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:

Studio Space: Design + Create Your Unique Home Art Studio.

I can’t wait to hear about what helps you stay organized in your studio, as well as what feels tricky.

Creatively Yours,

Amy

199 Comments

  1. Sheri Hartman

    I have a small space but I am grateful for it despite its size. I am always looking for ways to make the space more functional. Less Stuff seems like the right approach.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Yes Sheri – a little space can go a long way – especially when we narrow down to the most important items. I really believe this is often the key to making better art too – the focus makes us practice more. Happy clearing with the challenge! xo

      Reply
      • Michelle Mickle

        I too org my paint supplies in zipper pouches. I rehabbed an old Pepsi bottle crate to hold drawing items. Colored pencils, paint pens, sharpies, jelly roller, markers, microns. It hold so much and is so portable! It’s the ephemera im having trouble with.

        Reply
      • Linda Loew

        I’m replying to this because I couldn’t find the place to enter my comment…(computer gremlins?) I can use all the help I can get to organize my studio. I made a good start, but then got bogged down. I hope this will help me get my mojo back!

        Reply
      • Jean

        Help I need to get organised

        Reply
    • Nancy L

      My issue has certainly been the volume of stuff I have and then not knowing where to put the tiniest little piece of ephemera (what category?) Ultimately, I have more things than I can ever use and certainly, I’ve got that “shiny oh look squirrel” syndrome going. Having creative friends, then sparks interest in another art pursuit and more supplies. First off, no new projects and second, let go of the obvious things like dried out materials. I have to remember that limitations do create so much creativity. Looking forward to this to motivate me to. What’s the point of having all these materials scattered and giving me more stress by not being able to sit down to create? Who wants the frustration and energy being sapped this way? Being honest will be hard but I know that being able to create and find my supplies will far outweigh the volume of supplies I have now.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Yes Nancy, I’ve found the tough love approach really takes me a long way. xo

        Reply
        • Hollyce

          Ok. I’ll be back for a second round of clear your clutter.
          Since last year: a smattering of items were tossed from my art space; I purchased a ten tray rolling cart that now holds some papers, adhesives, paints, etc.; and several cardboard boxes have been turned into storage for paper pads, colored pencils, pens and markers. Unfortunately, the work space is still a mess.

          There is a project my husband is helping me with, which will store all (fingers crossed) of my papers (watercolor, mixed media, sketch, ephemera and such). I also hope to have writing, drawing and coloring items in it as well. This will free up some boxes cluttering up the top shelf of my work space.

          Once that is done, I hope to rid the entire area of things I don’t use and have an art space I want to create in, not walk away from.

          Reply
          • Amy Maricle

            Oh yes this sounds like a well laid plan Hollyce! xo

    • Denise

      Love the idea of using zippered pouches for paints. I also like to repurpose other items like glasses/mugs for storage

      Reply
    • Whitney Wolf

      I love using beautiful pieces of pottery, crystal etc. that would normally live in a cabinet until a “special occasion” to contain supplies. The memories that they convey are pretty wonderful. One of the best tips I would share is to use every unused space for storage. A shoe organizer hung on the back of a door is a wonderful way to add storage for supplies.

      Reply
        • Laurie Johnson Strand

          Joined the May clean up challenge. Whenever I try to clean up I end up working on some random unfinished project or starting one I’ve been meaning to do and that adds to the mess! I have a big art space and that causes me to save everything especially paper and ephemera! Need help here.

          Reply
    • Ruth

      Can’t see where to comment so I’m replying.

      I knit, paint and sew. We are going through a total home renovation.
      Here’s to my own dedicated studio space! All tips welcomed

      Reply
    • Lisa Patty Ballinger

      I am so glad that you are doing this. I am in desperate need of finding some way to organize my studio. Just moved to a new place and the studio space is 1/3rd of what I had before. Even though I did donate and gifted lots of things, I still seem to have a lot and in all sorts of different boxes.
      I read some of your suggestions and have put some jars and pretty boxes aside that can be used to get started.
      Thank you kindly for getting this challenge together.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Lisa it sounds like the perfect time for you. Re-imagining spaciousness in a smaller space is a trick, but I feel confident it can be done. XO

        Reply
    • Em

      Like you, Amy, I have categorized and contained most of my supplies. I love using old jam jars for brushes, pens, pencils, water & even pencil shavings. I find that having my supplies easily accessible and ‘open’ (ie. not in boxes with lids) makes the creative process feel easier and more inviting.

      What I’m struggling with is making it look pretty and I believe this is due to a lack of space and just feeling generally ‘uprooted’ and overwhelmed.

      I’m currently bound to my bedroom, so my small desk is often covered in clothes, computer, work, filing (which is actually just a pile of paperwork that I’ve been meaning to file for months 🙈) diary etc. My cupboards are mostly filled with art supplies and books. ☺ So, although my art supplies are fairly few and well organized, I still feel somewhat cramped and cluttered… as though all areas of my life are squashed between these 4 walls and there’s no space to breathe or dream.

      Your shelves look so beautiful and I would love to have something similar some day (hopefully sooner rather than later 🤞) I’d also love to have a board/wall where I can display inspiration pics, colour palettes, WIP etc.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        HI Em: I hear you and the struggle! I wonder, with the tight quarters – could you move some things into a bin under the bed that comes out when you need it, but creates some breathing room? I’m excited to clear out with you. Cheers!

        Reply
    • Patti Morgan

      I spend my time organizing and not making art. I get caught up in the organizing and then not make art. How do I prioritize marking the art while maintaining an organized studio space?

      Reply
  2. Patty

    My mind buzzed with too many things I want to create.. Where do I start? What should I focus on?

