Spring Cleaning Your Craft Space : Guest Post by Wendy Smedley

While I am getting some Week In The Life content ready for later this week, next week, and the week after, I invited two of my favorite craft-organizing people to put together guest-posts on the topic of spring cleaning & getting organized before starting a new project. 

First up, Wendy Smedley will present the system she uses to get her craft space organized & three of her favorite organization inspirations. On Wednesday Aby Garvey from Simplify101 will specifically address getting organized for the Week In The Life project. 

On Thursday I'll be posting more specifics on the plan I'll be
following in my own album. For all the basics on the Week In The Life project check out this post.


What a thrill to be hanging out on Ali's blog. I am sure we can relate to the desire to spring clean, especially after a long cold dreary winter. Take advantage of this desire and spend some time with your stash of supplies. These tasks work for those with a dedicated space, as well as those with a portable or hidden space. I have touched on three topics to assist your spring cleaning; purging, storage, and spring nesting. Read through the ideas and suggestions and set a goal, a realistic goal, for yourself. Then dig right in.



Carve out a spot for purging and sorting and gather the stuff below:

  • 3 bags, boxes, or other containers

  • large trash can or bag

  • one to keep

  • one for giveaway or sale

  • one for long term storage (you just aren't ready to part with it yet, or you rarely use it so you can keep it out of your active space)

  • sharpie

  • post it notes

  • timer

  • cleaning and or dusting supplies

Determine where you are going to start, top to bottom, left to right, counter to floor. Either way, designate a starting spot.



Keys to consider while purging:

  • remember that if you haven't used item in 6 months-1 year then get rid of it

  • you are wasting physical and emotional energy by storing it

  • you have my permission to discard something that you spent good money on
    someone else will appreciate it

  • if you don't love it, then remove it

  • you can always buy more or borrow your neighbors

  • less is more

  • trust me, you will feel better in the morning

  • think how awesome it will be to know where everything is



It helps to have a deadline, choose whatever block of time you have and set a timer. Now get moving! (If you like to listen to music put some on or if you want to listen to scrapbook chat try out paperclipping roundtable.)


As you remove containers, take the time to clean shelves, cabinets, or dust decor.

After you finish a category or section of purging, (such as stickers)
you can do one of two things:

1. one-sort the product you are keeping into further piles if necessary
2. set aside the keep pile until you are done with more purging

Either way, after you have gone through your products you will need to physically remove the products you are no longer housing, get them out of sight. Put them in your car to drop off or put them in the garage. With the items you want to store elsewhere do the same. Now you have your piles or box of items you are keeping. Time or organize and sort.


Organization is defined as the method or approach you use to systematize your stuff. For example think of ribbon, you could organize this product many ways. The way you choose should suit how you think or work. Scrap by color, then organize by color. Scrap by season or theme, then organize by season or theme. Understand that you will employ a variety of organizational approaches in your space. I organize my letter stickers by brand while organizing my punches by size. See the difference.


  • by color

  • by brand

  • by theme or season

  • by style (such as polka dot, word, stripe)

  • by material (twill, pom pom, satin, grosgrain)

Get the idea? Determine your organization method for your products, then sort accordingly.


putting your stash back into your existing storage, evaluate the
placement of your containers and the containers themselves.
Do they suit your organization approach?


I love buckets, and I mean love. I used them as storage for
embellishments, tags, adhesives, ribbon, chipboard, alpha letters, you
name it, HOWEVER round storage containers don't fit together very snug
so you end up with dead space. I consolidated my bucket storage into
bigger baskets. Everything is snug and I still have the hidden but open
storage that I prefer, and I take full advantage of the prime storage
space in my office.


When deciding what containers to use for storage consider the

  • What do you have room for?

  • How many steps do you want to take to access your stuff?

  • Are children a consideration?

  • Do you need covered storage to keep the dust or moisture out?

  • What is your budget?

  • Does it need to be portable?

  • Can you double up the storage? (store multiple items together- like
    ribbon and fabric)

WS.full jars

Start placing your products in
containers to see what works best. Sometimes you can estimate if a
container has adequate space to store, other times you need to try it
out. Avoid running out and purchasing a bunch of containers until you
have an overall plan. Often the containers themselves can run more that
the actual products. Look around your house for containers, pick some up
at a thrift store, or buy used ones on auction sites. If you are in the
market for some pricey containers find something to use as a makeshift
container until you get your hands on what you want. (sell your purged
items to buy new containers). Storing and organizing is an ongoing
process for most of us as our purchasing habits change and as we gain
new products or tools and stop using others.


This is my ribbon storage, I used to store ribbon in glass jars by
color, but I found I rarely used them and they were taking up prime
space> I consolidated into this open basket and it works
exceptionally well for me.


One of the best organization secrets I have gleaned is to double up
on organization using storage. Think of an open drawer, within that
drawer you could place containers that further divide the space. On my
work desk I have an open tray that houses my most used tools (besides
pens) and within the tray I have a couple of buckets designated for
specific items.


This works well to keep everything in its place and it makes clean up
easier. Finally, there is no secret clue to storage and organization,
go with your unique needs, and use what you buy.


