My children, just as many other children, love to create. Our house has plenty of artwork made by my precious little ones. Also, like many families, there is always the question of how to organize said art supplies. When our oldest child was still a toddler, it wasn’t any problem for me to have the art supplies in the playroom closet. I could get them out whenever he wanted and I wasn’t worried about a 2 year old on a scissor rampage. However, as we had more children and they got older, how to organize the art supplies became more of an issue, especially with children of different ages.
We tried moving the art supplies to the garage, which is just off of the kitchen, as the kitchen is the best place in our current home for art projects. This worked in theory. However, since the kids really didn’t want to spend much time in the garage by themselves, they would just dump their supplies in a pile rather than neatly putting them away. I will admit that this didn’t sit well with me. It also didn’t work well for them.
Finally, I came up with an inexpensive solution that works for our current home. As we will be moving, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a solution that may not work for our next house. I also wanted something that would work well for the kids and actually be used.
We purchased an inexpensive bookcase from Wal-Mart, which is the only store at which we could still find inexpensive bookcases. This particular bookcase was on sale for $25, although it’s normal retail price is around $30. We used extra bins we had from the toy shelf we designed and built for the two larger tubs. One houses Play-Doh and accessories (rolling pins, cookie cutters, etc.) and the other holds paper. In my experience, stacks of paper don’t stay neat for long when kids are rummaging for that perfect color. The bin allows the paper to stand up on edge so that anyone can easily find the color they want and just pull out one sheet.
The rest of the supplies are organized by type in clear shoeboxes we purchased at Costco. We bought a box of 14 for approximately $15. They stack nicely and make it easy for the kids to see what is inside…and most importantly (to a tired mother) for kids to put away. I was initially concerned about the height of the bookcase. Afterall, if the kids couldn’t reach supplies, that would defeat the purpose. Luckily, it has worked out well. Items that my older children need access to but that I prefer my two year old to have supervised access with go on the top shelf. My 7 and 5 year olds can reach it by standing on the bench that is normally right there. Our tub of paint and brushes goes on the very top – easily accessible by me, who needs a heads up if there is going to be wet paint around the house.
I puchased a couple of jewelry organizers at JoAnn’s on sale for $1.50 (normally $1.99). With my educator’s discount card, that brought down the price even more. These are perfect for all of the little things like confetti, beads, googly eyes, etc. They allow access to a wide variety of supplies in manageable amounts.
I pick up art and craft supplies when I find them on sale. I keep all of them in a large tub out in the garage. As items are used up, I periodically refill from my stash.