My craft room has become a storage room. It’s time to reclaim my creative space and beat back the hoarding monsters who have taken over the room in the past two years. I’m armed for battle and I shall prevail! At the end of this week, I WILL have a properly organized craft room that I’m proud to show off.
Right now I’m not so proud of what my craft room looks like. But we’re friends here, right? You don’t mind my mess too much… or at least you’re polite enough not to scoff at what I’m about to reveal below. Brace yourself. It’s going to get really scary before it gets better.
Live Craft Room Organizing Updates all Week
NOTE: Live updates are over. But read through each daily update below to follow along of the progress I made on this 10-Day Adventure!
I’m on vacation from the day job this week. Today is Saturday and it’s my first official day off. Instead of a fancy vacation at the beach this year, I’ve set this time aside to clean. Fun, huh? I know… not exactly the dream vacation of the overworked and tired. But I’m excited about what I’m going to have at the end of all this work. And to keep me motivated and on task, I thought I’d bring you along for the ride.
Throughout this week I’m going to update you on my progress, with photos, of course. I’ll also be showing you how I’m using my journaling system to keep me on task and track a few key things I need to track. So come back throughout the week and cheer me on (because I know I’m going to need it!).
The Back Story about my Craft Room
My craft room – which I often refer to as my art studio, so if I refer to it as that, it’s all the same thing – is one of my spare bedrooms that’s been converted into a creator’s paradise. I think the remodel happened sometime back in 2005 or so. That’s when I was running a side business making scrapbook albums for other people using their photos and I needed all the space I could get for the supplies that type of venture requires. For years it was where I spent most of my free time.
Then about 2.5 years ago I had a home repair emergency where portions of the subfloors of my house needed to be torn up and replaced. That project resulted in a mini house remodeling adventure, I have all new flooring throughout the house, a new gorgeous bathroom and some newly painted rooms in the house. But, as you can imagine, when you replace the flooring in your whole house, all the stuff in the house needs to GO somewhere while you’re pulling up the carpet. Yep, you guessed it – the craft room became the storage room for everything that was displaced elsewhere in the house. That remodeling project dragged on beyond my ability to cope with it and one day I just screamed “STOP!” and decided I was done.
That dramatic stopping point left me with a remodeling project that was about 98% finished. There’s still some trim work to deal with and two more rooms that need to be painted. AND…. it left me with a craft room that remained a storage room filled with stuff I probably needed to just get rid of instead of store in the first place.
Enough Chatting. Let’s See the Before Pictures!
Here are a few before pictures to give you a sense of how bad things are. I’m working hard not to be embarrassed by this. But I’m embracing real life and hoping that you guys will jump in and tell me that you have a secret room like this too (even if you have to lie to me!). I even took video of the room so you’ll get an even close up view of it later.
How Am I Using my Bullet Journal for Organizing my Craft Room?
Oh hey! I’m so glad you asked. Let me tell you all about it! I’m doing this whole project Pomodoro Style! And I’m tracking progress as I go.
What’s Pomodoro Style? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method where you set a timer for a set amount of time (usually 25 minutes) and then take a short break (usually 5 minutes). After you do four Pomorodos in a row, you take a longer break (usually 20 minutes). Then start all over again. The key is to use that 25-minute time block as a hyper-focused work session and work as hard and fast as you can without letting distractions pull you from the specific task. It’s a race against the clock to see how much you can accomplish before the alarm goes off.
So I’ve created a big master list of 25-minute tasks in my bullet journal and as I finish that task, I cross it off as finished. Whenever I have a massive project, breaking it down into “bite-sized chunks” helps me stay on track and feel like I’m making progress. I’ll also keep track of how many Pomorodos I complete for the week.
What Else Will I Track?
The goal is to get rid of 60-70% of all the crap in that craft room. There’s plenty of stuff that’ll just end up in the trash, but also lots of things that need to be donated to charity or sold on eBay, Facebook, crafting Buy/Sell/Trade groups or Craigslist. All the donated stuff will need to be tracked so I can capture the tax deduction. So I want to keep track of all that stuff … mostly because I’m a nerd about data and it’s fun to see those numbers add up as I go. And look at this handy tool!
