Trying to Get Organized

The first two years I was felting I used the shoe storage method to store my fiber.  But as a fiber enthusiast and one to try new things my inventory and tool collection kept growing.   So, it became quite unruly. The picture doesn’t show the overflow and piles in bins I couldn’t fit in.

2014-03-03 11.30.52I had piles of things everywhere.

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For the past year I’ve been trying to find a system to keep my fiber and tools organized. I tried a wire cube system next.  This was a real test of my patience.

2015-04-07 12.03.072015-04-08 13.42.07 2015-04-08 13.42.19I liked the openness of this system, but didn’t like it was so deep and I’d have to juggle the fibers to see all the colors I had.  I did put my batts in bins on the floor.

2015-04-07 16.47.31

So, I continued to look for another system.  I wanted an open bookcase, but because of the dimensions I was limited to, I couldn’t find something that worked.

Then we had a big discussion on the forum about fiber and bugs, so I decided to try plastic drawers.

20150907_162939Now I have drawers organized by color.  Here’s just a few.  I also have one for alpaca, one for merino and silk mixes.

20150907_162808 20150907_162852 20150907_162842 20150907_162835 20150907_162824But I wasn’t finished.  I organized my embellishments in two separate units.

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This one is under my table.

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I also used the furnace room door for coarser fibers and to hang my scarves and hand dyed yarns.

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Here is my table with my tool drawer and a bin full of WOW fibers, some foam for needle felting and other useful tools all close at hand.

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20150907_16320520150907_163736

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More fiber and bubble wrap marked.

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Behind my table is my felting machine with more tools close at hand.

20150907_165005And my drum carder set off to the side next to another table.

20150907_164853The cube system is temporarily holding some folders until I figure out what to do with it.

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Then there is the daybed covered with samples, bins of yarn, ribbon, scraps, etc.  This still needs a bit of work.  And my “paper” room which is now my dyeing room.  That will also have to wait.

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This system works for me right now.  Its by no means perfect.  I’m fortunate to have two water sources close at hand and extra space.  I don’t think we intended it to be a studio but that’s what it is for me right now.

What works for you?

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26 Responses to Trying to Get Organized

  1. Lyn says:

    Superb! I’m a tad envious of your felting roller and that you have a dedicated drum carder station and such a large studio!
    The plastic drawers look great and seem ideal – I love those units and I almost drool when I pass by them in the craft shop. The wire cubes were never going to work – Annie has a wire storage system for her wool, but it’s with pull-out wire baskets
    http://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/.a/6a00e54ee2ff9a8833017ee3f49cdd970d-320wi

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Lyn! The actual felting area with table and equipment really isn’t that big. However, I tend to spread out to other rooms to do different things. I use one of the bedrooms to cut resists and store more stuff in the closet.

      I like Annie’s wire drawers. I couldn’t find anything like that that weren’t terribly expensive. The plastic drawers were reasonable. I didn’t buy them at the craft store but a big box store online and on sale. 🙂 With free shipping.

    • Lyn says:

      The wire basket storage system was from Ikea Marilyn – lovely stuff at lovely prices!

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Lyn. I looked online at Ikea and either didn’t see them or thought they wouldn’t fit. I can’t complain the drawers were very cheap.

  2. nvukadinovic@gmail.com says:

    Marilyn, you are such an organised person. I love the way you organised your studio. We are all struggling with space and with the ever growing stash of wool, fibres, fabrics, etc. aren’t we? I am still not in the position to have everything in one room and keep my materials in different rooms wherever I find and empty space I stuff it with my material, So my wool is organised by colour and I keep it in transparent plastic boxes. I have three separate boxes for silk, viscose, bamboo, etc fibres, then another box with pencil roving and other yarn for decoration, and several plastic bags for textiles (old scarves, scraps of fabrics I have dyed). Fortunately we have a couch with sotring space underneath and that’s where I keep my resits for slippers, gloves, caps, garments. I need to find a way to use at least 50% of the material I have before I purchase another. I’m afraid I’m going to become a hoarder. But I simply cannot resits buying felting stuff.

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Nada! I’m organized for the moment, but I guarantee when I start projects the area looks like a bomb went off. I realize I’m very lucky to have the space. I’m sure you’re much more organized since you don’t have unlimited space. It sounds like you make good use of the space you have available. I think most fiber enthusiasts are hoarders. Just keep felting and you can continue to buy since you’re using what you have. (I’m an enabler, too.) 😉

  3. You seem have done a great job organising it all! I find organising on a budget really hard, there is fantastic storage out there but with a price! I love you felting machine!! x

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Sharon! I do try to buy most everything on sale. Like I said I looked for a very long time. I also shop occasionally at the thrift stores and garage sales. You never know what treasures you might find. Just keep your eyes open. 🙂

      As far as the felting machine, see the banner above. I bought mine before having back surgery so I could continue to felt.

  4. craftywoman says:

    I am so impressed, it is difficult finding places for everything, my storage is boxes under the bed, in the wardrobe, in a spare cupboard – I have creative room envy 🙂

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Carole! The problem with having the space is that you continue to expand out and collect more “stuff.” I admire those people who can make do with the space they have. As long as you can continue to felt, it’s good!