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Patty: I’m glad you are here. Do you mean too many things to make in art? Or too many ideas for your studio. If it’s for art – then I love making a list of the projects, and then prioritizing them. It helps me settle and decide. If it’s about your studio – we are here to help with the Challenge. I hope you join us! https://mindfulartstudio.com/clear-out-2023

      Reply
      • Cheryl Hamblin

        I’m so excited to participate in this challenge! I love the ” categorize and contain” suggestion and am going tonstart on that today. I think my bigger challenge will be the getting rid of stuff. The “what ifs” start to take over when I go there. This is great timing for me as I’m almost dine clearing out a household of family items so I’m in the flow!

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Oh I’m so glad to hear it’s clicking already! We will get through it as a community! xo

          Reply
      • Nicola

        I don’t have a designated space, my craft and aer supplies have become uncontained spreading to most ofvthe house..so I have tried to have a few essentials that I can travel with and make art without spending hours working out what I am going to use. I am going to use this challenge to develop structure so I can move away from clutter to calm, hoping this will help both my healing, turn my house into a home and me develop my art/creative practice.

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Nicola – I love your wording on all of this – clutter to calm – turn your house into a home. AND, I will add that portable art kits are a really powerful tool for creativity. There’s a lot you can accomplish with this challenge! xo

          Reply
    • Michelle Mickle

      I have this problem too so I start with bits and maybe backgrounds or make quickie sketches, then I pick one, and move on to the next when I get stuck. I have a table/shelf I’ve decided to dedicate to ongoing projects-these are ones on the cusp of completing but don’t know the next step. It’s near other inchie paintings and a paper cutter. Often when I’m using the paper cutter and moving pieces around then set them down I find the perfect next step for the projects that are right next to the paper cutter!

      And I’ve committed to no new projects unless I complete one on the table and there is an open space.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Kate Taluga

        I have found these tips to fit my sense of organization well. My spaces for art are tiny but I have spaces. A key issue for me is putting things away and actually finishing some of what I started. I look forward to the challenge, but I am not waiting until the challenge to start looking where I can make space by eliminating projects I probably will never do. Aida is going to my EGA group as a giveaway to a better home than me. The same with some of my fabric. That will go to the quilt guild for philanthropy quilts that are given to other organizations serving our community.

        And thank you for allowing comments here. I don’t Facebook but I do appreciate letting you know your tips and tricks for lots of small art and meditation have brought me loads of joy in a very stressful time in my life.

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Aw Kate, I’m so happy that this resonates with you, and that you are enjoying creating in this community! xo

          Reply
      • Lin W. Hermanson

        I just returned from a week with a dear cousin, organizing her art supplies after her recent move. Her sister, not an artsie person, packed her studio, and it showed. Now watercolours are with watercolours, paper and brushes! Microns and Sharpies have their own containers!
        Now I am home and motivated to rejuvenate my own studio! I recently retired, and can now take over that space. Replace my degree with art concepts to motivate myself! Love all your watercolours taped to your wall!

        Reply
    • Kathy A

      Seeing your clear mesh bags for paints gave me an idea. I’ve been saving pretty organza type gift bags for “some day”. Now I can organize with them and they will look good.
      Appreciate your organizational guidance and sharing your gift of art!

      Reply
    • Nancy K.

      Thank you for offering this challenge, Amy.
      One of my favorite ways to organize by project is to collect what I need for a particular routine [10 min sketch of a natural object found on my morning walk, for example] and dedicate a thrift store tray to it. I can put these trays in the house where the natural light is strongest for the time of day I do the activity. And everything is easy to pick up and keep together if I need to tidy up.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        YES! Creation stations – what I call them – are powerful and you’ve made yours portable. Thanks for sharing! xo

        Reply
        • Janet Finch-Levy

          I also use $ store baking trays to house all the projects and related supplies that go with them. They are stackable and I just pull them out when I have the time to work on something.

          Reply
          • Amy Maricle

            Ooh Janet, what a good idea! Thanks for sharing. xo

  3. Pam Guthrie

    Thank you for all of your suggestions! I am using two sizes of boxes that are white and have a flap that folds down and tucks in. I can write on the box, showing the contents. It makes finding my tools and putting them away really easy, and I don’t have to worry if they tumble, which sometimes happens when the cats go exploring. I want to add more beauty to my space and clarity, so I look forward to your clear-out!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      OH Pam this is a great idea and I’m so glad you generously shared it with us. Can’t wait to clear space together! I find adding a bit of my own art adds a lot of inspiration. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. Gretta Benson

    I’d say I’m semi organized! I do like the feeling I get when it’s super tidied! Can’t wait to see what folks come up with!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Yes, I love that feeling too! Thought I also do love the in the midst of a big process semi- mess – as long as it clears at the end and I can find everything. Looking forward to the challenge with you! xo

      Reply
  5. Nancy Scarzello

    I did your studio clean out last year and made great progress! Re-arranging the room, throwing out dried up stuff, donating to a children’s nature program, a box for collage materials, and making the materials I use most accessible. This year I’m joining again as the space is cluttered again with new tools and supplies that I have been introduced to, as well as figuring out how to re-arrange the space on my work table to use my new canva lamp! I can see myself benefitting from this renewal every Spring! Thanks!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh this sounds just wonderful Nancy! I find that each time I do a clear out I learn so much about what I really want to welcome into my space. As you say, it’s a great opportunity to refresh the organization of the space too. Cheers!

