Organizing sewing and craft supplies (and a recipe for homemade laundry detergent)

In my laundry room, I am fortunate to have quite a bit of high shelving above the washer and dryer, on which I store craft and sewing supplies.  I’ve been struggling for awhile with my fabric storage.  I’ve tried just folding it and stacking it.  I’ve tried keeping it in clear bins.  But inevitably when the girls or I are hunting for a particular piece of fabric, everything gets jumbled, and (apparently) none of us are terribly good at re-stacking things neatly on a routine basis.  Same with the crafts, kept in bins on the top shelves.   Things get pulled out, put away improperly or not at all, and the longer it goes between straightening, the messier the whole area gets.  Pretty soon pulling out even one tiny thing makes an avalanche of mess highly probable.  (Please tell me this doesn’t only happen at my house??)

Laundry room-- the messy middleAwhile back I’d seen this idea for organizing tissue paper, and realized it’d work perfectly for fabric.  So last week, I pulled all the mess off those upper shelves, wiped everything down, and started folding fabric and threading it through the wire shelving rack. I’m terrible at taking ‘before’ pictures when I do projects– I tend to be way to eager to just leap in– but here’s a picture of the messy middle. Anything would be an improvement at this point, right?

The hardest part about this project was folding the fabric of varying sizes and shapes into fairly uniform sizes, so that it would look nice lined up.  If I had it to do again, I’d probably organize it in the order of the colors of the rainbow– wouldn’t that be just lovely?  I’ve seen books arranged by color on bookshelves and loved it.  But I didn’t have that idea til I was halfway done with the project, so I think I will leave it be as is.  I still think it looks really pretty.

Organizing fabric with wire shelving

You might also be able to see in the photo above that I flipped the lower shelf over so that the lip of the shelf was facing up instead of down.  With the lip up, I was able to use the shelf for gift wrap storage. I’m planning to also add a long wire or a dowel just below that shelf onto which I can thread spools of ribbon, to better organize my gift wrap supplies.

Setting the fabric up this way makes it SO easy to see what I have and grab what I need without disturbing anything else.  I’m delighted with how much better my craft area looks now, and am hoping it will be lots easier to maintain.  And having everything so easy to find makes me want to leap in and use more of my goodies!  Hooray for organizing success.

Organizing craft supplies


Here are other posts I’ve written about my laundry room.  It’s a hard working space and has seen several revamps over the years.

Shelf for a mismatched washer/dryer

School-book shelving in my laundry room

Laundry room organization ideas

soapAnd in case you’re curious about our laundry soap, here’s the recipe:

  • 4 cups of borax
  • 4 cups of washing soda
  • 1/2 bar Fels-Naphtha soap, finely grated

We store it in a 2-quart jar onto which I’ve fitted a lid from a parmesan cheese container.  We put 2 tablespoons of this mixture into each wash load.  It does a good job and is much more affordable than regular laundry detergent.  It even worked well when we had a front loader washer.  (The front-load washer died after working long and valiantly on our behalf.)

If you like this post, I’d love a pin on Pinterest. Next Wednesday I hope to share a very exciting, very affordable project that I’m working on in my kitchen! What’s new at your house?  Have you done any organizing lately?


  1. OH, I love the way this looks! Great job!

  2. Shannon Wilson says:

    Brilliant! We will have to do some crafting together.

  3. I do just already but add in those Gain sprinkle type stuff that adds pleasant smell. I will try your portions. The one question I’ve always had is, is it really cheaper? Hoping you can answer for me. 😉

    • Yes, I think it is quite a bit cheaper. That jar full lasts me a good 6 weeks doing about 3 loads of wash per day. I can make two batches (3 months worth) with about $12 worth of supplies), so that comes to about 4 cents a load if my calculations are right.

  4. Oh, so smart! I might have to install some shelving just for that!

  5. vickie crouch says:

    Looks amazing! Thanks for this tip. Will have to try it. Saves a lot of space, and I like the rolls of paper underneath!

  6. I have been wanting to make my own detergent for quite a while, and have heard from other folks that they use it in their older front loader. However, are the older ones considered high efficiency? We have a newer front loader and have to buy detergent marked HE on the label. I think it has to do with how much it suds ups with less water. Does anyone know if homemade like this recipe works in and HE front loader?

  7. Looks great! And just to make you smile: my 3 year old saw the picture of your midway/messy photo and said, “Look, Mom. That’s our house.”

  8. Could you tell us where you got the 2 quart jar to store it in as well? I have been wanting to make our own soap as well. And where do you have the directions for making it. Thanks.

    • HI Mary,
      I got the 2-quart jars from my grandmother years ago, but you can store it in any container really. To make the soap, all you do is mix together the above ingredients in a large bowl– super easy! To fit it in a quart jar, just half the recipe.