Making My Craft Space Wheelchair Accessible

My Craft Space: Making My Space Wheelchair Friendly //

A year ago this funny little shop was just an idea in my head that I was convincing my husband was a good idea.  He is NOT a giant nerd, nor is does he think my snarky and sassy saying are all that adorable… Probably because I say them while we are fighting.  I don’t fight fair.  But somehow, I got him on board and the shop was launched.  Sort of.

I ended up getting my business license and then immediately getting diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel.  I was likely to have to have surgery.  That “likely” quickly turned into surgery.  My poor shop sat mostly neglected for most of 2013.  When I finally started feeling ready to get back to the grind of opening, I got very, very sick.

At the end of last year, I woke up one morning unable to walk.  After being bedridden and wheelchair bound for a number of months, I was finally diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis.  But, hey, I was home, my office was on the same floor as the bathrooms and I had a wheelchair.  Why not open up and see what happens?

So, I did a real, “I’m here, come buy my stuff” opening on Black Friday and the orders starting coming in.  But my funny little office was never really set up to do business, let alone for me to be working in a wheelchair.  This meant that my husband and I had to find a solution and fast!

Over the last few months, I have slowly moved things around as I have figured out what is and isn’t in a good spot and my office is darn near complete.  I love it and am madly in love with 3M for their Command Hooks.  Seriously, those things are going to be the best invention the world will ever see.  EVER.

Let’s take a look at some of what I did:

Office Collage

1. We took an old Ikea TV table and created an L-shaped table with my actual office table (also Ikea so it worked well.  This gave me two separate surfaces to work with.  In front of the window (out of view to the left) is the area I sew and cut fabric.  The area shown on the right is where I put my laptop and my Silhouette Cameo is just out of view so it’s the prefect place for my computer.  I created all those lovely little files with my Cameo to store paper bits and small items that I need to readily get to, but couldn’t reach when they were on the bookshelves.  I also created a two tiered plate stand to hold sewing odds and ends neatly, but in reach and created little boxes to store my Silhouette cameo supplies to put them in easy reach of my machine.

2. Next to my sewing machine, my desk had a little cabinet with not much in it.  But I quickly discovered that it was the best place to put my scissors.  I had them in a cute little decorative tin bucket, but they were just far enough out of reach that I couldn’t keep them there, but I use ALL of my sewing surface.  Enter Command Hooks to the rescue! SO much better to have them hanging here.  I don’t have to reach for them anymore!

3. My ironing board is really just a regular old ironing board.  BUT I did discover that the lowest height setting was the perfect height for my wheelchair.  I was very concerned about how to safely iron in my small space, but with it against the opposite side of the room from the sewing machine, I can easily turn my chair, iron and head back with little effort and no worries.

4.  One of our walls has floor to ceiling bookcases that I loved and had filled with books.  But I couldn’t have things on the higher shelves if I needed to be able to get at them.  My husband and I consolidated our movies in to CD sleeves instead of cases and moved all the books and odds and ends to the tops shelves.  They are very cluttered, but it opened all the lower shelves to store my craft stuff which means no more try to stand to get stuff or having to wait for my husband to get home to reach it for me.

5. Because that one table was actually an entertainment unit, it has a cubby instead of an opening like a normal desk.  It also happens to perfectly fit my drawers filled with scrapbook paper.  My vinyl supplier ships all the vinyl in these fabulous cardboard tubes which I have glued together to create the perfect vinyl storing area.  The tubes are already the right size! Someday I’ll cover the cardboard so it looks nice, but for now, I have m vinyl next to my Silhouette Cameo and within easy reaching distance from my chair.

It’s still a work in progress, but just these few things have really helped me be able to be more productive and have fewer painful days.