      Reply
  6. Pages sur Pages

    Hello Amy… I always found your words inspiring… Thank you! I’ve already subscribed to the challenge but my problem is.. I can have all the personalities listed in the end of the article! Sometimes it works one way, sometimes one other, and so my studio is often left in chaos because i don’t know how i want to deal with my stuff that precise time! Hope the challenge will help to understand me a bit better… Eleonora

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Eleonora:

      It’s hard to settle on a system sometimes – but I’m hopeful that my organized and thoughtful manner will help you find YOUR way.
      Cheers!

      Reply
  7. Elise

    This looks awesome! I’ be wanted to re – organize my space. Presently, it’s not very spiritual. My art is stuck – too many piles.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      OH Elise, I’m hopeful that my process is going to help you find YOUR way in your studio so that it feels flowing and just right. You’ll have some great materials as soon as you sign up. XO

      Reply
    • Ann

      We go between two homes. I don’t really want to duplicate all my art making materials. Help! Maybe a minimalist traveling kit? But what about piles of collage material?

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        HI Ann: Yes, that’s the track I would be thinking on too. Collage – I’d say just choose some and split. Limits breed creativity. xo

        Reply
  8. Deborah Welch

    Thank you for this great article. I, too, like to add my own art for inspiration. I am “one of those” who seem to work better with organized chaos. I like to keep most my supplies in an old curio type cabinet and pull out what I need as needed. I do keep some paint and brushes out at all times. Just in case the urge hits me to practice for a few minutes. I still have so much to learn!

    Reply
  9. Jenn Todd Lavanish

    Along with cleaning my studio space, a couple times a year, re-organizing, finding better containers and ways to repurpose items around the house to store my art supplies in an organized manner. I also take that time to make an inventory of supplies that I am short of things that I have run out of and hadn’t taken the time to replace I have more of a studio table corner on our porch, and I even had custom shelves built that would slide under my table so I could store my supplies in clear plastic bins like drawers, so it stays neat and tidy when it’s not in use. But definitely having a designated space, were you can just go sit down and all of your stuff is handy is the most important part to get you started.

    Reply
  10. Bianca

    I’m drowning in my art making space. Have an entire room, but it’s soooo full. Started organising several times, but got overwhelmed. Now I’m just moving it from one spot to another. Loose a lot of time searching….

    Reply
  11. Susan Gladden

    When we moved last fall, I carved out an art space in the unfinished basement storage room of our new house. Having a dedicated space has allowed me to finally commit to a consistent art practice. Although my space has unfinished floors, exposed ceiling and is in the midst of still unpacked boxes while the rest of the house is beautifully appointed, this space is hands down my favorite place in the house and where I find the most peace. Organization is still a work in progress, but I have started categorizing supplies in labeled clear plastic drawers on plywood shelves.

    Reply
  12. Kathy Cooper

    Amy I’m so looking forward to the challenge! So generous of you to provide this. The pictures in the post were very helpful already. I’m thinking I need less stuff and more more definition in materials. Thank you again.

    Reply
    • Morena Dal Corobbo

      Hi Amy, I struggle with letting go of things and supplies I have that I ‘might’ use one day. Many project ideas started, but not completed. Too many old magazines for collage and empty boxes for repurposing, cardboard from packaging and plastic bags from linen purchases that ‘might’ come in handy one day….help!

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s exactly what this challenge is for! WE’ve got you! xo

        Reply
  13. Lissa Goldsmith

    I am thankful for any help given?

    Reply
  14. Elaine H Millar

    I store all of my supplies by type, eg markers, or pencils, in see through plastic boxes. That way I can firt of all see what’s where and then I can take the entire box to my work table for use and put away when i am finished. i buy these inexpensive boxes at Target. I like having them all the same size and kind for stacking purposes.

    Reply
  15. Connie Crandall

    I am a tool junky and a confirmed hoarder of art supplies and goodies! Plus I always see new things to learn to do. I want to do it all, so I can’t stay focused, and my craft room shows it. I am looking forward to the challenge of organizing.

    Reply
  16. Lynnette Hester

    I have a small desk so I have to clear it often to keep it functional. I use clear shoe boxes to corral my supplies. Its not pretty, but it is functional and I can easily see what is in each box. I also have a 3-tiered cart that is handy, but definitely can use a clear out to be better utilized. Looking forward to the clear out challenge!

    Reply
    • Santa Smale

      I do have a small space but have too much in there. I have been introduced to the concept of container to contain stuff. When that is full you need to move the rest along. Looking forward to anymore tips and tricks.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Yes, this is the perfect challenge then Santa. We’ve got this!xo

        Reply
  17. Becky B

    Containers are a lifesaver for me! If they are beautiful and repurposed, all the better. I find that clear containers work best for me; if I can’t see it, I forget I have it.

    Thank you for the wonderful recommendations!

    Reply
  18. Caro

    I just love my chaos…. It stimulates me. I collect things, I find things, I put everything together, I have lots of ideas and I absolutely can’t throw anything out except if completely useless or broken and even then I can sometimes find a second life for it. Because it’s all created in my mind I don’t produce a lot and I would like to change that. Difficult challenge 🤷‍♀️I guess I am your worst nightmare but I absolutely love to see what you are doing 🥰

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      OOH – this is very intriguing. So important to honor the different ways our wonderful brains work. Now the challenge is figuring out at what point you stop and don’t start. Have you tried writing about it? I’ve got some reflective writing in the challenge that might help! xo

      Reply
    • Sheryl Williams-Gelatt

      I have shallow cardboard boxes, some small, some larger where I put my “in progress” projects and any related supplies, so that I can see them, then when the urge strikes I can grab and go. I also have my acrylic craft paints in open wooden boxes and crates, some turned on their sides so that I can see all the colors. This helps with inspiration as well as containerizing. I repurpose crystal juice glasses and crystal tumblers to house my brushes. They make a beautiful display! And at the end of the night, I clear the desk to keep things looking neat for my husband and to protect things from my cats.

