This weekend while I was working on a couple new items for the Store (have you seen the new Bold Blooms totes, by the way? love that fabric–wish I had ordered more!), the kids got out their own craft stuff and started creating too.
How do you organize kid craft supplies? Their stuff can get as out-of-control as my stuff! But we’ve hit on a few things that really work for us.
First things first–they don’t get them out without permission! That’s the only way to control the mess. They have to ask, so I can be sure they’re at the table and under general supervision. (And that I put the crafting table cloth on!)
The second main thing is that I control the overall supply closet. They each get a project bag and small containers of supplies to go in it, but they never have free access to the whole stash! I buy a lot of stuff at Back-to-School sales (can you believe it’s that time of year again!) and store it in shoe boxes (yes, I’m a crazy label-maker lover!) in the top of our craft closet. Stuff like crayons, glue sticks, scissors, rulers, markers, colored pencils…
Each of them gets a pencil box with a couple glue sticks, their scissors, and their miscellaneous crayons, etc. to keep in their project bag and they can ask if they need any replacements. This way we don’t go through 500 glue sticks in one day or anything. The pencil boxes are also great to specify tools. Speedracer only gets washable markers in his, the Cowboy prefers colored pencils right now, and it’s easy to control access to the Ladybug’s Tinkerbell glitter-glue pens.
The final part of our “system” is THE PROJECT BAG. Each of them has a canvas bag with their name on it (thank you to Mimi!) that they keep their “projects” in. This includes their pencil box, any magazines they have for cutting out, any special papers they have (I bring scrap maps home from work all the time), and any stickers or embellishments they have access to. Ribbons, buttons, fabric scraps…this way they can keep whatever is theirs separate. The Cowboy has some special “boy” papers that I gave him, and Speedracer keeps his Hot Wheels coloring book in there. This is also where the Ladybug keeps her stamps in inks.
I don’t bother them about what’s in there or if it’s neat–as long as their pencil box is closed before it goes in It’s their craft stuff and they can keep whatever they want (if 2 inch scraps of pipe cleaners and crumpled up cut outs of LL Bean backpacks are precious to them, hey, who am I to judge?) as long as it fits. When they’re done, they put everything in there and hang it up in the craft closet. Everything left on the table is considered scraps and thrown away.
We have a lot of supplies that I stash in that closet–they just don’t get access to everything at once so I can be sure we’re not completely wasting stuff. I usually pass out one or two packs of stickers at a time and when those are all gone, they can look through what else they might have in the sticker box and pick one or two more packs to put in their project bag. Same with ribbon and buttons. They get a roll or some long scraps or a small jar to keep in their project bag and can ask for more or something special when they need it.
Not having little fingers in everything makes it much easier to keep things neat! And I have a couple 12×12 poly envelopes that I use to save special in-progress or completed projects in.
How do you keep control of the kid craft supply chaos at your house?