Friday, July 13, 2012

Children's craft storage and organization

I want to show you the results of my newest organizing project, but before I show you the pictures, I'll have to write a whole bunch of words. Because I am long-winded and can't just show you pictures.

The problem about craft supplies has been brewing for a while and I hadn't quite figured out what to do about it. Now, I find when I need to organize something that there is often more going on than just having to find a container for stuff. There is usually a deeper problem that led to the disorganization in the first place. If this isn't identified and tackled, all the pretty containers in the world are not going to help.

So first the problems. 1) While I had a designated place for supplies and those supplies were nicely organized, they had become inaccessible to many children because the craft porch is a tandem room through the new room that A., P., and H. are in. I'm sure I don't need to outline all the reasons why a bunch of brothers trooping through a sisters' room is a problem. 2) When they did have access to the craft porch, there was too much there and it routinely descended into chaos. 3) I have a son who really NEEDS to create and make stuff and the limited access was causing him to need to hoard craft supplies. This is not good for his health or our relationship. 4) I was realizing that I was in a sense hoarding craft supplies as well because I was slow to let my children use them... they might get used up, you know. It was yet another example of my not appreciating the abundance in my life. 5) The craft supplies really need to be where I can keep an eye on them.

Since the kitchen is where everyone spends nearly every waking minute of the day, all activity happens here. It made sense to try to figure out a way to keep craft supplies in the kitchen. But, there was no storage and it already felt chaotic and overrun with toys and stuff. Clearly some reorganizing of the kitchen was in order, but I was stumped how to make it accessible, neat, and attractive. Even turning to Pinterest was no help since all suggestions seemed to involve huge rooms and expensive shelving units. I knew I didn't want or need this option because we had already tried a variation of it with the school room/craft porch combination and very little creating happened there, but huge messes did. What to do?

Evidently moaning about my problem to whomever would listen was clearly the right choice. Early this week when I was at the H-S house for H.'s Mandarin tutoring, H-S Mom and I were chatting and I was moaning. Putting her architecture brain into gear she announces she has a solution for me... and she did! And even better it involved a trip to IKEA.

Without further ado, I'll show you the solution. The first step was to find a place to put the printer. Before it has been perched on a TV table which collected junk around it. It drove me crazy. I remembered that we had an unused hutch that went to live in the basement when we remodeled the kitchen and thought it would work as a printer table. It does! Step one down. 

Then I realized that part of the problem was I had too many craft supplies. Too many! Contrary to popular opinion, too much stuff does not contribute to creativity or well-being and is just overwhelming. I realized that I didn't need huge things to hold it all. Instead, all I needed was this really cute metal set of drawers. The drawers are just the right size to hold various paper and stencils. Flat things. And it comes on wheels so that the children can role it closer to the work area if they need to. 

Here is the combination hutch/metal drawer unit.



The hutch move was great because it also gave me room for storage boxes. Unfortunately, the regular plastic bins were too big, but I found these great cardboard boxes that fit perfectly. I worried they would be too small to hold anything useful, but they are actually the perfect size. No one, not even a family with 10 children needs more supplies than these little boxes can hold. And the blue matches the kitchen. Doesn't it look nice? I like to open it up and just sigh happily.


Along with my friend's genius suggestion of the metal drawers, she suggested the magnetic containers which affix to the cabinet. They are just the right size to hold little craft stuff and you can see what each holds.


Here is that end of the kitchen all reorganized. This looks so much better to me and actually opens up the room a bit. We did decide to pull out ALL the toys from the room. Children are welcome to play in it, but they must transport the toys into and OUT of the kitchen. I'm no longer storing toys here. The library books are still here, but I have them stacked in another corner. Oh, and the black basket on top of the metal drawer cabinet holds an interesting assortment of recycling that has good craft potential.


There you have it... craft supplies for 10 children in a way I can live with it. The last thing we need to do is tackle that huge blank wall that's been bothering me for four years. What I want to do, I can't really afford, and short of that I wasn't crazy about doing something permanent that I wouldn't be happy with. So it sits there. I finally have a solution for this as well. I purchased three sets of hanging wires... the kind that you can hook clips to... and we are going to string these across the wall. This way I can use clips to hang a rotating selection of artwork and not have to commit to something permanently. It will also provide a place to display children's artwork for a time. Those will go up this afternoon.
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I have an article up about Life Skills: Tips for Teens Heading Downtown Alone. This is my paying gig, so every click counts. And shhh.... I don't even really care if you read it. Just click on it, OK?

1 comment:

karyn gray said...

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