Arts and (Crafty) Organization

It would be fairly accurate to say that I am an organized person. A significant part of my day job requires organization skills and I think that most of the time, I am pretty good at staying on top of things at work. At home, not so much. Maybe it is because most of my organizational energies are depleted during the day at work, or maybe it is because I would rather spend my Saturday walking the dog and relaxing instead of filing bills and other house paperwork. Probably, it is a combination of both – but either way, the house always seems to be upside down!

While I don’t really mind the chaos of our home, I am always making huge declarations like “I am going to empty out all the closets and do a huge spring/fall/winter/summer/it’snevergoingtohappen cleaning” and inevitably disappoint myself when I fail to start. Do I have an organization addiction? Since I’ve decided to start doing arts and crafts again, I have resolved to have fun with organizing at home and simply tackle small projects with a crafty output, whenever I have time. Hopefully this new approach will help me find a healthy and creative outlet for my irrational need to have everything managed and organized.

So, let’s start with this out of control kitchen cabinet, which has turned part medicine cabinet and has needed tidying for far too long. On a recent Pinterest binge, I saw a picture showing how easy it is to wrap a dollar store basket with paper for a cheap decorative box, and thought this would be a great solution for the mess of delivery menus, bottles of medicine, and other odds and ends jammed in my kitchen cabinet.

There's a lot going on in here.

There’s a lot going on in here.

Now would probably be a good time to mention that I am also a bit of a pack rat. It makes no sense, I know – a self-proclaimed organization addict and pack rat? Isn’t that an oxymoron? At least I think my heart is in the right place; I only keep things that I think I can put to use in some way. For example, I have a build up of random boxes scattered throughout my house. I don’t want to throw them out, because I always think I can find a way to reuse them. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – I learned my 3 R’s young! For this project, I finally found a way to put some of these boxes to good use by rescuing them from my guest room closet instead of buying something at the dollar store. I found a shoe box that is the perfect size and shape for delivery menus, and a really sturdy gift box that is strong enough to store all our first aid materials.

They are just asking for a new look!

They are just asking for a new look!

On to my favorite part: picking out some beautiful paper for these boxes. I usually stay away from craft stores because they can be dangerously expensive for me – when I see all that merchandise, I can’t help but get excited by all the possibilities! Case and point: what should have been a 10 minute trip this morning turned into a 30 minute tour through the entire store, but I am pleased to report that I did not spend more than $20 and my biggest splurge was a package of alphabet stickers that I decided to buy at the last minute. My craft shop close to home has gorgeous printed paper, and after several minutes of indecision, I settled on a bright green pattern and cool retro stamp pattern for the two boxes. I chose a textured pale brown sheet to go with the green, and the backside of the stamp paper also had a really nice pattern that complimented the stamps perfectly.

Love Love Love

Love Love Love

After cutting off the lids on each box and with my faithful glue gun at the ready, I got started by tracing the outer edges of the boxes so I could cut each individual piece of paper. My ruler was missing in action today so I did a lot of free hand cuts, which may or may not have been a bad idea. (Actually, I know it was a bad idea, I can definitely see some wobbly edges on the final product! But I’m not too bothered since these will sit in a closed cupboard and I sort of love the imperfections anyway.)

My glue gun is from the turn of the century.

My glue gun is from the turn of the century.

For the first box, I started from the inside out – putting paper at the bottom of the box and then gluing down the inside pieces with flaps folding over the edge so every box edge would be nice and clean.

I cut slits before gluing each flap down.

I cut slits before gluing each flap down.

When I finished, I wasn’t loving the look of the outside paper sitting on top of the folded edges so I reversed my process on the second box, and started with the outside pieces, folding down the top parts of the paper as I went. The second box went a lot faster than the first when it dawned on me to wrap the box like a gift as I glued the first few pieces of paper.

I folded the flaps instead of cutting this time.

I folded the flaps instead of cutting.

Here are the final boxes! Both certainly have a homemade look – a little rough around the edges and lots of dried drops of glue, especially on the stamp box. But I really adore them! They are imperfect (just like life and just like my messy house) but I think they look beautiful anyway.

Imperfectly perfect.

Imperfectly perfect.

I used the alphabet stickers to write EAT on the stamp box for all our delivery menus, and HEAL on the the green box for all our medicine. The cabinet is hugely improved by these adorable boxes. I am so glad I made them!



Much better!

Much better!



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