“Organizing is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” — A. A. Milne
It’s been a busy time with end of the year school events, social events, and general work things and I’ve felt just slightly overwhelmed by my overpacked schedule. In moments like these I tend to move into an organizing craze.
I’m sure it stems from a need to have some control in my life, and pulling things together gives me that sense of peace when everything else feels like it’s too much to handle.
So last weekend I cleaned up and organized our art carts. The materials are well-loved by our family, and after a few months of all that love, the organization of it all can get seriously out of hand.
We now have two art carts that are originally designed as library carts, and they are amazing for storing all our mark-making supplies, paint, collage things, tape, and cards.
Art Supply Tetris
Despite our best efforts at keeping these art carts organized, it’s inevitable that over time we new supplies get wedged into an already tight system, dust accumulates, and materials go back to these beloved shelves in a crazy game of art supply Tetris.
One of my kids has been on a painting kick, so I thought you might like to see our paint shelf and how it got put to work right away.
If this strikes a chord, I’ll work out a post on how I organize both carts (we have two).
My clean-up strategy
First, I pulled everything off the shelves, figured out what we’re using, what we’re not using, and what’s trash (dry paint bottles, I’m looking at you), and put it all back together again.
Here’s the before and after of our paint shelf…
Before and After
Before: The shelf held all the paint, but it also held a massive pile of collage papers that my kids weren’t using. Well, in all fairness, I’m the collage artist, so those are mine, and I realized this shelf made no sense at all. The paper had to go.
After: I pulled all the painting materials to one happy spot: brushes, watercolor paper, watercolor paints, acrylic paint, paint palettes, and a water jar. Everything we need for a paint session is right there, easy to see and access. Phew!
And, I kid you not, shortly after this all got cleaned up, this happened..
And then it all got put back. It was wonderful.
I’m feeling good about the new system, and remind myself that in a few months we’ll likely have to do it all over again, but for now I’m breathing easy.