Yeah – I’m happy to report that after almost two months of start-and-stop organizing, my fabric closet is done and my stash is significantly reduced. Whew, it’s a pretty good feeling, you know?
How good? Let’s review (or avert your eyes if you need to, it’s nasty…):
*shudder* I know I shared the picture on the left before, but the photo on the right is all new – I just didn’t want you to see the whole, ugly, truth at once. I had not one, but two out-of-control fabric shelves. Believe it or not, it had started out organized in piles of like fabrics: prints, florals, whites, vintage, etc.
If there’s one thing to take away from these photos it’s to limit piles. Oh, and eliminate – a lot.
And so I learned and applied these two principles:
Can you believe it? This is the same section of the main shelf that is pictured on the right in the before picture!
And this is the lower part of the shelf. I didn’t put them side-by-side so you’d be able to scroll down and see the “whole” shelf – complete with only three fabric piles total. I think these will be manageable since they are large fabric pieces. We’ll see, if not I can always add more boxes later.
Speaking of boxes, I was really inspired by blogland to make the shelves not only functional, but pretty since they are kept in the same closet as our treadmill. Might as well have something nice to look at while working out, huh? I’ve had the vintage gym locker baskets for years – they used to live in our son’s room – but not enough to fill the whole shelf. I did have cardboard boxes, though, which I simply covered with burlap to disguise.
Here’s how to easily convert a cardboard box into a cute storage container:
- Use a box-cutter to cut the top closing flaps off (this is for open, easily reached storage).
- Cut a piece of fabric to the exact outside dimensions – top to bottom sides and all around (not all of my boxes have fabric on the backs, though- use what you have) and serge or zig-zag the edges to finish. Two notes here: First, if you want to sew a hem (or use iron-on tape), cut extra top-to-bottom to be able to turn some under and second, I used burlap cut from coffee bean sacks, but obviously this is where personalization comes in – use the fabric you like.
- Spray all sides of the box with spray adhesive (or the just sides you’re covering) – outside. Seriously, even if it’s cold – walk out, spray the box and walk back inside to adhere the fabric. It’s okay – we’re not in a hurry, it will still be tacky.
- Smooth the fabric onto the box, adjusting as necessary to line up the edges (the bond will be removable, so it’s easy to adjust).
- Add a ribbon across the middle of the box. I didn’t want anything too permanent, so I simply used long straight pins to attach the ribbon – into the fabric and the box itself.
- Attach coordinating labels – this is a key to pretty shelves. Glue, tape, pin, or tie them to the ribbon or box. Use a site like PicMonkey to make your own set and print out or use store-bought labels like the Martha Stewart Home Office chalkboard labels I used because I had been given them (they’re not available to be linked to yet). And always use a Chalk Marker (like this one at Amazon) so that the labels don’t rub off – they’ll come off easy enough with a damp rag if I need to redo any of my categories in the future.
The best part? When you’ve got a stash of fabric, it’s easy to use what you have to create these boxes – ha! So, total cuteness for FREE. Okay, I did at one point pay for the burlap (the coffee bags were only, like $2 though) and I’ve had the ribbon for so long it’s like it was free – right?
I added more burlap-covered boxes to the wire shelves on the other side of the closet along with a couple of woven baskets and I was able to add in some boxes for craft items since I eliminated so much fabric – woot! I kept the labels the same so everything goes together nicely. And let me just say here – it’s not easy to photograph in a closet. at. all.
Even though it’s not the prettiest picture (probably why I saved it for last – if you’re reading this far, I know you’re dedicated!), I wanted you to see what we see now when we open the closet doors. Adding the little shelf for the items that were throwing about on the floor went a long way to cleaning it up, too. It also houses the TV box that was on the wood shelf in the before picture – along with the messy-looking cords.
I’m happy to have something nice to see when I’m one the treadmill (doing my easy workout!) and I’m estatic about being able to find a fabric I’m looking for easily – plus have room for loose craft items. Most importantly, since almost everything is contained in a box, this time I think I can maintain it!
How do you organize fabrics and crafts?
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