I've been enviously scrolling through pictures of perfectly organized kids' supplies on Instagram and Facebook all month as I prepared the content for Creative QT's blog. After reading the two guest blog posts from Danielle (@simplify_in_style) and Stef (@therealisticorganizer), I felt compelled to attack the beast that is our arts and crafts cupboard!
I'm no professional organizer, just a busy Mama with two kids who has a serious obsession with the Target dollar bins... hence the state of the cupboard! I'm here to tell you that a few hours invested in decluttering is sooooo worth the effort! Here's my decluttering journey....
Before I show you the lovely organized pictures of the cupboard, I feel it is only fair to show you the 'before' picture. This is genuinely how the cupboard looked. We do arts and crafts daily, and I don't know why, but I am so bad at putting things back where they belong! Plastic bags inside plastic bags, a cardboard box over-flowing with supplies, single craft sticks mixed in with the pom poms, and crumpled paper hiding at the back of the cupboard. It wasn't pretty! My daughter sure thought it was a secret treasure trove though!
Where to Start?!
The worst part of the process was the initial sort. I got everything out of the cupboard and sorted it into category piles on the floor. As many of you will be able to relate to, I had a 10 month old 'helping' me do this. This consisted of her only wanting to play with whatever pile I had just sorted through. Sound familiar? Frustrating at times, but any time is quality time with this cute little lady, so we powered through.
I was kind of shocked (read: embarrassed!) at the amount of duplicate supplies we had! It made me realize that I don't think I need to go back to Target or Michaels until 2020 (but don't hold me to that)! I took the advice of Danielle from @simplify_in_style and made sure I threw away damaged supplies or things we simply did not use any more.
Choosing our Storage Containers
As I mentioned, I'm just an average Mama. We don't have the resources to buy a whole new arts and crafts storage system. Instead, I wanted something that was practical and affordable. For this reason, we headed to Michaels for some small supply storage options and to Walmart for some larger storage containers.
Another criteria that was important for me was I wanted containers that my four year old could access himself. I want him to feel he can be creative whenever he likes, not just when I present him with a structured activity.
Here are the storage containers we used:
Recollections Color Photo & Craft Keeper from Michaels, $19.99 in the sale, normally $39.99. Perfect for storing small supplies and I couldn't resist the beautiful rainbow colors! We needed two of these.
Sterilite containers from Walmart, in a variety of sizes, ranging from $2-5 each. These containers are affordable yet sturdy. They have a good range of sizes so be sure to have a plan as to which supplies will go in each container so that you buy the right amount of each size.
Filling up the Containers
Again, baby sister was instrumental in this process (50/50 as to whether it was in a positive way though). We sat on the kitchen floor and planned out where each supply would live.
The small rainbow cases were perfect for supplies such as pom poms, elastic bands, tissue paper squares, glitter pens, and sequins.
The larger containers were used for grouping markers and crayons together, paper and card, paints and brushes, workbooks, and other larger materials.
Labelling is Key to Success!
Another top piece of advice from Danielle and Stef this month was to make sure that you properly label containers. Due to my tendencies to not put things away properly I feel like this is key in the long term success of our reorganization! I wanted flexibility with the labelling as we often run out of certain supplies and replace them with something different. For this reason, I opted to simply use a dry erase marker to label the containers. I'll be sure to spend some time with my four year old to explain where materials live as I think he is old enough to take responsibility for clearing away at least some of the materials he uses.
And the verdict is...
Decluttering and organizing truly is life changing. Even just this one small area has made such a difference. My son can now find the supplies he needs when a moment of creativity strikes him. He even let out a gasp of approval when he opened the doors for the first time!
I am able to quickly grab supplies to set up an activity for my son as I juggle a fussy baby and cooking dinner. I am also finding that the quality of our activities and time together is so much richer because I am less concerned about the mess and tidying up. It's amazing how a few hours and some plastic containers can make life that bit easier! Next on the decluttering list... the toy room!!!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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Creative QT® co-owner, Adam Hinkle, lovingly refers toPixel Bricks™ as 'LEGO™ glitter' because they do seem to have a way of finding their way all over the floor if not properly stored. The good news is, however, we have loads of simple and affordable ways to store them all in this one blog.