I have been very busy lately with trips, birthdays, baby showers, and school starting. I am finally sitting down to show you in detail how I have organized my stamping supplies. Mentally prepare for a post with tons of pictures. Also, you can read about buying and assembling all the IKEA stuff here, here, and here.
Before I start, I will say that I didn’t acquire all of this stamping stuff overnight. I went to a party a number of years ago and enjoyed it. Then I didn’t do anything for a long time. Fast-forward to early 2011 when I was helping my best friend, Becky, make all the paper goods for her wedding. Every Friday night I would go to her house and we would work. I started calling it the Wedding Sweatshop, but it was really a lot of fun. I started to buy more of my own supplies and make a few cards. Four years later and we’ve added more members to the Sweatshop crew. We’ve done another wedding and a graduation party. Becky is a SU demonstrator and I’m one of her best customers.
You will find that I mention Stampin’ Up and Stamp-n-Storage a LOT in this post. I am not a SU consultant and I have not been compensated in any way by either company. I actually use and love their products. SU has quality stamps and inks. The colors coordinate throughout (inks, markers, paper). I also like their paper cutter better than any of the handful I’ve owned. Stamp-n-Storage sells sturdy storage units that are made to fit SU products in very clever ways. The shelves come in the natural wood but you can stain or paint them to any finish you want.
This is the view of the main work surface. I will focus in on each area in a minute but here I want to point out the stamping mat. It is made by Sealer Supply and I ordered it from Amazon. I love it because it protects my desk, is non-stick, and provides an even surface for stamping. It is 15″ x 18″ but they can be ordered in custom sizes so I’m considering getting one that is about four times bigger. Then I will use this one when I go to workshops.
Let’s start our little tour with the desk. This is my SU Designer Series Paper. The bottom holder is from Stamp-n-Storage and the top one was a hand me down. I labeled them with little strips from my label maker.
I LOVE my ink and marker holder from Stamp-n-Storage. It holds 60 ink pads and coordinating markers. I put them in rainbow order which makes me very happy every time I look at it. I labeled each ink pad with its category so I can find the corresponding paper easily. I will show you the paper in a little bit. On top I have scissors, glue, and other markers.
This is the Stamp-n-Storage punch holder. I love being able to see my punches and grab them easily. I used to have some of the whale-tail punches but I sold them and got the lock-down kind. So much easier to store! For now I have my buttons in the empty spots. On top is a box of cards and envelopes that are finished so I can just grab one. Off to the right in the fabric bin are my embossing folders and thinlits.
Let’s move on to the Alex drawer unit. I put my Big Shot here when I’m making cards because it gives me plenty of clearance to crank. When I close up shop I put the Big Shot on the desk and roll the drawer unit under the desk.
This is the top drawer. It holds my Stamp-a-ma-jig tool, a few specialty inks, an adhesive remover, and key tags that I used to make wine glass markers with names on them for a party. In the back there are some cork squares and a tin with some small scraps of paper. I love that the drawer still has empty space!
The second drawer is a little more jumbled. I have assorted washi tape in the middle more over there on the left. I think I need the Stamp-n-Storage washi tape holder, but more about that later. I also have my extra tape rolls, dimensionals, glue, calligraphy markers, paper piercing kit, rotary cutting blade (wait! that should be with sewing stuff! Ugh.), fishing line, and X-Acto blades.
These are some birthday stamp sets that I use frequently and some sets that were given to me without cases. Eventually I will trade out the old cases for the new ones that Stampin’ Up sells.
This is my embarrassingly large collection of crayons, colored pencils, and markers. I also have sandwich bags because you never know when you might need one. Interesting note: under the box of Mr. Sketch markers is the pencil case I used in second grade. It currently holds broken crayons.
The bottom two drawers have stickers for scrapbooking. These used to be in a six-drawer rolling thing. I was very glad to see that go at the garage sale, but I will eventually get something to keep the different sections separate. Baskets? Trays? Who knows.
This is the top drawer of the small Alex unit in the middle of the long table. I keep my Stampin’ Trimmer and rotary addition as well as my Stampin’ Scrub and spray bottle. I leave my personalized stamp here too because I use it all the time! I will admit that these were the items that I had the most trouble with before I redid the craft room. I was constantly moving them around so I could get things done. Now they are easy to grab, use, and put back.
This is the next drawer in the middle. It has office supplies and various Command hooks. The bottom drawers have sewing things in them so I will leave those for a different post.
This is the cabinet on the left side of the desk. I will admit that this is NOT a very good use of space. I promise that I’m working on it. But for now it holds my ribbon. The basket on top is Stampin’ Up ribbon and the bottom is craft store ribbon. I am trying to decide which Stamp-n-Storage ribbon holder I want. When that happens, Tthis cabinet will be empty. Oh, the possibilities!
This is one of the built-in cabinets. These are the rest of my stamps and a few other crafting things (Glitter! Mod Podge!) And now you can see why I need to get the good Stampin’ Up cases. Those old ones drive me nuts! And yes, the stamp sets are in alphabetical order.
