We love creating at our house. I love keeping our art supplies easily available so they kids can grab their things and get to creating. But I have found that this isn’t as easy for everyone. I had a virtual client recently share she doesn’t like the art supplies out because they never get put away. And it got me thinking. Keeping art supplies organized should be tricky. So I have 10 tips for organizing art supplies that your kids can follow!
Keep It Simple
The very first thing I would suggest to organizing art supplies is to keep the organization simple. I have seen far too many pictures on Instagram where people color-code all the markers only to have the kids destroy their work after drawing for 5 minutes.
So stop making things complicated, and just keep it simple.
Use a few items to keep the art supplies tidy. Maybe have less supplies to begin with so you have less to worry about organizing.
But keep everything as simple as you possibly can for the kids. Because they will keep up with the organizing when it is simple.
While I love the turntables that have the color-coded markers in them, they just aren’t practical for most households. Instead, you can use a large pencil caddy to hold the markers or a pencil cup or a pencil box.
But you do not have to arrange all the markers to be a specific way. Because, let’s face it, the kids just grab and draw.
I typically keep all the writing utensils stored together in a caddy so they can take the caddy to the table and draw. It makes clean up easier because there is only one caddy for them to carry around.
Another way to store crayons is using a photo storage container. I liked using this when the kids were younger so I could grab the box and throw it in the diaper bag if we went out to eat. I could just grab the crayons in the box and go. I have some more ideas for how you can use those here.
And read this blog post on what to do when your crayon breaks for little artists!
Use A Cart
I love creating art carts. I think they are one of the best ways to make art more accessible. Because everything you need goes on one rolling cart. And the kids can just pull the cart up to the table they are working at. Making clean up super easy.
To make an art cart, round up all the art supplies. Then store them on the cart. That’s it!
It isn’t complicated to create an art cart. And it can help you keep all the supplies really organized.
These blog posts go into more information on creating the art cart of your dreams:
Store Adult-Supervised Activities In Bins
Now when I say adult-supervised activities, I am talking about the things you don’t want your kids to get into without someone there watching. And these activities will change as the kids get older
When my kids were young, the Play-Doh, paints, scissors, and stamps were adult-supervised. But as they have grown, we only supervise when they use acrylic paint on canvas.
Start by deciding what activities you do not want your kids to have access to every day. Then collect those activities and store them in a hard-to-open bin.
When my kids were younger, I used portfolio boxes to store their items. And as they got older I changed the location of where those items go because I was comfortable with them using the items without me supervising.
I have ideas for storing adult-supervised activities for toddlers here.
The paper that goes with the art supplies can be tricky to store. Because you want to store the paper on top of each other. But that doesn’t always work when kids grab and run.
I prefer using magazine holders like this one to hold papers. The papers stay standing up in the magazine holders. But they are easy for the kids to grab without spilling everywhere.
Plus magazine holders work for storing coloring books, workbooks, and other paper books the kids may want to keep with their art supplies.
I have also used the shoe organizer from IKEA to store papers. It works perfect because you can open the organizer and grab paper without it spilling out.
You may find this blog post helpful with paper: How To Teach Kids To Reuse Paper
Stamp kits, stamp pads, and just lose stamps can be hard to contain. I have had a few clients have piles of the stamp kits stacked on top of each other. But those stacks were not easy for the kids to use. So we had to get rid of all the boxes the stamp kits come in.
Depending on how many stamps your kiddos have, you may want to consider different storage options for them. But the one recommendation I have is to get rid of the boxes the kits come with. They are not easy to organize and are just a waste of space.
Instead, use a bin (with a lid or without) to store the stamps. Some of my favorite stamp containers are below:
Keep Beads Contained
My daughter loves her beads. The Pearler beads. Beads for necklaces. But the packaging they come in doesn’t always hold up. In fact, the last bead set she got spilled all over our playroom when she was opening it.
Which is why we keep all the beds in canisters with lids.
Just make sure that all the beads go into something. That way they won’t spill all over your home.
To get the beads into the jars from the boxes they come in, I roll up a piece of paper to make a funnel. Then I funnel the beads into the jar. This helps with any spilling that may happen!
Activity kits are all those kits that have different art projects or science projects in them. Some have specific items that come in the box, while others may just include random supplies to let the kids get creative.
No matter the type of activity kit, there is one thing you must do to keep the art supplies organized. And that is throw away the rest of the materials once the project is done.
I know you may have a hard time with this, but what I see happen frequently is that the left-over supplies end up piling up in the activity kit boxes. The kids don’t open them so they end up taking up space with your art supplies. You get frustrated because you want the art supplies organized.
Instead of holding onto the empty boxes with a few materials, throw the box away (or recycle). If your kids love making creations using left -over materials, then create one designated spot for all those items to go. Otherwise, throw those extra items away as well.
Kids can’t get creative if they have too much clutter. So stop letting things pile up and make a plan to throw away the box and left-over materials.
Read this post about easy ways to clean up art kids.
Organizing Paints + Brushes
Back when my kids were toddlers, we stored all the paints in a portfolio bin.
As they grew, I decided to keep the paints and brushes on the art cart. But I wanted to keep things simple for them. So I just stored the paint brushes in a cup and the watercolor paints next to the cup.
This solution works well for my kids. And I have found it works well for other families too.
But if you feel you need to keep the paints in a container, I would recommend using a silverware caddy to hold the brushes and the paints together. This way they can grab the caddy and get to painting!
For other paints, I would use a bin or drawer organizer to hold all the paints. I store our acrylic paints in a drawer organizer in the basement. These paints are something I have to supervise.
Read this post on how to teach kids how to clean up after painting.
Other Supply Organizing Ideas
Now there are always art supplies that I never cover in one blog post. Because there are just so many supplies to cover! Below I have more blog posts on different ways to organize other art supplies I might have missed!
Organizing Art Supplies
These 10 tips for organizing art supplies are here to inspire you to get your kiddos’ art supplies organized. Make sure you keep the supplies easy to get to. Use bins or containers to store items together. Keep supplies you don’t want the kids using without adult supervision away from the rest of the art supplies. Create an art cart if you feel it would help keep the kids’ stuff organized. Use magazine holders for papers. And don’t overthink anything. It is just art supplies!