by Susan McCarthy
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Everyday practice: If you can put something away in less than two minutes, do the task now instead of telling yourself you'll get around to it later.
This is the fourth and final article in the series on organizing art and craft supplies.
You’ve sorted and decluttered your art and craft supplies. You’ve noticed what you use most frequently and should keep handy. You’ve stored and labeled your supplies, so you know where to find them. And … a week later it looks like a hurricane tore through your supplies. Why, oh, why, after all of that thought and work did things descend into chaos?
Getting Organized Is Only Part of the Solution
When you declutter, sort, and group similar supplies, you’re creating your definition of organized. You notice how often you use, say, washi tape, and either keep it on your worktable or you store it in a bin that sits on a shelf for when you need it.
However, you may have some crafts that you do seasonally, and so, the bins of wreath-making supplies that sat in your basement for ten months and now filling a corner of your craft room or living room. You may be frustrated by this chaos, but, notice that it is just temporary.
Keeping Art and Craft Supplies Organized
To maintain organization, you need to plan to tidy your area every time you make art. I’m sorry to say there is no magic solution to this. No matter how much time you spent deciding how to organize your supplies, you still need to clean up when you’re done.
However, by sorting your stuff into well-labeled bins, you are making it so much easier to clean up. Really. You don’t have to think about where stuff goes. You don’t need to worry about finding space to squeeze something into a storage container.
Teach kids to clean up their craft projects and supplies when they’re done. Make certain they can reach where their supplies are stored and understand where to put things so that they can find them next time. (Online, I see quite a few over-the-door organizers with clear pockets filled with kids’ craft supplies.)
If you find that you’re having a difficult time keeping your craft area organized, ask, “What’s the problem?” You may realize that you want your work table closer to your supply shelves. Or, you may realize that supplies you don’t use very often have been given prime real estate; while the items you use all the time aren’t as accessible.
Sometimes, the answer may not be obvious, and you have to keep asking, “What’s the problem?” Is it as simple as, “I don’t leave myself time to clean up?” Or, does the issue seem more complex? “I keep my cardstock in a pile and every time I take a piece, I mess up the pile so that the colors are no longer sorted, and I can’t see what I have, and the paper gets bent.” And you realize in this twist of problems, you need something with trays that will allow you to sort the paper by color.
Maintaining your art and craft storage will always involve some tweaking as you lose interest in some crafts while expanding your interest in others. You'll find more tips in my eBook, How to Organize Art and Craft Supplies: Tips for Parents, Teachers, and Hobbyists.
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Other helpful articles:
The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).