Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Pack Rat's Guide to Getting Organized

Just the other day, I was asked by one of my husband's coworkers to send her some photos of my craft room. Apparently, another coworker was trying to set up a room of her own, and she needed some ideas. You'd think I would be honored by the request, but actually, I was a little embarrassed. For you see, what had once been a spacious den with ample room for 6-8 croppers looked more like the infamous closet that you’ve seen on TV. You know, the one that bursts forth, spilling its contents on some poor, unsuspecting soul who happened to have the poor judgment to open the door. Except my junk wasn't tennis rackets and soccer balls -- it was craft supplies.

Okay, so it wasn't that bad, but from the perspective of an over-achieving, obsessive-compulsive neat freak, the room just didn't work for me any more. Crochet supplies were mixed in with the beads, and scrapbook paper was stored in three different places! It wasn't very organized, and it certainly wasn't conducive to getting anything done. There was no workspace left, and I couldn't even invite other people to join me unless I moved everything around. Whenever I needed something, I had to hunt in several different places before I found what I was looking for (if I ever found it), and several times, I purchased something only to discover I already had one stashed in some out of the way place.

How did my studio get so messy? Was it the dozen or so different, and apparently unrelated, crafts, each with their own unique set of supplies and storage needs? Or was it the "I'll put this away later" syndrome that always seems to sneak up on me when I get really busy? Maybe it was the fact that I absolutely MUST have the latest and greatest new tool, gadget, or kit for whatever craft-du-jour I happen to be enthralled with at the time.

Whatever caused my out-of-control mess, I had to tidy it up before I could present it to anyone. Unfortunately, my mess didn't just happen over-night, and it wasn't going to go away that quickly, either. It was going to take some deep cleaning, some REAL organization, and some realistic expectations on to how I want my room to function for me. So rather than just tidying the place up a bit (which I did before I took the pictures for the co-worker), I'm working on a plan to make my crop room into the dream room I've always wanted, starting from the ground up. After all, it is April, and this is the time when we normally turn to our closets and start some of that serious Spring Cleaning.

So in honor of Spring Cleaners everywhere, I'll be spending the next few weeks sharing some of the great organization ideas I've discovered over the years. I'll take a look at some of the techniques shown on such TV shows as "Clean Sweep" and "Oprah Winfrey", and I'll use them to turn my cluttered up mess into the craft room of my dreams. I'll be posting some pictures of my room as we go, and I encourage you to share some of your tips as well.

So get ready, get set, let’s CLEAN!