We keep our kids’ art supplies in our dining room. (I say dining room, but really, in these new-fangled open-concept houses, it’s our kitchen table area?) We always have, actually!
It’s probably the hardest-working area of our house because IT IS USED CONSTANTLY and not always (i.e. ever) put away properly, so it requires Big Mommy Clean-Outs every few months or so.
I have learned, however, to limit the chaos.
They have their own small hutch dedicated to craft supplies. While they have half of the main hutch, too, they are not allowed to put ANY of their art crap (I mean “lovely enriching art supplies”) on the “main hutch” or the built-in computer desk. Like if they put a marker there because they’re too lazy to put it where it goes, I’m like DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, SIR/MA’AM.
However … look a few feet to the (*quickly makes an L with her hands because she’ll never completely learn*) LEFT of the main hutch, and you’ll see this hot mess …
Playing cards. Popsicle sticks. A stuffed animal. Game console. Random pumpkin-shaped candle from Halloween (???). Jar of scrap metal our son is hoarding (also ???). Paint-splattered “palette” a.k.a. tin plate. Printer paper. Sticker book. Lots of used paper. Volcano-making kit.
ALL ON ONE HUTCH, HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?
Oh. That’s how …
The craft cabinet I’d lovingly organized has … has been in an accident, it seems. The kids shoved too much stuff inside, carelessly, and now it has no room so they just dump their stuff on top, and … and I think I’m having a mild stroke.
This cabinet drove me crazy for SEVERAL WEEKS while the pile continued to grow. I just never seemed to have the time and/or patience to tackle it. I didn’t even bother to ask the kids to clean it (haaaaaaa) because I knew I planned on filling at least one or two garbage bags, and their idea of cleaning it would be to re-stack the mess. (Ahem … they get that from their father.)
So this past Sunday, I attacked it. Not for the kids, necessary — for ME. I couldn’t handle having a dump-zone in my “dining room” any longer.
Now for the soothing “after” pictures …
Once I’d cleared out two garbage bags worth of stuff (more on that in a minute), we actually had room for all of the bins to fit WITHOUT CRAMMING THEM IN. Miracle of all miracles, right?!
Their main art hutches holds the bulk of their supplies, divided into clear bins and clear shoeboxes so they can just take out what they need (in theory):
One of the changes I made this time around was to dedicate a drawer in the main hutch to the “basics” they use every single day:
I think this is going to make a big difference because they were always rifling through their cabinet to find this stuff, and now it’s in one place.
I also made the decision to donate ALL OF THE COLOURING BOOKS. Yes, ALL OF THEM.
We had an obscene amount — this drawer used to be filled with them — because I’d toss the $1 ones into my cart at Michaels whenever I saw a character/TV show/movie/theme I thought they’d like.
Well, newsflash: they don’t use colouring books. They draw their own pictures, and that’s how I prefer it anyway.
This drawer is now dedicated to all of their drawing supplies:
The cabinet that didn’t change much was what I refer to as the “sometimes stuff” i.e. the messier supplies or supplies that are rarely used …
The other drawer that didn’t really change is their “school” drawer with homework supplies.
Seems like a lot of stuff, so HOW did I fill two garbage bags?
One bag was filled with colouring books, which I’m donating to our old preschool. (They usually print colouring pages off for the kids, so I think they can use these practically-new books.)
The other bag was positively bursting with …
And now … ahhhh … I can actually look at that corner without cringing …
The great art mess has been tamed … for now.
Remember of this good feeling in a couple of months when we’re once again overrun with “art crap” piling up.