Hi, thanks for the photo, Ambimom, I think I missed it when you posted. I thought I'd let you know how I got on.
My solution so far has been to buy a vintage sewing cabinet. It has 4 drawers and just about all my notions fit in - the bottom drawer has ribbons and tapes and elastics (I wind them on strips of cardboard I cut out of a box last year some time); the next up has buttons, zips, snaps, and closures of all kinds; next up is lined with a cut up cutlery tray which came with the cabinet and holds scissors, needles, pins, rotary cutters, marking tools, and miscellaneous stuff like bodkins and bias-tape makers (which I never use). Finally the top drawer holds machine feet, attachments and manuals. The cabinet top is flat and slides down the back, so you don't need extra space at the side. It's actually quite compact. It came with a machine, a Singer 611G (sort of like a 401 but more plasticky), in good working order. The main area has a door and you open the door to kick up a kick plate, so you can fit your knees in to actually sew. My serger fits in there when the kick plate is down. The picture below is from the eBay listing.
I had intended to just put my regular machine on top of the cabinet as if it were on a desk, and indeed I may still do that. Meanwhile I'm experimenting with the 611G, which has a motor that sounds like it's going to take off into the air when you lean on the controller, for example to wind a bobbin. A little off-putting. But the stitches are nice. I may swap it out for my 201K though, which is a real pleasure to sew on, although it only goes straight; plus I have a zillion low-shank feet and no slant shank feet other than what came with the machine. Decisions, decisions.
So far though I love the cabinet, I love having everything in one place and accessible, I love not having to have everything on the same surface I'm sewing on! And my current project, a coat, has lots of hand-work, and the top of the cabinet is a nice working surface for the endless basting, pad-stitching, catch-stitching and what have you. The cabinet is currently in the living room while we clear out the necessary space to put it in the bedroom (our house is a Chinese puzzle, you can't move one thing without moving 3 or 4 other things).
I've also rationalised my rulers and cutting mats by putting them into an A2 portfolio, like a large artists portfolio, which also holds my tracing paper and carbon paper. My idea is that I always do cutting and marking downstairs so I should just have the tools for that down here anyway. Books and pattern magazines and patterns will be moved and probably will live apart from the sewing machine.
I have yet to find a good place for my thread (I have a rack but it's not big enough...), especially those dratted serger cones. I considered mounting the rack on the door of the cabinet but I'm afraid the serger will no longer fit. But I am making good progress. The other good thing about the vintage cabinet was that it was cheap, under £50 all in for purchase and delivery. And hey, I got another sewing machine!