      Reply
    • Lynnette

      Caro, I do the same thing, where I have tons of ideas and don’t want to throw anything out…but my great ideas seem to stay just that…ideas! I have limited space and energy to create with all the things I have acquired, let alone organize them… HOWEVER… I am very curious about how this organizing creative space challenge might work with minds like ours.

      Amy, I do want to try what you recommended to another person about writing down all my ideas and prioritizing them. Having ADD kind of makes that a little more difficult but I’m anxious to learn more about your methods for organization and hopeful I can adapt them! 😊 This challenge starts around my birthday, so could be a good start to a new trip around the sun! 😁

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        HI Lynette:

        I love your honesty here – it’s the only way we move forward. I think with all the ideas from a teacher or whoever, it’s always asking ourselves, okay – part of this feels right – which part doesn’t? How could I adapt it to be better for me? Should I break it into parts? Should I do it with a friend to have accountability? Should I chat with someone instead of writing? Once you sign up, you can start that prep right away so that by the time the challenge starts, you are ready!! xo

        Reply
  19. Julia M Hatlen

    This topic is one I guess I’ll never stop wrestling with. i spent a lot of time and $ last year on a studio makeover – adding cabinets with drawers and upper cabinets to reduce the visual clutter. I also created a new painting table.
    But still I find I can’t keep my surfaces clear. The idea of the clean up ritual spoke to me though.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh I hear you – I think it’s a process to find the rhythm that works for each of us. I tend to rotate through different art practices. So like right now I am mostly watercolor painting. Other times it’s mostly drawing, or collage, or paper cut. Each needs it’s own space – so I tend to rotate through them rather than having a bomb of all the things in the studio. I wonder if that might spark something for you…

      Reply
      • Lynnette W.

        I really like this idea of rotating. I often find myself wanting to do 🤩 ✊🏽 ALL THE THINGS ✊🏽 🤩 but jump from shiny new idea/medium/technique to shiny new idea without spending much time really learning the processes or cultivating anything. I’m anxious to see how you organize your materials to allow for the rotating of practices, especially when so many materials overlap with different practices (i.e. journaling, mixed media, collage, decoupage, scrapbooking, etc…)

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          YEEES. So excited for this Lynette!!!

          Reply
  20. JULIE PRETTY

    I’m in the middle of clearing up my “studio” space which is just a corner of the family room. You’ve come to my mailbox at a most opportune time. Can’t wait. Thanks Amy.

    Reply
  21. Teresa

    My parents were from the dirty thirties so throwing things out is hard . I do try to donate to schools ect . Looking forward to learning more organization ideas .

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      yes, and in the challenge I have concrete ideas about where to donate! XO

      Reply
  22. Kath

    I used to have a creative space but when my husband and I both started working from home in 2021 I lost it. My craft room is now his office and my office is on the kitchen table. The closest I have to a creative space is my favourite chair by the living room window where I sit to do my crochet. I used to love to draw or colour in, I’ve done a bit of acrylic painting in the past but I’d love to learn watercolor, I have no space or time in my life to do it though 😓

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I have LOTS of ideas for you in my Studio Space class Kath! You’ll find some in this post too! Cheers!

      Reply
  23. Roxanne

    I am a once-a-season person, but I’m striving to do things differently. I recently made stations for painting, writing, and sewing. But, because I’m now sewing right now that table is open game for stacking stuff. Today I will spend one hour naming categories and designating places for them! Thanks for your inspiration!

    Reply
  24. Susan Marling

    I loved your idea of the like paints in zippered bags. My room needs reorganization and the first step is cleaning out. Thank you for the challenge.

    Reply
  25. Karen

    I’m the one with the coffee cup, bills, and to-do list in the middle of my art space. It’s difficult as I use the same desk for bill paying etc AND my art area. Then there are things scattered here and there. I can’t wait for this challenge—I need HELP!

    Reply
  26. Sherrye Grotte

    I have so many different craft items, it gets overwhelming. A little bit of this, a little bit of that! It’s hard to try to organize all of it.

    Reply
    • Glenda

      I keep my little studio in our smallest guest bedroom (mainly) tidy. The pieces I’m working on stay out on my large work table, along with the tools, paints, and substrates I’m using at the current time. Right now, I’m painting acrylic on board so only those brushes are out. (Watercolor brushes and watercolor paint are in the closet.) I have open plastic bins to house paint by color and others to house brushes and mark making tools.

      Like items are kept together. Some products are kept in a small/medium bin with my current sketchbook since those are easily carried around and used while I watch TV.

      Other items are in large (labeled) covered plastic crates on a large metal storage unit. Those house stamps, scrapbook supplies, nature items, etc.

      The most unorganized place is my collage/ephemera areas. They’re so hard to organize! Do I organize by subject, color, or surface, lol? When I’m working that kind of project, I use one or both large trays that my husband used to use for his darkroom processing. That keeps like items organized for the specific project. It’s really hard to discard pieces I MIGHT use in the future, lol. Oh! My gelli prints.m that I may use in village for my art practice or on cards. Where do I keep those? Just reading this I can see hat paper is a nightmare, lol.

      I hope to glean more information from your challenge!

      Reply
  27. Jeanette Wilde

    I get lost sometimes in over organizing – spend so much time trying to get everything organized that I don’t spend anytime actually creating. Is it possible to be too organized?

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Jeannette: This is a great question. I think the reflection questions you’ll get as part of my Clear Out Challenge materials might be able to help you dissect this problem and move past it. I think it would be easy to fall in this trap and I know you aren’t alone. I also think you have the answer though, if you spend some time writing about it or chatting it out with a friend. Cheers!

