Pardon the photos in this post. They are from one of my very first posts on the blog and I was just learning how to add filters to my photos. I didn’t do such a great job 😔 New photos coming soon!
A little background information before I get into how I organized my already organized craft room, garage and storage closet. Believe me, it was three days of organizing H- E- double hockey stick 🙂
My family and I moved into our DREAM HOME a little over a year ago. When I say DREAM HOME, I’m not exaggerating! It’s so amazing that I named my blog after it and gave it an entire section on here all to itself titled, “Lake Life”. Look forward to seeing many posts about our life on the lake whether it’s just an evening ride on the pontoon with a glass of wine, bass fishing in the early a.m., or a morning cup of coffee on the dock. It’s hard not to be in a “Lake Life State of Mind” around here.
We moved into our home last summer. That was the perfect time for me as a teacher because I was off and had the entire summer to drag my teenage son around to HomeGoods, Kirkland’s, Pier 1, Michaels and all those other home decor/craft stores. It’s kind of humorous what a teenage boy will do if you promise to take him out to lunch only if he goes to one more store in search of the perfect decorative pillow with you. Bribery at its finest! Anywho, last summer consisted of me unpacking, decorating and organizing every inch of our new home. I quickly realized I could spend the next 20 years of my life trying to accomplish this to meet my specifications. Something of this caliber needed a deadline. In true “Tiffany Style” I organized a Housewarming Party the Sunday before I went back to work to guarantee that I would be done with everything in time for school to start. I knew once school started my mind would be focused on “school stuff” and the house would fall to the waist side. I am happy to report that I made my deadline and finished about 10 minutes before my guests started arriving. I’m not kidding….I was still making the bed upstairs minutes before our first guests showed up. Despite the craziness, it was such a great event and I was so excited to share our new home with family and friends for the first time. It’s so hard to believe it has been a year already.
One of my favorite rooms in our new house is my Ma’am Cave. What’s a Ma’am Cave you ask? It’s the female equivalent to a Man Cave. Pretty cool, right?? I found this adorable sign at Kirklands a few years back and knew I had to have it.
At the time we lived in our previous home where I had a room strictly for my crafts. (Yes, I know I sound spoiled.) When we moved to our new home we lost a room and I needed to get creative with the space I had. We had this enormous laundry room that had these great cabinets and countertops already installed. I knew I could easily turn this into a multi-purpose room with a little bit of shelving and an open mind. We were really fortunate to have a close friend who was dating a master carpenter at the time we moved into our house. Together, he and I were able to come up with a great design for this room that not only looked beautiful but was functional. Once the shelving was installed I made a trip to Michaels for crafting containers and began ORGANIZING. I was THRILLED with the final product and breathed a sigh of relief when it was done.
And then I left my job to pursue blogging…..
If you don’t have a teacher in your family let me fill you in on a little secret. We are all hoarders! Yes, I admit it. I’ve packed things and moved them from one city to the next in the rare event that I might use it someday. When I decided to pursue blogging full-time I had to pack up my things, again. I tried to purge some things at school, and even give some things away before I left, but I still ended up with four totes of items I just couldn’t part with! They came home with me and sat in my garage the entire summer until my husband got tired of looking at them and put them in our storage closet. I was avoiding organizing them like the plague. I knew most of these items needed to find a place in my Ma’am Cave but in order for them to fit, I’d have to REORGANIZE my entire room. Really??? Who wants to REORGANIZE AN ALREADY ORGANIZED ROOM? Not me! And like that, the procrastinating went into overdrive. Eventually, with school starting last week, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and begin this dreaded project.
So without further ado, here’s how I reorganized my already organized room.
This is what I started with. I had four totes and some additional organizing containers from my old classroom that I needed to find a home for. I carried the totes into the house and the organizing began.
