By Molly Hammond, Storage.com
If Pinterest has done anything (besides secure the future of the decorative mason jar industry), it has taught us that just about anyone can become a craft extraordinaire. While it can be rewarding and economical to make decorations you’d otherwise buy, the dark side of DIY is in the details—like the space demands. As any crafter will tell you, it’s a hobby that can quickly outgrow its designated area.
Amy Anderson, blogger and creator of ModPodgeRocks, runs three different craft blogs and knows the toll keeping things organized can take. “Crafting is a stuff-intensive hobby, and you want to save everything because you never know when you will need it!” she says.
While most crafters want to keep their materials on hand for whenever inspiration strikes, self storage can provide a safe and affordable place for excess material, finished projects, or as a temporary home to craft studios during a move or home renovation.
But I don’t mind the mess, so why bother with storage?
If you’re the kind of person who’s ready to whip out the glue gun and get your hands dirty, DIY detritus may not get under your skin. But the truth is a storage unit isn’t just an extension of your craft room or another closet for forgotten projects to call home. The right storage unit can be a resource that brings rhyme and reason to a house that might otherwise be overrun with fabric scraps and glitter pots—items you need but are hard to keep in line. Not to mention, you don’t want little hands (or paws) getting into crafting supplies.
Susan Yates, one of the bloggers behind crafterhours, says “homes with pets are better off keeping [fabrics] out of reach of paws or fur.” This goes for hot glue guns, sewing kits, and other materials that you don’t want pets or children to get into as well. Rather than storing all of these items on a shelf that’s out of reach, you can move them even farther away with a storage unit.
A storage unit can also keep your supplies (which can be expensive) well-organized and in great shape, as well as provide a place for seasonal projects to live until it’s their time to shine. The extra space you’ll find yourself with at home is really just the icing on the cake!
So what do you need to know about storing crafts in self storage?
1. Invest in Organization
Anderson and Yates agree that plastic bins are the preferred method of corralling crafts. While Anderson has a wide range of bins from really small to really large, Yates tries to limit her bins to only a few types “so they stack and store well.” Nevertheless, both suggest finding bins that are transparent. “Clear plastic bins save the day for me,” Yates says, adding that being able to see what materials you have is a huge help.
You can always organize bins by their contents (small bins for paints and tools, larger bins for patterns and fabrics) or invest in portable shelving, which is frequently used in self storage since it allows tenants to make the most of the space they’re renting. Mark Allec, Vice President of Operations with Dollar Self Storage, recommends plastic shelving since it doesn’t absorb heat that might damage stored items.
Take your cue from Anderson: “I actually have a wire rack in my storage room. I give away the projects that I don’t want to use again, and the rest I store on the wire racks. I make sure to wrap them carefully with plastic wrap, and sometimes bubble wrap over that if it’s a fragile item.”
Now, if you’re storing a dress form or sewing machine in the event of a move or home renovation, Yates advises storing them in their original boxes. “The styrofoam/cardboard inserts fit the machines perfectly so that there’s no bouncing around in in transport,” she says. Plus, the original packaging can help you keep track of big-ticket items that you’ll want to have back at home in a hurry.
2. Choose Climate-Controlled Storage
“Units that consistently hold temperatures ranging from 70-80°F will maintain the integrity and life of paints, glues, and materials used for craft designs,” says Allec. “Anything outside of these temperatures could damage products used for crafts.” If you’re going to the trouble to store crafting supplies for future use, you certainly don’t want to find those supplies compromised or even useless when it comes time to use them.
Yates agrees that climate control is important for art supplies since extreme temperatures can dry out gels and liquids—or even permanently change their consistency. “Sewing machines have belts inside that can shrink and expand with extremes, so a relatively even temperature is helpful.”
Anderson, whose blog centers on decoupage glue Mod Podge, explains that climate control is just as important for crafts as it is for supplies. “Finished projects are sensitive to heat because Mod Podge gets tacky if exposed to warm temperatures,” she says. While Mod Podge is specifically affected by extreme temperatures, climate control is worthwhile when storing finished crafts, particularly because climate-controlled storage stops humidity from encouraging mold and mildew growth, which can damage items like fabric.
Well, maybe not exactly. But you can revel in an organized place for your crafting needs! While it may not be strictly profit, the money you’ll save keeping fabrics, paints, and finished crafts in an environment that keeps them good as new is certainly useful. And who knows? Maybe a dedicated place for your personal passion is the only thing standing between you and (an actually profitable) DIY crafting empire!