How to Organize Your Art Studio
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
I have always had a space dedicated to my art making. For years while living with roommates it was tiny – a container under my bed, or a small desk in my bedroom. Now I’m lucky enough to have an entire room in my house. Whether in a big or small space, I have always prioritized having art space because without it I barely make art, and I need art in my life to stay sane, make meaning, and find joy.
As a kid who lived in a chaotic household, organizing my space was something I could do to bring some order and predictability. Organizing comes easily to me because I can create outer order even when things inside feel hard or chaotic. But I know not everyone is like this. Creating and keeping an organized, uncluttered art space can be a huge challenge. That’s why today I want to share my top tips for organizing your studio.
Categorize and contain
One of the best ways to make sure your art space is organized and ready for you to create is to have your supplies categorized and contained. When you have some markers here, and some markers there, or some paints here, plus the ephemera you were using, your car registration, a to do list, and your coffee mug, it can feel chaotic, and not at all inspiring for making art.
Just even gathering your materials to start creating can be seriously overwhelming. My approach is to categorize and contain.
So in the image above, you can see I have a basket that has all sorts of paints and my paint towels. I contained each type of paint, and then housed everything in the paint category in the same space. This is the basic organizing formula that I follow.
Each set of paints is held in a clear zip pouch so I can easily find what I’m looking for. This way, when I want to paint, I know exactly where to find my watercolor tubes. When I’m done, whether at the end of the day, or perhaps when I’m finished with a project , I put things back where I found them so that my studio stays organized.
I love to use repurpose containers for holding my art supplies as well as art pieces. Here are some of the containers I typically use:
+ Jelly jars for pens, markers, pencils, scissors, brushes, and paint water
+ Jewelry boxes and pretty shipping boxes for holding art pieces, especially small slow drawings and natural treasures
+ Wicker baskets or pretty boxes for holding groups of similar supplies – like mark making materials, stamps and stamp pads, paints, papers, and natural materials.
+ Clear zip pouches for holding watercolor paints, acrylic paints, and oil paints. These, along with my paint towel, sit in a basket on my open shelves or quick access.
Get rid of stuff.
If I could share one top tip for creating an organized art space it’s this: get rid of stuff. When in doubt – get it out! Donate it, recycle or repurpose! Most of us have art spaces that are brimming with art supplies that are dried up, broken, or that we simply don’t use. It weighs us down and gets in the way of creating. If you spend half the time you have for making art just trying to find what you need, you feel defeated and exhausted before you even begin.
Check Out My Class: Studio Space
Make it pretty
I’ve found ways over the years to mix supplies, my own art, and natural materials in a way that speaks to my art process and makes me want to make more art. That’s what an art space should do, right?
Develop Organization Rituals
My final tip is to develop some rituals or habits that help you to clean up and keep things organized. Think about your personality and an organizing ritual that makes sense for you. For some of us, that means letting things get really wild and crazy while we are in the midst of a creative project, but then clearing it all out when it’s complete. For others, it means mostly clearing out our art table at the end of the day, but leaving some creative breadcrumbs to help us pick up where we left off the following day. And some folks will enjoy having a seasonal or yearly ritual of organizing and clearing out.
Comment to Enter The Studio Space Giveaway!
I’d love to hear about what helps you to have an organized space for art making. And, when you comment on this post, you’ll be entered into a random drawing for a free spot in my class:
I can’t wait to hear about what helps you stay organized in your studio, as well as what feels tricky.
Join my newsletter for weekly inspiration, workshops, and ways to connect to nature through art.