Last, but not least, is the plain paper. I have the colors sorted by category. Each category has different colored folders. Within each category the colors are in the order they are listed in the SU catalog. I don’t know why I did it that way but it made sense at the time. I didn’t take picture of both drawers but I will say that the top one (pictured) has neutrals, brights, subtles, and catalogs. The bottom one (not pictured) has the In Color collections, regals, and retired colors.
So what’s next? I will probably get the washi tape holder and either the ribbon shelf or ribbon holder from Stamp-n-Storage. I want to move the bulletin board so it is centered above the desk. I have a wall decal to hang up. I would love to paint the wall. There is still the other half of the desk (sewing supplies!) that is kind of organized but feels like a hot mess when I look at it. I NEED a new chair. On wheels so I can roll over to reach my paper.
If you are still reading you are either an organization nerd like me or a friend who is trying to be nice and read my blog. Either way, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you will be able to use some of these ideas in your own space.
Sorry for taking so long to get this post finished. If you’re just joining us you can read about the “before” setup here. After carrying the IKEA boxes downstairs (the tabletops were still in the garage), this is what I was facing:
I should let you know that I actually love assembling furniture. I’m weird like that. So I just jumped in. Here are the first two pieces I tackled:
The one on the left is the Alex Drawer unit and the one on the right is the Alex Storage unit. I was on a roll. Then I decided I needed to move my old tables out so I could put these in place as I assembled them. This is when a magic wand would have come in handy. Or at least another adult. But I didn’t want to wait so I forged ahead.
1. I knew right away that I wanted a deeper-than-usual desk surface. I pictured putting things on the desk up against the wall while still leaving plenty of space to work.
2. Yes, I got white cabinets and a birch tabletop. I went to the store planning on buying everything in white but I really liked the slight contrast when I saw it in person.
3. I tried rolling the drawer unit on casters under the table in the store display area to make sure it fit. This is why the IKEA showrooms are so helpful.
Awesome, right? Are you starting to see the plan? (Please excuse the horrible glow from the tv. John was watching Clifford and I didn’t want to move the tv until I was pretty sure where it would live).
There was one snag in the assembly process when I realized the second Alex cabinet had some damage. I don’t remember seeing this when I was at the store, and I actually waited a few days before assembling it. I finally decided that it wouldn’t show and IKEA is three hours away…
So remember to inspect your boxes before you leave the store and be careful with them when you load/unload/carry them. I’m glad I decided to just go with it. And I should also mention that I did most of this assembly without power tools. Not such a good idea. The next day I could barely open my hand because it was so sore. Use a power screwdriver if you have one!
Anyway, after assembling the Alex furniture this was the result:
If you spotted the Ekby Stilig brackets and Ekby Tryggve shelves, good eye! I figured I should get as many crafting supplies within arms reach as possible. As you can see, the Alex units on casters roll out so I can pull up a chair to work. The area on the left is for stamping and the right side is for sewing. There is still a lot of organizing to do, but it was fun to “unpack” my things into the pretty new drawers and cabinets.
Still to come:
1. How can I make this area even better?
2. What about all the toys that share this room?
After showing Mike some IKEA drawer units that Nancy (my Bonus Mom) picked up recently, I told him how much more I could do if my craft room was better organized. He told me to go for it, which was all the encouragement I needed. Here is how the room looked before I started. You can tell I tried to keep things organized, but it was a losing battle. The table on the left is an old farm table I inherited from a great-aunt. It has a metal top which is great because marker/crayon/ink just wipes right off. I used this table as my primary work surface. I sorted my Stampin’ Up paper in the filing cabinet that I spray painted Valspar Sumptuous Purple in the satin finish. I had many sets of plastic drawers and fabric bins to try to corral everything. I had the Stampin’ Up Color Caddy which was full. The built-in cabinets were full of more stuff. The space was great but it just wasn’t functioning well for me. If I wanted to make a card I had to clear off the table to make room to work. If I wanted to sew something I had to put away all my stamping supplies so I had space to cut fabric. After spending some quality time with the IKEA catalog and website, I had an idea of what I wanted. It happened that Mike had to go to Schaumburg for a week so John and I planned our IKEA trip (we live about three hours from IKEA Schaumburg). My sidekick and I arrived at 9:30am and hung out in the café until 10. We checked out Småland where you can get an hour of free childcare while you shop plus 30 extra minutes if you have (free!) IKEA Family membership. But the kids have to be potty trained and John was wearing a pull-up. So no dice. But for a three-year old, he was amazing. They should just hire him as a toy/furniture tester. We did a lot of looking and picked up a few small things. We ate lunch. We looked some more. We talked to a guy at the table bar. We made a plan. John especially loved watching our cart on the escalator. Then we went to the self-serve area to collect our boxes. I wish I could see a video of myself trying to push a flat-bed cart loaded with heavy boxes while coaching my three-year old as he tried to push our cart. But we finally made it to checkout and a very nice guy offered to help me load the car. After five (yes, five!) hours at IKEA, here is how the car looked. John is in his car seat in the back seat on the left. Thank goodness I have a fold-flat front passenger seat! Stay tuned to see the results.