Friday, July 13, 2012

Under Construction

My hubby left town for two days.  That's one night folks.  That's really only a several hour differential from the normal schedule, but my crazy side took over anyway.  It's not unusual for me to tackle some project at home while he is away- in fact it's often the norm when I am not bogged down in other obligations.  So this time it was my studio space- AGAIN. 

I am sure I suffer from some psychosis in which organizing the hobby space is actually more of a hobby than the activity itself.  But you all saw my space a few weeks ago.  Finally, the chaos overwhelmed me.  In an attempt to "clean up," I found myself moving furniture and dragging the offspring to Michael's and Target for some magic storage space.  You know the kind.  Hermione mastered it with her little purse in Harry Potter, and Mary Poppins set the original example with her magical carpet bag.  I always hope to find that particular storage solution on the furniture aisle and on sale, or at least not exempt by the current coupon.

So, on trip number one I brought home some file drawers for my 12x12 paper.  A couple years ago I put together a space for my children, giving them each a desk for crafting and some cube storage.  It has worked out quite well, and with a 40% discount it was pretty economical.  So, I bought the same storage furniture for myself.  Jetmax makes it.

Let me just remind you that I am NOT an engineer and I suffered immensely through Physical Sciences in school.  So imagine my disappointment after building these file drawers to discover they cannot be stacked.  The manufacturer did not print that on the packaging.  Nope.  But it just stands to reason that after loading a $27 particle board box with 30# of cardstock it will tip when you open the drawer.  (Too bad I didn't reason through that beforehand.)

I have worked it out though.  I bought two of those drawers and they sit side by side- on the ground.  Actually, I put a piece of non-skid rubber shelf liner underneath them.  Then I stacked bins of cardstock tablets on top.  They seem to be staying put for the moment.

Now, for trip number two.  With two grouchy sleepy kids in tow I headed out for Target and Michael's again.  I needed more hanging files for those nifty file drawers and another plastic crate for the cardstock pads.  But Target didn't have anymore cheap plastic crates like I bought last week.  Nope.  They had a full aisle of fabulous modular storage furniture.  (It might even be magic!)

If you haven't seen Target's modular plastic "ITSO" line let me describe it.  The base unit is a plastic cube.  It comes with plastic pins to enable you to fasten multiple cubes together.  There are two advantages to this method.  The first is that you won't need any tools.  The second, if you decide the pins aren't sturdy enough, you could replace them with some short nuts and bolts. 

Each base unit has holes to enable you to snap shelves into place.  There are three heights you can choose for the shelf which means you can configure the cube to your liking.  Then they sell attractive storage bins/drawers/organizers that fit all the configurations.  I have included some photos below.

So, do I have a recommendation???  It's a little early to tell about durability, but my money is on the Target line.  It is attractive and comes in three colors, black, tan/taupe, and white.  There are NUMEROUS possibilities for completing each cube from inexpensive plastic bins (which I bought for my ink sprays) and nicer fabric covered bins- which look more polished.  I am already dreaming up ways to class up the exterior.  Think fabric covered boards, or cork, or painted panels with hooks- since there are holes in the four corners I could easily bolt on a board.  You can even purchase dry erase cabinet doors that fit on these cubes.  But all that will have to wait for another business trip.

In the meantime, I need to address all the things I ignored in the last 48 hours- and finish putting away all my toys.
Here are the two Michael's file drawers on the bottom
 with two ITSO collapsible bins on top.  The bins fit into the ITSO cube.  I have chosen to use them as a standalone unit.  They are the perfect size for pads of 12x12 cardstock.

Doesn't the cardstock look pretty when it is filed and neat?  Now, I just have to finish making tabs and filing it!

These are two ITSO cubes stacked.  I inserted two shelves in the top one and one shelf on the bottom.  By the way, you can see the Michael's units that I constructed for my kids in the background.  They look nice, but they are not as practical as I would like.

This is a compartmentalized fabric covered drawer for the ITSO units.

This is one of the less expensive plastic bins for the ITSO unit.

This is the side of the unit.  I just wanted to show where the holes are that allow you to connect more units.  I hope to take advantage of these holes to get creative with some hardward at a later date.   

This is the six cube unit from Michael's.  The one complaint I have is that you are stuck with these large compartments.  They work great for the kids because we use them to store puzzles and toys which work great in the bins and in the shelves.  But I worry that I will always be digging for what I need with this design.  We will see.

If you are looking to improve the organization of your craft space, I hope you find some of my observations helpful.  Feel free to email me if you have questions.  I am far from done.  I will continue to experiment and change things.  Because like I told my daughter, a consistent mess is proof that I haven't found the right system yet.

I will also post some completion photos next.  I am so excited about having a clean and pretty area to work in!


  1. Impressive progress! It's starting to look habitable!

  2. Love it! I think organizing is one of my hobbies too! It looks great.

  3. OMGoodness - how amazing is that !!!! Fabulous - I wish I had a Michael's or a Target... I could be soooo organised too :-(
    Awesome :-) xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. I can't imagine life without Target and Michaels. My postman/UPS man would like honorary members of the family!


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