Organizing Art Stuff

My kids have enjoyed arts and crafts since they were little, and as they have become teens, our art and craft materials has grown in quantity.

Here are some practical tips of how we organize and store our art stuff conveniently on our little arts and crafts bookshelf.

Practical Tip 1   Everything has its place and a place for everything

Homeschool 20154

Our stationary tray filled with little boxes has worked excellently over the years.  Each little square box stores the different types of pens, crayons, fiber-tipped pens, and colored pencils.

Practical Tip 2  Buy quality art materials & let everyone share

When someone needs, say, the gel pens, they simply take out the box out of the tray and use them at their table.  Once finished, they quickly pop the box back in the tray.  We all share the same pencils and pens.

Very little kids may need their own chubby art crayons and basic paint sets, but as soon as they are able to correctly use the basic stationary, I train them and let them share with the older kids.

Here are some of my most important rules:

  1. Clean your paint brush and tray before it dries.
  2. Pack your things away where it belongs.
  3. Work with a little and add more later, rather than pour too much and waste.
  4. Do NOT drop the pencils!

I like to purchase lovely, big sets of art materials, 24 colors or more, and we all enjoy the full range.  Rather than spending money on each child’s own set, one really large quality set shared by all is just as economical.

Practical Tip 3   Store all the paints, brushes and mixing trays in a “painting box”Art Supplies

When we paint, we take out the painting box and everything is on hand.  Before, I had paints in one box, trays in another and brushes in another, but, with a little re-organization, we fitted everything into a large, shallow box.

I painted the lids of all the acrylic paint bottles so that we can easily find the color we need.

The brushes are all stored bristlesup in the bottle and they dry perfectly.

Practical Tip 4  Plastic suitcases to store craft supplies 1-P1160658-001

We have used these small plastic suitcases to store our craft supplies for years. These suitcases have lasted for over 15 years!  Standing upright on the bottom shelf, we can easily pull out the case we need for our craft activity.

We store craft items in Ziplock bags.  If we purchase or receive craft materials in boxes, I cut the box lid flat, leaving off the sides, and store it inside the Ziplock bag, along with any instruction pamphlet, for slim, space-saving storage.

Each child has their own little suitcase for their own stickers, craft papers, and bits and bobs.  We tie labels on the suitcase handle.

Practical Tip 5  Store paper and cardstock in clear shelving 1-P1160657

We have used these clear, plastic drawers for years, too.  A simple plan makes habit training simple.

Once again, Ziplock bags save us from chaos!  Any paper or card that has a piece cut off must go into a large Ziplock bag in the drawer.  This keeps full paper or card sheets separate from any slightly used sheets.  Kids waste less if they know that they must find some bits or smaller pieces in a Ziplock bag, rather than cut off a small section from a full-page.

With a little training and some gentle reminders, my children have learnt to use, enjoy, clean up & pack away after their art and craft activities and creative endeavors, and our art stuff is ready for the next lesson.

What practical tips do you find works in your home?  Please share with us in the comments.


10 thoughts on “Organizing Art Stuff

  1. Pingback: Practical Tip ~ Creative Opportunities | Practical Pages

  2. Can you please share what brand(s) of colored pencils you use? I do have to buy some cheaper ones for my 3 and 5-yeaolds, but I do want to get nicer ones for my older kids. I’ll spend the money if you tell me they’re worth it! Thanks!


    • @Danielle Hull, it is difficult to say exactly which brand pencils to purchase because we live in South African and do not necessarily find the quality brands available in the USA, Canada and the UK, however, it is best to purchase quality brands found in art and stationary shops rather than to “save” on cheap colored pencil sets found in your general stores.
      Where possible, I look for soft leads, that don’t break easily and pencils made with quality wood that will not splinter when the pencils are sharpened. You want to find pencils that make an intense, dark, deep colored mark when used, rather than feint, insipid marks cheaper leads produce. If the shop allows, ask if you can test the colors before you buy. I also look for sets of 24 colors rather than sets of 12 pencils. Everyone loves the 3 or 4 shades and tones of the main colors in the larger sets.


  3. Pingback: Shared Art Sets | Practical Pages

  4. We have very much the same set up here too. It really makes life so much easier and more enjoyable when there is some order to things. We live in a very small home so everything has its place also.


    • @Kym, you’re right! Small spaces can easily be overwhelmed by stuff! Ease and enjoyment are good goals to motivate organization!
      For us, it is important that our children can responsibly use things; kitchen, farm, school and art tools & materials, and work independently, and it is well worth the effort to train them when they are young. Blessings!


  5. One more tip that I love….I have a lazy susan that sits on our dining room table and has our daily art supplies (pencils,scissors,etc..) sitting on it. When working on bigger projects that all my kids are involved in it’s nice to put the supply bins on it so they can easily “swivel” to what they need from across the table. I can also have the kids easily take off craft supplies and put napkins, salt/pepper, condiments for dinner.

    In Him,


  6. Our family is full of artists as well. I’ve transformed my china cabinet into our art/craft hub, however I like your suitcases idea. Where did you find plastic suticases?

    I took poster boards and stapled them together, leaving one end “open” to make a portfolio pocket if you will, to keep paintings, drawings, etc…that wouldn’t be eventually hitting the recycling bin. That way they don’t get crumpled or lost. I love your blog, am inspired by your post, and thankful for your freebies. God bless you and technology that we can share and discuss things from all parts of the globe.

    In Him,


    • @shelly lischke, thanks for your friendly comments.
      We found our plastic suitcases at a cheap plastics shop. I’m sure there must be something similar in the kiddies’ or stationary section in your country.
      Your poster board portfolio pockets sound great! I also made each child a portfolio bag. Mine are clear, thick plastic, duct-taped at the sides. I inserted a wide ribbon handle and the portfolio bags all hang from hooks behind a cabinet.
      Blessings to you and your artistic family!


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