Chances are, if you are a regular reader here at Typing Sunflowers, or even if you've just stumbled upon this blog, you're into creating stuff. Most of us who make things regularly have quite the stash of stuff. (See ideas for stash busting your yarn here...)
I know it's not spring yet... but there are steps you can take to clear the clutter before spring rolls around. After all -- who wants to be inside cleaning when the weather turns nice enough to spend the whole day outdoors? (Although if you want general spring cleaning and decluttering ideas, you can read this post.)
1. Take stock of what you have.
This may give you a fright. It certainly did me. Last week I hauled out my craft supplies from behind every nook and cranny and I just left everything on the floor, scattered hither and yon (the benefits of having a dedicated office/craft room). The next morning, when I walked into the room to open the blinds, I nearly gave myself a heart attack. I thought someone had ransacked the place while I'd been sleeping.
It certainly gave me new insight into the amount of junk I had laying around. (Sorry I don't have many photos to show you, but I had a hard time locating my camera in the mayhem. I at least took the button pic before the real ransacking occurred.)
2. Clear out stuff that hasn't inspired you in years -- or even months.
Once you get over the initial shock of how much stuff you have, sort through it and figure out what you actually want to keep.
Some of the items in my craft arsenal are either dated, or else I purchased bulk supplies and only needed one or two of the 20. Give them away to another crafty friend, donate them to a thrift store, or sell them at a swap.
Another alternative is to keep a small basket of craft supplies aside for younger guests or even for your own children when they too want to craft. When my nieces were small, I had a bucket of scrap paper, stickers I had no use for and miscellaneous other extras that kept them entertained for hours. Now, I have a small basket that serves the same purpose when guests with children come over.
Whatever you do: purge. If you've been holding onto stuff for years and you're still not sure what you're going to make with it, then pass it along to someone who may have an idea.
3. Figure out your method of organization.
Now that you've cleared out part of the stash, you can get busy actually organizing stuff. Sometimes storage space alone dictates how much stuff you can safely stash.
For years, I kept my stuff stashed in closets and stored under the sofa. Now that I have more space, I'm trying to put items into clear containers, or at least labeled organized boxes so that I can actually see what I have to work with.
I realized I had all of these great glass containers sitting on a shelf in the dining room with nothing in them. They now live in my craft area, full of buttons and ribbons. And now, instead of searching for the box of ribbon when I have to wrap a gift at the last minute, I know exactly where to go!
If you don't have spare shelf space or if you're not into clear plastic shelving that sits on the floor, there are lots of other fun options to store items. Craft stores sell great baskets and even boxes that look like books and old trunks -- things that look classy enough sitting anywhere in a room.
Or consider vintage alternatives. Over the years, I've found some neat train cases and vintage sewing boxes to store craft supplies. For the longest time I kept my thread in a small box all jumbled up. Last week I realized I have a great vintage sewing box that is meant for um... sewing supplies!
One of my favorite train cases houses paper travel paraphernalia (I'm partial to old postcards and letters, plus the Sailor gives me his boarding passes from flights to and from his ships. These come in handy when I try to be cheap about scrapbooking.)
Even if you don't have a lot of space to work with, at least try to give yourself a shelf in the closet, or a corner in a room where you can keep everything together. This last part is important... if your stuff isn't together -- you may not be as inclined to actually work on things (or you'll be like me... hunting for that ribbon at the last minute!)
When all else fails, and when you don't have the time or inclination to purge, at least resist the temptation to add to the stash until you've had a chance to use up some of it. Don't even walk into a craft store and if you do, stay away from the clearance rack. It only leads to more serious stash busting later!
When I first started this blog, I made myself use up a hefty amount of my yarn stash before I was allowed to buy any new yarn. A few months later, I rewarded myself by making up a few new yarn rules, which I still adhere to. As lovely as that yarn looks on sale, unless I know exactly what I'm going to make with it, it's staying on the shop shelf.
Now go forth and declutter that craft stash. Blue skies are going to be here before you know it and it's far easier to take your crafting outdoors if it's all organized and you can find it!