Operation Clean Studio | specific is overrated

As a rule, I believe products created for specific crafting product storage are entirely overrated, many are borderline useless. There are very few exceptions in my mind, the main one being paper.

It is really hard to find storage made perfect for 12×12 paper that isn’t made by a scrapbook company. The Cropper Hopper vertical storage that I use, I’ve had since I was a manager at my local store. Some of these are 8, maybe 9 years old! It is easy to use, lets me get to and see my papers quickly, and is easy to rearrange at will. I can’t recommend them enough.

I will tell you that I’ve purchased a few cubes over the years at Michaels, as well as other craft storage items which we’ll get to in a moment. First the (useful) cubes: 

I’ve had and use the one on the bottom for cardstock for at least 4 years I believe. I don’t need to see patterns – just the color so this works well. it would NOT work for me for patterns as i’d have to be pulling stuff out to see.

Next up is one that has both paper-sized thin and more narrow cubbies. this is BRAND NEW. I’m using it for stickers, over-sized sheets of rub-ons, specialty paper, things like 12×12 stencils, and so on. right now it’s also overflow for cardstock (I keep a LOT of kraft on hand. heh) I will tell you that I both really like it, and am very glad that I bought it. When shopping the chain craft store – don’t buy anything storage for less than about 40% off. Michael’s is forever putting this stuff on 40-50% off and of course there are the weekly coupons. Be patient, watch the ads.

Moving on!

At the top, this I think I found at Target and while it’s useful, it’s made of paper-board material that means I can never put any real weight on top of it which makes it kind of a pain. But the drawer is perfect for my doilies (yes, I have a doily drawer) and right now above that is a slot I’m using for “isn’t just a sheet of paper, needs to find a home” items that are too big to fit elsewhere.

Now let’s talk about the “taking up more space than it’s worth” stuff.

First up, the spinner I was sucked into (a few yrs ago) when it was on 50% off and I had additional 20% off my entire purchase at Michael’s. This thing is awful. First of all, the angles and depths mean that most of my things can’t get stored in here and still be seen. Some are deeper than others, as you can see above by the difference in the area my distress markers are in vs the one my copics are in.

It’s adorable… but I wish I’d not purchased it. As it stands now I will give it away within the year. I dislike how much space it takes vs things it holds USEFULLY for me. It’s too big to be on my desk – takes up too much space if I want it to spin. Which takes me to my other regret…

The lesson learned on this one is that it’d be cute for someone just starting out, someone with very few supplies… but for me it becomes a catch-all of randomness which doesn’t help me stay clean or organized. I am turning mine into my ephemera/things I want to use right now and I’ll keep it here right at my desk… I think. We’ll see. I believe I can turn this into something a bit more useful.

So what do I suggest?

A few things. First of all, make more general choices. Pick containers, shelves, and storage that could be used for a multitude of items. Don’t pick odd shaped or extra bulky things that are going to take up more space than they’re worth.

Secondly, when shopping think about what you’ll use, how you’ll be using it. For example I want my patterned paper visible (easily) and I don’t want to have to remove all the paper to see it.

Third, think outside the craft store – and outside intended use.

Unfortunately I don’t have space for the workbench you see above – but isn’t it sweet? Ok, so I probably wouldn’t have purchased it anyhow due to my anti-door stance, but still. Super solid, great work surface, made to take abuse, adjustable shelves inside… it’s great – and less than $200 is better than you’ll find for a proper work table with storage that is for sure.

Of course you’d have to be looking at a home improvement store for garage storage to see it. Are you looking outside your normal realm? I keep all my tiny things in a container (tackle box/nails/screws box thing? – more on it later. It gets a whole post). Hardware, kitchen, office, general home stuff – often you can get more variety, and find something more suitable for you if you expand your search.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with shopping tips, suggestions, and to share my own strategy on incorporating new + old stuff.

7 thoughts on “Operation Clean Studio | specific is overrated”

  1. i bought the spinner too, when it was like 65% off! And then I promptly returned it a few days later. As soon as i started to fill it up, everything just disappeared into the depths of the cubbies. I agree…it is such an awful design!

  2. Good tips. I am all about the generic storage. You never know what new must-have tool/supply will pop up in the future, so having a workspace that can adapt is so important to me.

  3. Well, once again, you’ve helped me re-organize my space slightly. And I like it. Thanks.

  4. I agree with everything. I also store most of my paper and cardstok in the cropper hoppers. Last summer I bought bought 12 cubes from Michaels, they are the legs of my craft table (a plain door from Menards). 6 cubes hod my supplies and 6 others face the family room and hold toys. I still find my spinner thingy useful, but mine has a different design than yours and I have enough room on my craft desk to keep it there. But after reading your post I realized that the organizer (looks very similar to yours) does not worth the space it takes! Hmmm, I will have to think about it now

  5. I’m thinking I’m going to have to get the work bench.Having been a steel buyer for 15 years,I have a thing for checker plate and I love the wooden top.It would replace 2 smaller units I have and do a lot better job of storing things.Thanks for the heads up!

  6. I totally agree. I bought the spinner thing from Michael’s, and definately do not like it. I also purchased the other holder, and I am have a hard time making it useful. I think both pieces will be going to the garage sale at my LSS next month. Keep the tips coming!

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