Bags o' Trash
Items to Sell
Day 1: Saturday
Today is all about setting the stage and diving in. I spent the morning cleaning the house (kitchen, living room, office) so I’d at least have a clean house under what was about to happen. I then moved all the future in the living room back against the walls to make a large open space to be used as my “staging area” where I’ll sort through boxes from the craft room.
The big goal for today is to clear the craft room! Anything that’s being stored on the floor in that room needs to come out go to the staging area for sorting. I’ve set aside at least 4 Pomodoro Sessions for this part.
For now, I don’t plan to remove the craft supplies that are on the shelves above the countertops, the built-in wall of shelving, or the closet. I’ll do that another day. Today, I just want to find the floor in the craft room.
Once the room is cleared, I’ll begin the big sorting process. I’ll sort into Trash, Donate, Sell, and Keep.
Day 1: Tasks
Clean the house Break down photo/video studio Prepare staging area Set up zones (trash, donate, sell) Remove everything fromfloor incraft room Vacuum craft room floor Begin sorting instaging area Document donation items & pack up
- Trash run at end of the day
Day 1: Wrap up and Reflection
Whew! I survived the first day and I’m happy with my progress. I finished everything on my task list except taking a load of trash down to the dumpster (it’s nice to have that option rather than letting it all pile up at my house all week). Today’s lessons:
- I have a lot of frickin’ crap! Why couldn’t I be born with the minimalist gene instead of the hoarding gene? I’m determined to get rid of the vast majority of this stuff!
- I’m not as young and spry as I used to be. <sigh> So many sore muscles at the end of the day!
- Accountability (this blog and my beloved friends in The Stationery Nerd Herd Facebook group) is a powerful motivator.
And to wrap up the day, here are a few photos of the progress.
Day 2: Sunday
Today is all about sorting! The living room (aka: staging area) is more packed than I thought it’d be. It’s quite overwhelming, actually. When I got up this morning and walked into the room, I said out loud: “Oh man… what have I done?” So yeah, I think I need to deal with the sorting process today as much as possible. If I can make a dent in the pile it might seem less daunting.
This morning I’ll pack up a load of boxes and stuff in the car and drop it off at the charity shop after church. I’ll also take a load of trash down to the dumpster. So having those two piles out of the house should help with the sense of overwhelm (let’s hope!).
Even though I don’t want to get distracted with going through stuff in the craft room yet – on the counters, built-in wall of shelves, and the other shelves above the counters – I think I might give myself one Pomodoro session in the craft room to just deal with the easy stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that can go straight to the donation or trash piles and I’d like to take a crack at that. I think it’ll also help me feel like I’m making good progress on the room.
I’m switching to a new color of highlighter in the bullet journal spread to track progress. Yesterday was blue, today will be yellow. I think this will help me visually see how much I have accomplished each day (plus it’ll be pretty at the week!).
Day 2: Tasks
Trash run with yesterday’s stuff
- Pack up donation boxes in car
- Drop off donations after church
Purge easy stuff from counters and shelves incraft room Sort boxes in staging area – Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash Sort some more boxes. Just keep sorting. Just keep sorting. Just keep sorting. Pack donations and record items injournal .
Day 2: Wrap up and Reflection
This morning when I got up and walked out to the living room I had a moment of regret and panic. “What have I done?” Yes, I literally said that out loud (I assume that when I talk to myself that the cats are listening and they care.) I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t dig into the mess aggressively today that I’d lose heart and give up. So I was relentless in sorting and purging today. You can see from the ticker up above that the “Bags o’ Trash” and “Boxes to Donate” numbers went up significantly.
My mother decided she wanted to look through my donation pile before I took it all to the charity shop. So I didn’t take a load to town today. I’ll do that another day this week. (If I wait too much longer I’m going to need to borrow the parents’ truck to haul it all in!)
I’ve been tracking my progress in my bullet journal. Look at the spread in my bullet journal — all that yellow was done on Day 2!!
- Eating healthy is important to keep up your energy. No, mac-n-cheese is not a healthy choice. Either is brownies. Maybe try some protein, huh?
