Tell me it’s not just my house… arts and crafts supplies are literally everywhere. On the counter, on the floor, and even wrapped around my lamps, for goodness’ sake. I like when my kids are creative, but I also need to clean it up quickly and simply. After trying a few methods throughout the years, we finally found a kids’ art supply storage solution that works.
Kids’ Art Supplies
We have a lot of arts and crafts supplies. My children love art, so they get a lot of supplies as gifts — plus they’re always in stockings and Easter baskets.
You should have seen how excited my kids were to pull pipe cleaners out of their stockings on Christmas morning. From clay to stamps to popsicle sticks, we’ve got it all — except slime. Never slime. Or glitter. Or glitter slime.
We’ve got just about everything else, though.
Gather and Sort Art Supplies
The first step to organizing kids’ art supplies is to gather all the supplies. Go from room to room and pull any supplies you’ve got in those spaces. Pool them in a central location, like the kitchen table.
This is helpful because it will help you see just how much you have. Look for items that you’ve got too much of or that your children don’t enjoy using.
Sort the art supplies by making piles of like items. Put all the Play-Doh together, the paints together, the beads together… you get the idea.
Purge Extra Supplies
After you’ve got the items sorted into piles, you can start to evaluate what you have and purge the supplies that are no longer loved, useful, or needed.
Let go of anything:
- Dried out or used up
- That doesn’t keep your children busy
- Not worth the mess they make (for us, glitter and slime)
- Your children have outgrown (fat crayons, old sticker books)
- You have an excessive amount of
- Not worth the space it takes up (spin art or large crafting kits)
Pay attention to quantities you have. Do your children need all 100 markers? How about those 60 containers of Play-Doh? Your children will take better care of their items if they have fewer items to take care of. When the supply is endless, why should they conserve?
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I decide which items to keep or toss based on how long the item occupies my children. They can spend hours making perler bead designs and painting. They also spend a surprisingly long time constructing with popsicle sticks and bending pipe cleaners.
Items that allow my child to be creative AND keep them occupied for a long time are always worth keeping.
Pompoms that fall off the paper dripping with glue? Nope.
How Accessible Will Art Supplies Be?
Next, think about which items you want stored away and which items you’ll keep out. It will probably depend on the age of the kid(s) involved.
We keep basic supplies like crayons, markers, papers, and coloring books out so children can use them any time without parent supervision. We’ve adapted the supplies as our kids have matured.
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We keep more intricate (read: messy) crafts tucked away. Stamps, beads, clay, and paint are all out of sight in a cabinet. I pull them out on rainy days and they keep everyone occupied.
Evaluate Your Storage Space
You likely have some kind of cabinet, closet, or shelf unit you can use for kids’ art supply storage. The space you have may dictate the type of storage solution you opt for. We have a deep, pantry-like cabinet that houses our crafts, so I wanted something that was long, skinny, and stackable.
One big bin of arts and crafts is one popular option, but it didn’t work for us.
Multiple little bins were a better kids’ art supply storage solution for us. We put this organization system into place a few years ago and it’s worked perfectly.
It has the potential to be a little more expensive than one big bin, but it works so well for us that it’s been worth it. We have had to reset and refresh some labels and supplies over time, but the system is still going strong! There are oh-so-many details below!
Our Solution for Kids’ Art Supply Storage
The best kids’ art supply storage solution I’ve found one is a set of small matching bins — about the size of a shoe box — filled with each supply.
“Our Shoe Boxes”
Our Shoe Boxes from The Container Store were a perfect solution. Each clear plastic bin is 7.5″ wide, 13″ deep, and 4.25″ tall and has a lid, which allows them to be stacked. The lids aren’t air tight but they do click on securely, so a kid is less likely to spill the contents on the way to create.
We are currently using 14 Our Shoe Boxes in our craft closet.
Containing the Craft Supplies
After following the steps above, I contained each of the categories of items into one bin. These bins were sized pretty perfectly to hold what we need. If the bin was slightly too small — like in the case of the Play-Doh—we eliminated what didn’t fit and kept only what did (it’s useful to give yourself limits like this when organizing).
As always, no organizing project is complete in my house until I add labels. In a previous rendition of this closet, I used Scotch Chalkboard Tape and white markers. I recently reset this space and upgraded the labels to custom white vinyl labels.
(Find the labels in my Etsy shop).
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After the bins were labeled, I put them back into the craft closet and stood back to admire my handiwork. I stacked the bins symmetrically and lined them up towards the front of the shelf, which makes it look quite nice.
This cabinet is also where I keep our seasonal book, which I rotate in and out every few weeks.
Related Post: Seasonal Book Rotation
Organizing Kids’ Art Supplies
Kids’ art supply organization doesn’t have to be an expensive project that uses matching bins and custom labels. I mean, it’s pretty when it does, but you can still be perfectly organized without those.
Actual cardboard shoe boxes with sharpie labels work just as well when it comes to organizing. The point is, you want to keep only what you’ll use and create a storage system that works for you, regardless of what that looks like!
Did I motivate you to tackle your art supplies? Do you have another solution you love for kids’ art supply storage? I’d love to hear it! Drop a message below and let me know!