ONE : Take Advantage of Unused Space


Insert some style and color with
paper chandeliers, poms or Chinese lanterns.
Here's a link to Margie
Romney Aslett
this idea
on a local morning show.


Place favorite gifts, books,
mini albums, page layouts, or other objects in unused pockets of space.

TWO : Update Your Labeling



I used strips of plain red fabric and added tags with bakers twine
(my new obsession).

THREE : Switch Out Your Displays


  • swap your images/photos that are in frames

  • add some color
    with fabric wrapped frames (check out a video showing
    this technique here)

Here's a couple of my favorite links for display inspiration and

Amy Atlas
or Sweet

Whatever you decide to do, spending time with your stuff should make
you happy, not frustrated. Get it under control with a timely spring
cleaning and feel happy with your stuff again. 

Looking for the best organizing info on the web, check out Simplfy101.com.


ABOUT WENDY : Wendy Smedley was the Creative Editor for Simple Scrapbooks Magazine for over five years. She authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Scrapbooking" and more recently co-authored "The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker," and she has a book for scrapbookers out fall of 2010 geared towards newbies.
Smedley, who calls Utah home, has been a frequent guest host for PBS tv show, "Scrapbook memories" and is a certified veteran of industrial retail trade shows.
She has internationally taught classes on memory-keeping.
When not journaling,cutting, or cropping Smedley enjoys reading good books,photographing her family, independent cinema and spending time with her husband, Kent, five boys and an assortment of animals.Visit Wendy's blog or follow her on Twitter here.

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31 thoughts

  1. Sarah says…

    Oh, you make it sound/look so easy...

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Mary Ann says…

    Thanks for the great ideas.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Melanie says…

    Love you and love all your ideas!

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Noell Hyman says…

    We have a great event going on to donate unwanted scrapbook items for the making of Life Books for children under care of the state. People are weighing their donations and we will announce the total weight donated on National Scrapbook Day, May 1st.
    If anyone is purging and interested in this very cool project, I have the details up at Paperclipping.com.
    Awesome post, Wendy! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. sarah says…

    Great ideas! I tried to clean my craft room a few weeks back, I stood in the middle of the room with a broom and then decided to take a nap instead! :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Samara says…

    Thanks for the introduction to Wendy. I really like her style of writing and the ideas she shared!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Elaine Allen says…

    Ali -
    Thank you for having Wendy as a guest blogger. Perfect timing because I really need to buckle down and organize my studio. I keep putting it off -- but I think Wendy just gave me the push I needed. THANK YOU SO MUCH to both of you!
    Elaine Allen

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Ali Edwards says…

    This is great Noell!

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. con-tain-it says…

    Great post and love hearing from Wendy :D Love those baskets and tags...anyone wanting to use pastel colors can pick up some baskets at Michaels this week...real cheap because they are cleaning out their spring assortment. The rectangle ones like Wendy's hold the three of the floos caddies which are great for storing all your ephemera. Hope this helps!

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. con-tain-it says…

    Wow...great cause...I may have to go dig my stuff out of storage and donate :D

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Therese Bradley says…

    The idea to donate my excess is just the motivation I need to purge. Thanks for having Wendy be a guest blogger.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. Kathy says…

    This is the best 'getting organized' article that I've read - great ideas, to the point, and easy to follow. Thanks! And I will pass on the scrapbook materials donation information.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Angie says…

    Awesome post, Wendy!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Rachel says…

    great article! inspiring! now, if I can only get my 1 year old to not 'help' so much :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Elise says…

    Read all the articles I can find on organizing as my space is defined, evolves, etc.... This one is particularly helpful. thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Leni says…

    perfect advice!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Cindy d says…

    Wonderful tips! Love it all.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Dawn says…

    Wonderful tips thanks for the suggestions

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. LizzyM says…

    Oh, I love that you have this post up today! Totally on my to do list for the week, and now this has energized me. I can't wait to be done with my housework to dive right in!

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Marci says…

    I saw the segment on paper pom poms on our local TV show Studio 5 with Margie Romney. I actually did them this weekend for my craft room! I love how it turned out. I did bright green pom poms with turquoise ribbon. It really makes the space fun!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Rachel Witthaus says…

    Great post! I think the organisation is the part I struggle with the most - more than the actual scrapping. With limited space and a meager budget I often end up with piles surrounding my chair. Thanks for the motivation to get it organised :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. kimberly says…

    So very timely- great ideas, love the variety of containers and you've motivated me to start cleaning out my clutter and keep what I use and love.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Susan says…

    Two weeks ago, I decided it was time to let go of everything that I'd been holding on to. I donated 8 bags of clothes and blankets to Goodwill and found new homes for many items. I created space - I have empty space and drawers and it feels great. It was so freeing. Everything feels new, fresh and ready for spring.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Kathy Kurth says…

    Using Margie's room as inspiration not only did I spring clean but redecorated and altered a ton of stuff, so now my room is looking more and more shabby chic everyday and I am loving it!

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Maureen says…

    Thank you Wendy for your guidance. I DID listen to the paperclipping roundtable and CraftSanity podcasts today.
    Could you tell me what the decorated clothespins are used for?

    Reply 0 Replies

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