- Amazon Music kept me company all day. Because I have Amazon Prime there’s a ton of free music included – so I spent my day with Amos Lee and Iron & Wine.
- The Pomodoro Method says 25 minutes of focused work and 5 minutes of rest. Those rest periods are just as important to the work periods. So take your rests!
And to wrap up the day, here are a few photos of the progress.
Day 3: Monday
I was up early this morning and already put in an hour sorting stuff in the craft room before breakfast. That hour made me realize how much MORE work there is once I get to the part of the list where I’m sorting and purging actual craft supplies. In the pictures above of the wall of shelving, you’ll see on the far left there are three whole shelves filled with yarn and knitting supplies. I think those need to go! And the scrapbook paper needs to be sorted and purged too!
But the craft room isn’t my focus today. I need to keep moving forward with the piles in the living room and sort, sort, sort, and then sort some more. I made good progress yesterday and need to keep that momentum going. I’m amazed at how much I’m throwing in the trash and it feels good to be rid of all that stuff.
I have a few distractions happening today. I’m taking my car in to be fixed (say a little prayer that this does the trick!). So that’ll take me out of commission for a couple hours. Plus my mother is coming over this afternoon after we drop off my car so she can look through my donation pile to see if there’s anything she can pilfer before it gets shipped out. Otherwise, it’s all hands on deck again today.
Day 3: Tasks
Trash run to get rid of yesterday’s pile Sort through stuff on counters incraft room Sort through scraps of scrapbook paper and jumbled mess of paper on shelves Figure out what to do with the old computer monitor (who recycles?) Record donation items in journal & pack into boxes
- Remove the old television mount from the wall in the craft room
Sort more boxes instaging area. Just keep sorting, sorting, sorting. Eat healthier today.
Day 3: Wrap up and Reflection
Whew! This decluttering thing is hard work! But it sure does feel great to see the progress! The living room / staging area is starting to have a floor again and if I stick to the sorting today, I just might get through the rest of it. At rough count, I think there are about a dozen boxes to sort through yet — then the huge mountain of tote bags, briefcases, messenger bags, purses (did I mention I have a bag obsession?).
Yesterday I unearthed some treasures:
- A set of 100 Crayola Super Tip Markers — which is funny because I didn’t remember owning these and just recently bought a new set for myself. Oops!
- The book by Marie Kondo: The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up . Yes, I found it in the bottom of a box of miscellaneous clutter. No, I’m not holding each item in my hand to determine if it’s bringing me joy before I decide what to do with it (that’d take me 10 years!). I’m being RUTHLESS and getting rid of 90% of the stuff I’m sorting. I thought my percentage of purge would be closer to 70%, but I’m glad to know that I’m getting rid of so much more than that.
- I found a few boxes in a row that held a treasure trove of Traveler’s Notebook supplies. Inserts, accessories, kraft folders, plastic pockets…. The last time I was in a TN was back in 2015-ish, so that gives you an idea of how old this stuff is that I’m sorting through. It was nice to find the stash now that I’m back in a TN again.
Today had a 5-hour interruption that stunted my progress a bit. I needed to deliver my car to the mechanic and my Mom volunteered to give me a life. She arrived with my sister in tow… who was on her way to the vet with the new puppies for their 6-week checkup. Puppy Invasion!
Of course, while my mom and sister were here, they pilfered my donation pile and claimed a bunch of stuff to take home. And a few things from my “to sell” pile found a new home too. They left with about 3 big boxes of stuff.
And to follow up with the goal of eating healthier today… yes, that happened. I grabbed some groceries on the way back from the mechanic and cooked a proper dinner (sausage, peppers and tomatoes over rice). I also drank more water than coffee and didn’t eat any brownies.
And to wrap up the day, here are a few photos of the progress.
Day 4: Tuesday
Oooo… I’m feeling the hard work this morning! My muscles are screaming at me. More yoga stretching this morning before I dive back into the fray!
Today is going to be another short day of work because I’ve got a meeting this evening and need to wrap up with the cleanup project by 3:30 or so. I also need to figure out how I’m going to get to my meeting since my car is still at the mechanic and he said he wants to just keep it until he’s sure it’s fixed (not sure how long that’s going to be but I told him keep it forever if he wants since I hate that car so much).
