Organizing Your Stash Is More Important Than You Think

We’d like to thank for sponsoring today’s blog post about art studio organization.

While spring cleaning usually involves essentials like washing windows and dusting blinds, this year I started with a more inspiring task: organizing my art supplies.

You can probably relate. When working on an art project, we pull out our favorite markers and paints, and instead of putting them back where they belong, toss everything into a drawer–or worse–a bottomless bag. Here is my advice for cleaning up your art studio space (be it a formal studio or a basement corner) for a clutter-free area and mind. Follow my prompt for an inspirational and relatively quick project.

generic caption: Don’t let your mixed-media art supplies go to waste! It’s important to take inventory once in a while to use what you have and to keep from buying duplicate items.
Don’t let your mixed-media art supplies go to waste! It’s important to take inventory once in a while to use what you have and to keep from buying duplicate items. Keeping everything organized is the best way to make the most of your supplies, and your art.


Time to Clean!

Start by taking all of your mixed-media art supplies out of their current drawers, bags, and boxes, and sorting them into piles on the floor. Your piles will likely vary from mine, which included:

  • Markers (fabric, permanent, fine-tipped, thick-tipped, etc.)
  • Pencils (graphite, colored pencils, watercolor pencils)
  • Paints (acrylic, watercolor), gesso, and paintbrushes
  • Mark-making tools and items (stencils, ink pads, stamps, glue sticks, washi tape)
  • Papers (cardstock, collage material, printed designs, note cards)
  • Fabrics (yarn, string, cloth swatches, clothing I just can’t throw away)
  • Reference books

As you pull everything out, note which items you haven’t used in a long time. You may even come across something you bought and haven’t opened yet. I found a jar of acrylic glaze that I had never used, as well as a box of acrylic paints, and I put them aside with a goal to break them open for an art project–as soon as my cleaning was done, of course.

Take stock of what you have too much of (just kidding – we all know that there’s no such thing) and what you can use more of. I didn’t realize that aside from my alphabet stamps, I only have two stamps, and they’re nearly identical. I can either make my own stamps or make a mental note to pick some up the next time I’m out. is a great site to browse for all of your mixed-media art storage needs. is the place to go for all your mixed-media art storage needs.

With your storage containers empty and your mixed-media art supplies laid out, set aside those that you’ve used the least. We’ll come back to them in just a few minutes.

It’s time to put everything away in a way that’s organized and makes the most of your space. Have just a handful of colored pencils? Wrap them with a rubber band. I realized that I have what could be considered an unhealthy amount of markers and pens. They take up an entire drawer now, but that’s okay–before this spring cleaning, they were spread out all over the place, even hiding in the spiral bindings of art journals.

It’s one thing to put everything back into generic storage bins and drawers, but consider how your art space can be even more user-friendly and inviting with new organizers. has options that allow you to configure drawers, holders, and more to fit your unique space and budget. Even better–they’re now available in pastel colors!

Mixed-media art supplies | Cherie Haas,
My completed accordion book; it wouldn’t have manifested like this if I hadn’t taken the time to organize my art supplies.

Time to Create: An Art Prompt for Using Your Mixed-Media Art Supplies

Now that you’ve taken the time to organize your mixed-media art supplies and reevaluate what you have, it’s time to make something. I challenge you to use something from your stash that you’ve either never used or rarely use. Make anything, and have fun. Explore the material and you’ll come away with a better understanding of how to use it. To give you some guidance (because saying “go make art” is easier said than done), I suggest that you choose a handful of famous people that you aspire to be like and write down their first names. If you’re a woman, choose women; if you’re a man, choose men. It’s okay to bend these rules, of course, but I want this art prompt to be specific to help you focus on the intentions behind it.

I had an art journal page in mind when I began organizing my goodies. I was going to take one of the ugliest pages I’ve ever drawn on and paint over it, creating new layers that would hide the scribbles and maybe get the page one step closer to something I really liked. But my plans changed; I arbitrarily decided to create a miniature accordion book.


Mixed-media art supplies | Cherie Haas,
Detail of the accordion book: This shows the acrylic glaze, which I used to painted flower designs on the back of each panel.

I took the jar of acrylic glaze that I had set aside earlier and used a brand-new, fan-shaped paintbrush to brush on a layer while the paper was flat. Not waiting for the paint to dry, I opened a never-used tube of brown acrylic and used a dry sponge to create a textured layer on the reverse side of the paper. On one side, I painted with white the names of six women I admire. The white paint didn’t show up, so I went over the names with the brown paint.

Mixed-media art supplies | Cherie Haas,
Detail: Some of the women I admire, all for different reasons: Madonna (singer/dancer), Malala Yousafzai (human rights activist), Twyla Tharp (dancer, choreographer).

You may notice in the picture that I included “me” at the end of the list. This is because I aspire to the level of creativity, courage, and talent that these women have. I hope that I one day have a fraction of their qualities, and putting myself in the list is one way to keep me motivated. Anything is possible, friends. I hope that you do the same with your art project: list the names of those you admire, and at the end, write “and me.”

Mixed-media art supplies | Cherie Haas,
Detail: JK (Rowling; writer) & me.

When the paint was relatively dry, I folded the paper into an accordion book and wrapped a piece of fabric around it to hold it closed.

Let me know how this project goes for you! I’m sure you’ll be left with a more organized art studio space, a new piece of mixed-media art, and a readiness to return to the space, knowing what you have, where it is, and, the most exciting part, what you may possibly do with it.

Remember: Visit today to browse their selection of home/studio organization and storage furniture. We loved them before, and now we love them even more with their new selection of pastel colors!

Art studio organization |
Visit to see their new line of mix-and-match pastel colors–a perfect way to keep your mixed-media art supplies organized and ready to put to use!


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