Organize your stash - tips and ideas

Is it time to organize your stash?  Do you spend more time trying to find a skein of thread than it would take to go to the shop and buy another one?....

...And then when you get back home do you find the 5 skeins of that colour, that you knew you had all along? Yes, I've done this before! Time to start organizing embroidery floss, maybe?

Can you remember where you put the embellishments that you bought for the chart you want to stitch? Oh and where is that chart by the way?

Now don't get me wrong. I am not the most organized person in the world myself! In fact I used to waste so much time looking for things, that I had less time to actually stitch or design. It was time to get organized!

Of course, as with other things, there are different levels of organization.

Maybe you just want to get everything sorted and put away so that it's tidy and easier to find and the rest of the family stops tripping over it. If so feel free to just pick the tips that will help you from the information here. 

Or perhaps you are a organization nut that just can't rest until everything is sorted, listed and labeled.

A place for everything

The first step in getting organized is to decide where to put everything.

Perhaps you have the luxury of a whole room in which to organize your stash? Hey thats great. But you can get organized if all you have is a closet or a corner of a room.

You can utilize many items of furniture for storing craft materials. Tall, thin chests of drawers are very useful and don't take up much floor space.

You could even use the walls themselves . . . cork boards, slat boards or  pegboards can keep things at hand. 

Low units with shallow, wide drawers are ideal for fabrics and could also hold your sewing machine or mount board cutter on top. 

Shelves, whether in a book case, or attached to the wall, can house a multitude of stash.


Drawer units

Drawer units are always useful, especially if they have wheels. I have two plastic units that each have three drawers which I use for storage. I purchased them from a DIY store but they are great for crafts as well. 

Oh and while you are in the store look for tool chests and divided boxes. Designed for storing screws and nails, what is to stop you putting bobbins and beads in them instead? A little bit of imagination can give you lots of ideas on how to organize your stash.

Filing cabinets

Filing cabinets also have their place in my storage system. A small one holds patterns and charts whilst the larger keeps my threads tidy. Now, not everyone would need a 5 drawer filing cabinet for threads, but as a kit manufacturer I buy my DMC on cones and they take up serious amounts of space!

Kitchen Units

Kitchen Units can be put to good use elsewhere. My cutting room has two base units side by side, covered with a piece of worktop which gives storage and a place to work. I left a gap between them, in which I store mount board and picture frames.

Wardrobes (closets) or tall cupboards

These make fantastic places to organize your stash. I use the hanging rail for fabric, whilst the shelves store embroidery hoops and stretcher frames. I even keep fabrics, on the bolt, standing upright in there. Like me, you probably have lots of different fabrics on hand at any one time. My friend, who is a quilter has even more than me to store. 

Living near an American air base we have often visited the clearance sales held when the airmen return home, and I managed to pick up a wonderful tall unit with a two shelf cupboard at the top, a drop leaf section and three deep drawers below, at a very good price. It holds a LOT of stash!

Boxes and containers

These can be used inside drawers and cupboards to keep smaller items together. Clear, lidded containers do have the benefit of allowing you to see whats inside, but if they are not clear a label on the outside will help. To keep things looking nice I like to use a label printer for this job, but then my handwriting isn't all that neat. You could also take a photo of the contents and print it onto a sticky label.

Packaging materials

The tubes from the center of aluminum foil rolls can prove useful for keeping ironed fabric free of creases.

Even cereal boxes can be put to use. Cut away one side and cover them in pretty paper or fabric to create magazine holders.

I buy blank CD's, 50 at a time, in plastic containers with a spindle in the middle and a clear locking cover. I find these fantastic for storing pearl threads on balls. I can see what colours I have at a glance and the cover keeps them free from dust. They even look pretty on an open shelf!

If you still use a 35mm camera and film, don't throw away the film cannisters. You can use them for storing beads and beading needles. A bead taped to the top of the lid tells you what colour is inside.

In a similar vein, tubes and tubs that stored vitamins can be also be put to use. I would advise washing them thoroughly first though! If you remove the manufacturers' labels and add your own, they look better.

I hope the ideas on this page are of help when its time to organize YOUR stash.

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