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As you all know, I am a crafter. I also live in what some would consider, me included, a very small apartment. It's less than 620 square feet, which is my daughter's living room and kitchen!
When I moved in, I had a storage unit I could manage and it made life a little less crowded, if not less convenient. Then outflow increased and income did not, and I gave up the unit. My mom used to (more colorfully) say that someone was trying to put 3 lbs. of "poop" in a 2 lb. bag. That was me. When the unit was 10x10 feet, your apartment is not big enough for that much extra stuff. Plus, now the bedroom was not only the bedroom and office, but a craft room. Yeah, it was shades of madness in pretty purples and greens!
Something had to change. So, since I have plans to do a lot more on my computer in 2012, I decided to make the living and dining area into the craft room and office. I don't entertain that much and can't put more than 2 other people in here without bumping elbows, so why not? The cat still gets to look out the window everyday and I actually have a little room. Wonder how I did it? Well, sit back and enjoy - or be warned, I am not sure which!
Since I didn't have a way to set things out of the way when I needed to move things out, it took almost two months. I can only do so much per day with my disabilities. I promised myself that I would work for 40 minutes and rest for 20, and each day not work more than 8 hours. I offset that rule by working my tail off for a day or two then taking one off. This was not the promise, but what drove me was the need to stop walking over boxes and the fact that I couldn't make anything until it was done.
So, the first thing I had to do was move the furniture that was in the living room to the bedroom. I had shelving in there that I had to move out first, so you can see where this is going. Swapping stuff when you would literally have to set things outside to get anything done is never fun. I sold one chair, left the bed in the bedroom, but had to swap the TV/DVR and the computer, printer, entertainment center and desks literally piece by piece.
The white wicker cabinet came out here, the rocker went in there. I gutted the closet, hung the clothes back up and literally put everything that wasn't going to fit on my walls or shelves in boxes and stacked them on one side of the closet. I have a small three drawer unit in there that has a few clothes and the rest is yarn. All the yarn (more susceptible to cat hair) that I can't fit in the new craft room is in that closet, as you can see. There are boxes of yarn under the clothes you can't even see.
With the white plastic shelving assembled, they went up really fast. Then, finding the right tubs and crafts to fit in them was easy. I shop at the local "As Is" store, so getting things by the pound is a great way to shop.
The white folding tables are perfect, as they fold down when you don't need them. I had one fold up table for stereo, stationary, and a desk top calendar to keep my life organized. That is where I now start the day with drink of choice and make sure I am still on point. The other, which I use for a work table for gluing, painting, and all smaller projects, I got in an abandoned apartment, along with my sewing machine, two lamps, a boom box with cassette and CD player, an office chair and two smaller shelf units.
Sometimes you can find clear shoe boxes for $.25 each and they stack with a groove in the bottom that fits the groove in the tops so they "interlock". I use the zippered bedding bags as much as I can, as it's "Cornelius" proof, I can see into it and it's light weight.
My shoe rack that is now for yardage was just $1.00. The two filing cabinets were $5.00 each, and the sewing table is the hot water heater door (submitted earlier). I use every single available space. Even the cat's "perch" is a tub of yarn with a glass door from a junked out entertainment center. If he slides off his blanket, he can see the yarn but can't get to it. So my room often has free entertainment as well!
I left most of the pretty scenery puzzles and posters so I could be inspired by beautiful things. It's also to remind me that if I am lucky, I will make enough to get my RV and travel to some of those places again and some for the first time.
As you will see by the before and after photos, this project was a challenge. Every night when I had to walk a path to the bedroom, I kept saying "this is only temporary". Now I have my Etsy store and am making things every day, so it was all worth it.
Some of you might wonder why it's a frugal essay. Well, the entire process took me just $15.00 to do and considering that was two file cabinets, a shoe rack, shoe boxes, and extension cords - that's not too shabby!
By Sandi from Salem, OR
This is so wonderful, I am working on that myself. My daughter moved back home and brought all her things and 2 dogs. My home of 1500 sq ft was organized for one with multi crafts and projects.
My sewing room/guest room/craft room were taken over by her so everything else moved to dining room or my bedroom. The living room was taken by the dogs as a place to be when weather was not permitted for them to be outdoors.
As of now that has changed and they have their own area and the living room is adult friendly. The dining room will be started and completed over the next two weeks and split into sewing/craft/office on one end and dining table for eating. The kitchen well other than everyone saying its a "onebutt" room will remain for now.
