artsy fartsy,  crazy stuff,  house stuff!,  raving lunatic rant,  Shop Talk

The Diagon Alley Craft Cabinet


Different people do different things to cope with their anxiety. Some people smoke pot. Some people drink. Some people run marathons or join cross-fit or become extreme yoga enthusiasts. Some people watch cooking shows, eat Cheetos all day or go to health food stores obsessing over ingredients. Some people watch cute animal videos on high volume or pimple-popping videos (Ew, David!). Some people watch the NEWS all day and get in heated political discussions. Some people garden or trim bonsai or make tiny houses out of milk cartons. Some people play mindless video games… There are so many things to do to keep yourself from going crazy. I do (and don’t do) a lot of the above but one of my favorite things to do is organize.

I know! It’s a sickness. But it really does make me happy.  Do you know that show: The Home Edit? I loved it. I binge-watched it in a few days and immediately had an unbearable urge to go The Container store or order all the clear plastic bins on Amazon. I talked about the show to a few friends and they looked at me like I like to drink sour milk.  Organizing freaks with high squeaky squealing voices!

Different strokes for different folks I guess.


I am one of those crazy organizers. I don’t have a high squeaky voice, I promise! I have a quiet soft voice like a mouse that nobody can hear. I do sometimes get excited and talk too fast but it doesn’t squeak. At least I don’t think so anyway.

So let’s talk about my pride and joy: my craft cabinet! I call it Diagon Alley. The photo above is the before. It wasn’t that unorganized. But things were getting slightly out of control. Bins were getting too full. I was stuffing things above, beside and around the bins which made it impossible to pull them out without causing a small avalanche.

Why do I have so much stuff? Well, I come from a long line of hoarders (probably brought on by poverty) and I do crafts all the time for my job and just because I love to. Since I hate the craft store I like to keep things and re-use them. I hate having to re-buy things just because I can’t find them.


You know how organizing goes, it always gets way worse before it gets better. I subscribe to the “A place for everything and everything in its place” method and that doesn’t mean just adding on a second story to your house or renting out a storage unit when you over-flow, though I’ve dreamed of those things many many times.  I say get everything out and then shop from your stuff putting only the things that you really need/want back. It’s a massive purging opportunity.

And it’s work. I have to shake every paint bottle to make sure it’s not dried up and draw with every pen to make sure it still writes. I have to go through old notebooks and pull out the blank pages if they are nearly filled up. I have to throw out whole projects that I really wanted to do but they’ve been on the back burner for way too long… It’s a long arduous series of decisions.


I just put on some headphones and commit to rocking out for a good day. Wittle wittle wittle away at the giant pile of crap, grouping like objects together, consolidating and then, of course, tossing a good percentage because EVERYTHING HAS TO FIT!


When I’m done I am exhausted but it’s peaceful exhaustion where I sink into the couch, completely relaxed and happy. I try to watch television and unwind but I constantly interrupt whatever show we are watching to gloat about how great the organized cabinet is. Payam is used to me. Murder, schmurder, crime show schmimeshow…Did I tell you how great it is to go out into the Diagon Alley and gaze at all the perfectly aligned bins of crafty goods? It’s like angels sing!


As you can see I am not a perfectionist organized freak. I’m somehow missing the OCD part of this mental illness. It suits me because I think often perfectionists get hung up on the details and get overwhelmed by the sheer effort needed to organize all the details perfectly. Not me. I just throw things willy nilly into my sense of order (whatever level of type A I happen to be that day) and then shrug off anything that doesn’t quite fit. My stickers are not even, my fonts change, some pricetag stickers are still slightly stuck… you get the idea.

But this time I decided to step up the organization a notch and I made a spreadsheet! I kid you not. I have a google spreadsheet of every single craft supply I have and a corresponding bin number. It’s goooooood.


The great thing about the internet is that I’m sure there is somebody out there who is looking at these photos and saying, “me too!” In fact, I fantasise that someone will even zoom in and take notes of all my supplies. They are great supplies. You can make so many things with these odds and ends.


Sharpies, fabric paint, craft paint, feathers and shells, raffia, ribbon, tissue paper…. so many things!


Glue, tape, foam, all those containers and odd collections. Looking for a cassette tape? It’s in bin 15 of course with all the other tape. Makes perfect sense to me!


So anyway, you get the picture. Ooops, I repeated a picture. Oh well, I’m not fixing it because I have two pies to make today and a needy client. I think all three readers of this post can acknowledge the imperfect in me.


At the end of the day, I am a happy crafter. I love to take anyone and everyone out into my garage to show them Diagon Alley and brag about it. Need to borrow some craft supplies? I’ve got you covered!

I know I’m super lucky to have so much space but on the flip side, I can’t park my car in my garage because we have a man-cave/woodworking shop on one side and an awesome Diagon Alley/laundry room on the other. To each their own, right?


  • Maddie

    I too went cray cray over the Home Edit show and even tried to convince my friend to start an organising business with me here in Brisbane!!! (that’s still on the cards btw). Love the new system and am very impressed it even has a coordinating spreadsheet!! Just between you and me I *may* have completely reorganised my fridge and pantry after H.E and bought all those turntables and stepped storage items. I think we might be kindred spirits!!

  • Jennifer

    Cars are designed to be out in the weather; craft supplies and woodworking tools are not! Much better use of the space in my opinion.

  • Cathy

    Kudos to you for actually organizing it all! I am also envious of all your craft supplies. I binged the Home Edit, borrowed a book from the library, bought a few containers from Ikea and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten so far. Maybe January! Appreciate the inspiration.

  • Kathryn

    I’m a big fan of the clear plastic bin with a label. It saves a ton of time looking for things when you have a project. I also do this with our hardware/home repair doodads.

  • Gingermog

    Drooling over your organisation skills and neat labeled boxes girlfriend. Actually Matt has two label makers and I have my eye on a retro one with raised letters. One of my aims in life is to have everything is boxes or baskets and dust free. I have a real thing for baskets. I should send you pics of our neat, plastic drawers of art supplies in out work area, they would gladden your heart. Sadly most of the the barn is still a mass organisation WIP project.

    M father in law likes to hoard, as anything and everything could be a scuplture &/or also has the potential to be reused and made into something useful. Often it is. I’m thankful for the wardrobe he whipped up for me out of an old, high standing, Ikea chest of drawers and the long peice of wood that is our stylish kitchen counter but on the other hand there is stacks of stuff piled up waiting to be used someday for some project. He is also resistant to us taking things off to the recycling plant. We hoist things into the back of the car he sneaks them out when our backs are turned as you’ know it could come in handy some day. Ho hum. I know where he’s coming from and respect him, he always has great projects going on and is a wealth of knowledge. The more space you have the more temptation to spread, I think :)

    P.s. Why dont you like craft stores, too much tempation? I could’t believe my eyes the first time I visited a Micheals! :D

  • Jenjen

    I totally understand why you have all those things, how much work that project was, and the pride you feel in finishing it! Woohoo! ?

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