Despite the styled pictures I usually post, I am constantly struggling to keep things picked up and tidy around here. Partly because I’m always working on something and with that comes some level of disarray, and partly because I live with two small people who aren’t always very mindful about cleaning up after themselves. The art supplies in particular (which my older daughter especially loves) were starting to take over the kitchen until I took matters into my own hands recently and got them organized.
We’ve been living with them like this for a few months now and the system is actually working! I organized everything on an open shelf in the back of the family room using some pretty office accessories. Keeping things out in the open makes it easier for my girls’ to clean up after themselves, and I mixed in some decorative objects to keep the look as pleasant as it is functional. At a glance, you don’t even really notice that the shelf is full of art supplies.
I used the lower three shelves (which my girls can easily reach) for their art supplies, and the top two shelves for some of my creative and business goods.
Here are my top tips for organizing supplies out in the open:
- Use containers wherever possible – lidded boxes, magazine files, and cups for pencils/markers/crayons.
- Think outside the office supplies box – vases, votive cups, and decorative boxes all make great containers for supplies.
- Create visual layers – stack lidded boxes on top of each other, add decorative objects, and think about mixing heights (something tall, something short, and something in the middle) when arranging groups.
- Choose organization supplies that share a common accent color – I repeated gold accents here, which helps unify the look even though here are lots of colorful kids’ supplies.
When you step back, the functionality of the system is barely noticeable. Which is just how I wanted things to look. It takes a little thought and planning but you don’t have to sacrifice style in a house with kids. These are some photos from my spring home tour, where you can see the shelf in the background and how it pretty seamlessly blends with the rest of the room.
See how I updated the barn photo HERE!
Most of the organization pieces I used came from Nate Berkus’ line at Target, but aren’t available anymore. I rounded up some similar items that you can buy now, so you can recreate the look yourself.
First row: file folders | file box
Second row: magazine holder | acrylic organizer | pencil pouch
Third row: clipboard | wood storage box | brass tabletop file
Fourth row: desktop organizer | hanging file folders | mini sorter
Getting my girls’ art supplies (and my office supplies!) under control has made it that much easier to keep things tidy around here. I’m definitely feeling motivated to tackle another area in the house and keep the trend going! How do you keep yourself organized with your kids…or just yourself and your spouse? :)
You can see more of my organizing-in-the-open trickery HERE, where I show you how to disguise a cable box and other A/V equipment on an open shelf!
Nathan Johnson says
Thanks for these great ideas for organizing kids’ art supplies. My daughter has just started getting into drawing and coloring and we need to find some kind of system to keep things semi-organized. I like the four tips you gave here to keep things organized, but it also should look nice by itself, too. Thanks for sharing! http://www.deansart.com.au/www/715/1001127/displayproductcategory/1001205.html