Friday, October 5, 2012

Closet Makeover

I cleaned out my closet.
No, I mean, I REALLY cleaned out my closet! My closet at work, that is. Also known as The Black Hole of Calcutta. Curious children often poke their heads in, and I tell them, "Oh, honey, don't go in there, we'll never find you again!"
I wish I had a before picture. What I really wish I had, is a picture of way-before: what it looked like when I first started working there. I took over from a long string of pack rats, who kept (real example) copies of thank-you notes that someone sent the year I was born. I spent my first two weeks throwing things away. Of course, being new, I ran across many things that I thought maybe I should keep, just in case they were important (or, just as often, because I didn't know what they were!) Every subsequent year, usually after summer reading had ended, I tackled the closet once again, and got rid of a little bit more.
At the same time, I have been constantly adding just a little bit more...okay, a lot more! I like to stock up at work just as I do at home. I find things at yard sales a lot, and whenever I have the budget money to order a certain art supply, I order enough for future projects, as well.
Another thing I have been slowly building up, is a supply of containers of the same brand and roughly the same size. Stacking mis-matched recycled yogurt tubs and shoeboxes doesn't exactly help the sense of clutter.
Last week I was able to eliminate two filing cabinets that were taking up one whole wall, and add two sets of shelves (one salvaged from an old storage area, and one purchased for $59 from Walmart). I took the opportunity to move absolutely everything in the room, putting like things together (what a concept!), and spending another $150 on containers, to once and for all get everything uniform.
Why am I boring you with this? Because I can. Or, because maybe it will give you hope that someday, after ten years or so of fiddling, your problem area may become manageable, too:)
A counterclockwise tour of the room:
The shelves nearest the door are for current projects - this week, some pictures I need to sort, and some puppets I am making into puppet-and-book kits to be checked out. The location means I can easily chuck things onto a shelf when it is time to go, and I haven't finished something. Previously, those things would end up somewhere on the floor of the closet, or piled up on my desk.
The shelves with the mummified body hanging from them are the start of the holiday tubs. The bottom shelf is Valentine's Day and Easter, and Halloween gets...all the other shelves. We like Halloween.
I wish I could take out some of the shelves in the corner, but I would have to cut through them to do so. I'm going to be weeding out some of the old posters and bulletin board characters by holding drawings - I'll create a display of books associated with a set of posters, and when kids check out one of the books, they enter their check-out receipt in a drawing for...the posters! The posters get one last use here, the books get checked out, and my shelves get emptied.
Staring about where the planting stuff is, I have the other holidays...
merging into general activities and celebrations. Then I have almost an entire section of empty containers (WITH the corresponding lids, thank-you very much!), but when SRP rolls around, those containers will be filled with related items, and those will be the srp shelves.
Finally, crafts, crafts, and more crafts! Labeled and organized by type of material. (The bead boxes towards the top, btw, are actually hardware boxes - much cheaper and more versatile than what you find in the craft section!)
The construction paper is even in rainbow order:) Miscellaneous odds and ends go in the shoe rack hanging over the door. A huge thanks to the bored teen volunteers who sorted the giant tub of pasta into the different types!
And yes, as my coworker pointed out when I proudly showed her the finished product, I will probably run out of room again within a month. So, enjoy the pictures, it probably won't look like this for long. This is the first time in ten years, though, that I have at least started with everything in its own place, so, who knows - it may go for a whole two months! (Once srp time approaches, all bets are off).
None of this being exactly Pinterest-worthy, what are some handy tips you have for storing crafts supplies?





  1. Dish tubs from Walmart. They only cost a couple bucks and then I slap a label on them and fill them with stuff - makes it easy to lug across the library to our community room too.

  2. Good one, Jennifer! I use those for the millions of glue bottles. Much sturdier than any baskets I've found, and you can balance them on one hip and disperse with the other hand as you walk down the craft tables.