      Reply
  28. Dorothy

    Boy Amy this couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’m a caretaker for my husband who is ill. We were planning on moving but were unable to find a buyer. – I had packed up all my art supplies and put them in storage in an effort to make our condo look less cluttered for showings. Now that we aren’t moving, I brought my art supplies back and want to set up a space for me on our lanai. I have 6 boxes of art supplies, pens, pencils and sketchbooks. Trying to decide what to keep, what to donate and how to organize them neatly is my problem. So far I am overwhelmed have done nothing.

    Reply
    • Laith Van

      I use the three shelf rolling carts available at craft stores. Each cart has a specific theme.
      For example “the drawing cart” contains all I need for pencil sketches, markers crayons, artist erasers, sketch books, and other necessities.
      My rule is only one cart for each type of art. I make use iof the fact the cart is magnetic. Using strong magnets with cips allows you to attach regularly used items.in bags . A paper towel roll holder is attached easily. I have this on the paint cart.
      Have a set “parking spaces” for the carts. Closets, behind the couch, or the corner of a room that is out of the way. This keeps your materials corralled
      In addition to keeping the hoarding nature.of artists within bounds.
      I have a painting cart and a mixed media cart in addition to my drawing cart.
      If a work surface is an issue I have a cardtable top with no legs that I put over the top level of the carts – making a portable work surface. This stores standing up between the carts.
      I hope some of these ideas are of use.

      Reply
    • Laith Van

      I use the three shelf rolling carts available at craft stores. Each cart has a specific theme.
      For example, “the drawing cart” contains all I need for pencil sketches, markers, crayons, artist erasers, sketch books, and other necessities.
      My rule is only one cart for each type of art. I make use iof the fact the cart is magnetic. Using strong magnets with cips allows you to attach regularly used items in bags . A paper towel roll holder is attached easily. I have this on the paint cart.
      Have a set “parking spaces” for the carts. Closets, behind the couch, or the corner of a room that is out of the way. This keeps your materials corralled
      in addition to keeping the hoarding nature.of artists within bounds.
      I have a painting cart and a mixed media cart in addition to my drawing cart.
      I hope some of these ideas are of use.

      Reply
  29. Susan

    Repurposing containers is my favorite! I’ve got a small train case filled with clean candle jars that hold all my markers, pencils, scissors, etc. Looking forward to the challenge for tactics that I can use at home AND at work.

    Reply
  30. nancy

    I am “an out of sight, out of mind” creative, so need to have things within reach/sight. But, of course, the perennial problem is there is just not enough room for everything to be close by! And if I reorganize, then I spend time trying to remember or look for a supply in its new location. I have categorized and contained several groups of items, but still have work to do! Your ideas were very helpful, thank you.

    Reply
  31. Helena Showell

    Ok here goes: My husband and I live in a one-bedroom apartment with our two cats. We also babysit our two adorable, rambunctious, beloved 2.5 year old twin grandsons 2-3 days a week. We’ve evolved a flexible, enriching learning, exploratory environment that contains what we call learning stations. Now, add to this MY art, design, sewing, photography, and other creative endeavors AND supplies, equipment, etc., frequently intermingling with my grandson’s’ activities, eg, currently making them home-made guitars. Their speech therapist and sometimes physical therapist comes to our home. They are phenomenal, and the babies have made enormous progress, surpassing all their milestones, and considered very smart. (They were born 8 weeks premature) Precious miracles!

    Anyway, Amy, trying to give you a concise picture here: I’m already, have been awhile, in the process of reorganizing. Even hubby is greatly assisting from time to time, for the ongoing effort are Herculean!

    What it all boils down to is I now have the babies items now organized quite well. But my art spaces is really, art spaces, where I have a lot reorganized, yet still have a ways to go!

    There’s my desk, computer, storage areas, sewing center in living room. A largish working area and storage areas partly in open kitchen adjoining living room.

    Over time, I’ve bought storage chests and containers, using repurposed crates, bookshelves in living with bins. As I said, all reorganizing is ongoing. *sigh* I can sense the advantage of the happiness and satisfaction I’ll feel once done, and I’ll be able to create art more often.

    Meanwhile, in part because of my grandsons, the clutter and semi-chaos is absolutely maddening and so frustrating and depressing at times! And striving to keep a positive mindset is an uphill battle!

    I appreciate any valuable insights from anyone! Thank you.🥰

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Helena: Oh I hear this loud and clear. A small space that must have stations for many things. And how to prioritize the spaces for oneself. This is exactly why I created The Studio Clear Out Challenge. When you sign up, you’ll get my excellent workbook PDF that will lead you through this process every step of the way. There’s a video for it too. Then each day of the challenge we will conquer a specific tasks. There’s writing exercises that will help guide your process too. I’m excited to see where things develop for you. You can join here. xo

      Reply
  32. Elaine

    Hello Amy, As someone who has taught art in a fine art center full time for over 20 years I have accumulated A LOT of art supplies. I have taken over the whole dining room and am considering moving to the family room for more space. I do things on a big scale and time one with you, I have done every slow draw since you started a few years ago. I have a big drawing table and Ikea furniture in the room. I do use smaller baskets for the slow draws and a couple for atc cards I trade. I try to keep the markers in the boxes and all my prismacolor pencils in the tins and a larger box with the ones without a box. I taught everything and for many ages, kids, teens, adults and seniors. from 2d to 3d in sculpture to clay. I did rehome my clay wheel and my enameling kiln before I moved to Indianapolis. But things still manage to stack up, collage papers, junk journals, nu=ice hand made books…. So I really could use some help.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      We are so happy to do this together! I’d love a before photo if you want to send it to me via email. You aren’t alone! 🙂

