How to Stay Clean and Organized During Craft Projects

published Feb 21, 2014
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(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of looking up at the completion of a project and realizing that a once perfectly tidy room has been destroyed by some sort of crafting whirlwind. I am usually that whirlwind. I think a lot of us are usually that whirlwind. I’ve put together a few tips to help us all stay clean and organized during future projects. It certainly makes crafting more fun when it doesn’t involve massive cleanup at the end!

(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

Start with a clean surface.

Every project will have different requirements. You might need a small table for a quick paper project, or an enormous area to layout quilt pieces — either way it’s a good idea to clear off your surface and wipe it down before getting out your supplies. It only takes a minute and ensures you won’t set your materials down in a puddle from your water glass, breakfast crumbs, stray threads, or any of the dozens of household perils for craft supplies.

Gather all of your materials and tools before beginning your project.

This is a common cooking tip that applies to crafting as well. By gathering everything together you’re checking to be sure you have all of the necessary supplies, and preventing mess-making mid-craft mad shuffles through the bins, baskets, closets and drawers that house your supplies. Now, I will not be so obnoxious as to say that having all of your supplies stored in an organized manner is a tip for staying organized while crafting, but I will say that if the ribbon you need is tucked in a drawer with other ribbons instead of tangled around eight half-wound skeins of yarn studded with hazardous fabric shears and knitting needles, it will be easier to get started on the right foot.

Corral small items.

Anything tiny that comes in multiples should be corralled into bowls or other small containers. Things like beads, sequins, scrapbook eyelets, and screws have a tendency to roll off everywhere and then be impossible to find. I occasionally realize I must have dropped some beads when I hear my vacuum struggling near my project table. Of course, I feel I have to mention glitter. By all means corral it in a container of some kind, but if you’re working with glitter my best advice is to learn to love glitter, because you will be living with it until the end of time. I have been married three and a half years and I still find glitter from the place cards at my wedding, and I’ve moved twice since then!

Place a scrap receptacle right at your feet.

Any sort of basket or bin to drop scraps into as you go will help keep things tidy. I like to put all of my sewing or paper scraps into my bin while I’m crafting, then go through at the end to see if I have any scraps large enough to keep. If you’re working with glue, paint, or other messy/sticky items, it’s a good idea to have an actual trash can nearby to throw away anything that can’t be salvaged.

Clean up immediately upon finishing your project.

This is where I get into trouble. It’s important to immediately put away all of your leftover supplies and tools. That way everything is back where it belongs when you want to start your next project. It’s amazing how cyclical organization is! Once everything is put away you can wipe down your surfaces again. If anything has spilled, or you’ve marked your surface, it will never be easier to clean than when it’s fresh. You can even take care of a fair amount of the aforementioned glitter mess with a damp towel.

Following these tips should help you have a tidy crafting experience, and set you up to start your next fun project!