Putting our closets/bills/holiday cards in order is enough of a thankless job without even beginning to consider corralling toys and art supplies. I have a short fuse for all of the things that get dumped all over the house (today it was a bucket of blocks, pillows from the couch, toy cars, and migrating books), and find that organizational systems are enormous time-savers that help me keep my cool amidst all the chaos.
I wrote about organizing art supplies in September, and after turning my home upside down about four times in the past year, it’s become more clear that I live in a fluid space where solving for my family’s needs is an ongoing process. While I’ve been reading books on organization (I love Donna Smallin’s One Minute Organizer), creating order isn’t my forte, and I welcome all ideas for improvement!
The big changes? We repurposed a bedroom armoire for supply storage after this weekend’s DIY bedroom makeover killed my weekend and left this blog bereft of good content. Truly sorry about that. The doors have been removed for easy access to materials. Gaining all of this extra storage enabled us to pull excess art materials off of the table, freeing up room for creating. And a clear table is so much nicer and more inspiring to look at!
My daughter can reach her favorite supplies on the lower shelves, leaving the top shelves for things I’d like out of her reach. And I finally have some nice, clear bins so she can find what she needs without dumping out every single box on the living room floor (yes, it happened!). Light from the window and lamp on the art table are also a huge improvement.
I am just now getting a handle on the clutter that built up while my third child spent the first year of her life strapped to me. I’ve made my peace with strewn-about toys, too, as long as I can vacuum at least once a week. 😉 And we didn’t have a set art area until my oldest was almost 8, just a succession of in-flux make-do areas. I don’t have any great organizational tips, just the advice that as long as young children are in the house, it’s never going to be truly neat and organized. The best I can do, anyway, is try to maintain some sort of reasonable compromise.
It helps to hear your thoughts, Amy. I recognize that I’ll never truly have a handle on the chaos (but it helps me to pretend that I do!). A reasonable compromise makes good sense! Our laundry area has become the messy catch-all staging ground for all of our creative experiments, and gets picked up every now and again…usually when it starts to drive me nuts.
I like what you’ve done with this space–My biggest obstacle/challenge to organization is: Space. So, I do whatever I can to have spaces in my house do double-duty. On the back of our kitchen island, we used chalkboard paint to give my daughter a space to draw. (I hope to have an entire chalkboard wall someday.) We put shelves in our family room closet, and hooks, to make a dress-up area. When it’s not in use, we close the closet doors. We took a book case and made that our art supplies storage, and it’s by our kitchen table. I would like more shelving for storage, but we really don’t have much space left, living in a small townhome. I’ve re-worked/re-organized the areas in our house MANY times–I agree with Amy, spaces are always in transition! Congratulations on having a clear table–I feel SO much satisfaction when our table is clear–a fresh canvas for creating!
Thanks for sharing all your good ideas. Your dress up closet sounds like a brilliant solution for providing a rich imagination space in tight quarters. Space is my obstacle, too! Our tiny old house has equally small closets, and I constantly feel like we’re bursting at the seems. Not a thing can come in the door without taking something else out, which I suppose is the impetus for my current organization obsession!
Sorry that I am late to this one, Rachelle, but I’m interested to see what you do with your older daughter’s art supplies when your baby starts being able to get into things.
As I type, Jane has just figured out how to open up the storage boxes that hold stamps, ink, scissors, glue…
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