Friday, March 5, 2010

The BEST Way to (Not) Organize Your Art Supplies.

At my house we have a cabinet in the kitchen known as "the crafty stuff."

Nobody's putting it in a Pottery Barn catalog. For sure.

Because, here's the thing: Your crafty stuff should get totally screwed up on a regular basis. If it doesn't you're not using it enough.

Here are some All Important Pointers on how to manage your crafty stuff:

1. Pick a location. This is really helpful because once you know where the "crafty stuff" goes, whenever you have something like a button or a sequin or something seemingly cool, you know you can throw it in "the crafty stuff" for later.

2. Put things in general categories so when you want something in particular, you might find it within a week. I have a plastic box for:
- all paint-type stuff (watercolors, finger paints, tempera, face paint, etc.)
- all sewing-type stuff (scraps of fabric, thread, needles, scissors, etc.) - mainly so they don't get paint on them
- all glamorous bits and bobs (buttons, sequins, jewels, pearls, beads, shiny things)
- one box with scissors, glue, and those general-use things, also known as the things that will get relocated throughout the house on a regular basis
Then I've got a drawer full of colored paper and paper pads.
Depending on what type of thing you're wanting to do, you can just get out one or two boxes rather than the whole cabinet worth.

3. Take your crafty stuff on the go. I recommend those little plastic desks they have at craft stores, that have a pocket on each side. Those let you work on the flat part while keeping the various supplies in the pockets. Then you can relocate your whole project at once, so you have some hope of eating dinner on your dinner table. Maybe.

4. NOW, here's the really important part:

Be sure to totally mess up your crafty stuff regularly. Get stuff in the wrong boxes, get it all disorganized. Part of the magic of having "crafty stuff" is the great fun of just digging through there and seeing what you have, putting it in different jars, gluing things together, messing around. I highly recommend getting into the crafty stuff with NO project in mind, no instructions, and no intentions. Then later, re-sorting it can be very therapeutic. It helps to have a nice assortment of (clean) pasta sauce jars into which you can plunk beads and things.

So if your art supplies and "crafty stuff" are hopelessly messed up, congratulate yourself - you must be doing something right.

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