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How do you store/organize Art Supplies for the kids?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
We have a lot of art & craft supplies (one of the few things I'm not a minimalist about) and wondering how you all organize and store them.

I'd love to come up with a system that was accessible to my four year old...but not accessible to my one year old who will eat everything. Maybe a cabinet with a door? In drawers?

So where is your art stuff for the kids?
post #2 of 19
I put mine in a drawer in the kitchen. It is not perfect though. I had stuff in a shallow drawer and it was always overflowing. So I changed things around and put the stuff in a deep drawer, and now it's hard to find stuff without emptying out the drawer and as result the kids aren't using many of the supplies. My next move is probably going to be to use two shallow drawers maybe divided up by type of craft, but I can't quite figure out where the kitchen supplies are going to go so I haven't done it yet.

My friend has a very handy system - she uses a clear shoe organizer that hangs over a door and puts the various art supplies in all the little pouches. My issue with that system is that I think the organizer is vinyl and if you use a cloth one you can't see what's in each pouch. That said, it works really well, but can be hard for her younger child to reach stuff.
post #3 of 19
We have an art closet - which is a closet of our kitchen. It holds art supplies, board games, puzzles and some other random items. It's no were near as organized as I'd like it to be (I have four children who can get into it), but b/c it has heavy sliding doors, a 1-yr old wouldn't have easy access.
post #4 of 19
Well I keep all the spare supplies, as well as the paint, in a drawer in my room. I keep the tissue paper and pipe-cleaners and stuff in my closet. But I keep drawing paper, markers, colored pencils, and crayons, all in a plastic drawer unit. We homeschool so I have 4 of these plastic 3-drawer units in our main living space. They are sitting between two easels. I also store their books, my curriculum, and all sorts of other things in those drawer units, but the girls (7 and 2) know where the drawing materials are and they help themselves all day long.
post #5 of 19
I have 2 drawers in the kitchen / dining area and some clear boxes for "seasonal" stuff. It's not a perfect system either but at least paper, paints, crayons, pencils, and playdough are easily accessible.
post #6 of 19


currently I have ours in some plastic drawer dealies, but they are on a bookshelf in our living room and look terrible.
post #7 of 19
We have a walk in closet in our playroom where I store them, along with puzzles, games, and toys that I rotate in and out. I got the idea from a friend who is brilliant () to use one of those shoe storage things that hangs on the back of the door. It has tons of pockets, so each one holds different things. Paint brushes, glue, scissors, markers, etc. Then I have one of those plastic drawer carts that holds all of the paper and bigger items. I have a tote with a handle, meant for carrying cleaning supplies around, that I keep the bottles of paint in. That way we can keep them all together, neatly, and carry them to the table all at once instead of trying to juggle them.
post #8 of 19
DS's art station is in the family room and is a part of his art easel. There is a cubby underneath his easel where the paper and his smock are stored. We keep the crayons, glue, markers and such in covered containers that I found at Target.
post #9 of 19
I use separate covered containers with labels:
- paints and brushes and sponges
- crayons and markers
- felt, pipe cleaners, pompoms, feathers,
- stickers and paper embellishments
- glue, glue sticks, clips, staplers and staples
- sewing supplies
- yarns and knitting needles and crochet hooks
- assorted small craft kits (soap making kit etc., the kind of things they get for birthdays and Christmas)

In one house we had a cabinet with shelves and that was the perfect storage for all the containers. Neatly behind doors, but easily accessible. Now they are all on open shelving and it looks messier.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for sharing what you are doing, everyone! I'm getting some great ideas. I do think out of sight would look nicer for us, but not sure it is feasible in our space.

I've been drooling over these art carts but they are pretty big and I fear will just be a big ugly cluttery mess in time. What about this Little Colorado organizer? Anyone have this for toys? I loathe the plastic bins but I bet it would be functional.
post #11 of 19
We have a 7 drawer plastic drawers on wheels in the closet then three small drawers on the bookshelf in the living room. In the closet we keep all our bulk items (extra crayons/markers/papers) as well as things that would make a huge mess if my youngest got into them (paints, glitter, stamps, glue etc). In the living room one drawer holds crayons, one color pencils/glue/scissors and the last one markers. They are individual small drawers (just big enough for the pencils to fit it with a little extra room to make them easy to get in and out) and they stack on top of each other. I keep them at the top shelf of the bookcase so my youngest can't get into them without supervision. It takes maybe half the shelf then the other half has a couple of workbooks my oldest loves to do (or act like shes doing ), a doodle pad for each and a spare notebook for me to write things in if I need to brainstorm but don't want to go get the regular notebook I use (or can't because I'm supervising the girls).
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
I use separate covered containers with labels:
- paints and brushes and sponges
- crayons and markers
- felt, pipe cleaners, pompoms, feathers,
- stickers and paper embellishments
- glue, glue sticks, clips, staplers and staples
- sewing supplies
- yarns and knitting needles and crochet hooks
- assorted small craft kits (soap making kit etc., the kind of things they get for birthdays and Christmas)

In one house we had a cabinet with shelves and that was the perfect storage for all the containers. Neatly behind doors, but easily accessible. Now they are all on open shelving and it looks messier.
I could have written this myself. In fact, I was going to. The only difference is mine were in a closet before being put out in the open.
post #13 of 19
I keep a very limited, controlled supply available to my kids.

