“Use it or lose it.” “Storage is not a dirty word.” “Clutter happens.” “There’s an Inbox and Outbox for everything.” These phrases have been dancing around my head with regard to my latest project here at the EcoNest. I’m rallying up my
energy to organize the area where I create and store the art and craft supplies used for all my DIY projects.
There is a quote pinned up next to my work space from the British designer, craftsman and poet, William Morris, “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Beautiful? Everything is beautiful. There’s leftover yarn from a baby sweater I knit for my daughter (she’s 24). There are zillions of buttons that come with new clothes that I collect for future projects. How about those beautiful fabric and wallpaper samples that will be perfect for some home decorating project. I have to save all that expensive bamboo and cork flooring leftover from a recent remodel. How about those craft books and magazines from before the turn of the century, like the 1982 Vogue Knitting magazine that will be a collectors item someday, along with the whole collection of the now defunct Domino magazine?
OK, enough already. You get my point. Decluttering a space is laden with procrastination and stress. My craft-making space is like a playroom for all my fun stuff. Keeping it clean, green and organized has been a challenge. Craft rooms have similarities to home offices, with one big caveat – by nature, craft rooms are messier. After a while, with the DIY mess, and all of the supplies needed for projects, the space has a tendency to explode.
I asked my mom, who is a master quilter, how she organizes her fabric stash. Her response was, “Creative people have creative spaces. It’s an organized mess.”
Exercise your raised environmental awareness and recraft your craft space with these three golden green tools:
• Try one of those phrases from above. Maybe not, “Clutter happens.” How about, “Use it or lose it.” or “There’s an Inbox and Outbox for everything.” Or, check out all of these feng shui ideas for tackling clutter.
• Make a ranking system for what goes and stays. When something new comes into the craft space, something goes out. Another item then goes into a “Ready To Go” box.
• The computer is a crafters friend. I no longer keep a file cabinet bursting at the seams with craft ideas and projects. I have them all in organized computer files. If there is a project from a book or a magazine, I put a post-it (or turn down the page) on it, and keep an ongoing file on my computer.
• It’s not necessary to go out and buy fancy new color-coded baskets. Repurpose something you already have.
• Repair and refurbish an item that may appear to have outlived its usefulness life and give it a whole new productive life. I can’t tell you how many times I have ripped out (painfully) one knitting project to reuse the yarn for another.
• Sort and rotate often. This keeps your supplies fresh.
• Architect William McDonough in his landmark book, Cradle to Cradle was first to write about remaking the way we make things. Creators of art can also design for the lifecycle of their craft. A craft project can have many lives and be reincarnated into the next beautiful thing.
• Everyone loves eco-art. Collect items that can do double duty for DIY recycled art projects. My favorite new book, Eco Craft by Susan Wasinger has the most fabulous ideas on how to recycle, recraft and restyle your crafts…art…life. It’s chock full of transformational eco-friendly projects for your home. The makings for her Milk Jug Pendant is currently all over my craft room floor.
• Donate your stuff away often, because one person’s garbage is another’s treasure.
You only have so much space to work with, where do your arts and crafts live?