhaul of your craft room + a few mindset moments.
If you’re an avid crafter, you know how easy it is for your craft room to become a cluttered mess. Whether it is piles of paper, stacks of fabric, or an overflow of embellishments, it’s important to keep your craft space organized and functional. But where do you start when just looking at the mess makes you overwhelmed? In this post, I share 11 of my best and most practical tips for organizing and doing a big clean of your craft room without getting overwhelmed. From creating an overall plan to finding a home for all of your supplies, these tips will help you achieve a clean and functional craft room that works for you and, more importantly, that you enjoy crafting in.
#1 - Think of Cleaning as a Funnel, not as Clean Once and You're Done
Think of cleaning as a funnel and not as clean once and you’ll be done forever. I was listening to a talk by Dana K White of a Slob Comes Clean when I first heard this theory of cleaning and decluttering. Honestly, I found it depressing. What do you mean? I spend all this time cleaning my craft room only to be told I’ll be cleaning it over and over again! Although the more I thought about it, this thought became freeing. When you pour water in a funnel, it makes a slow big round. As it moves through the funnel, it speeds up making smaller circles. Don’t waste your time going for perfection on round one. Don’t worry about alphabatizing your stamp sets or finding the perfect container for them. Instead, focus on the big picture and finding a home for all of your supplies so your craft room can be functional. Once it’s functional, than you can fine tune and maintain it.
#2 - Create an Overall Plan and Vision for Your Craft Space
Do create an overall plan and vision for your craft room before you begin. It always helps to start with the end in mind. What are the main categories of supplies that you have? Do they work where they are or do they need a new home? Make a list of your main categories. Create a sketch of your room and label where you want each category of supplies to go. This helps you to visualize and think things through. As you plan, think of how you use each supply type. As you clean, you may change your mind on where you store each category and that’s OK, but having a written plan helps you to visualize and think things through, especially when things don’t go as planned.
To help you get started, I created these printables for you. They are file 3C located in the MollyQCreates.com Resource Library. Sign up below to get the password to the Resource Library. The printables will also be emailed to you.
#3 - Avoid Clearing Everything from the Room
This one is tempting, but avoid the urge to clear everything out of your craft room so you can start with a clean slate. There is a theory to take everything out of the room because it’s harder to put items back. While there is truth to that, you better be in the mindset to purge your supplies, otherwise, it won’t work. And while it is tempting to clear everything out of the room, this usually leads to overwhelm and frustration – especially when you look at the area you moved everything to!
#4 - Clean off One Small Area at a Time
Instead, clean off one smaller area at a time such as a shelf or a drawer. Now you have a clean slate, a small and manageable one, to organize the way you want. Once this are is clean, clear off the next area. The small victories of seeing a small are clean will give you the motivation to help you keep going!
#5 - As you Clear an Area, Sort, Don't Dump!
As you clear off an area, don’t dump everything in a box or bin. Instead, start with roughly 10 or so shoebox sized containers. These are just temporary and for sorting, so any type of container will work. Grab some post it notes and a marker. Use the post it notes to label each container with a category of supplies – pens, tools, inks, stamps, dies, etc. Have one for miscellaneous items for anything that doesn’t have a clear category – deal with these last. As you clean off the area, sort the items in the proper bins. This should be done quickly – just put the item in the proper container and move to the next item.
#6 - Get Rid of the Easy Items
As you clear items from the area, get rid of the easy items – the items you forgot you had, have no idea when you used it last, have no idea what it is, that are broken, damaged or dried up and items you really don’t see yourself using. If they are truly no good, throw them. If they are worth donating, put them in a box and dontate them – the faster you can get them out of your house, the better. Some items may be worth selling, but before wasting your time taking pictures and listing them, do a little research on Ebay and Facebook to see if they are actually selling and for a price that is worth it to you or if there is just a lot of them out there and it’s easier to donate. Set a threshhold. For me, it’s $20. If I don’t think I can get at least $20 for an item, I will donate it and be done with it.
#7 - Gather Your Supplies
Once you clear an area, gather all of the supplies you plan to store in that area and organize them – not a detail organization, just make it functional. Do the items fit as you had planned? If so, great and move on to the next area. If not, make adjustments and find a new home for them. The benefit of having the overall plan is to make it easier to see where you plan to put everything and what you can move around.
#8 - Don't Purchase a Bunch of Containers (at this point)
Speaking of containers, don’t go out and purchase a bunch of containers because you love them and think they are pretty – at least not at this part of the organization process. I love containers, don’t get me wrong. One of my favorite stores is The Container Store. But I have also learned the hard way and spent too much money on containers that don’t function the way I want. Or, I have purchased multiple containers that do the same function. Either way, it’s a waste of money. Wait until you have found a home for your supplies, they are functional in that home and then, if you want to change the container, do it at that point. However, you can gather all the containers you have and could use for your craft room. For more advice on containers, see my post My 10 Favorite (and Most Verstile) Craft Organizers.
#9 - Don't Dig In for the Detail Clean
Don’t dig in and go for the detail clean – not on the first round, at least. The goal is to get the room mostly clean and in a functional order that works for you and the way you craft. Remember tip #1 – think of cleaning as a funnel. Instead of wasting time organizing all of your stamps and dies and sorting them in alphabetical order, focus your attention on getting them all together and finding a home for them. Organizing your dies and stamps at this point is more of a procrastination technique and it’s better to stay focused on the main goal, a craft room that is functional. The detail cleaning and organization can be done in future rounds.
#10 - Use and Fine Tune It
Once you get your craft room functional, start using it and fine tune it. Note – I did not say perfect. Remember step 1 and the funnel concept. Perfection will come. But you need to start working in your space. Does it function the way you want? Is it easy to put supplies back or are you creating more clutter? Now is the time to fine tune your big picture craft room organization. If supplies are not working in one area, move them to another area. If it is too cumbersome to grab your dies from a shelf in the closet, find a new home for them. This may be in complete contrast to your original plan, and that’s completely fine. The master plan was your starting point, it doesn’t have to be your ending point. Don’t be afraid to rearrange. Besides, once everything is clean, it’s easier to rearrange and maintain.
#11 - Don't Forget Rounds 2, 3, and 4!
Don’t forget rounds 2, 3 and 4! Once the big clean is over, you still need to fine tune and detail clean, but at least everything has a home and you have a functional space to create. Don’t forget to maintain your space. Whether you clean up after each project or once a week, determine a schedule that works for you. Maintenance is much easier than a big craft room oganization overhaul!
Ready to start the detail clean? Check out How to Organize Scrapbook Paper – and Keep it that Way!
Cleaning and overhauling your craft room is a huge job, but it also has numerous benefits. First and foremost, it can help you to be more productive and creative by providing a space that is organized and functional. It can also help you to save time and money by allowing you to easily find and use the supplies you already have, rather than purchasing duplicates. Additionally, maintaining a clean and organized craft space can help to reduce stress and increase your enjoyment of crafting. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can achieve a clean and functional craft room that works for you and your crafting needs.
Don’t forget to grab your pintables to help you on the craft room organization overhaul process. They are file 3C in Resource Library. You can also sign up for the email list to get the password and to have to printables emailed to you. No worries – I hate spam and protect your policy. I will never send spam emails or sell your email. You can also unsubscribe at any time.