Disclaimer: When lovely Amber asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, I immediately said yes, and I started brainstorming (after I stopped screaming on the inside, of course) all the wonderful organizational ideas I could share with fellow artists. Then it hit me. I am only an artist on my free time. I don’t practice my skills on a full-time basis like most of you do! So, aside from now knowing how entirely inadequate I feel, you will also realize that my tips/how I run things may not work for you since I am a twice-a-month artist. But that’s okay. I will share tips on how to make it all your own. And that’s what being an artist is all about right? Making it your own. So without further ado, here is:
Ashley’s Guide on How to Get Your Craft* Room Organized
(*use whatever word you want here that best describes your setup: photo, painting, scrapbooking, shrine-to-ryan-gosling…)
1. Don’t be that girl.
We’ve all seen her. Flipping through the latest issue of Martha Stewart and there is an article about a successful business woman who has six kids, cooks a homemade, gluten-free meal every night, keeps a journal AND manages to scrapbook. And did we forget to mention her craft room looks like this all the time:
Yeah-freaking-right. This is so unrealistic (at least for any artist I know). For starters, they don’t sell paint like that. You would have to buy those bottles, pour your paint in them and keep doing that for years. And what if you buy more paint colors? Your shelves wouldn’t hold it, that’s what. I could go on, but I won’t. You get my point. Just don’t be that girl.
2. Find YOUR needs:
You will find many organizing ideas on the internet but you need to find things that meet your needs. Having storage for paintbrushes won’t help if you are a photographer. So don’t be afraid to get specific with your needs. Or get creative with ideas and make them into what YOU need them for.
I use a lot of paper for making cards, mixed media and scrapbooking projects. I LOVE the idea of having baskets with paper products in them. Mainly because I have to hide the madness that is my paper stash. No matter how many times I organize it, it still ends up looking like a paper monster threw up . So I fix that problem by storing my paper in baskets. Here is a large scale example of what I am talking about:
Beautiful. Organized and hides the mess that could be behind those wicker walls. I am also in love with the baker’s rack they used on the left for specialty paper.
3. Get things off of your desk
If you are like most artists I know, you need more space on your desk. “But I need all these pens/scissors/paper/paints here though”- you say. Well, you probably have a wall, so hang ’em up!
Pegboard + buckets = genius! You could have a whole wall of art supplies that are easily accessible leaving your entire desk empty all for you. This is one of my favorite ideas for sure.
I like to label things. That way I feel like I know where things are and I know where they go. Either use a label maker (I have a Brother P-touch, and I love it), print off labels from your computer and laminate them or good ol’ post its work too. Labeling at its best:
My only argument is that the storage is wire so why would you have any trouble seeing what color it is? But you get my point: labeling is fun to do, fun to do.
5. Don’t be afraid to keep out what you use most (just keep it tidy!)
You use it all the time don’t you? So why should you have to put it in a drawer? I don’t care what your mom used to tell you, leave it out! But maybe in a more neat way, like this:
If you are constantly cutting and writing there is no reason you should be putting it away just to take it out again. Find a caddy that will fit all of your go-to items and viola! You have more room on your desk!
6. Get creative! (I shouldn’t have to tell you twice)
I like using odd things as storage. We got this weird box from somewhere and it was just long enough for my paintbrushes so that is what I used it for. Don’t be afraid to use random things to keep organized. I used an empty Swiffer wet wipe box for my colored pencils. The top is clear so you can see what is in it. It is perfect. So don’t feel as if you need to buy the expensive Tupperware that was “meant” for your specific art supplies. Get creative!
Another example: I would take my dad’s old cigar boxes to house my charcoal pencils (cause those things can get pretty messy).
Alright, let’s get to the nitty gritty: You want to know what my craft room looks like don’t you? Yes, I am that self-centered to think you care.
Okay, here is the thing: I don’t have a craft room (why did I get asked to write this blog again?!) We have a three bedroom townhouse. The rooms are set up like this:
Master Bedroom- Me and my husband
Bedroom #2 – My sister’s room
Bedroom #3- My husband’s “office” (read: where he plays video games)
So I do all of my art related things in the master bedroom. It is spacious enough for me to be able to do that but it also forces me to be tidy. Downfall: our two kitties are allowed in there so I can’t leave paint supplies out or there would be colored paws on our carpet. Here is a picture of it (click to enlarge):
My desk and cube wall is from Ikea. They always have amazing storage/organizational ideas.
Now there isn’t enough space for all of my art supplies so I use a dresser (off camera to the right of the desk area) as storage. It’s like my dresser is a double agent. A dresser in a bedroom? It must hold clothes, right? WRONG! It has all my supplies in it! Unassuming dresser:
Let’s take a look inside those drawers. First one has some tools, spray for charcoal drawings as well as some materials I might use some day (broken glass and glass squares):
Then we have some blank canvas, paint and glue in the next drawer. I would love to keep my paints organized and well displayed but it is just not realistic. So they are in a photo box. And I am fine with it. I swear.
In the next drawer I keep a mix of things like envelopes, sketch pads, coloring books, greeting cards and a mix of little things that came from previous projects.
If you have collected quite a few of little items and need storage for them, use a desk drawer organizer like I did below. It keeps everything separate but still easy to get to.
Last drawer: markers, pastels, charcoal, and shoe boxes with more supplies
The best part of my dresser-o-supplies? I can close all of the drawers and the mess is gone.
So thats it. Pretty simple when it is written down huh? So here is my challenge to you. Send us (yes I pretend that I am part of the awesomeness that is She Sure is Sketchy now) a video or pictures of your craft/ art area and tell us how you organize it. Or if it is a complete wreck (we won’t judge), we challenge you to take before and after pictures of it and get organized for the new year! Come on! Everyone’s doing it…