Making Room for a Hobby

Everyone needs a hobby, whether it’s a casual pastime you pick up and put down, or a more involved enterprise that takes up lots of space and uses lots of equipment. The truth of the matter is, even small hobbies have a way of escalating as you get more into them. Take photography, for instance. You might think all you need is a camera but before you know it, you’re considering special lighting and lenses, and gathering a constantly growing range of props. Making room for a hobby, any hobby, so you can find your kit and get on with the fun, can be a challenge in itself. Here are some ideas to help you get organised:

Finding Space

Whether you just do the odd bit of knitting (where will you keep your yarn stash, patterns and needle collection?), or your hobby involves larger pieces of kit (think skiing, golf, fishing or even paper crafting with collections of knives, guillotines and die cuts), having a dedicated hobby storage area will help keep everything together and in good condition.

How big an area depends on the size and number of pieces of kit. If you’re lucky enough to have a hobby or craft room , it can be simply a matter of installing cabinets, desks and shelving. Those of us who aren’t so blessed need to get a little more creative with existing spaces. Consider how you use your rooms, and whether you can repurpose some areas. If you normally eat in the kitchen, could you make a hobby area in a dining room or vice versa?

It might make sense to your creative lifestyle to replace a dining table with a work bench or desk. When rooms have to serve two purposes at home, sometimes it’s not feasible to make permanent changes. Suppose you decide to create a hobby corner in the spare bedroom, maybe setting up a small studio photography space where you can arrange flatlays or hang a portrait or product backdrop. But suppose the room also needs to become a guest room again. If you put your spare furniture into self storage while it’s not in use, you can fetch it back when guests come to stay. Fortunately self storage facilities are often in easy-to-access locations, so it’s a quick and simple job to pick it up.

Practical Vertical Storage

Hobbies tend to involve lots of small pieces of equipment that are easily lost or become jumbled.

● A peg board fitted to the wall can be arranged in infinite storage configurations for small items like scissors, saws, spools or bobbins. You can use bulldog clips, create little shelves on them, or hang jars to group together pens or brushes.
● A tall shelving unit or open shelves help keep boxes and tubs organised. Clear plastic boxes make it easy to see what’s inside, but pretty cardboard boxes may be more aesthetically pleasing on display. Make sure they’re labelled with their contents.
● Having frequently-used items on display can be inspirational so sometimes it’s good to ditch the boxes. Line up your photography lenses and filters, arrange small easels with miniature prints of your favourite photos, or create displays with favourite tools or props.

Sketch Your Space on Paper

Once you’ve decided on a room or part of one, sketch out roughly how you’ll use it. If you can keep the sketch to scale so much the better, but even a very rough concept drawing helps you visualise what you need. Do you need access to power sockets, for instance, and do you need to figure out a way to include a work bench or desk? If you don’t have space for a freestanding bench, a fold- down table attached to the wall may solve the space issue. By sketching out your work area, you can plan where to hang shelves, how to arrange lights, and if you need ventilation if you’re working with chemicals. It also helps you plan your working triangle, so you can have tools to hand and maximise your hobby time. Time spent planning, figuring out practical storage solutions and organising equipment and tools is never wasted, plus it’s fun! And in the long run, it pays off with more head space for creative inspiration and much quicker tidy-ups when you know where everything lives.

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