Group items into General Piles
When you are organizing a space it is always important to group “like items” together. As I started pulling things out of my totes I started making piles on the floor of items that went together. I started with more general piles and then broke those general piles into more specific piles once everything was unloaded. Here’s an example of this concept: General – Animals Specific – Farm animals, Marine Animals, Safari Animals. Some of my general piles were for books, art supplies, office supplies, etc. Your piles will be different based on what you are organizing. Always have a garbage pile and a donate pile as well. Even though I had items that I thought “I couldn’t part with” when I left school, now that it was two months later I realized these were things I would never use. These items were either put in the garbage pile or were good enough to pass on to another teacher friend of mine.
It’s going to look like complete chaos at first but that’s okay! This is what my room looked like. This is the dirtiest you will ever see this room. It gives me hives to look at these pictures!
Group items into Specific Piles
Once I had my general piles all set and my totes unloaded I began my more specific piles. Again, this is going to be based on you and your needs. Remember this room was already organized so I tried to add any items I unloaded from my totes into those already created categories. I know that sounds obvious but I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.
Leftover items not fitting into a category
For the remaining items that didn’t fit in one of those categories, I had to start asking some questions to determine what to do with them. Some questions I asked myself when deciding what specific piles to make were: What is the purpose of this space? Who is going to be using this space? What items am I going to use most often? Less often?
The answers to these questions were extremely helpful in determining how I went about organizing my space. Even though this is my “Ma’am Cave”, it’s essentially the office area of our house. I needed to have a space for our son’s school supplies, my office supplies, our books, plus my crafts! Unfortunately for me, this meant that some items I was housing in the Ma’am Cave wouldn’t fit anymore and I’d have to find them to a new home. What turned out to be a Ma’am Cave organizing project quickly turned into a garage and storage closet project as well. Boy did I bite off more than I could chew!
Before I show you the final product I do have to put in a disclaimer when it comes to my organizing containers. Everything that is out in the open is color coordinated and “pretty”. On the flipside, everything that is inside the cabinets, although organized, is in an array of organizing containers that are not matching. Here’s my reasoning. A good portion of the items I brought home from my “school days” were organizing containers I had in my classroom. I honestly couldn’t let them go to waste. I also couldn’t bring myself to spend even MORE money on containers that no one was really going to see unless I left my cabinets open 24/7. Now I might get arrested by the Pinterest Police on this decision but it is what is and I’m happy with my final outcome. You too can join the dark side. I dare you! Go shopping in your own home for containers you aren’t currently using or shop the clearance section at your local craft/home goods store for containers. I won’t tell anyone. I promise 🙂
Well here it is. Ta Da!
The pink mason jars were found at Wal-Mart in the clearance section. They were used for my cousin’s baby shower and I repurposed them. I used a white paint pen to write the letters on the jars to spell out, “Make and Create”.
About the containers
All of my containers on the shelves (except the three-tier Rubbermaid container) were purchased from Michaels. I never pay full price at Michaels and neither should you. They have coupons ALL the time and are constantly running specials on their crafting containers and baskets. If you are a teacher you also get a 15% off discount on all items regular or sale priced. If you’re not a teacher, befriend one and snag their discount. You can return the favor with wine. Teachers like wine, or maybe they need wine…that’s still yet to be determined.
In the sticker section of Michaels, I was able to find the chalkboard labels that I placed on the front of the containers. Instead of using chalk to write on the labels I used a white paint pen. I have used chalk in the past but I didn’t like how it came off easily. If you make a mistake when writing with the paint pen just wipe it clean with a baby wipe or wet paper towel before it dries. Just a little trick I’ve learned from experience. For the two wired baskets on the second shelf, I have chalkboard cards attached to the baskets with small decorative clothespins. Again, both were purchased at Michaels. If you wanted a more frugal way to achieve a similar look you could use black cardstock or construction paper instead of the chalkboard cards. Cut the paper into a rectangular shape, write your title, punch a hole in the paper and attach it to your basket with ribbon.
The three-tier Rubbermaid container was purchased from Wal-Mart. These containers can also be found at Target and I know I have scored a few really cheap ones at garage sales. To make the container more visually appealing I simply took some craft paper and covered the front of each drawer. The craft paper is actually taped to the inside of each drawer. I didn’t add a label but you could easily do so.
