Angela Hoxsey, House in Order: Organizing Your Arts and Crafts Supplies | Home and garden

One of the privileges and pleasures of a traditional American lifestyle is having the time and money to pursue a hobby. If your hobby is watching TV sports or playing video games, you don’t need much more than your favorite viewing screen, but if you actually play a sport or do a craft, like quilting or painting, you will accumulate things. . Organizing arts and crafts supplies is a challenge second only to Legos.

One of the first questions I ask a disorganized crafter is, “Do you really craft?” It’s much easier to order colorful art supplies online or go to Michael’s and fill a basket than it is to schedule time and set aside space to work on projects.

Additionally, people who stock stores but never seem to DIY tend to have disorganized living spaces, poor time management, or unrealistic ideas about their own talents, resources, or personal goals. So we start with the basic organization of the house and a diary on the general vision of leisure activities.

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If you are a disorganized crafter or artist, gather all craft supplies in one area and if there are multiple types of arts or crafts (quilting, knitting, painting, collage, etc.), separate them in bins or separate areas on a table or floor. Take out all crafts from the usual part of the house and garage and set them aside. Next, organize the house.

I don’t believe arts and crafts can be inspired or enjoyable in the midst of a dysfunctional life, though history proves me wrong on this point, example after example. My defense: Genius artists can and often do work in poor, dirty and chaotic environments. This column is for the American garden variety lover. In other words, if you get eight hours of sleep a night, find time to watch “Saving Grace” reruns, and never miss a meal, you’ll have a much easier time creating a tidy home.

With your house in order and some surfaces (the trusty dining room table) cleared, start looking at your supplies. What hobbies have you never done? Who, seeing the supplies, still attracts and excites you? Assemble “like with like”: hooks, threads, pens, colored pencils, tablets, brushes, tile clips, etc.

For crafts you don’t feel like doing, donate the supplies to a school or art studio like Nimbus in St. Helena (of course, call or email first to see if they would like the supplies). For DIY supplies you are still interested in, what kind of containers do you need?

For crafting, I like containers to be as light and mobile as possible, unless you have a specific room or studio for your activity. Shelves and cabinets on wheels, snap-on containers or tool chests with handles, lightweight plastic bins are all good choices.

Something that has worked well for me and many of my clients are plastic nesting containers for pens and small drawing or collage supplies, such as scissors. A quilting customer uses large Elfa wire drawers to organize folded fabric.

Fishing tackle boxes are famous for organizing beading supplies or other craft items with a wide variety of small materials. When lightweight, on wheels, or with handles, craft supply containers can be taken out for hobbies and easily stored away when a room is needed for other purposes.

As with most organizing dilemmas, organizing supply starts at the point of purchase. Are you really doing a job? Do you really need that extra supply? Do you really need all that extra inventory? Keeping your supplies as minimal as possible while still having enough to complete a project is the sweet spot. I simply dropped a can of spray adhesive and a can of spray sealant that I hadn’t held back for any specific trade in almost ten years.

And about these completed projects: what do you plan for them? A house can only contain a limited number of paintings, ceramic pots or Afghan blankets. Giving them as gifts is tricky because the recipient is that much more obligated to keep or display something that you or their friend or family member have made. I know this because as a teenager I inflicted some of my basketry creations on my grandparents as gifts.

With crafting, most of the fun is in making the thing, so my suggestion would be to have occasional arts and crafts garage sales with other crafters and donate what isn’t selling . Or ask your loved ones what they would like. Crafting on demand or “commission” is a fun way to find a project to work on and have a home for it when finished.

About Tracy G. Larimore

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