Well, it turned out that being upstairs didn't make me quite close enough to the kitchen for my happiness. I kept finding myself dragging my sewing machine out of the craft room out to the dining room table to do all my happy crafting. Now, this wasn't only for the sake of proximity to the oreos and milk (though I admit that is a factor). I had a lot of reasons. Here are the main ones:
1.) I can't actually craft in the craft room with Isaac around, since he is quite the climber and has a penchant for scaling James's desk with a Sharpie in hand. Yeah, the Sharpie made contact with both computer monitors. It was a bad day. So, that door has to stay closed at all times. The dining room, however, has less intrigue for the little scamp, so I find it a bit easier to get him to play nearby without destroying anything.
2.) The dining room table is just bigger. I have a pretty large desk in my craft room, but it is not big enough to have my sewing machine and my cutting mat on it at the same time. The dining table is, so it wins.
3.) I just like it out here better for some reason. Maybe because I just can't seem to keep the craft room clean to save my life and all that clutter stamps out my creative instinct like a heard of elephants. I don't know why it's easier to keep the dining room table clean, but it is.
4.) Did I mention oreos?
So, anyway, I had some good reasons for crafting in the dining room, but pulling everything out all the time was getting a little tiresome. So, one night last week I got a crazy idea, and before I let myself think about the ramifications, I put it into action.
You see, we have a tiny (I mean tiny) kitchen. No pantry. 4 cabinets. 6 drawers. So, I had to get creative with how I used the space. The hall linen closet became the pantry and I bought a hutch to store dishes and silverware in the dining room. Behold:
Sorry, this post is taking a lot of explanations. Back to my plan: take everything out of the hutch and fill it instead with my most-used craft supplies. I pulled all the dishes and random appliances (waffle maker, chocolate melter) out and stacked them haphazardly on all the kitchen surfaces. Yes, including the floor. The next day when I was explaining things to James, he asked me "So, what are you going to do with all this stuff?" I shrugged and said, "I'll figure it out." Then my saint of a husband cracked up and said, "Wow, you really leap before you look!" And laughed his merry way to go play Portal 2.
Once I had the thing empty, I started transporting all the things I use the most into the hutch. Sewing machine. Box of sewing machine accessories. Fabric, Thread. Scissors. Iron. Scrapbook paper. Supplies for camera critters. Bags of scraps. Cutting mat. Cutting rulers. I just kept getting more and more pleasantly surprised as I was able to fit so many of my most-used supplies into the small hutch. And here it is today, ladies and gentlemen:
What I discovered was I had not been using space very efficiently. The same stuff that was crammed into the cubbies of my Ikea bookshelf and strewn all over the floor in the craft room actually fit nicely and compactly into the dining hutch when I took the time to plan and think things out. Of course, there's still stuff in the craft room, but I have a plan for tackling that, too: I'll keep crafting in the dining room and as I need things from the craft room I will pull them out and find places for them. If I didn't go back for them after a month or two, they probably weren't all that necessary and I will find new homes for them. Hopefully in other people's homes. I bought a dresser today at Savers to use as a sideboard in the dining room, and it will hopefully house some of that stuff that I do find to be necessary.
Oh, and if you're wondering what happened to all that stuff in the kitchen - turns out I wasn't using that space all that efficiently either. I was able to fit everything that had been in the hutch in one cabinet, or I decided it really didn't belong in the kitchen at all. The stuff that had been in that cabinet (chemicals, cookbooks, and empty jars - yeah, great use of cabinet space there, Char) made its way to either the garage, the cleaning closet, or the food storage cabinet downstairs. Oh, the cookbooks are on the counter, but seeing as I use them every day, I think they earned that spot.
Anyway, thanks for reading my long-winded post about organization. Basically, what I learned was that using a small space efficiently is almost better than having more space. More space (for me at least) means more mess, while small spaces inspire my creativity and challenge me to be a little neater.