20 January 2007

Old dresser keeps art supplies on hand for impromptu projects

There were some good suggestions for maintaining a craft box in the comments of my original appeal for organization hacks, but I also got this one via email from Sarah:

We have an old dresser in the basement with a cabinet top and three drawers.  The cabinet holds poster paint, finger paint, glue sticks, sparkly glue, glitter, sequins, markers etc.  The second drawer holds different types of paper.  One of the other drawers is used for odds and ends that would otherwise have gone into our recycling - paper towel tubes, cardboard from tights or shirts, wrapping paper scraps, small glass jars, egg cartons, etc.

Whenever I notice that we are running low on basic supplies, I write it down on a list that I keep in the cabinet.  When the list gets long enough, I make an order from my favorite craft supplier Discount School Supply.  If you order $59 or more the shipping is free and you can always go in with a friend to make the order larger.

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My first comment on this wonderfully helpful blog! We love keeping stuff around for crafts. It will usually keep my 6 and 3yos nice and busy during the witching hour of dinner preparation. The hardest part is remember to put random stuff in the craft stash before disposing of it like egg cartons, random bits of color paper, string ends, rubber bands, paper tubes, small boxes, the plastic containers from tofu (the last two are VERY popular to make little catchalls), extra junk mail envies (they like to play post office and make faux postage). We have a couple of those plastic drawer rolling carts stacked and my dh brings home almost all of his small office's used paper that we recycle for craft use. They don't care that there's stuff on the back. They make books to illustrate by stapling papers together. The older one like to draw stories, the younger one just collages stuff. Which reminds me, I need to trade their cheapie plastic office stapler for one of those neat stapleless staplers. I also gave up trying to scrapbook and gave them all my old scrapbook supplies. Better they use it than it sit around, taking up space and making me feel guilty!

We have shelves and shelves of art supplies, and it's one of the few areas in my home that I keep relatively organized. We have a large flat box for paper, medium-sized clear boxes and small-sized clear boxes for holding all sorts of supplies: one for beads, one for glue & tape, one for ribbons, one for collage items, one for wire & pipecleaners, one for paints, one for valentine supplies, one for crayons/pencils/markers, etc. The nice thing about the boxes is that we can bring the boxes right to the table while we're working with that item.

Something I did when my children were younger was have them make their own labels for the boxes with pictures rather than words. They put glitter on the label for the glitter box, hearts on the valentine box, etc., and were always able to find what they needed and, better yet, put things back where they belonged.

If only I could get this organized in the rest of my life.

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