Make A Thing: Spring Cleaning and Organizing Part I

Welcome to yet another crafty installment of Make A Thingwhere we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Or our cats. Who doesn’t need something special in their life? Join in on the DIY fun and avoid the unnecessary consumerism of the world (and I promise you’ll save a few dollars while you’re at it).

Header by Rory Midhani

Hello sunshines. I just moved from the tiniest apartment ever into a big girl apartment, complete with a kitchen large enough for me to open the fridge without the door hitting the oven. I know, it’s remarkable. The worst thing about moving is moving. The second worst thing about moving is figuring out where everything is going to go in your new place. Essentially, moving is the perfect time for you to reorganize your life and also your office/craft room/craft area/tiny desk in the corner of your dorm room.

This is our office right now. I can't even begin to figure out where all of this stuff goes.

This is our office right now. I can’t even begin to figure out where all of this stuff goes. At least there’s a Minnie Mouse scooter in here to calm my nerves.

Even if you aren’t moving, there’s something about the warmer weather that makes us want to clean up our acts and also living spaces. In autumn we hoard our nuts like little squirrels, in spring we realize we don’t need twelve half-used lint rollers (true story).

Where Do I Store All Of This Craft Shit?

Let’s begin with the storage basics. Kristen and I talked a little bit about organizing in the Crafty Little Bitch gift guide. Namely, the best way to organize small bits and bobs is with tool boxes and clever repurposing of other tool boxes.


I love file cabinets for craft stuff. I have a mini-filing cabinet from IKEA that works perfectly for cards, buttons, small sketchbooks, prints, scrapbook paper and other stuff that would get lost at the bottom of a larger drawer. The rainbow one would obviously fit your queer lifestyle. Don’t particularly like the look of boring filing cabinets? Here’s eight tutorials for re-doing the front of the filing cabinet to spruce it on up.


Looking for something a little fancier? Apothecary cabinets or library card holders also look incredible. Buy them nice and new or scour Craiglist to find a fixer-upper for cheap (disclaimer: if you live in a city where bed bugs are a big thing (hey, Denver) then please make sure you know the person giving you furniture).


The best craft storage for my frugal budget has been small, plastic storage bins. I have six or seven of them that I bought for 74 cents each and I store almost every craft supply inside. Also amazing are plastic 3-drawer organizers. I have survived my entire adult life by using stacked plastic organizers as storage for clothes, shoes, junk and/or craft things.

Some things are too beautiful to hide in drawers or bins, you know? What about your three million Martha Stewart craft paints? Or your really impressive button collection? Well, why not get crafty and display these things with pride? Here are some clever ideas for storing difficult or small items that you still want to display:

Mason jars are both beautiful and handy. They’re also pretty cheap, and if you’re into the blue tones like me, you can tint the plain ones yourself. Making a hole in the top of a mason jar creates an easy way to pull string or ribbon with no tangling.

via {a href="">Home Talk}

via {Home Talk}

Craft paint is one of the most difficult items to store. Creating little shelves to house them is ingenius because they’re so pretty, plus you’ll never forget what colors you already have.

I hate searching through tons of boxes to find the right button. Using clear topped spice jars makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for, and having magnetic spice jars makes everything seem instantly cooler for storage purposes.

See a theme here? Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Tins and jars for markers or pencils are a classic idea. Here’s 25 other really amazing repurposing tricks for craft storage and organization, like tic-tac containers for storage and sugar shakers for twine. Who thinks of these things? Genius.

Next week we’ll get to the cleaning part of Spring Cleaning by going over when things are worth repairing or repurposing or when it’s time to say goodbye. In the meantime, any other great storage tips I should know about?

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. I wish I lived in a city where library card holders, printer trays and wooden milk crates were things you could find. Sadly if there ever were any here, they’ve all been snatched up by antique stores that sell them for more than they originally sold for. Siiiigh. I probably have to go to the boonies to find them.

    That paint grid organizing doodad is genius. I can’t wait until the summer when I can actually have a craft room. Bwahaha..

  2. These are all super cute! You just inspired me to request a file cabinet on freecycle, hope I get it :)

  3. Just FYI on the mason jars, Bell has re-released “vintage blue” canning jars standard pint size/regular mouth(I’m EXCITED). Thanks for the link on how to tint them yourselves though, great idea!

  4. THANK YOU for the reminder about bed bugs! It’s been almost four years and and I’m still haunted by the experience. My roommate had bought a dresser on Craigslist before she moved into my apartment, unbeknownst to me, and so began our bed bug nightmare. Exterminating them was expensive and took months. Now, I yell incessantly at all my friends who look for furniture on Craigslist or, god forbid, consider taking something left in an alley. IT HAS BEEN DISCARDED FOR A REASON LEAVE IT LEAVE IT DEAR GOD JUST LEAVE IT

  5. Hansen, I hope you will provide us with an “After” photo of your office. I’ll be worried for the well being of that Minnie Mouse Scooter until then!

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