Project Simplify: Craft Room Drawers and Shelves

by jessicaturner on April 8, 2013

Today’s Project Simplify challenge was to clean drawers and shelves and for me this was a HUGE one, but man, I am thrilled about the progress I made. I decided to tackle my craft room, which is the room in the house that I probably spend the most time in, but has gotten the least TLC from an organization standpoint since we moved in.

The week of April 30 is that put-off project, I think I will probably continue with this project because it is so massive – I just couldn’t get it all done. I did a terrible job taking before pictures, but I promise I will do lots of sharing of my process. :)

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge what a blessing my craft room is. We used to live in a very small two-bedroom condo and once we had kids, my crafts went from the spare bedroom into a converted coat closet and the kitchen table. I used to read craft magazines and lust over the craft rooms, thinking it was a luxury I would probably never have. We are so, so blessed.

My craft room is over our garage and it has a separate door leading to the stairs that lead to it. So basically, there are two doors preventing you from getting to the chaos.

A huge selling point was this room’s beautiful built-ins.They are incredible and offer so much storage for all my supplies.

However, I have so many scrapbooks, photo albums and craft supplies that six months after moving in, I still had not found a place for everything. The garage has several rubbermaid totes in it still full of supplies that need a home. This project was the kick in the pants that I needed. (Plus we are having a rummage sale next month, so if the supplies can’t find a home, then I need to get rid of them.)

Chair and choose joy table

I started small, with an end table next to the room’s comfy chair. The table says “choose joy” ala Sara Frankl on the top, and was a gift my sister made for me. She is so talented! The chair was a hand me down from my Aunt Sandy and I LOVE it. I actually had two, but had to give one away to make room in our condo when it was for sale. I REALLY wish I hadn’t given that chair away, but oh well.

The table top was not visible and the drawers were bulging with paperwork that needed to filed, cards that needed to go in keepsake boxes, and lots that needed to be thrown away. By the time I got done with it, I had half a trashcan full. I also had several piles to deal with – putting items in previous years’ Project Life albums, putting cards in keepsake boxes, etc. Once all that was done, it felt glorious. But that was just the beginning…

I then moved to the large built in, which is the home for most of my craft supplies. I am someone who needs to see my supplies, or I forget about them, so everything needs to be in bins and clear boxes. The built-in is divided into three sections – one for my most-used supplies + Project Life, one for my printer + some commonly used supplies in Rubbermaids, and one for less-used embellishments.

Left Section: Project Life + Most Used Embellishments

When my dad was visiting, I asked him to hang a shelf above my sewing desk. I moved the two baskets of albums that were in the built in to that shelf, then had two additional shelves to use for supplies that I access all the time – like Project Life kits + embellishments.

I then started tackling those supplies. I started out by putting all my small page protectors in a scrapbook, which is an idea I got from Becky’s blog.

This is a much better way of organizing all the page protectors than keeping them in various packages because I never knew exactly what was in my stash. On this shelf I also have some other 12×12 page protector packages + some magazine holders that I got on Zulily for packages of other Project Life stuff (there are some embellishments in these holders that probably need to be moved, but that’s where they are for now).

Right above that shelf I have another shelf with all my boxes of 12×12 Project Life pages + paper products that I have in 12×12 envelopes (special designs, etc.).

Two more shelves are dedicated to Project Life kits, along with a few other bits (packages of 12×12 felt embellishments + a felt basket filled with jars of glitter.) I also have two shelves dedicated to bins filled with embellishments to use.

In the second column I was able to add a shelf that I removed from another area of the built in. This helped me to better use my space. On one shelf I have some old Project Life card boxes (with cards in them). I really want to get some sort of flat container that I can stand these cards up in, but easily peruse. Anyone have any suggestions? The last shelf has my Xyron 900 on it.

Center Section: Printer + Supplies

The bottom half of this section is for my oversized printer, which I use almost every week for Project Life. For the most part I print 4×6 pictures at Walgreens (to save on ink) and use my big printer for all odd-sized/large prints. I store my large photo paper right next to it because it is the most convenient.