We have a ridiculous amount of art supplies, and I just got a rolling cart (ugly and plastic, yes) from Target and labeled each drawer with pictures of what goes in each: markers and crayons, scissors and glue, paper, dry erase boards/markers, and each kid has a drawer of their own to put their work trays in.

Those are the basic things I keep out for the kids to do whatever they want -- my dd, for instance, wakes up in the morning and likes to cut and glue. My son likes to draw. They can do those things without asking/needing my help.

Everything else --- puffballs, glitter, googly eyes, foam shapes......I provide on request, in fairly controlled amounts. God help me if my daughter had free access to glitter. Perhaps in another year or two. Or three.
post #14 of 19
We keep ours in a wooden secretary desk. I think it would be difficult for most littles to access because of the way the door folds down.

Also, some of the stuff is in glass spice jars on a rack. You need to be able to reach them and then if you do, you still need to open them up which should be a bit of a challenge for most young toddlers.
post #15 of 19
Oh my goodness... We have a couple of those over-the-door pocket organizers (cloth, not vinyl) that we got at a yard sale, because I loved them, but as yet we have to use them for anything. I *never* thought of using them for art supplies. In my brain they were only for clothing stuff (we have a vinyl one used for mittens, hats, ballet shoes etc in the coat closet). This might just work better for us than my current system of everything-thrown-into-a-basket lol...
post #16 of 19
http://flic.kr/p/7jAWdB

Here is our little art supply area. There are crayons, paper, pencils, sharpeners, stamps, paint, chalk. The little cabinet is from Ikea (meant to be mounted on the wall) that I bought 10+ years ago. When it gets messy (like in the pic), I can just close it up.

http://flic.kr/p/7jAW3c
post #17 of 19
I use plastic shoeboxes like this http://www.sterilite.com/SelectProdu...=252&section=1 They have locking lids which are harder for little kids to open. DS is 10 and this system works great. The boxes are stackable and fit in the closet. We also have some baskets from holidays past.
post #18 of 19
We have this piece of furniture in our kitchen:

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60045393

I know that it is pricey. We saved for it for a long time. It is such a versatile piece of furniture that I know we will have it forever. It will serve us well no matter where we are living, also.
I currently use it both for kitchen stuff and arts and craft stuff. One of the top drawers has all of the stuff that I didn't want my baby having free access to: markers, crayons, scissors, water colour paints, glue, chokable glue-on stuff, etc.
I have some sea grass baskets (8 total) along the bottom two shelves (we set the shelf heights differently than the image that I linked). In those baskets I have: playdough and playdough accessories, paper, table coverings/art smoks, activity and colouring books, recipe books, and homework stuff (school papers, pencil case). The baby would dump the baskets on a regular basis, but if it was driving me crazy, I could just put them on top of the table for a while. I have tried MANY systems. This one is, by far, the best one so far. I want my kids to have free access to the crafts without me having to look at clutter all the time. Also, my baby is now 2 and is better with it all now, but when she was little the system worked, too.
Oh - I also keep extra craft stuff in the basement. The stuff that I don't want anyone to have 'free' access to, or that is too big, or a single-use craft kit type of thing, goes there. So I have a bin of painting stuff, Craft kits, Stamping stuff (not washable) etc. downstairs. This really helps keeps the clutter to a minimum, as well as keeping some art stuff 'fresh'.
HTH
post #19 of 19
This thread inspired me! We had our arts & crafts stuff in a sideboard/buffet type cabinet and it was a disaster. Pencil boxes stuffed full of markers with no lids, shoved into drawers on top of paper that got all crumpled up ... just NOT good.

So today I bought an over-the-door shoe organizer and got it all organized! I hung it on the inside of the under-stair pantry. I swiped some plastic tumblers from our picnic/camping box and labeled them "WRITING PENCILS," "COLOR PENCILS," and 2@ for "CRAYONS." If it doesn't fit in the tumbler, there are too many! The tumblers fit into the pockets of the organizer so that the girls can pull out what they want to color or draw with; then when they're done, the crayons or whatever go back into the cup and they're easy to carry back to the storage room.

Paints are higher up so that they need my help/permission to get to them. There were also enough slots that I was able to store dd#1's extra school supplies!

I threw out ALL the markers. I HATE markers ... I canNOT get dd#2 to put the lids back on so they either end up drying out or laying on a rug or clothes or something and messing that up.

I put all their coloring books and construction paper into a small box on the floor just inside the closet so that it's easy to dig through and find what they want.

There's plenty of space for additional supplies if needed ... I'm sure my mom will give them something artsy at the first available opportunity.

So, thanks a million to the posters who suggested the shoe organizer!!
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