Friday, February 24, 2006

Organizing Your Hobby Supplies

Keeping on top of the organizational needs of your hobbies is key to making sure that your hobbies do not begin to overtake your life. If you are finding that every time you clean, the hobbies pile is growing, then maybe you need to rethink your organizational strategy.

For starters, do you actually participate in every hobby for which you have supplies? If you have tennis rackets that have not seen the light of day since you graduated from college ten years ago, it is time to move on. Do not stall. Throw them out or give them away. If tennis ever fits back into your life, then you can get new rackets. Look at every hobby supply you have from the crochet needles that have never been opened to the pillowcase you started cross-stitching three years ago. Toss anything that is broken or that you have not used.

Now, you should have a much smaller pile. You should begin by sorting the projects. First you will sort them by the type of project they are. For example, you should not put the paints with the cross-stitching supplies. The yoga mat does not go with the gardening tools. Divide everything by categories.

Think about where you will put your hobby supplies. Perhaps you will put some of them in boxes under the bed or in that spare shelf in the downstairs closet. Do not just think about rooms. Now is the time to think about where exactly you will put your supplies. Once you have an idea, then you can begin to organize the projects.

For outdoor projects, you should put the items in a garage or outdoor storage shed. Look for a wooden box without a lid to toss in any sports equipment. For gardening supplies, use the same concept but get something smaller. If your hobby requires large pieces of equipment, such as snow skis, then you should hang them on the wall. Be sure that you measure and that you mark what goes in the spot.

For indoor hobbies, you should divide them by finished, working, and not started. Take the finished projects first. Find homes for them. That home may be by the bathroom sink. It may be with your mother. It may be at the local nursing home as a donation. Find something to do with all of the finished projects. They are no good sitting in piles.

Then look at the never started piles. You should get containers and box up these supplies. Some hobbies, like painting, will have a lot of supplies that are often used. You should make them accessible but box them up. If you participate in the hobby often, then you may want to think about getting a box without a lid. Otherwise, you should get something with a lid. It will be easier to stack, and it will curb how much you can accumulate.

Finally we are looking at the works in progress. You should get some baskets for them. In one basket, put all of the supplies for the individual hobby that you are working on. For example, if you are knitting an afghan, then you should get the needles and all of the yarn you will use. Put it in a basket and then put the basket somewhere where you are likely to use it, whether that is under your bedside table or next to the recliner. Do the same with all of the hobby projects. You want to make sure that you can get to the supplies you need when you need them.

The last task will be to make sure that you keep up with the system. Do not buy more projects for a single hobby until you have finished at least one of the projects that you already have. You also should be sure that you are working on a hobby fairly regularly. If you have not worked on that crochet basket under your bed in months, then it may be time to admit that the hobby is not one that fits into your current lifestyle. Otherwise the clutter from disorganized hobbies really get to you. Be sure that you go through your hobby supplies often.

By Julia Mercer

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