My daughter has always been a craftoholic. Give the girl some glitter glue and a candy bar wrapper and VOILA! she will have a magic carpet or a cape for a unicorn or a bumblebee’s tent… You get the idea. I’m not sure where she gets this crafting prowess. Certainly not from me. I’ll blame her artsy Grandma Judy for her creative – and totally awesome – spirit.
But as any mom of a crafty kid will tell you…
Kids’ craft stuff can very quickly get out of control.
I have a 1,500 square foot house which, for many years, had no clearly designated craft area. My kids used the small table in the kitchen for crafting, but most of the supplies were located upstairs, where I had more storage space.
So when my kids wanted to use finger paint or Play Dough, they had to trek up and down the stairs several times to both get out and put away the supplies.
Bottom line? NOT productive.
Even lower bottom line? Not much crafting, since accessing the supplies was such a horrendous PIA.
I realized the problem was that the craft supplies and workspace were not in the same area. And even within the workspace, not all the supplies were visible. This made perfect sense, however the thornier problem was my tiny 1930’s kitchen. The best place in my house for crafting could in no way accommodate all my crafting supplies.
But I was determined to overcome! Here’s how I did it…
Step 1: I minimized the number of craft supplies.
I went through the stash upstairs and made a few executive decisions. Here’s a list of the things I let go…
1. Coloring books
Coloring books are not that creative, nor did my kids particularly care for them. Given the choice, they almost always chose to draw on plain white paper. Goodbye, coloring books! (Note: I saved a small selection to keep them quiet at church, restaurants, etc.)
Stickers fell under the same not-so-creative-or-loved category. Sorry, big roll of Disney princess stickers, it’s was not a fairy tale ending for you. I figured that if my kids ever decided they loved stickers again, we could buy more. No sweat.
3. Crayons, Colored Pencils, & Markers
The Crayola apocalypse is not coming. Hence, my kids do not need to stockpile a million coloring utensils. My favorite crayons for kids are the twistable kind that don’t break. I saved those and donated the many, many extra boxes and bags of crayons we had. Ditto for colored pencils and markers. My kids simply don’t need that many. And if they dry out or break? A simple trip to Target will replace them.
4. Leftover craft supplies
Leftover supplies from earlier projects needed to take a hike. Random bits of felt and foam? Adios. If we want to make a felt project again, we can easily buy more.
5. Opened containers of Play Dough
The moment a container of Play Dough is opened, it begins it’s slow, crumbly decline. Since Play Dough is about the easiest craft supply to make from scratch, I tossed all our old Play Dough, keeping only the brand new containers. I rationalized that when they dried up, we could make our own (or buy if we were feeling lazy… after all, the Play Dough apocalypse is no closer than the Crayola one.)
By the time I had made all these decisions, my craft supply stock was much lower. I also had a nice bag of supplies to donate to teacher friends and a local kids’ art gallery.
With my minimizing done, I moved on to step two…
Step 2: I created a visual craft station.
I setup the craft table with a container of plain paper and mesh cups of utensils.
Then I used a clear shoe organizer for all the other supplies: paint, stamps, glitter, glue, Play Dough, scissors, etc. Everything fit and because this organizer is vertical, it didn’t take up any extra space in my cozy little kitchen!
I cannot say how awesome it has been over the years to have all our craft supplies and work station in one place. As a result of this simple setup, my kids did more painting, coloring, cutting, and gluing in their childhoods than they would have if I’d tried to maintain my clunky old system with too many craft supplies.
And they were also able to clean up more easily because it was obvious where everything went. #momwin
If you have some young craftoholics at your house, I hope this post helps you think about how you could declutter and organize those supplies to create more space for creativity and crafting in your house.
To creativity, crafting, and less clutter…