Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Crafty Progression

It's hard to imagine that a little over a year ago this used to be our guest room. Last February I got wind of this new phenomenon called "Pinterest" and started crafting and creating all over the place. At the time, our family was in a temporarily difficult financial spot and I was always pining (not pinning... that came later) for new furnishings and embellishments for our rental home. I was fascinated with all that people were able to make using nothing but a glue gun and some paper towel rolls and thus my thrifty desire for amazingness came to life. 

Stage 1: Trapped In the Closet
 At first I had to BEG my husband just to use the closet space in our guest room to hold my quickly accumulating "craftiness", and so I took the sliding doors off the closet and jammed a huge desk into the tiny space (a desk that I might add I got for nearly nothing, off of Craigslist). Of course I got the idea for a "closet office" off of Pinterest from pins like this one here, but I quickly realized that there is no way I could ever keep a space that small contained- my craftiness was literally exploding out of there! I often had projects laid out on the queen-sized guest bed or floor and then would be tip-toeing around doing my best not to step on anything while trying to retrieve something from the other side of the room. Not to mention, God forbid, we might actually have guests. I remember when my B.F.F. came to visit for the weekend with her three young children (you read that right) and her youngest (and also most "free-spirited) needed to take a nap. The thought of having him nap in a room all alone with a closet open and full of nails, glue-gun and staple-gun, glass items, needles, pins, paint- you can imagine the horror. 
Eventually though, I had spent so much money (by saving money, mind you) that my husband asked if I might consider selling some of my "creations" on a site called Etsy where other crafty and artistic people were selling. I still didn't know what exactly I was going to sell, but I knew that I loved seeing things take shape and come to life, and that perhaps our three-bedroom condo could no longer hold it all- it was time to spread the wealth. 
I know it probably feels like I'm skipping a huge span here, but I never thought "this whole thing" would ever take hold and become anything, so I didn't take any pictures of when everything was still an old R. Kelly song (get it- "Trapped In the Closet".... hahah...ha..ha......ha?) What I DO have are some pictures of after the closet and before now, and quite honestly I considered not even posting them because I am sooooo embarrassed, but then I wouldn't be the honest and compelling person that I am (and I think you'll be much more impressed with how far I...errr I mean the room, has come if you see where it started from).

And so I give you, Stage 2: Don't You Wish I Was Back In the Closet? 

This might have been more difficult than Stage 1, because at this point people were ordering items from me (granted only a few) and while I loved creating and did a great job at it (pat, pat) I HAD NO FREAKING CLUE how to run a small business. I was learning all of it, every single bit, by myself and on the fly. It wasn't until a customer emailed that her package never arrived that I realized I needed the extra tracking to see where things were and if they were still coming. I hadn't really considered adding care-tags to the items until every email for two weeks was people asking if they could use the washing machine for their items. I had wanted to plan, and be a careful planner, but I was so caught off guard that I didn't know where to start planning and what to plan for! And so I hauled out that huge CL find of a desk from the closet and this time I shoved it between two wardrobe units from my son's room when it was a nursery. We had recently re-done his room into a fierce Super Hero themed room (another post I think... :) ) and so these were available and free, (FREE being the key word here).  
 I had every free and abandoned item from my house to the border and was using them all, or at least had great intentions to use them, as organizing solutions. Business was picking up and I wasn't slowing down enough to make sense of the chaos and so I just kept plowing through- literally: PLOWING.THROUGH. Every time I walked in I was reminded of an episode of Hoarders on TLC and would spend so much time looking for a pair of scissors or sewing needle that I eventually would melt down in tears or give up and walk away (maybe I should've resorted to tearing fabric with my teeth).  It wasn't a "dirty" space by any means, since no food was allowed and no one other than myself really wanted to be in there, it was just cluttered beyond reason and there was no even flow to it.
And then my husband (otherwise known as: amazing-blessing-of-a-man-and-huge-hunk-of-love) pointed out that this ever-growing crafty thing was actually making money now. I had been working so hard on scrapping by that I hadn't even looked at the bank account!!! 

Stage 3: A Look That Matches My Flow

While I'm sure it was incredibly romantic to see me at my wits end and panicking over missing fabric shears and lost buttons, Matt suggested that our marriage might possibly be even better if we put some perspective to the whole thing and truly got organized.  I had every intention of being organized, just needed the time to do it. We decided January was our time to get it done, and gave ourselves two weeks to complete everything, including putting the shop online on "Vacation Mode". We measured the room, measured the pieces we had, looked online and compared prices and durability and then we sold almost all of the old furniture in the room (thank you again CL) and used the cash, as well as some of the shop's earnings to purchase new pieces to complete the room. We eventually decide IKEA was the best bet for the money, and mapped out what we wanted. It only took us two trips and was relatively inexpensive for what we got. Of course I got the flu right after we bought everything and with 103 fever was trying to put stuff away into my newly created and amazing space so it got pushed off a little bit and while I've been working in it for almost almost three-months, I'm just now finding time to take pictures of it and write it all down. There are so many details to every picture and I don't want to bore you with the details, but the main difference is this: everything has a purposeful place now. 
Paper and shipping labels are near the printer, which is near the computer, which is near the power cord, which is near the outlet (hey- you gotta think of everything!)

My sewing machine is where a set of drawers has been strategically placed to hold thread, bobbins, needles, etc. as well as a small lamp for better lighting at night.

There are bins for each stage of the process that are labeled accordingly and with specific directions.

The closet has been transformed from a catch-all to an organized storage space for inventory.

My buttons and beads are no longer stashed in shoe boxes, while I kept them in the same cheap IKEA spice jars, we added the bars and baskets for easy reach as well as using the wall space to free up counter space (I am still needing one more bar and then it will be complete).

And with all this purposeful organization comes lots and LOTS of newfound space for creating!!!!

Thanks for reading it through (I will not judge if you skimmed- what a wordy gal I've become!)

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