With the start of a new year, a lot of people try to get more organized or resolve to tackle some home design projects. This blog helps Tessa and I stay on track with our projects, so we thought it would be fun to help you too! Each month we’re going to challenge you, our readers, with either an organization project or a design project to take on. We’ll provide a challenge, give you a little inspiration from our own homes and then want to hear from you as to how you took on the challenge in your house…leave a comment, send us an email or post a picture on our Facebook page.
For our first challenge, we’re going to take on kids’ art supplies–with winter here, you’re probably spending a lot more time inside and it’s easy for those art projects to get a little out of control so how can you keep all that “stuff” both organized and accessible? Don’t have kids? Your challenge doesn’t have to be art supplies–just apply the same thinking to things like scrapbooking or general office supplies.
I have always typically stored all of the art supplies in a kitchen cupboard out of the reach of my three year old because I was nervous about what she might do with a marker in her hand. Therefore, she had to ask me to get the supplies down every time she wanted to create a piece of art. Being a former Kindergarten teacher I know that this does not produce spontaneous learning so I’ve decided to give up a little control (shocking, I know), put the supplies in reach and give her the benefit of the doubt that she won’t write on things other than paper (or just have a Mr. Clean sponge handy!)
Here’s a shot of what my dining room table looks like when the kids are home. Fun while it’s happening, but cleaning up the supplies was always a chore because we had to bring everything over from the table back to the kitchen cupboard where I previously stored the supplies.
I knew I wanted something that would store lots of supplies in an organized way, that would make it easy to bring the supplies to the table and put them away again out of sight, and lastly, would fit perfectly under my kitchen desk. (Of course) I found a solution with a quick trip to the Container Store one afternoon…
I have long raved about the Elfa System and this is another creation using Elfa components. They’re fabulous because they’re flexible and customizable so I could find the perfect height to fit under my desk. What I love most about this cart is it is on wheels which allows the kids to move the cart to wherever they want to work on a project whether it be the dining room table or the kitchen island.
Once I’d determined which system I’d use for the storage, I had to think about the drawer depths and which ones to use for which supplies. The top drawer has plastic bins inside to divide markers, crayons and colored pencils. This makes it easy for my kids to put a bin on the table while they are working and just put it right back in the drawer when they are done.
The second and third drawers are labeled for each child’s name–this is where they keep their coloring books, journals or other personal items.
The bottom drawer is filled with scratch paper, envelopes and has become a ‘community drawer’.
After getting the cart home, I realized it also gives me more desk space to spread my papers out. It looks like it sticks out far but it’s actually only about 6 inches and is the perfect spot for my new Pantone Emerald Green coffee cup!
Or, I can pull it out completely for more room to sort piles and place stacks of magazines I have yet to go through.
Good luck in this month’s challenge. My solution might not be perfect for you so we’re looking forward to hearing other ideas! Send us photos of your space after you have completed the challenge and we will pick one reader’s solution to feature on our blog later this month. And as a side note, if you’re looking for ideas on how to store all that art work once it’s done, here’s an old post where we talked about just that.