Operation Craft Space Clean Up Volume 1

Just like everyone else this time of year I am working on my New Years Resolutions. Lose the rest of my baby weight, learn to crochet more than a scarf and cleaning my studio are all on the list amoung others. Actually the one about the studio is at the very top of my list. I have never been one to keep my crafting space clean. You have probably heard me talking down my nose about crafters with meticulously organized and clean craft spaces. However, with the arrival of Tallulah last year my studio has gotten out of control messy. Possibly the worst it has ever been. To the point where I feel stifled in my creativity from the clutter and can’t find anything. That being the case I am determined to start 2010 off with a clean and organized craft space. I’m not saying it will stay that way long, but at least it will get a good scrub down to start.

Let me catch you up to speed on my studio. Naughty Secretary Club headquarters used to be in the master bedroom of my house. Pick up a copy of Handmade Nation to see the old digs in it’s full glory. True story: I refused to be interviewed in my studio for the Handmade Nation documentary because it was so messy, boy do I regret that now. Eventually I converted my 2 car garage into my new studio. You can see the before and after pictures here.

If you can believe it these pictures were taken a few months ago and the studio looks even worse as I type. Now there are Christmas decorations, lamp shades and displays from various holiday craft shows that need to be put away in the attic.

At this point you are probably thinking to yourself, why in God’s name is she showing anyone this hell hole? Well I’ll tell you. I have decided through the month of January I will give you the readers a weekly pictorial update on my progress. That way if you are watching I will be pressured to really get things picked up and organized. I’m also planning on posting pictures again in June so you can get a 6 month update.

The reason why it might take me a month to clean my studio is le’ bebe has wittled her nap time down to a mere 2 hours a day and my last hope at an assistant (AKA my sister) has long since quit coming for the most part. Most naps I have to put together orders, get the house picked up and answer work emails. Cleaning my studio has fallen to the wayside. It’s not like I can bring Tallulah into the studio with me it’s choking hazard central in here. Although I suppose I could set up a play pen if there were enough clear space which at this point there is not.

In the meantime I am asking for any and all organizational advice. How do you keep your craft space clean? I can hear my dad lecturing me about cleaning my room as a child “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”. Wish me luck and I’ll be back next week with hopefully some cleaner pictures.

38 Responses to “Operation Craft Space Clean Up Volume 1”

  1. emarci

    Oh, I so relate to this post! Ever since I went to work full time ( 7 years ago) and started grad school (last summer) my entire house has become out of control! I wish I had taken pictures! I am spending this break trying to get cleaned up and organized,too. I love your "purple crate" story! I love all things craft and never met a craft I didn't like, so I have a big collection of

  2. Barracuda

    Ack! My craft space looks the same, but I can never keep it clean. I keep wondering – is it because I have too much stuff?, am I a terrible housekeeper?, do I not have enough space/storage options?, do I have a mean husband that piles things in my area when he can't find another space to put my stuff?? You once said that the more 'messy' a crafter is the more creative things he/she

  3. Coppersangel

    Yep, already started. The Man bought Me a new work bench with drawers for all My beads and tools. The process of trying to decide what goes where is the hard part and am I in a hurry! I've got things to Create!

  4. Sunday Afternoon Housewife

    My craft room looks the same! No kids, so I don't have to worry about them choking, but the dog is constantly running through the house with a piece of felt or paper that was left on the floor because I knew that what where it would be if I went back for it "later." I did get a new shelf (which won't do too much) but I have until the 11th before I have to go back to work, and

  5. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    Emarci it's funny I just got back from going to Wal Mart with my husband so I could buy storage bins to start my cleaning and organizing and he kept mocking me saying "more purple crates". Actually one of them was purple!

    I'm glad I'm not alone on this. If you only get so much time a day to craft you want to craft not clean. I am one of those people that has to

  6. spinalfusion

    jennifer, i commend you for sharing this. you are a brave girl. i hope to get through my embarrassment about my craft space(s)now. i am like pig pen on the peanuts cartoon. can't find that one thing….better go buy another…. thank you again, you are very inspiring!
    marsha spaniel

  7. Jennifer Lava

    I am a Professional Organizer and a crafter, so I can relate to many of the issues people have brought up. You want to keep your creative juices flowing and you don't want to stop. Yet you need to be able to find your tools and supplies so you don't go buy more things needlessly.
    A couple of my tips for straightening up: 1. Take small bites. It took you a while to make the mess, it

  8. Jennifer Perkins - Naughty Secretary Club

    Oh Chris – shut it. You are going to have to find something new to nag me about once this room is all clean and shiny!

