Christmas is a time for crafts. And that requires more than a few glue sticks and felt. All the tools and materials to create the magic of a handmade gift are now scattered around the house from the homeschool experiments, lap books and unit studies you’ve done all year.
As a new homeschool mom, and longtime craft hoarder, I found that all those fun things I bought because it piqued my interest came in handy. The craft supplies I once used only a few times a year came out regularly. My old bins with a mix of loose glue sticks, glitter bottles (with tops that may or may not be screwed on tight, or right), and pom poms just didn’t cut it.
Last year I put some tools and habits in place to make this crafting season much easier, and less expensive. I’m not rooting around in the closets and under cabinets looking for the bag of glue sticks I know I bought or rummaging through clearly labeled bins that don’t include anything on the neatly printed label.
We live in a tiny big house, as Morgan likes to say, and we call Goldilocks. It’s not too big, not too small, it’s just right. We could use some more space in the garage, an office for me and a pool (sigh), but, really, we have all we need. However, crafts, school supplies and all that detritus tend to find ways into every room and onto every surface. That doesn’t work well for our tiny big house. Here are a few tips to corral all that gets used to make memorable gifts for the holidays and use all year in your homeschool endeavors.
Storage Ideas for Small Spaces
A rolling cart can be so handy to move from a dining/homeschool room to a bedroom for overnight or long-term storage. Invest in one that can roll over carpet and doesn’t fall apart if you have to pick it up and carry it upstairs or to a co-op.
Use the inside of doors. A 24-pocket shoe holder or organizer is a great way to maximize space and store all those hard to package items. Here’s a pic of ours with glitter, pom-poms pencils, foam sheets, glue sticks, beads and those surprisingly handy pipe cleaners.
A hanging craft cabinet can be placed in a hallway or office to store all the littles. Use the top to hold jars filled with buttons, glitter tubes or stickers as a pretty display that also maximizes the use.
Thrift Store Finds for Organizing
Pillboxes work well with crafts such as diamond art, beads, leftover parts and pins for projects. Spice racks make great storage for buttons, pom-poms and bits leftover from kits. Plastic sleeves can hold stickers, stencils, die cuts from Cricut projects, instructions and printed ideas for crafts for the next holiday that you find months ahead of time. I also use serving sets for silverware or cups to hold markers, paintbrushes, rulers and all those supplies we need in our daily homeschool.
Paper towel holders work well for ribbons. I picked a few up at a thrift store and plop the ribbons on and put them in the top of the kids’ closet for later use.
Storing Craft Supplies
We use certain supplies more than others. Storing them well so they can be used again and found easily by any member of the family (hahahaha, mom joke).
Paint for Preservation
It gets used all year long, for projects, handmade gifts and, of course, all those holiday gifts throughout the year. They also dry out quickly and roll in, under and around the craft station. Those small acrylic bottles of paint can last longer when stored in air tight containers. Take it a step further and store paint bottles upside down in plastic storage boxes. You can see the paint color you want quickly from the top and if it’s already dried out. Make sure the lids are on tight. I prefer clear plastic storage boxes that are long enough to hold paintbrushes as well. I hate searching for the right paint brush after locating all the paints!
If you paint quite often, place the brushes in jars along with colored pencils and markers. It makes a pretty display on top of a cabinet or some other out of the way place that is also easy to find (allegedly, am I right?! Mom! Where’s the paint brushes?!)
I use scrapbook paper for cards, gift tags, banners and picture frames. I find it on clearance and used to store it in drawers or hanging sweater organizers. But I couldn’t see it to use it. I found these great clear sleeves let me see what I have and actually use it! I
Hang books of scrapbook paper on cork boards or neatly in a line on a wall as decor. Slip them into accordion files or in clear storage file boxes. The bits of leftover cuts from the Cricut can be kept in clear sleeves in three-ring binders to use in other projects.
Vinyl and Iron On Rolls
There are many ways to store the rolls of vinyl and iron on materials. I like a wide barrel with them simply upturned. It looks pretty sitting in the corner and readily available. However, if you don’t use the vinyl and iron on rolls often, they will quickly collect dust. The plastic storage tower sheet organizers that hold multiple rolls are handy, and they also gather dust, glitter, feathers and anything else that floats through the air in your active homeschool.
A clear 12-gallon storage box with a lid will keep the rolls preserved and dust free. If you are an avid Cricut user or crafter, organize them by color and material. Otherwise, I just keep them in one bin and in clear plastic bags within the bin.