Organize Your Art Studio Supplies Organically

cate prato

art studio organization
Tool bar system, studio of
Kass Hall.

When we moved into our current home six years ago, we went from having three closets in the entire house to one where the family bath alone had two built-in shelving and drawer units. I was so thrilled to have a linen closet and plenty of shelves to store all the personal care supplies of three females and one low-maintenance man.

"This bathroom is so spaciousit will never be a cluttered mess!" I gushed.

Yeah, right. All that storage space, but every morning I'd walk in to find toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, razors, and hair care supplies all over the 4-inch-wide circumference of the sink. And, to be honest, my stuff was there, too.

Common containers were eschewed, because no one wanted their stuff "touching," which makes sense. But neither would anyone cross the two-foot distance to either of the cupboards that held baskets and bins specifically designated (with artful signage) for their own personal care products.

Finally, I few months ago I sat down and considered how my family actually used the space. Clearly, they wanted to keep their stuff right there at the sink. But there is no room on the sink cabinet for everything.

craft studios scissors storage
Michelle Spaw keeps tools in
sectioned drawers.

Then, one day, I was going through images of artist studios and I noticed a horizontal bar and hanging cup system. Several places sell versions of this, but I found one with plastic cups at IKEA. It turned out there was just enough room to install the bar in the space over the sink between the tile and the mirror. I handed out the cups and let everyone in the family decorate theirs to personalize it.

craft studio storage pegboard
Elsie Flannigan stores her tools and supplies on painted pegboard.

We hung them up, and after several weeks of use I am proud to tell you we have a clutter-free sink area without the need for nagging.

This incident reminded me of how important it is to organize your tools in a way that is organic to how you use them. No storage device or system will work if it's uncomfortable, time-consuming, or inconvenient.

If soup cans stuffed with paint brushes sitting on the counter works for you, then that's how you should store them. If you like look up and see everything displayed on a wall, pegboard and hooks are a great solution. If you like your scissors and hammers safely tucked away in a drawer, then go for it!  

If you're still stuck for a solution, I have a source of inspiration for you: The artists whose studios we selected for Inside The Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space, know how to organize their tools to make them easy and accessible to use. And they do it beautifully. An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to organization and storage, but ideas abound throughout the book.

And just think: not only will you find some beautiful organization and storage solutions for your art studio in Inside the Creative Studio, you may end up with a clutter-free bathroom to boot! How do you organize your tools? Have you found a product or a repurposed container that has made all the difference? Please share your secret!

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Blog, Mixed-Media Supplies

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