I almost always have a few projects going simultaneously. It just seems to work out that way. With my "craft room" being a corner of our family room, I've found it vital that I clean up my projects if I walk away for any length of time. It took me awhile to find a system for cleaning up my stuff that allows me to dive right back into the project when I have a chance. Now that I have a system that works well, I thought I'd show you what I do.
First, I have the flat Ikea storage boxes (the ones you assemble yourself). I know they're cardboard, but they're tough. The boxes I'm using were originally in Buttercup's room to help her store pictures she drew, small little toys she'd collect, etc. I'm guessing these are about 7 years old and they still look pretty good, so the boxes really are terrific (and inexpensive!). The great thing about these Ikea boxes is that they come in a variety of sizes and colors, so they work well for different types of projects.
When I'm not working on any project, the boxes are in a nice little stack on my shelf. (I know I should probably label them every time I begin a new project, but I don't seem to have projects going long enough to make it worth my time.) Each project gets a separate box that I can pull out when I have time to work on the project. In each box, I place everything for that project...all in one place and all together!
Currently, I've got Buttercup's pajama pants, the Valentine's wreath from Little Birdie Secrets, and some Valentine's bar towels I'm embellishing. As you can see, all the stuff for each project fits in its box, so I never am scrambling for the elastic for the pajama pants or the glue when I have time to work on the wreath...everything is right there. When I am done working for that session, I just pack it all back up and slide it back on the shelf. By doing this, my projects are ready for me whenever I have the time to work on them...I don't spend a lot of time looking for missing elements, etc.
Maybe this was obvious to you and you already do this, and if it was, good for you! For me, however, doing this has made it much less stressful to work on my projects. For all you moms, this is a great way to lead by example...how many times have you heard your children protest that they can't clean up because they're RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF whatever it is they are doing? If they see you do it, too, they'll be much more likely to follow your example.
Do you have any clever ideas for keeping your stuff safe and organized when you aren't done with it? Do tell!
P.S. Have I mentioned how much I miss Ikea?