  5. zedster66 says:

    I like your new drawers, Marilyn 🙂
    It all looks good, it does feel good to get organised and know where things are, doesn’t it? All my stuff is in plastic boxes and shoe boxes, some of the plastic boxes are stacked as tall as me! I’m like Nada, a bit of a fibre hoarder, have to buy it if I see it. Also, it isn’t economical to buy small amounts, so you save in the end 😉
    Did you say Ikea is too far? They have a lot of cube systems, I haven’t seen wire, but they have fabric boxes/drawers to fit their systems, which could make your wire system more usable.

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Zed! It does feel good to get organized, but I know it won’t stay that way for long. 🙂 I have plastic boxes as well for odds and ends. I like your way of thinking about buying in bigger amounts to be economical. 🙂

      Ikea isn’t that far. It’s just the store is so huge it’s intimidating. I did look at their catalog which is the only way I could buy there. My husband refuses to shop there.

  6. Leonor says:

    I use drawers too, Marilyn! Great minds… 😉 Colour separation is the easiest way for me to get organised! I only wish I had as much space as you do, I could get so much more fibre 😀

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Leonor, yes great minds. You’re right I really like having the colors separated now. They were pretty helter skelter before in the shoe holders. If I bought a new color, I’d have to move everything around. Which of course, I didn’t. 🙂 Hopefully, there is more space in your future. 🙂

  7. luvswool says:

    Your organization skills are impressive, Marilyn! The plastic drawers look so much neater than the wire ones. It is so much easier to begin a felting project when you know where everything is.
    I must admit I do need better organization. While my fiber is housed in plastic bins, I have to open every bin to see what’s in there. Other felting items are in drawers, shoe pockets, etc., and this lack of organization means that every time I do a project, I am searching among all of these areas.
    Thanks for showing us your system and for inspiring us to do better!

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Cathy! I do like the drawers and color separation much better than what it was before when you saw it. I still have other equipment stored elsewhere. But I tried to mark everything and keep the things I use the most nearby. It does help. Could you separate your colors and mark the bins? Would having a portable toolbox with your felting tools help?

  8. 1-I envy the amount of space you have, but I can identify with double duty, like the bed area, as I took over our guest room. 2-plastic bins & drawers are the way to go. I put a few lavender moth repellants around…to ease my fears. 3-now where do you put your finished products that you are saving up for craft shows or gift giving time? 4-where is your work table, and does it suit various sized projects? I work on my kitchen island, for lack of a better space, but am finding I need a table with easy access to both sides of my workpiece. Oh dear! My Plan B is the garage…definitely not good!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING AND FOR THE PICTURES !!!
    Phyllis Gropp
    http://www.facebook.com/BaaBaaFelt

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Phyllis! I’m very fortunate to have this space to work in. If it makes you feel better it’s in the basement so I have to deal with stairs. We bought a ranch so we wouldn’t have to deal with stairs. Then we finished the basement so the kids could stay with us when they are in town. Yeah, right. That’s’ happened a couple of times. So, I may as well use the space.

      I like your idea of the lavender moth repellents as an extra precaution.

      Haha, my finished projects are everywhere in the house or I give things away to family and friends. I have a stack of things to be framed or turned into something else. Since I am not selling my work, it does pile up. I try to do projects that are useful, but I am running out of shelf space. 🙂

      If you need small table space, you can always get a kitchen cart for the ends of the island. That’s what I have my carder on a kitchen cart with wheels. Very handy to move it around if necessary. I don’t blame you for not wanting to go in the garage. Let us know how it works out.

  9. You are doing great organising your stuff. Have you thought of putting the batts in the cubes? If you lay them down they could be like the bins but lying down.

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Ann! I hadn’t thought about the batts in the cube. Great idea. The smaller ones I could keep in the plastic bin in the cube.

  10. Question: what do you use the icecream scoops for?? I sooo need to put order into my spaces of overwhelming fiber stuff also and thank you for the inspiring ideas with how they have or have not worked well for you.

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Nancy. I use the ice cream scoops and soup ladle for making pods and vessels. Good luck getting your space organized. It does feel good when things are right at hand and in order. Let us know how it goes.

  11. ruthlane says:

    Great job organizing Marilyn! My wool is pretty much all stuffed into plastic bins willy-nilly. I have a bin for resists and plastic and then everything else is on shelves along the walls. But I certainly have a problem with what to do with older work that hasn’t sold and it just starts to pile up. And of course then there is all the silk screening, painting, sketchbooks, mixed media, pens and pencils etc. etc. etc. I am awash with stuff.

  12. Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

    Thanks Ruth! It does help to organize by color. Yes, the piles of finished projects do grow quickly.

    My craft stuff isn’t organized either and that’s upstairs in another room sitting in bins. I need to do something with that, too. 🙂 And then there’s my papermaking stuff… one thing at a time. :-0

  13. josiedb says:

    Marilyn, I love how you have organized your work space. It’s very inspirational and makes me want to organize my space more. Good job!

    • Marilyn aka Pandagirl says:

      Thanks Josie! I’m glad it’s providing some inspiration. Once its done its very freeing. Good luck!

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