The middle shelf used to just have some embellishment drawers on it, which was a big waste of space (more on those in a minute). With the drawers moved, I used that shelf for a bunch of craft supplies that we use a lot (especially Elias) for easier access. I am so thrilled with this improvement. It may not be the prettiest display, but I can see everything, which is awesome. I had all these boxes in the cabinets below the shelves, so that gave me some space to put some of the supplies that have been waiting in storage bins in our garage. I am going to spend more time on those boxes in the coming weeks. :)

The top shelf has my Xyron Creatopia and a few other tools on it.

Right Section: Lesser Used Embellishments
The last section has ribbon and more lesser used embellishments.

The drawers are filled mostly with ribbon. They were spread over two shelves – the large center shelf + one on this side. I removed a shelf (and moved it over to the Project Life side), which allowed me to stack all three drawers on top of one another. Perfect!

Last week, I bought some jars at TJMaxx thinking I could put my ribbon in those – and they would be prettier than the rubbermaid drawer. Though ADORABLE they were totally not function. They didn’t hold enough + weren’t practical for when I would need something at the bottom. I definitely want functional over pretty in my craft room – which probably means you won’t be seeing it in a magazine anytime soon!

The black file container is filled with stickers. I did a massive purge and have a stack now for Elias to use when he crafts.

I’m definitely not done, as you can see from the state of my craft table and sewing desk, both of which I can’t even work at right now. But the room is so much better than it was. I’m sure I’ll be cleaning the table tonight so I can work on Project Life for Project Life Tuesday!

Thank you Tsh for hosting this challenge!

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Randi April 8, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Jessica, I’m not sure if this is what you had in mind…but I found an index card file box on amazon that I’ve been using to keep the PL 3×4 and 4×6 cards in. I have one for my cobalt and one for blush. (I simply put the 3×4’s in 2 piles next to each other within in each section to fill the 4×6 space). I put a sampling of each card style (both the journaling sides and patterned cards) in the first section and then store the bulk of the cards upright in the remaining sections. This way, I just take out the first section of cards to peruse through and decide which card(s) to use and then pull that item from one of the back sections. You can’t necessarily see everything when it’s filled up completely so for now I just take out one pile at a time to find what I need, but it will actually be easier to skim through the cards as I use up some of them. :)


Randi April 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Oops…here’s the link for the Semikolon A6 Index Card File Box


Dale Rose Stream April 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I am currently taking a class through , OrganizingFUNdamentals, taught by Wendy Smedley & Aly Dosdall. It is AWWWWESOME! This class would tie in beautifully with what you are currently working on, plus it is a “FOREVER” class, which means the content will be available to you as long as the website exists! Everyone in class is so inspiring and helpful to one another. I think you would really enjoy it.


Dale Rose Stream April 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

PS I hope that it is all right that I shared this blog page with the class! You did a really good job at defining what works for YOU!


Heather April 9, 2013 at 6:01 am

Yes, I am working on my craft room/kids play room this week, and we have a lot of stuff to go through. I think it might take me longer than a week though! Whenever I start to clean up craft supplies, the kids have this intense need to start some big project :-) I love the end table and the pink chair! Awesome!


Lisa Johnson April 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

You should check out this blog post from List Girl where she shares how she uses the Antonius basket inserts from IKEA to store all her Project Life cards. That might be just the solution you are looking for.

Here’s a link directly to the basket inserts on the IKEA website:


jessicaturner April 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Now, if only I had an Ikea near me!! :) That is totally what I am looking for.


Happysuz April 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I just reorganized my craft room/office too. It wasn’t perfect, but much better. It was nice for about 3 days. I find that creative spaces are really hard to keep that way because once I start a big project, stuff gets left out and my 6 year old does her own “projects” which messes it up more! Anyone have suggestions for keeping it out of chaos in the middle of a big project?

Love the pink chair!!


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