      Reply
  33. Anna Kretz

    Hi
    Tank U for al Ur doing. 💙💚🩵
    For me, it is important that it is clean and tucked away. I need the surface to put paper on so I can sketch or paint. Starting with cleaning so that the surface is clean kills the will to create. That said, it’s not always like that. You mentioned some time ago the risk of using the surface for other purposes… It is a challenge not to use my space as a dumping ground. And it’s just me, no one else I’m afraid.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I hear you! I have to guard against this too! xo

      Reply
  34. Donna Wynn

    What a wonderful post this one and one I am sure that all of us can relate to. Isn’t it amazing just how much we collect over time and a new art fascination replaces an old one as well as the supplies it requires! Out of sight and out of mind. I am so looking forward to the challenge … everything you offer is a gift to the creative soul. I do love my writing and drawing supplies and I love to keep them all in different containers in my studio, they give me joy just to see them. I use them a lot and like you showed in your post … what they are stored in gives pleasure to my heart! It is always a great way to repurpose something else and put them to good use! Can’t wait till May 15th! Thank you for always sharing your ideas so freely and keeping me motivated in my own art life!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      YAY Donna – so excited that this speaks to you! xo

      Reply
  35. Donna Levreault

    I did the studio clear out challenge last year and was able to clear some space for guess what? More art supplies. work on a smallish table and though I have my supplies organized, I don’t have enough surface space to work on once I get going on a project.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Donna:

      So many of us have this problem! I have a lot of tips about how to organize space, what to put where, and how to start thinking about what does and does not get to come into our space in my class: Studio Space. You can learn more here.

      Reply
  36. Jane T.

    Keeping things together is a great practice. When I find my space is cluttered again, it is almost always that like thins did not return to their homes and have become interspersed with unlike things. Also, in the last clean out, I finally decided I wanted to see my art and my writing in my space, which led to a good clear our. The final problem for me is that my space is also my writing space, and where I pay bills and where the cat has a bed … that is probably my greatest problem at the moment. Great post. Thank you.

    Reply
  37. Theresa

    Great tips! I’ve been cleaning my studio space for the past 3 days, so very timely.

    Reply
  38. Shaari Peddersen

    Amy, this is such perfect timing! I had just decided I need to Declutter and organize my art space and then, I received notice of your challenge. I was organized at some point, but the space is now a jumble of potential art projects, office stuff and random supplies I still want, but need out of my visual field. I would like my space to call to me and to feel like a tabula rasa, with a few breadcrumbs. Thanks for offering this!

    Reply
  39. Crystal Korzep

    My art space is so awesome, but it is like an attic with all sorts of books and crannies and it is hard to find bookcases and furniture that fit. Along with this area is where I have to have Rubbermaids with all my decorations for various holidays. I bought Rubbermaids that are clear with maybe colored tops, but still run into how they fit. I don’t want to spend on items and then they don’t workout. Thanks for your free classes and this opportunity to possibly win your class

    Reply
  40. Chrsta Lemons

    I am in the middle of taking a couple years to change my artistic work and world. I have a full weaving studio that I am no longer using. I plan to sell or donate much of those things. I also have a room in my house for crafting. It is where my new point of view is until I can move into the big studio. I have too many things and not enough room. I am looking forward to the workshop. I have already used a couple tips you offer. Keeping like things together and containing them.
    Thanks much Amy, you are an inspiration!

    Reply
  41. Ali P

    As a squirrel living in a small 1 bed flat I struggle to keep organised and have creative space. So looking forward to finding out tips and tricks to help me!! Thank you Amy!!

    Reply
  42. Dalia

    Usually my dining room table = my art space, which is great because it’s slightly separate from the rooms we “live” in, and we eat at our kitchen island so I can keep my current projects and supplies out without driving my husband batty. Unfortunately, that table is also our jigsaw puzzle space, which is normally fine – but I didn’t read the dimensions of the last one before I bought it, and it’s enormous – 3′ x 4′ – and edged out my art supplies. I set up a card table in the living room but it’s not fun to create there, and I often find myself making art curled up in my bed after dinner – dry supplies only!! I’m a bit of a minimalist but as my acrylic paint supplies have dwindled, I’ve gone all-in on pastels and markers. I love the look of glass jars and tea tins, but I prefer to store these supplies horizontally, so I’ll need to dig around the house a bit to find things I can repurpose for that. And finish that puzzle so I can reclaim my space!!

    Reply
  43. Leah McKnight

    Hi Amy! Thanks for the great tips in your post. I have been rooting through all my old art supplies recently, and it feels so good to get rid of supplies that I thought I would use someday but never did. My tip for others would be to donate neglected craft supplies like this to a neighborhood creative reuse center, if you have one. This way your supplies won’t go to waste, and they can end up inspiring someone else to create something beautiful!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I love it Leah. I’m all about donating and re-using. I have lots of great tips for that in the challenge and in the Studio Space class. XO

      Reply
  44. Rikke Sølyst Jensen

    I am lucky enough to have my own art room. It even has a beautiful view of the lake we live close by. Even though most of my stuff is organised, I struggle with two things:

    1. It is also our spare guest room, and in all honesty currently my husband’s extra room. With a baby in the house he often escapes to my art room to get a proper night’s sleep – and his stuff is all over by now 🙈 Hopefully a very temporary situation, because I miss it being MY private space ❤️

    2. I definitely have too much stuff. Everything is pretty sorted and organised, but I probably have enough materials for a decade or so of creating. I love collage and mixed media, and save way too many magazines, books and random bits, in case I might need them some day. At the same time I am very aware that I find my best creative flow when I work with very limited materials 💁‍♀️

    I look forward to joining your challenge and hopefully breathing some new life into my beloved, but cluttered, space.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Amy 😊

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh yes, you are in the right place Rikke! xo

      Reply
  45. Kate A

    Clear plastic shoe boxes are the game changer for me. I can see what’s in them, and they stack nicely.