On the countertop to the left, you will see my Circuit machine along with a decorative box that houses all my Circuit cartridges and tools. All the way to the right is our printer along with a memory shadowbox I made. Whenever we do something fun we keep our ticket stub or a little something to remind us of our experience and place it in the box. We love to go through it from time to time and reminisce!
Now for the cabinets…
I had three main sections of bottom cabinets. In addition to those bottom cabinets, I had six drawers. I honestly wish I had more cabinet space and fewer drawers because I struggled to find things to put inside of the drawers. I ended up only using 2 out of the 6 drawers. I am sure I can find something to go into the other 4 at some point, but for now, they are empty.
For the first set of cabinets all the way to the left I chose to house books, keepsake cards and some photographs. The majority of my photos and frames ended up getting relocated to the garage which I will show in my next post. I just kept one box of photos, but I am sure those too, will eventually be relocated to the garage once we add some more books to the cabinet. For the containers, I used 2 Rubbermaid shoebox containers purchased from Wal-Mart, a photobox purchased from Michaels, and a greeting card keepsake box from Hallmark that I’ve had for ages. Again, use whatever tickles your pickle since no one is going to see it anyway! The two drawers above these cabinets are empty.
I decided to use the middle cabinet section for school and office supplies. I ended up utilizing the cabinets and both drawers for our supplies. On the bottom section of the cabinets (starting all the way to the left) I used another three-tier Rubbermaid container to organize Zach’s loose-leaf paper and index cards. On the top of that container, I put extra one subject notebooks and page protectors. Next to the Rubbermaid container, I have a mail organizer I repurposed to hold extra folders and additional supplies. Finally, on the right side of the bottom cabinet, I have a file folder crate I purchased at Wal-Mart to hold all our important papers. I used hanging file folders to alphabetize all our bills and important information for easy access. Whenever I get a new statement it always goes at the front of the folder so it’s in sequential order from newest to oldest in terms of date. The top shelf within the cabinet houses all my office supplies. If you look to the left you will see some binders and then another mail organizer. The binders are all my current resources for blogging that I have printed out. The mail organizer (purchased at Homegoods) is a portable office supply kit that I can pick up and bring with me to the kitchen island where I do all my blogging from. It’s everything I need in one place! On the right side of the upper shelf, you’ll see containers with some miscellanies office supplies and blank cards. The containers were purchased at Michaels.
The drawers on top of the middle cabinets house more office/school supplies. On the left, you’ll find an organizer I purchased from Ikea. What I love about this organizer is you can move the containers around to fit the size of your drawer! The left drawer has post-it notes, notepads and sticky tabs to last me a lifetime. The organizing container in this draw was purchased from Wal-Mart in the kitchen section. It’s meant to organize your kitchen utensils but I chose to use it in this way instead.
You will see that the cabinets all the way to the right of my Ma’am Cave look the fullest. They might not even look very organized to you but indeed they are. The main purpose of these cabinets is to house all my larger art/craft supplies that can’t fit into cute containers on my shelves. I have a Rubbermaid container for ribbon as well as one for different kinds of fabric. I also have a container for miscellanies craft supplies like feathers, beads, googly eyes, etc. I have a cute container with flowers on it that I purchased at Michaels for small gift bags, boxes and wrapping paper. My sewing machine is down there as well. I also decided to keep items that I am collecting for future crafts in this cabinet. This cabinet looks crowded but I know where everything is and all the items housed within the cabinet are related. The drawers above the cabinet are empty.
Finally, I have this awesome rolling craft cart I purchased from Michaels to organize all my scrapbooking materials. I believe I got this one year on Black Friday for dirt cheap. The only catch was that it needed to be assembled after purchasing it. It was super simple to put together. A few screws and an allen wrench was all it took.
There’s no doubt I have been busy organizing my already organized room. Like I mentioned previously, I had so much “stuff” in my Ma’am Cave that I had to start dispersing items to my garage and storage closet. What I thought would be a one day organizing project turned into a three day, three area extravaganza! I am, however, thrilled with my final outcome and the feeling of accomplishment I now have after doing this is worth all the time and effort I put into it.
Stay tuned to see more on this transformation.