Only about a dozen boxes left to sort today. Then the mountain of tote bags to go through (I need to be ruthless with that pile, it’s going to be hard though). I didn’t do a great job of keeping on top of the donation recordkeeping and packing yesterday, so I’ve got 3 boxes to record and pack this morning before I get into the sorting again.
After a bit of research I found out that there’s a computer recycling event happening in town TODAY from 3pm to 7pm. If I can’t make it today, I have to wait until the end of June for another. This’ll be tricky without a car today, but we’ll see if I can swing it.
I’m starting to think about how I’m going to tackle the next phase of this sorting project. As you can see in the photos there’s a whole line of boxes that things have been sorted into. Some of the boxes include random CDs with data I need to review; boxes of photographs; craft supplies; office supplies; gift wrapping stuff; pens/markers/pencils – Whoa! so many!; important paperwork to be filed; genealogy research; and two big totes of “electronics” that will need to be sorted. Besides stationery and bags… I sort of have an obsession with electronic gadgets.
Day 4: Tasks
Yoga stretches & healthy food choices today Finish sorting boxes in staging area. Figure out the car situation so I can drive to my meeting this evening Start second purge (going through the “save” boxes again)
- Start sorting craft room shelves
- Can I make it to the computer recycling event happening today?
Stop at 3:30 today –MEETING CANCELLED (so I worked late into the night!)
Day 4: Wrap up and Reflection
Whew! I finished the first round of sorting of all those boxes from the craft room! I also added in a few extra boxes that were stashed in my bedroom closet. It feels SO good to be done with this phase. My rough calculations show that I’ve spent nearly 16 hours removing all the stuff from the craft room that didn’t belong in there and sorting through all those boxes. No wonder I’m tired!
But here’s a peek at my journal progress.
Today I could feel my energy waning. I know that if I weren’t updating ya’ll here and in the Stationery Nerd Facebook group that I probably wouldn’t have gotten this far. I’m sure it has also helped that the weather this week hasn’t been very nice – rainy and chilly Spring days.
I’ve also been without a vehicle this week since my car is still with the mechanic. This evening I spent a couple hours doing the car shuffle with the family so I could finagle a way to borrow my brother’s car for the rest of the week or until my car is finished. So now car means no trips to drop off donation items regularly… which means the pile is growing quite large in the dining room and making me feel closed in.
And to wrap up the day, here are a few photos of the progress.
Day 5: Wednesday
I have a bunch of appointments today so I won’t get started with cleanup progress today until dinnertime. But today is all about the “second sort” — going through the boxes of stuff that I’ve sorted already to do a second round of purging. I’ve set up the living room to begin this process. There’s a little more on the other side of the room and most of the craft supplies have been staged in the craft room… but this gives you an idea of how much I’ve gotten rid of so far. I’m guessing I’ve purged about 85-90% of the stuff I removed from the room originally.
Day 5: Tasks
- Appointments until 4PM today.
- Load car with donation boxes & drop off while I’m out and about today
- Begin the “second sort”
- Document and box up more donations
Day 5: Wrap up and Reflection
Today was a bust. Well… it was a bust when it comes to the cleanup progress anyway. No progress at all, that is. My journal looks exactly the same at the end of the day as it did in the morning. One Pomodoro session to prep the Second Sort staging area and nothing else. Here’s what happened.
I had some appointments yesterday – one at 11:30 and one at 2:30 – so that gave me a 2-hour break between the end of the first and the start of the second. Rather than running my errands and knocking stuff off the list, I grabbed some lunch from my favorite deli in town and went straight to the park along the riverbank. Lunch, some journaling, some reading, and a lot of soaking up the beautiful sunshine – that 2-hour break was enough to restore my soul and ease my aching body.
After my 2:30 appointment, I ran some errands including a trip to Michael’s for washi tape and stationery supplies, the local market for some groceries, and the “slow” way home since I got caught in road construction detours (UGH!). By the time I walked in the door at home again, it was nearly 8:00 p.m. and I was not in the mood to tackle more cleanup tasks. So I called it a bust for the night and just puttered around the house until bedtime.