As for cost I have spent about $25 for storage containers and other things found at garage sales, Salvation Army and on the side of road as throwaways. Thanks so much for your article and giving me courage to continue the quest.
I have more crafting odds and ends than I know what to do with! I've found a way to store some of them out of the way that works well for me. I use a pants hanger and large Ziploc bags to hang them on a closet rod.
I do my knitting, crocheting, beading, etc. while watching TV. I usually had to get up many times to find tools or supplies. I brought in a weather beaten plastic table from the yard after I spray painted it burgundy.
If you have a large collection of beads and buttons, it important to keep them organized so you can locate the ones you need. This is a guide about organizing beads and buttons<.
Organize fabric, ribbons, thread, trim, buttons, needles, and whatever else with cheap fishing boxes from Walmart (~$6).
If you need more space and have no place to hang shelves you can hang open-backed shelves in front of your windows. In the kitchen, this is a great place to store colored glass ware (like depression or cobalt glass) because the sun looks great shining through the glass.
I used a small old garden fence to organize my craft desk. I attached hooks and used wires to attach items. I also used small flower pots to store tiny tid bits. I strung my ribbons on a strip of leather and hung that above the fence.
I got this wonderful wire rack for $.25 for each panel, and $.10 for each connector. Once together, I thought of a way to hang zip lock bags for craft supplies so I can see what is in them. I got a medium binder clip and hung it through the cross wires and it works perfectly!
My roommate has a lot of medicine bottles and she gives them to me for my crafts. Having very little room on my table, I have learned to hang things in shoe bag hangers and the like. Today this tip if for those who don't have a ton (like someone I know...), but still want to keep things off the table.
Use empty pill bottles to dispense elastic and similar items. Coil the item to fit into the bottle. Then cut a simple slit/opening in the lid to pull the item out as you need it, as much as you need. Use this to hold and dispense yard string.
Keep your craft room organized with this over-the-door hanger made for shoes. It's perfect for keeping sharp things up high away from small hands. It also separates items nicely, and this one is clear so I can easily see where my items are located.
Crafting can be a wonderful hobby, but you need so many different things to use. In order to try to keep some of my smaller items organized, my husband put up shelves and I used my collection of baby wipe boxes for holding different items.
I use fishing tackle boxes from Walmart or Kmart to store craft supplies or sewing notions like threads, buttons, needles, beads, etc. I also use one box for kids art supplies like crayons, pencils, markers, erasers, etc.
You know those egg carton-type protectors that come with new items like paper shredders or small kitchen appliances? I had the idea that they could make great crafting supplies organizers.
Gerber baby food containers make perfect storage containers. I use them for my beads, findings, buttons, etc. The lids do snap shut making spillage less possible and they are clear enough that you can see through them.
I needed to have easy access to my sewing machine attachment presser feet. Since I've just acquired some of them, I realized I wouldn't use them if I didn't have them sorted out. So, I purchased a small plastic box with compartments at the thrift store.
This is just a simple suggestion for anyone who creates crafts or does art projects. Materials add up quickly and can get scattered about!
I use Ziploc bags to organize my arts and crafts. I put my stickers, ribbon, scissors, markers, tape, and glue in the bags. You can even label them and a box of Ziploc bags doesn't cost that much if you buy a box at a dollar store.
I buy mis-matched toothbrush holders in "my colors" at my thrift store and use them to store my paint brushes in while I'm creating.
I am an avid crocheter and I like to have my patterns, hooks, and different color yarns that I'm working with handy. I found the perfect caddy. I bought these clothes hampers at Ikea for around $4.00.
I keep several small bottles of of acrylic paint on my shelf in a box made from an empty Bisquick box. To save time, I open the bottles of paint and, using my finger, dab a little paint on the top of each bottle. Now, at a glance, I can see what colors I have.
When I make something, I always save a pattern; whether it be hard copy or computer copy. I may want to reuse it later and it will be easily accessible filed away in a filing cabinet or on my hard drive.
I try to keep the clutter around my desk to a minimum, so I don't own a ruler. But, I do a lot of craft supply selling from there, so this helped me. I measured out a 6 inch piece of paper.
When I got my last pair of eye glasses I was given a hard shell case with them. As I wear my glasses all the time I didn't think I had a use for it. Voila!