    Reply
  46. Dena Zavier

    Hmmm…. my problem is that I live in a very small 2-bedroom condo (750 sq ft) and my studio is also my home office for my consulting business. I have been categorizing and containing lately in an attempt to feel a little more organized. Mostly though, I bring out supplies for a project to my little dining table when I want to do art, then put them back away after. I also have a tiny little plastic kitchen container that I take with me when I am out of town (lots) it is just big enough for a few graphite and colour pencils, line pens, ATC and postcard-sized art papers and a set of watercolours with a brush. It works – especially for the slow drawing type pieces and ATC/Postcard swaps.
    Every little bit helps – my goal for May is to clear out all the unnecessary paper from my office so that doing art in that room will be ok as well.

    Reply
  47. Allison Hanson

    Reading this article made me realize that the amount of art supplies I own is probably one of the bigger challenges I face in my daily art practice. It isn’t always easy to find my supplies and even if I know where they are, they’re not always easy to access. Another is space. I don’t currently have a dedicated space for creating art, and I pull out my supplies and work wherever I can, whenever I have a few spare minutes. I share my space with cats and an inquisitive toddler, so I’m often fending off little hands and paws. This article helped me think about my setup (or lack thereof). I love the idea of an art basket with zipper pouches of supplies. That would be easy to carry wherever I plan to work and then also easy to tuck away out of reach. Decluttering is where I’m going to start—I really have so many supplies!

    Reply
  48. Susan Hawfield

    My space is 1/2 of our garage that is a finished room. I might make a mess working on a project but when I am done I have to clear the space and put things away before I start the next. I like to have everything organized according to media and usage and I do have several workspaces to move around to.
    I do really need to simplify and clear out, it is hard though. Some supplies I have had since art school from the early 70’s!!
    I appreciate your process Amy and have enjoyed your inchies and slow challenges!

    Reply
  49. Sheila

    I have found clearing out my small studio space a least three times per year helps a lot and adds to my creativity. I find supplies I had forgotten about and feel inspired
    Usually I rearrange at least half of all my supplies Switching things up really helps my brain
    I live Amy’s idea of repurposing containers
    Having an open space in my case cleared dedicated table feels so inviting !👩‍🎨

    Reply
  50. Nancy

    My supplies are pretty well organized, though I could probably throw out some old, dried up stuff. My problem is what to do with my completed artwork. I’ve put some in boxes and portfolios, but right now I have a huge pile of artwork on the floor. I’ve also run out of shelf space for completed journals.

    Reply
  51. Diana G.

    I don’t have an art place. Not so many art supplies anymore either. What i do have is organized, mostly packed in Rubbermade containers under a table since my latest move, in anticipation of yet another move in the-not-too-distant future. Makes for less than inspirational artmaking. Is it worthwhile getting things out where i can see them? Sometimes I’d like to, but i talk myself out of it because i’d just end up with art to dispose of next time i have to move. What to do?

    Reply
  52. Deborah Daniel

    I’m new to my art practice and am lucky to have a dedicated space, a studio, in my finished basement. I’m on the lookout for ideas about organizing my space to encourage creativity and efficiency. I love Amy’s suggestion about repurposing containers and baskets to hold supplies and finished pieces.

    Reply
  53. Kathy

    Great suggestions.. thank you

    Reply
  54. Rosemarie Kowalski

    The dollar store has silicon zip bags that are so useful. Sometimes there are different colors, which is useful for different kinds of supplies.

    I just wonder, how do supplies multiply so quickly?

    Oh wait: I remember a box friend’s of 20 new Golden flow acrylics @$100, a new sketch pad someone was rehoming … and those art books that I couldn’t bear to see him toss. (Yes, they all live in my studio now.)

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      😉 😛 I hear you Rosemarie. Supplies sit together in a box and make babies.

      Reply
  55. Krystal Wolf

    Oh, I definitely could use some good tips on cleaning out and storage! As a creative interested in many things, it’s definitely hard to pair down all the ‘stuff’. This challenge sounds perfect!

    Reply
  56. Jackie

    When I got your email notification about creating a space, it my heart and soul leap of joy. My question is, how do you start if you are not in a good emotional place? I am taken care of my 96 your grandmother. She lives overseas, I call her everyday and I visit her two times a year. I order her groceries and arrange her visits.
    It has taken a huge toll and I lost my emotional and mental mojo.
    Maybe cleaning out a space just for me will do the trick. Thank you for posting and sharing your ideas and tips with us.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      This is a pertinent question for so many of us. I think the writing portion of the challenge may be really important for you. And I too wonder whether the community support will be key in helping you shift your mood and ability to begin. xo

      Reply
  57. Kari Elliott

    I have a small space in the corner of the unfinished basement. I am just starting to organized my stuff and can already see the need to get rid of the clutter. What I have noticed is that I still struggle to find my supplies even though they are out away and think there is a skill to setting your space up that I have not yet acquired.

    Reply
  58. Laura Wetz

    I have a small studio space in my basement which although not ideal, I’m grateful for a designated space. I keep all of my pencils, colored pencils and brushes in either tall coffee mugs or small ceramic planters. I keep my tubes of paint in clear bathroom vanity trays that I found in the bathroom section of Target. I organize the paints by color family. The trays stack on each other nicely too! I usually create a mess while working on a painting and I keep that mess until I am finished with it. I then clean and organize my studio completely before starting my next big project.

