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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
By Poor But Proud from Sweet Home, OR
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Ideas on how to organize craft supplies in a small space as posted from the ThriftyFun community.
I have one worktable, and some shelves, and I do very very different crafts. My sewing machine stays on or under the table, and I keep my sewing and paper supplies in plastic storage tubs, clear so I can see them. I just pull down whatever tub I need for that project. The tubs are about the size of a shoebox, and stack on the shelves. I also label the ends. If you are like me, you can crochet anywhere. If you have a tube or something for your crochet hooks and good storage for your yarn, that would be good. Pattern books as well as sewing patterns can go on a shelf, or in a file cabinet.
I keep my paper for scrapbooking and making cards in those plastic scrapping envelopes and on the bookcase also.
I keep all my sewing and crafting supplies in candy tins which people give me. Sometimes I find them at garage sales for 50 cents or less. If you tell family and friends ave them for you. Different sizes of baskets, also to be found at garage sales, are good though they won't stack like the tins will. The HGTV web site might have some info on creative storage.
Clean tuna cans make excellent small item storage when placed in a drawer. Good for paper clips, buttons etc. Discarded cans (green beans, etc) make good storage for markers, scissors, rulers. Hot glue a heavy duty magnet on one side, They can then be attached to a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan which can be attached to the wall. This makes for easy removal when in use and can be put back with no fuss whatsoever. If you are really picky about how things look, you can decorate the cans.
I get a lot of old patterns which are no longer in print from this site. There's no need for copy right worries.
I have 2 pegboards on the wall and it's amazing what they will hold. A pegboard sheet is 24x48 inches. At Home Depot they will cut into 2 halves. One could be for all your sewing supplies: scissors, thread, measuring tape, quilt rulers. The other half for all your craft equipment: pliers, wire cutters, scissors for fancy cuts, hammer, and embossing tools. Your imagination will take over. Home Depot has a package with 60-70 different shape hooks and bars to put a basket on for the small stuff. The pegboard is $6.00 and the hooks are $6.50. It's amazing how much I cleared off the shelves.
I have 2 five drawer storage containers with wheels. This is where I keep my stamps, paper, inks, material, pins, needles, You get the drift. I love my craft space.
Oops, I forgot to say you need four, 2 foot pieces of wood to put up on the wall and then nail the peg board to the wood. That way there is room for the hook to go into. If you don't do that the hook would only hit the wall. Cost of the cheapest wood for 48" is under $2.00 They will also cut it for you in 2 foot sizes.
At Lowe's, there is a flat white metal sheet that you can nail to the wall. Then there are 12 containers with see through tops and magnet on the bottom that you can put all small things into and attach them on the sheet on the wall with the magnet. Really handy. Also can be used in kitchen as spice holders. They sprinkle or spoon out.
I have a few ideas since I live in a tiny studio apartment.
The key to managing a small spot is making sure everything has its place AND you put them away. You'll never have to worry about it if you put everything away when you're done. My desk gets covered with paper envelopes, small bins and stuff while I'm scrapbooking, but when I'm done, the bins go back and I can play games on my desk again!
Post your ideas below!
May I add a few more ideas to yours.
Milkjugs? Cut the bottom off any size you like . mark what you put inside them and they stack. You can even stack bottoms of soda bottles in much the same way. If you paint or paste old magazine pictures on them as a camouflage.
If we were to really sit down and think about it. There are many reuses to almost everything. I love yours and keep up inventing new ones
REUSE SAVES MONEY AND THE PLANET
By Mr. Thrifty
I think it is Gerber that now puts their baby food in rectangular plastic containers with snap on lids. They are great for keeping my beads in and are clear so I can see through them and see what's inside. I also have one in my sewing box to hold the little things that seem to get lost in there.
I love fabric and have a lot of small pieces. I love boxes,too.Especially shoe box size or thereabouts. I use up a lot of my fabric covering the various size boxes, then make a labels f or their contents. They are nice to look at on my shelves, they are useful in holding various craft supplies, and I have utilized some of my fabric. All in all, I am enjoying the crafting and making something useful out of what others would discard. (05/14/2010)