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Old 12-10-2012, 09:55 AM   #14
cherylchoo's Avatar
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Location: a Texan in the northern Detroit 'burbs
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Re: Child's Art Supply Organization

I have three kids 4, 7, and 9 so I have more stuff and do not have to be as careful with what's accessible. But you could modify what I do to put stuff out of reach.

I do mason jars for a lot of it as well. I have a little wooden tray leftover from an old Melissa and Doug toy, and it holds pint jars of crayons, colored pencils, markers, pens/pencils, dry erase markers//scissors/glue sticks, and then in the space leftover is the bottle glue, little stapler, tape, and can of shaving cream (yeah, they play with that LOL) that sits on the kitchen table all the time. They use it to do arts and crafts as well as their homework. My kids do a lot more arts and crafts than their peers at school and church, and I think it's largely because it is out in view and accessible to them.

Then there is a bookcase that I use for the other stuff. I have a bin of acrylic paints and brushes. A paper sorter of reused paper (already printed on one side from DH's work), construction paper, lined paper, etc. A shoebox of stamps and ink pads. A bin of playdough and the playdoh factory thing and playdoh cookie cutters. A pencil box each of backups of crayons/colored pencils/etc that I listed in the mason jars above - I get enough to fill the jars and a pencil box in addition to whatever is on the school supply list every August while they are on sale. A short shelf of coloring books and workbooks and dry erase printing and cursive wipeboards. Then a small plastic drawer thing to hold the random little stuff, like bead kits they get as gifts, boxes of staples, post-it notes, etc. They can access themselves to get what they need, and they know to ask first if they are going to do something messy like paint or playdoh. But you could put this all in a closet or cabinet easily if you needed to restrict access.

The key is grouping like things together by type of project, so it's easy to get what is needed whether it is out or locked up. The containers you need depend on whether it is visible to the public, what it needs to hold and the space it needs to fit. Stuff I put up in closets, etc I reuse boxes. Stuff that's out in view, I often will get bins from the dollar store or similar so it's a little more presentable. Sterilite makes white bins in many different sizes that are affordable, so it's easy to get a bunch of them that match or coordinate that still fit different purposes. If I need a bunch of containers that are identical, then I go to dollar tree or Ikea.

The main thing is to keep only what you use. Don't make a bin for playdoh if they don't care about it or you can't ever stand the mess it makes. Don't store 12 boxes of crayons if you don't use that much in a year. Don't feel obligated to have every type of art supply there is, just the ones your kids like and use.
Detroit-area SAHM to Rose 12/03, Ginger 11/05, and little Ian 4/08.
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