Controlling the Chaos

Kathy McElfresh
Kathy McElfresh

Had I written this post 8 days ago it would have been  all about how changing interests and pursuing new crafty ventures might dictate a re-think of your craft room organization.  I’d have talked about moving a folding outdoor table that wasn’t getting much use inside and turning it into a new dedicated gel-printing area defined by a 24×36 craft mat AND a dedicated sewing area where my newly repaired machine could stay up and ready all the time.  I’d have talked about my “clothesline” holding pre-cut cut files kept them out and visible so I’d be more likely to use them.  And about the game-changer storage towers from Scrapbook-dot-com.  And the photos wouldn’t have had all those wires showing.  

....And Then The Rains Came.....

Many of you know the story.  For those who don’t it’s about a wheelchair ramp built without being sloped away from the house and months of water intrusion, the worst of which happened last week when I used every towel in the house to blot up the water and madly moved furniture and boxes and storage cubes out of the lake that formed in the workshop and office areas.  Four hours of hard labor and laundry, and the horrifying discovery of mold, frayed nerves and patience but I  finally got the contractor’s attention.  Mold remediation planning is underway and I’ve spent many hours finding places for things that had to be removed from surfaces, walls and floors in the affected areas and I’ve grown accustomed to the hum of the dehumidifier that runs 24/7.

But First, Let's Backtrack a Year or So....

I’d started a YouTube series called “Organize!” where I’d address one area at a time and do before/during/after looks at how I organized to suit the way I was crafting and filming at the time.  I even wrote about it and showed photos in a blog post here at ScrapHappy that you can see in the archives.  I had to stop the series when my hubby became ill and needed first a walker and then a wheelchair , necessitating clearing of the hallway seen above which goes beside the kitchen into the living room. The one area that remained pretty much the same was the cutting station shown with my Silhouette and my Vagabond manual cutter plus all my dies and embossing folders.  That reorg was an extreme example of adapting to changing needs and I wasn’t doing any crafting at that time anyway so it didn’t matter that things were double stacked and much was unreachable.  These are current photos and though things are moved back into the hallway, they’re piled high with items that I moved to keep them from getting wet.  In that grey striped basket, for example, are 45 RPM records from the 60’s and 78 RPM children’s records from the late 40’s, all belonging to my hubby and very precious.  The jackets got damp but I was able to get them dry before any mold formed. 

The New Normal.....

Until the mold remediation is done in the workshop and the office (green desk area) John’s computer stuff is stacked on chairs and baskets, mine is set up on my gel-printing area, moldy storage cubes are set aside for treatment, the desk is cleared so it can be dismantled and floors torn up, mold treated, determination of the fate of contents, etc…..  It’s a nightmare come true, but I actually did a little organizing along the way so I could scan and print photos and access most of my supplies with just a bit more effort.  And what I learned was that I’d done a pretty good job of organizing last year because adapting to this new “normal” wasn’t as difficult as it might have been before.  So this series of photos will serve as another “before” montage that will launch a NEW reorganizing effort AFTER the floors have been torn up, walls cut into and a more waterproof scheme is designed!  If you look closely, you can see a bit of mold under the green desk and on the white cubes which were under the overhang on the desk — a good indication that there’s mold under that desk unit and all the contents are at risk — dozens of file folders with financial records John was keeping.  There’s a new drain cut into the wheelchair ramp that should (*should*) prevent further intrusion but who knows?  I will have some time to think about what I really need, what I need or want to use, where it all can go and how I can protect my craft supplies and other priceless items from whatever may come.  

Just a bit more info....

The first image above is the workshop.  There was a line of boxes against the wall on the left, stacked 3 high, packed with items for the giveaway table at an upcoming retreat along with a few baskets taken out of the Kallax unit to make room for more albums.  All the bottom boxes were soaked and all contents had to be destroyed.  The workbench and walls are cleared here because that floor, the baseboards and about 16″ of wall have to be torn up or cut out.  The second photo is behind a Kallax unit that holds 32 12×12 albums.  I moved it to plug in the dehumidifier and saw a line of dampness (now mold)above the baseboard and to find the part of the cabinet that touches the floor damp, meaning all the albums on the bottom row are damp.  I can’t touch them because I might release mold spores into the air. Might have to pay someone to remove all the pages from the wet page protectors and buy new albums and page protectors.  Not such a big task until you realize that 8 of those albums are PL albums with cards and photos and embellishments inside and outside the page protectors!! The yellow unit in the workshop is ok because 12 years ago I put bun feet on the bottom! The bun feet were underwater and are moldy and have to be removed but the contents are all dry and fine.

This is not a sob story......

…..just a cautionary tale!

I love organizing my craft supplies almost as much as I love buying and using them.  I do not love being forced into heavy lifting and losing “stuff” due to lack of anticipation or planning (or a contractor who didn’t fix his mistake when he was first notified back in March).  Stuff happens.  

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