What are the next steps? You’re getting those art and craft projects out of the cupboard that you decided to start oh-so many years ago. Where do you start to organise your art and craft supplies?
On my journey, after I left my work and started to pursue my art and craft dream, my first step was to find a space to use as a working area. You will also need to find enough space in which to organise your art and craft supplies.
You may find that you have got a spare room in your house that you can use as your work studio, or you have an area in a room that you can claim for your art and craft.
The steps below will take some time – but if you’re like me – you’ll have a few art and craft projects gathered over the last 30 or so years to sort through. Here’s how I did it. You can too!
The most important of the steps to start is to find the time for yourself.
1. Find the time to organise your art and craft supplies
Are you working full-time? Finding time can be difficult, but if you’re an empty nester, and don’t have extra responsibilities after your work hours, you might find that you have time in the evenings to work on your art and craft.
If you’ve retired, you may find that you have the time to work on your art and craft in between your daily responsibilities.
Perhaps you work part time and can find the time at points in your day or week.
You need to find the time for yourself. You’ve put others before yourself in the past – and probably still do. Do your mental health a big favour and find the time for the most important person in your life – you.
2. Schedule your time
Once you have found the time in your day or week, schedule it into your diary. Make time for yourself and stick to it. Make time for yourself as it’s easy to get caught up with your responsibilities for others.
Next up – you need to find your space to sort out your gear.
3. Claim your art and craft space
Find an area you feel comfortable working in. This may be a spare room in your house, a corner of a room, a backyard studio, or the garage.
Find an area that you can claim for yourself and arrange it so that you can work in it.
When I first left work, I thought I could do my art and craft in the kitchen area as that’s where my sewing machine cabinet had been for 10 years. However, when I wanted to work on a sewing project, I had to pack it up and put it all away at night.
What a distraction! It meant that I was less keen the next day to keep with the project.
Oh – there you have it! There’s another unfinished project in the cupboard.
Another thing was that when I was working in the kitchen on my art and craft, all I saw was the work that had to be done in the house. I looked around and thought – “The floor needs to be washed. The cupboards are dirty. I need to make dinner.” – you know what it’s like.
Anyway, I moved to a backyard building separate from the house, and I don’t think of my dirty kitchen at all anymore.
Think about an area that you can claim as your own and will not be reclaimed by anyone else in the future. It’s yours. You deserve it.
While you need to find the space first to organise your art and craft supplies, you need also need a place to create.
4. Gather your art and craft supplies
Here’s the fun part. Get out your old projects. Gather your art and craft supplies from years past.
I have a bundle of supplies I gathered over the years. The Janome zig-zag sewing machine I bought in the early 1980’s is still working a treat. Yes – I’ve still got the pattern for the first jumper I knitted. It’s size 32 – remember those sizes that we used to use before we changed to sizes 12, 14, 16, 18 etc.?
Get out the old sewing patterns, the knitting patterns – all the knitting needles, and scissors. Gather the thread, yarn, paper, paint, charcoal – all of it. Whatever it is – get it all out.
Go to your bookshelves and find your art and craft magazines and ‘how to’ books.
Search the CD case for any CD’s or DVD’s of ecourses you’ve bought over the years. You might even have VHS tapes of courses you’ve bought. Get them out too.
Also, don’t forget the ecourses that you may have signed up for over the internet. Write a list of the digital files and videos you may have.
Gather everything and put it somewhere you can spread it around. This may be in your newly claimed art and craft space, or somewhere else temporarily. The space is required so you can then organise your art and craft supplies.
5. Audit your art and craft supplies
We’re on a roll now. Next steps are that you now need to sort out what is what.
Which of your supplies are for art – drawing or painting, which supplies are for sewing or knitting.
You may find that you’ve got more items in a particular craft. That’s fine – it shows that you have an interest in a particular area.
I have more painting supplies than sewing supplies, and less so knitting supplies. But I’m just as interested in all the crafts, the supplies just reflect how I felt, or the time of the year when I bought them.
Place all your art and craft supplies out so you can see what you have and get ready to make a list.
6. Separate art and craft supplies into different areas
Next step is to place your art and craft supplies all in separate piles relating to the art or craft interest.
Place your sewing supplies together in a separate area. Do the same for your art supplies, and the same for your knitting supplies.
You may find that you need to separate your areas of interest into smaller areas again. For example, your art supplies may need to be separated into drawing, and painting areas.
Some of your supplies may be old technology and can no longer be used. Place that into a separate pile.
You may need to separate your sewing supplies into dressmaking, quilting or embroidery areas.