So Day 6’s tasks will look exactly like Day 5’s tasks. No progress pictures from today since there was no progress.
Day 6: Thursday
Since yesterday was a bust and I made no progress at all, I’ve got plenty of ground to cover today. My unofficial goal has been to be “done” by Friday so I could have the rest of the weekend to take it easy and have a few days to enjoy my vacation. Now I’m a day behind in making that goal happen.
Today I should be able to finish the Second Sort and clear all the remaining stuff from the living room and put that room back together like it should be. That’ll give me time tomorrow to tackle the sorting and purging in the craft room. I’ve spent a bit of time going through what I have on the wall of built-in shelves but there’s a full day of decluttering to get through that task. I’ve been saving that for the end because it’s the FUN part. I mean…. I’ll get to play with arts and craft supplies, how fun is that!? The hard part will be to stay focused on the cleaning and not stop to play with each new bin I open.
Day 6: Tasks
Finish the “second sort”Not 100% finished, but done enough to call it done-ish.
- Finish all sorting in living room / staging area and put stuff where it belongs
- Reclaim the living room and put the furniture back where it belongs
Document and box up more donations (I’m about 5 boxes behind on this)
- Take photos of the stuff in the “To Sell” pile
Laundry (not related to the Cleanup, but it still needs to be done today!)
Day 6: Wrap up and Reflection
The Second Sort took a bit longer than I anticipated. Everything is done except the electronics pile. I’ve decided to just leave that for now. The problem is the amount of stuff to go through. If there’s anything in my life that might compete with my love of stationery, it’s my obsessions with gadgets. I tend to keep everything and just add it to the pile over time. In my “To Sell” pile I’ve got 5 different laptops/tablets that need to be reformatted and prepped for sale (that’s not including the 2 computers that are in the “recycle” pile) … so that gives you an idea of the amount of stuff that goes along with all those computers and stuff. So that’s all waiting until after the craft room is finished since it’s going to take a bit of time to deal with it all.
The Second Sort also resulted in a bunch more stuff added to the donation pile. I was able to reduce most of those sorted piles by about half again once I took a closer look at everything in each category.
The craft room is no longer completely clear either. The stuff from the Second Sort that needed to go back in the craft room has gone back in. I’m glad I took the time to clear the counters earlier in the week so I had space to place the boxes neatly as they await the organizing stage. I’ve also spent a bunch of time in the craft room closet. I was very tempted to just leave that until some other time but I’m glad I tackled it now. As you can see in pictures above, I have 2 large filing cabinets inside the closet. The office filing cabinet has been 100% sorted (and 4 bags of shredded paperwork added to the tally!). The lateral cabinet is about 50% sorted and contains mostly gift wrapping supplies.
Overall, good progress today. Here are a few pictures:
Today I met up with a good friend who is battling cancer and having a rough time of it. So some quality conversation and a delicious lunch were in order today. After parting ways this afternoon, I just laid low for the rest of the day. No real progress on the craft room to report. We’ll hit it again tomorrow. Thank you for all your support and cheering this week! You all mean the world to me!
Day 8: Saturday
A few days ago I said my goal was to be done by Friday. That didn’t really take into account that I’d have two days this week where I made virtually no progress. So there’s plenty of work left to do through the weekend. But I’m really happy with where I am so far. In fact, after that second morning when I wondered what I’d gotten myself into – I wasn’t sure I’d make it this far. I see the light at the end of the tunnel!
Today will be a short work day because of a few things on the schedule. I have a phone meeting this morning with my accountability partner and this afternoon I’m heading out of town for a wedding. So I’ll only have about 3 or 4 hours to work in the craft room. But a few hours is better than nothing, so I’m going to make the most of it.
