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Organizing Your Craft and Sewing Supplies

by Rachel Paxton

If you're a weekend crafter like me, you probably have a lot of
crafting odds and ends laying around that get all jumbled
together depending on what project you're working on at the

Over the years, I have found several ways to organize my craft
and sewing supplies in a way that I can actually find them again
when I need them.  As I went through the process of organizing
them, I was able to identify items I no longer needed and
separate the remaining items into logical groups.  As a result, I
now have all my supplies limited to one corner of a room and well
organized.  Now I can find things when I need them.

When I first started sorting through all my supplies everything
was thrown together in a lot of cardboard boxes up in a
hard-to-reach closet.  The first thing I did was dump each box
into a big pile and start sorting.  My piles were: lace, trim,
buttons, quilting supplies, cross stitch supplies, ribbon roses,
fabric scraps, craft books, and misc.

I first discarded the odds and ends I knew I'd never use again.
I then bought two very large Rubbermaid containers (great for
stacking) to store my supplies in.  You may need more depending
on how many supplies you have accumulated.  I also bought some
gallon-sized Ziploc bags.

I sorted through all the lace and trim and put lace in one Ziploc
bag and trim in another.  The ribbon roses went in another.  I
put all the buttons in a plastic container with different
compartments--sorted by color.  All these items, plus other misc.
like styrofoam balls, contact paper, plastic canvas, went into
one Rubbermaid container.

All my quilting and cross stitch supplies (mostly fabric scraps
and cross stitch fabric) went into the second container. 

All my unfinished projects went into a cardboard box, and all my
yarn for plastic canvas projects went into another.

The containers and boxes stack on top of each other and fit
nicely underneath a small square "craft table" I have set up in
the corner of my home office.  It's all out of the way and
everything is easily identified.

On top of the table I keep little projects I'm working on, like
cross stitch, or photo albums for working on scrapbooks.  My
embroidery thread is organized by DMC number in plastic
containers made for storing embroidery thread.  These containers
are also stacked on the table.

My sewing machine thread is organized on a small wooden board
with small spindles you can buy that is designed to hold spools
of thread.  My sewing machine sits on the floor next to the craft
table while not in use.

Next to my craft table is a stand-alone cupboard that is sold as
a pantry cupboard that you can probably find at Walmart for about
$100.  In the cupboard I store a lot of multipurpose items like
my glue guns, all kinds of glue, paper, scissors, and all of my
scrapbooking supplies.  This cupboard works great for items other
family members also use a lot, like tape and scissors.  My paper
cutter and long stapler are stored on top of the cabinet.

I also have several bookcases in my office, and I use a couple of
shelves on one of them for organizing my craft and sewing books.
The books are organized by craft type.

All of my small sewing supplies I keep in a couple of small
sewing baskets that I can move with me from room to room.  In
these I keep sewing needles, embroidery scissors, measuring tape,
pins, seam ripper, etc.

Hopefully these ideas will help you get in the mood to start
organizing your own craft and sewing supplies.  It's so much more
enjoyable to work on projects when you know what you have and
where everything is.

Copyright 2002. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at

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