    Jennifer thanks for the pearls of wisdom. I like the idea that it took a long time to get this messy and that I should not expect for it to get clean in one day. I have been spending the morning putting like things together. I try and have craft supplies that way

  9. Monica

    I absolutely agree with not expecting this to get clean in one day. It took a while to get there, and it will take a while to get back.

    I would also suggest not being afraid to toss things. As a fellow artist I feel it can be challenging to toss things because one feels one may use them for some spectacular project in future. However, if there's stuff you use often, you want to be

  10. Anonymous

    Hey Jen, good luck with your clean sweep! I recently turned my small sun porch into a crafting room mainly for cards and scrapbooking, other crafts I have stashed here and there because of space issues. Right now it is so cold in my craft room (High of 20 degress today) that I can't really get much use. I am lucky that my hubby is employed at a mall, and was able to procure some shelving that

  11. Anonymous

    Brightly Colored Large Labels‘, label every one of those grey see thru drawers.
    That way when your across the room you can see the color of the drawer and automatically know what's in it.
    More open shelving for larger swatches of fabric and group all your open canisters’ in the same area.
    A large legal size metal filing cabinet that houses lot’s of craft supplies, paper

  12. Nicki

    oh wow! I feel your pain……

    Butm yup, small bites…allow yourself a little create when you find something you'd forgotten and just MUST use!
    Itll take ages…thats fine because if you do it too quickly youll never find anything again.

    Have you got enough space to make areas that you tidy, so that you make a little oasis of space?
    That works for me cos I

  13. Margot Potter


    I just did the full craft room overhaul…again. It's amazing to me how much I can ignore and then one day I just snap. My studio and your studio were

    obviously separated at birth! I don't know if you have Ikea where you are, but the wardrobes are PERFECT for organizing craft supplies. I use the sock drawers for rubber stamps, inks and craft wire spools, the

  14. Barbara Rossman

    I think I am going through the same thing. I make the same resolution every year and nothing changes. I've been through all of the ideas as listed and still feel like a slob. I'm thinking once a year I will just get rid of it all and start again. That's right after I open my new purchases from ebay. Happy New Year and I love your site.

  15. Anna M.

    I can relate, my craft cabinet has stuff literally flying out of it when I open the doors. Funny to say open when the doors won't close completely. Good luck with your cleaning. By the way, why is there a rabbit doll hanging by what looks like a noose?

  16. Micaela

    after all im not the only one !!! i dont have a craft room , so my stuff is either in my room or in my living room causing some problems with my mom , because of the mess lol.
    take a deep breath and imagine your space as you want it to be, and get your hands on the mess. 😀

  17. giddy girlie

    I totally relate to your messiness! Only, I don't have a studio, so it's my living room that looks like this! 🙂 I haven't seen my coffee table in a year, seriously! I usually have 10 different things piled up on the arm of the couch – why put it away if I might need it again soon?? I finally made myself a little space in the corner where I can stash things (instead of cleaning/

  18. Your Daily Muse News

    We are already starting also, turning on of the bigger rooms into a teaching / meeting studio, have plans for a VERY cute tree mural on the larger wall…can not wait. I am one of those crafters that have to have a clean desk to start with, well at least one 2 by 2 foot to work on 😉

  19. ArtistikDiva

    Child please! Your space is a hot mess and so is mine! I might need to join you in the reorg. effort My husband would be happy. I need to get it cleaned up in time for Baby B-diddy's 1st birthday party in Feb anyway. You can do it!!!

  20. Debra

    Mine looks the same I know I need to get organized. Sometimes we buy the same supplies over again because we can't find the ones we bought. Well at least they will always come in handy especially when the money is tight.

  21. sideoats + scribbles

    This sounds so familiar!!!!! 🙂

    My hubby just helped me get organized — I second Ikea, I see that you are in Austin like me! The Container Store near the Arboretum is having a 30% off elfa sale — woo hoo!

    My problem has always been that I do so many crafts and have so many "little" things for each one, that when I get something new that doesn't fit into an

  22. Tracey

    My craft space was pretty messy when it was out of sight in our bedroom. Then I moved it out into the living room where I have used my desk to divide it up into a little craft space for me. Now I have no choice to keep it clean as it is the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment…I am SO glad I moved it because now, I feel more crafty because I can put all my energy into crafting

  23. Angry Chix

    I feel like I am in perpetual organization mode, looking for the best way and container to organize. Sometimes I think I should apply to be on that hoarders show I have so much stuff to craft with.
    Question:what do you do with your old organizing containers?


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