Happy Tuesday! I’ve decided that Tuesdays lend themselves particularly well to all things “tidy” for several reasons, so on this day of the week I shall be sharing more of my cleaning and organizing wisdom with you. For starters, I have a thing for alliteration, hence “T-idy” and “T-useday”, however cheesy that may be, and secondly, I need rhythm here! I can feel it, so you can probably feel it too, so I will be using days of the week to share certain Homesong topics with you in hopes that I will post more consistently with care. As you’ve read, rhythm paves the way for both simplicity and freedom, so it’s about time I folded it into my writing and work in this space. So on Tuesdays you can expect all things on the topic of “homemaking”, specifically cleaning, tidying, nesting, decorating, storing, and seasonal tinkering around. More to come tomorrow about Wednesday’s topic, and so forth.
Onto the second tidy home tips and tidbits, which is all about finding a home for your small supplies, and in this case: arts and crafts. I don’t know about you or your home, but several things are true regarding ours:
- We love to make things.
- The supplies we use to make things are aplenty and live everywhere, aka: are homeless.
- Most of the time, it’s a cluster and stresses me out.
Except not anymore, because I recently converted our old pie cupboard into a craft cupboard to keep things simple, beautiful, and orderly. Our home is older which means there is very little built-in storage, both a blessing and a curse for reasons which I don’t have the time nor space to draft here. Alas, this quandary means I’ve come to rely on secondary storage items to give many of our belongings a place to live so they can be more accessible and organized, all the while our home embracing a minimal and clutter-free lifestyle. I have tried many methods, and this one seems to be the winner. Let me share a few reasons why creating a craft cupboard is a good fit:
- Less Searching | Art supplies all over the house means I am always searching for them. Where did you last see the scissors? The tape? Where did all the wool go? And why is glitter everywhere? Are we out of white paper? Alfie, did you take the glue gun, again? These are no longer questions I frequently have to ask because all of our arts and crafts supplies have a home in our cupboard, and not in every room on every floor of our home. Less searching = more time and energy.
- Accessibility | The location of said cupboard is also an important factor because it turns our dining area into a craft area during the day. You may not prefer this, or you may have an entire room devoted to making, but we don’t so where we have supper is also where we apple stamp and draw pumpkins. It works remarkably well for us. Our table is marked with all sorts of little one scribbles and paint splatters, and I have given up on fussing over it. It makes so much sense to keep the home of our crafts in a place where our kids (and myself) can be encouraged to get messy and make things.
- Respect | When we are done with a particular craft supply, we promptly return it to its home. Because the crayons and makers and pastels and so forth do not live on a random shelves or shoved in drawers with other pantry items or seasonal decor, and instead lives with it’s craft friends, returning them to their rightful home is much, much easier to do. When something doesn’t have a designated space to “live” it gets tossed about without care, and often times, gets ruined or broken. Keeping everything in one spot makes clean up so much easier for everyone, and it also instils respect for the art supplies because we learn to take better care of them.
- Beauty | Another reason creating a craft cupboard is working well in our home is that it’s beautiful. Just look at it. I want to make something right now after looking at these photos! Beauty is an important factor in making a home because it offers us delight and gives us pleasure. I used various jars, enamel pots, baskets, and bowls to store each individual craft within the cupboard, thereby keeping things orderly but pretty to look at. Because this cupboard is on the main level in our home in a room we use quite a bit, this is important to me. I want everything in our home to be something I love to use or look at, and this cupboard is no exception. I gathered almost every receptacle and small storage solution you see above second hand from thrift stores and garage sales and they work well. You do not need to go out and spend buckets of money creating an organizational space for your belongings. First, use what you already have. Second, buy used. I find so much beauty in knowing that many of the items in our home have been used by someone else. For me, it creates depth of meaning and writes a meaningful story.
- Economy | And lastly, creating a craft cupboard is a wonderful tidy solution because ensuring the tiny bits and pieces you use to make things have a place to live, you are able to see what it is you have on hand, and what it is you need more of. When things are scattered about or hard to find, we forget they exist. This creates two major problems: 1. excess 2. waste. When you cannot find the tape, for example, you might buy another roll at the store next time you are running errands. Now you have two rolls of tape, and when you have more than one of something you are more less to take better care of it, thereby creating more opportunities for waste. The tape example is a simple one, but think about all the times you’ve bought something you already own simply because you didn’t know where it was, or couldn’t take inventory of said item before stocking up for good measure. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done this with Ketchup, and my grandmother has done this with soap. At one point last year we had somewhere around the ballpark of five ketchup bottles, and yet I kept buying one when at the store because I never stored them all in the same place. They didn’t have a place to live, so I never knew what I had on hand. Now, I keep all our condiments on one shelf and before going to the store, I check in and see what’s low. Simple is as simple does.
Tips & Tidbits:
- You don’t have to have a large cupboard of supplies to create this tidy solution. A small dresser or book shelf will do just fine. The point is making a home for your craft supplies, and making sure they always live there.
