What type of organization appeals to you?
Just as your art is unique, so is your style of organization! Knowing what type of organization comes naturally to you is the best step you can take in keeping your art supplies in check.
Professional organizer, Cassandra Aarssen classifies organization styles into four categories. You can watch this video to learn about these categories and the four bugs she’s chosen to represent the types; cricket, ladybug, bee, and butterfly.
Cas also has a fun quiz you can take to identify your organizing type and get some advice tailored to your category.
Ladybug: visual simplicity, fast and easy systems
I’m in the ladybug category. I like to keep my supplies hidden but I don’t want to take the time to carefully organize items as I’m putting them away. Things may look tidy on the outside, but open a drawer and it could look like chaos.
Because of this, I organize by category so I can quickly put my supplies out of sight. I also give myself space limits for these categories. If a box labeled Acrylic Paint is too full to close, then I need to declutter or find a new method of storing the paint.
Art Studio Closet
The closet in my studio is not very large (32” W x 24” D) but it is set up to work with my ladybug style of organization and make the most of the space.
When I put supplies away, I know exactly where they should go so I have no excuse for shoving things in a drawer or a bin. And, because I like to have things out of sight, all of this is hidden behind closet doors.
I use clear Art Bin Super Satchel boxes that are 15 x 14 x 3.5 inches (L x W x H). They have latches and a carrying handle. I have found that the best source for these boxes is Joanns when they are on sale (or you have a coupon). https://www.joann.com/artbin-super-satchel-clear-with-aqua-accents/16710097.html
One disadvantage to this stacked system is that when I need something out of the bottom box, I have to lift off the top ones. But this doesn’t take long and to me, it’s worth it in the long run because everything stays organized. Plus, this January I added a box labeled Current Project that I normally keep on my work table and I can put things there that I will be using again the next day.
To store my brushes, I use a fishing tackle box called a Flambeau 5007 Tuff Tainer that is 14” x 9” x 2”. I have one for watercolor brushes and one for acrylic brushes. The box comes with a hanging tab so these two boxes are hanging on the side of my closet wall (see top photo). You can find these at Walmart, Bi-Mart, or an outdoor supply store.
In addition to this closet, I have some wide drawers that will hold 1/4 sheets of watercolor paper, plein air gear, and sketchbooks. Any larger paper and paintings are stored in boxes that will hold full sheets of paper. And the guest bedroom closet is for framed paintings and extra frames.
Keeping art supplies organized is an ongoing challenge but identifying my style of organization and getting a system that works with that style has been a big help.
Other styles of art studio organization
Mixed media artist, Carolyn Dube is the ultimate butterfly type of organizer. She gives a wonderful tour of her studio in this video.
Johwey Redington’s studio is so organized! I’m guessing she must be a cricket.