As a kids craft blogger one of the questions I often get asked is how on earth do I organize kids art supplies in a manageable way? I have to admit that this used to be a nightmare for me but years of experience and trial and error means I’ve now got a system that works pretty well.
When we try to organize kids art supplies one of the biggest challenges most of us face is lack of space and wanting to be free of clutter. Kids really benefit from having free and easy access to all of the things that they might want to use on a day to day basis like marker pens, pencils and glue but we need to be able to fit this in our homes somehow and want to encourage their sensible use and for it not to become a total chaotic mess!
If you’re anything like me then you’ve probably built up a selection of more specialist craft and art supplies too like Fimo clays, fabrics and permanent markers. My kids don’t need access to these everyday but I do want to keep them organized and easy to see because then they are more likely to feel inspired to use them.
There’s no point having great art and craft supplies if they’re shoved into the back of the cupboard where no one knows they’re even there!
Organize Kids Art Supplies To Enjoy Creative Time Every Day
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I don’t have a lot of space but these simple tips go a long way towards keeping my kids art supplies organized and accessible.
If everything has a place kids are more likely to feel invited to use them and can more easily take responsibility for looking after the supplies too.
Making things easy to find, get out and pack away again means you’re likely to enjoy creative activities regularly without them becoming a chore and without a huge tidy up effort afterwards!
- OVER DOOR STORAGE US / UK – is a great way to organize supplies when space is limited. Each compartment can hold a different art material and you can easily stick on a picture or name tag so kids know what goes where. If you want to keep your art supplies out of sight you can even hang it inside a cupboard.
- TRANSPARENT FOOD CONTAINERS US / UK – These are my all time favourites! You can normally get these in rectangles and rounds and both are great. They are see through and stackable so I can pack them into a cupboard and the kids and I can instantly see where everything is. I use them for storing all sorts, googly eyes, pom poms, glitters, stickers, coloured sand…in fact nearly everything goes in one of these and I can find whatever I’m looking for super quick. I LOVE them!
- PLASTIC DRAWER TOWER US / UK – These come in all sorts of sizes and with or without wheels so you can choose the perfect size to fit your space. These are great for all your must have on hand items; the stuff that kids are likely to want easy access to every day. We have a three drawer unit and use one for pens, one for pencils and one for other day to day essentials like scissors, eraser, glue sticks, rulers. It makes getting out and tidying away the essentials easy peasy.
- LARGE CLEAR STORAGE BOXES US / UK – Again you can get these in all sorts of sizes to fit the space you have. I make sure I get stackable ones so I can maximise my limited space. I theme these boxes to hold similar things together that don’t need to be out all the time. So for example I’ve got one for all our different paint types, another for all our play dough and cutters, another for all our modelling materials and clays. Because they are transparent it’s easy for the kids to see what’s inside them. I have ours stacked in an alcove and I’ve hung a pretty curtain over the front. It makes it so easy for the kids and I to see at a glance what we’ve got but keeps everything neat and tidy. Because the boxes hold quite a lot of different things I turn my round every now and again so the kids can see what’s in the back of each box.
- OLD TIN CANS – As my children get older I seem to be collecting all sorts of different pens and pencils. We’ve got sharpies, fabric pens, whiteboard markers, watercolour pencils, landscape inks etc etc. I hate it when pen sets get muddled so I keep each set in a washed out tin can. We’ve even decorated some of ours with sharpie pens. Again it’s a great way for kids to see what’s available and everything has a place.
- TRAVEL ORGANIZER OR BOX FILE US / UK – I have one of these to keep our paper in and one named one for each child to keep their art work in when it’s not going straight up on the wall. Again these are easy to move around the house as needed, they can be stacked away and they encourage the children to keep things tidy.
- SCRAP BOOKS/PHOTO ALBUMS US / UK – Storing kids art can be a bit of a problem. We put alot of it up on display but you just can’t do that with everything! Every month or so the children and I sit down and look through their Organizer/boxfile (see above) and choose what they want to keep. Those pictures to be kept get stuck into the scrap book/album. These make such fantastic keepsakes to look back on too.
- CARDBOARD JUNK BOX – We use a lot of recycled bits and bobs for crafting like jar lids, cereal boxes and TP rolls. So we always have a good supply of goodies for the kids to create with I keep a cardboard box under the desk that’s been named their “Model Making Box”. Because it’s tucked under the desk it doesn’t get in the way and the kids get to create with all sorts of things.
A Dedicated Kids Craft Room – My Dream For The Future
Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a whole room to dedicate to art and craft activities with the kids? It is something I dream of! At the moment I have a teeny tiny “craft room” that also has to double up as a study/office. It has some shelves, an under-stairs cupboard and just about enough room to squeeze in a small desk.
The room works for storing and organizing all our art supplies in one place and it’s great for me to have a place to sit and work on the computer but it’s too small and dark for the kids to actually sit and get creative in. At the moment they have to do all their art and crafting on the kitchen table. This inevitable means that we have to pack it all away again every meal time which can be a real pain especially when you’re working on big projects that need revisiting over a few days like paper mache sculptures, or clay work.
I have a dream though that I can’t resist sharing with you. In fact I won’t call it a dream, I will call it a plan! In my garden I have an old brick ‘shed’ that apparently used to be a stable many moons ago. At the moment it’s used purely for storing the lawn mower and piles of junk! My plan is to turn this into a proper Kids Craft Room. It might take me a couple of years to make it happen, but happen it will!
Here’s what’s on my list of “must haves” so far:
- I want it to be super bright and airy so I’m going to put in some additional roof windows. I’ll need to be able to have total control of the light for my photography so will fit some VELUX venetian blinds.
- It needs to be usable, snug and cosy in the Winter so a little wood burner is a must. I’d love an old fashioned looking Pot Belly Stove.
- The floor needs to be easy clean so the kids and I can go crazy with paints and glue so I think some traditional quarry tiles will work well. I’ve laid these in my kitchen already and they are a fantastic.
- A large deep belfast sink with a big splash back so the kids can easily wash up paints and glue easily without having to worry about making a mess.
- Lots and lots of shelving! I’ll carry on using all of the tips I’ve mentioned to organise our art supplies because it works well for us but I am so looking forward to the day when I can keep them all along one wall!
Do you have a top tip for organizing kids art supplies or drawings? I’d love to know what works for you.
(Working in collaboration with Velux.)