- Make sure you organize the contents of your cupboard so everything inside of it has a place to live. Use secondhand as much as possible, or even better, what you already own to do this.
- Ask for art and craft supplies for birthdays and holidays instead of toys. We do this each year and the reason we have so many great creative tools is because of that.
- Use glass storage as much as possible. It helps you see what is inside, and when you can see it, you’re more likely to use it.
- Get rid of all craft supplies that are broken, rarely used, and no longer inspiring.
Read Homesong’s “Tidy Home Tip & Tidbit | No. 1” Right here
There you have it! What questions about our craft cupboard do you have, and do you think you’ll be making one for your family? I hope this inspires you in all your homemaking endeavors. xx
Kathleen - I totally resonate with this. We have a built-in hutch in our dining area and for the last couple years I’ve stored our china in the top half and our craft supplies in the bottom half. There are three drawers in the hutch and I had placemats, candles, cloth napkins, etc. in them. But I realized my kids weren’t using the craft supplies as much as I’d like. So I moved all our drawing supplies into the drawers and found other places for the previous contents. Now it is super easy for my kids to access paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. and they are using them so much more! I’d like to get some more containers for the rest of our supplies since there are still a few things floating loose in the cabinet and it’s so easy for it to become a mess down there. Thanks for the inspiration!
admin - Kathleen, isn’t it amazing how just a simple rearrange can spark so much more creativity! I love this! Way to go, mama. xx Amanda
jacquie - We have similar cupboard which i NEED to reorganize desperately. But now that my daughter is almost 6 I wonder if i should have the craft supplies more accessible for her to pull down (more visible and on a lower level). How does this work for your family? Are the bottom cupboards more for little hands?
admin - Jacquie, we have a little stool for the kids to use nearby to stand on when they need to reach something, but usually the little ones (3 and 5) use the lowest cupboard space with baskets that hold paper, play dough, and beeswax crayons and then the stuff up top is more for Stella. I also have some of my craft books up top too, out of reach for little ones! xx Amanda
Stephanie - I’m excited for this post, since tidying our craft cupboard (an old pie safe) is next on my list. We don’t have a lot of quality second hand stores in my town, but I have been keeping an eye out for small baskets when I see them. One question I have is where you keep all the paper? And one tip is to make or purchase from etsy a laminated cotton tablecloth that you can pull out and throw over a table if you don’t want it to get marked up (or for easy cleanup from painting activities). Thanks for the inspiration!
admin - Stephanie, I put white drawing paper in one of the pull out drawers (on the right), construction paper in a wire bin on the top, and then watercolor paper in a white basket on the bottom shelf. As far as coloring books go, those are stacked on the top left. Good luck with the pie safe, and great tip with the laminated tablecloth. I might have too use that for when we paint! xx Amanda
Heidi - Would love to hear you favorite and most used craft supplies!
admin - Heidi, sure! Our favorites are: water coloring, water color paper, colored pencils, drawing paper, beeswax crayons, wool roving, colored beeswax for modeling, pastels, construction paper, glue, scissors, glue gun, play dough, and kite paper. xx
Stephanie - My kids LOVE crafts and coloring! But I also lose my mind with all the paper and coloring sheets and coloring books. How do you sort thru and store those? They just over flow my craft space. It’s easy to organize supplies but what they produce stresses me out.
admin - Stephanie, ahh same! I put white drawing paper in one of the pull out drawers (on the right), construction paper in a wire bin on the top, and then watercolor paper in a white basket on the bottom shelf. As far as coloring books go, those are stacked on the top left. I ended up recycling old ones they never use and just kept the basics. Less is more, and now they have fewer options which I think makes it much easier to navigate. And as far as the actual artwork…stay tuned! xx Amanda
Kendal - We have an odd little spice cupboard in our kitchen that I use for crafts, but it’s so shallow that it can only hold markers, pencil crayons, etc. Paper and fabric scraps and the glue gun live elsewhere, but we do have some great built-ins in our dining room that would work well for all of it when my girls are a bit older (and can be trusted with the markers!). I think the important thing is to have a home for creative supplies if you value making and creating and to also use well-made and beautiful materials right from the get-go. (I don’t really believe in saving “the good crayons” for myself.)
Rebecca - I can’t wait until my lil guy is coordinated enough to do crafts with me! I love your new tidying series. May I ask, what are your best tips for acquiring great baskets? You have such gorgeous baskets. Thanks!
admin - Rebecca, thanks you! I do a mix of second hand from the thrift store and several from small shops, such as Lilbellies online for the bola baskets with the leather handle. With all the baskets I thrift, I hose off in the backyard, spray with thieves, and let dry in the sun before using to get rid of any dust etc. The Amish also make really wonderful baskets and we have several from them! They are handmade and you can find them online here…
Happy basket hunting 🙂 xx Amanda
Jo - Love this! Discovered via Pinterest at the perfect time! Have just been wondering how to sort my craft supplies. Thank you!
admin - Jo, welcome to Homesong! xx Amanda
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