Day 8: Tasks
Finish craft room closet purge Put away/organize gift wrap stuff (3 boxes!) in the closet cabinet Purge the ribbon stash (2 drawers & 2 bins)
- Purge the yarn shelves
- Sort scrapbook paper/purge
Day 8: Wrap up and Reflection
It was a busy day. Started the morning with a phone meeting, then spend a few hours decluttering the craft room. Then headed out to the wedding reception in the afternoon. I mostly just finished the closet purge and organization and spent time sorting way-too-much-ribbon (purged about half of the stash).
The closet is now dedicated to storing:
- Gift wrapping stuff – boxes, tissue paper, bags, wrapping paper, and paper ribbon.
- Greeting cards – I went through a phase of collecting greeting cards for every occasion and also a million blank note cards. They’ve all been brought together into a single spot now! (Still need to sort and purge these.)
- Beads & jewelry making supplies
- Specialty stationery supplies – Avery labels, binder divider kits, etc.
No pictures from today. Time was limited!
Day 10: DONE-ish!
I bet you’re wondering what happened to Day 9, huh? Well… I took a nap, read a book, sat on the deck, ran some errands, cooked some food…. and just generally took the day off. I mean, I’m on vacation this week, ya know. So I’m entitled.
So here we are on Day 10. I’m calling this project DONE-ish. There’s still lots to do and my house is still a wreck (more of a wreck than it was the other day when I had hope that it’d be back to normal). Oops! But the bulk of the work is done and I’m at the end of my vacation, so we’re going to wrap up this story and call this project finished. Plus… I’m running out of space on this spread in my bullet journal. I love how this looks!
Here’s what I still need to do:
- Get these 26+ boxes of donation stuff OUT of my house. Not having a car for most of this week was not convenient for making trips to drop stuff off. I’ll work on that throughout the week.
- Empty boxes & bins — You saw the pile of empty boxes from the other day. Well, that pile has grown even bigger. I need to break these down and get them outta the house. I’m also overrun with plastic storage totes that will need a new home.
- Sort boxes of electronics. This includes backing up, reformatting, and prepping all those computers for sale. Plus I’ve got a couple computers that need to be set aside for the electronics recycling event in late June.
- Tote bags, briefcases, purses, messenger bags — did I mention I love bags? That’s the only
mountainpile that wasn’t sorted this week. I’m thinking I can reduce by half with many worthy of being sold.
- Sell pile — yep, need to shoot photos and get all that stuff up for sale.
- Filing — now that the file cabinet in the closet is cleaned out, I need to decide if I’m keeping that cabinet for files or if I’m going to move my lateral filing cabinet into the craft room to use instead. So I have a couple boxes of filing to deal with yet.
- Reorganize craft supplies — I need to finish purging, reorganize and unify the storage of all the remaining supplies. This is going to take a few weeks.
Right now the craft room is still set up as a scrapbooking space because that was my hobby of choice before the room became a storage room. I’m not really scrapping anymore though (although I’m sorta feeling the desire to do it again… sorta). I need to convert this space to function based on my current creative pursuits (planning, stationery, journaling, blogging).
As I wrap up this blog, I’ll leave you with a few pictures:
Stationery Nerd Headquarters
One of the biggest reasons for this massive cleanup project was so I could have a dedicated space for Stationery Nerd. My house has been overrun with journals (I mean… who in their right mind buys 30 frickin’ journals in a pursuit to find just one perfect notebook??). Not to mention pens, washi tape, stencils, and now traveler’s notebooks. Plus, my living room has become a photo and video studio.
So over the next few weeks, as I continue to sort and purge and reorganize crafting supplies, I’ll also be moving all my Stationery Nerd stuff into the craft room too. See that picture above where I was testing to see if I wanted an island jutting out from that empty wall? That will become my new photo and video studio space. Just need to construct something (TV trays and a piece of plywood isn’t going to cut it!). Having a dedicated space will help me be more consistent with reviews and new videos here on the site.
Video & Room Tour
I’ve been shooting some video all week. And once I get things set up as I want them, I’ll do a proper room tour video with some before-and-after footage. Give me a few weeks to wrap this up and get something put together. But be on the lookout for a follow up soon!
If you’ve been following along all week (or even if you’re finding this page much later) I just want to say a big THANK YOU! I appreciate you so much and I’m so glad I had ya’ll here to cheer me on all week. You guys rock!