This separation makes it easier then to see what you have duplicate supplies of and what your particular area of interest is.
7. Make a list of your art and craft supplies
Now that your supplies are separated into areas of interest, you need to take a record of the supplies that you have. You can use the art and craft supplies audit template created just for this task.
Group your items in their particular areas of interest and list them under an appropriate category and sub-category.
For example, embroidery will be under one category, and two sub-categories. Use “Sewing” as the category, then either “hand-embroidery”, or “machine embroidery” for the sub-category.
The additional organisation and listing of specific categories and sub-categories helps keep your items in order.
8. Create a record for any future art and craft purchases
Now that you’re organising your art and craft supplies to reclaim your art and craft passions – you won’t stop with the supplies that you’ve bought over the years.
If you’re like me, you’ll be out there buying new ones.
Your art and craft journey may take you on a different path during your life. You may find that you enjoy doing your art and craft so much, and have a growing pile of completed projects, that you might like to sell them one day.
Your items may be sold at a physical market or at an online market place. If this is the case, you will need to know how much you paid for your items, and how much you should sell them for to cover your costs, or even to make some profit.
Don’t forget to list all your new purchases from this point on.
9. Keep the ‘unsure’ art and craft supplies aside
You might find that you’ve got some projects in your piles that are unappealing, or in which you no longer have an interest.
I recommend that you keep them in play at this stage. They appealed to you at some stage in the past, they may appeal to you again.
Keep them aside just now for action further on.
10. Do a ‘death clean’ to help organise your art and craft supplies
Depending on where you are in your life, you may find that you’re ready to downsize your home or that you just don’t have the space to devote to your art and craft supplies that you currently have on hand.
Don’t despair. Unclutter.
There are a few systems of uncluttering out there, but I particularly like the idea of the Swedish “death clean” or “dostadning”. Here’s a link to a book written about it.
In this exercise, whenever you’re doing a cleanup in your latter years, think about what you may leave behind when you die and what will be left for others to clear out.
Those items that you value but have no more use for may be gifted to others or sold. Give them to others who you know will enjoy them and use them. Give them as gifts to family or friends, or give them to the local community op shop, or local school.
If you have no further use, or space for the item, then gift them so that they will continue to be valued, and not left for your family or friends to sort through in their time of grief.
This uncluttering is useful for all items in your home, not just to organise your art and craft supplies.
Put your items into a toss, keep and gift piles and then do as required to toss, keep and gift them.
11. Organise art and craft supplies into their specific areas
Now that you’ve organised your art and craft supplies into areas of interest, written a record, keep them together in your newly claimed work area.
If you have shelves, you might devote on or two shelves to your art, and a shelf to knitting, etc.
You might find it best to keep your items sorted in plastic tubs. Work with whatever system you prefer.
But don’t place them together again. Keep them separated so that you know what you have, and where they are kept.
As you move in your art and craft passion reclamation, you will want to know where everything is quickly.
With your head down working on your craft, you don’t want any distraction. Even if it is to try and find that No. 5 knitting needle. Quick solution – go to the knitting shelf and find it.
There are ways you can further organise your art and craft supplies within their specific areas. Use an old can, jar or mug to keep items that relate to each other together. I’ve got some old glass jars I painted that I use to store my things. I love looking at them and they are very useful.
Use glass paint on used glass jars and use them to hold your art and craft supplies. They are pretty as well as functional.
12. Commence reclaiming your art and craft passion.
Now it’s time to start your art and craft dream journey. You know what you’ve got and where everything is. But – you know – you can still begin your art and craft without doing all the above.
Though without doing these steps – you might find that you buy something you already have in your stash. I did. I bought an art easel, only to find that I had one on the garage rafters that I bought 20 years before.
After searching in the shops for a rare Elna darning plate for what seemed like years, I found one in my sewing cabinet which I had bought years before.
It would be wise to probably not tell you about the darning foot I had to buy because I didn’t have one. Yes – it was with the darning plate. Lesson to me…. get organised with my art and craft supplies. I did – and the 12 steps above are how I did it.
Get to it everyone. Now you know how to organise your art and craft supplies, you can keep moving on your art and craft dream journey. But if you’re not sure you’re quite ready to start, you can consider why you have particular art and craft supplies. You can also get more organised to find your art and craft niche.
Got coloured pencils in your stash? Find how you can organise coloured pencils by type and lightfastness. Got that done? You can now create a colour wheel and find colour relationships.
I’m loving it and you will too!
This is an updated version of a post originally published on this site on 6 February 2019.