    I am really enjoying your pattern making prompts! They really help me destress! Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Sounds like a great system Laura. And I’m so glad you are enjoying slow drawing and painting! xo

      Reply
  59. Lisa D

    I love these tips and I think the hardest thing I’m contemplating is organizing/ getting rid of papers, art pieces! How does one choose?

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      That IS hard. I try to approach it with generosity to giving to others, and also generosity to myself so I have space to create more. xo

      Reply
  60. Geralyn Zink

    Since retiring a year ago I have been converting a small room into my dedicative creative space. I agree that organizing like supplies together is so helpful. As I went through that process, I did make sure all markers worked, paint was not dried out etc. It took time, but the pleasure of reaching for something and knowing it will work helps my creative process flow. One area I struggle with are the crossover items, which for me are things like stencils, textured objects, and certain papers. I would also like to learn how others store large flat items – cardboard, canvas boards, past art work, items you want to use in future projects.
    Excited to be a part of this challenge!

    Reply
  61. Helen Donnison

    Like you I like to have my supplies sorted into categories, with ones I use most often left out on my table, and ones I use less often tucked away in a cupboard that’s still easily accessible. When I’m in a creative mood, I can easily find the things I need. I do find that my creative space gets crowded in on so I do need to get better at putting things away off my table so I have space to work.

    Reply
  62. Helen

    I do similar organisation hacks for my textile and mixed media art space. For example, I’ve Upcycled bix files putting plasterboard nails through the bottom to organise threads by colour. Apart from blues and browns that I use the most and have too many of for a box file. They are stored in clear plastic tubs.
    I also use large zipped bags to keep both haberdashery eg. Zips in one, bias binding in another, hoops in another … And also specific projects and kit resources.

    I’m in need of a tidy and clean out though so looking forward to the challenge!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Sounds like you have a great base, so I’m excited to see what you do! xo

      Reply
  63. Mari Richards

    My art space is becoming fuller and fuller as my practice grows – and since the pandemic my husband now stole a corner for his own work from home days. Making my space feel like my own is becoming more and more important.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      YEEES – I think this process with the challenge can really help. xo

      Reply
  64. Ana Hurm

    I have started organizing by categories/like with like. I love mixing it up, so multimedia has become my best form of expression zip lock bags and pouches, make up bags are super for loose pens pencils markers. I use snap close boxes for rubber stamps, rubber for making stamps, tools inks powders for embossing and heat tool.

    Tool boxes are great for paints.

    Lately because I’m not at home, I make use of cardboard boxes, and use a sharpie to jot down what’s inside.

    When I am working on a project, I like to use a box to throw everything I will be using in, to keep it together and easy to find. Once I’m done, everything reverts back to it’s original place. Then I start organizing for the next one !

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Yes I like having little creation stations too! xo

      Reply
  65. LINDA BURTON

    Now that I don’t use CDs anymore I have repurposed my narrow (and what can I possibly do with this now) CD shelving to store all my markers, pens and pencils plus some other small craft items. The narrow openings are just the right width for the plastic containers you buy in the grocery store usually to store food items. These containers are the perfect length for the pencils and markers I use, not very deep and lidded. Everything is sorted in its own kind, labeled and easy to see and the containers are great to grab and go if I need to take them somewhere. The shelf bases are re positional so I can vary the height if I need to store taller items. This has been great. Now for the rest of my stuff …mmm

    Reply
  66. Pat Vartanian

    I am a retired art teacher 32 yes public, 3 yrs college. I have taught every class you can think of.

    Now I do several kinds of art and show in different galleries.
    I do minimacrame jewelry
    (Cords, beads, precious stones,
    Centerpieces etc)
    I do photo weaving ( storing blown up photos, canvases, paints)
    I do wire wrapping & wire Macrame
    I do hand made Christmas cards
    (45 years). Birthday & anniversary cards for family & friends)

    Anyway. Lots of supplies
    I have a small loft that most of my jewelry supplies are stored
    The rest of my supplies are in the furnace room. I work on the kitchen table looking out at the lake. Too many supplies
    Looking forward to clearing out
    Thanks
    Pat V

    Reply
  67. Cathy

    I have a small art space desk and shelves in a spare room that is used as a bedroom for my grandchildren when they come to stay. I am grateful for any ideas to make this space as usable and happy as possible. I also have a travelling art space because we travel a-lot do any suggestions for this would be gratefully received as well

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Cathy: Portable art kits are a big part of how I make art happen. 🙂 Go light and carry it often. I have a section on this in my Studio Space class as well. xo

      Reply
  68. Scottie Kersta-Wilson

    The good news is that most of my work is created on the computer, so a large table serves as my studio (with built-in bookcases behind me). The bad news is that I am starting to crochet and collage outside the confines of a computer. Yikes! I have culled supplies that I no longer need, but sheesh . . . I need help for containment of my STUFF! 🙂

    Reply
  69. Aleta Jacobson

    Hi Amy, I can’t say enough about this class/clean out challenge. I took it last year and took the class. It was very helpful. I love how you lead us to creating a inspiring space to create. So why am I here again? I see that my work and tools are changing. I’ve done some touch ups but would like to get somethings out of the way. So to get me back on track and re create a more productive space I’m back.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Aleta, this is so great to hear. I find I need periodic clear outs, so I see that as a positive.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  70. KAREN G LUCAS

    I feel like I’ve had a few good ideas about pen and marker storage. For example, I have repurposed a water bottle refrigerator caddy (clear plastic) to use as one of my marker storage and organizing spaces. Still, I realize that I need to add a couple of hanging wall shelves to store supplies so that my table is clear for actually making art. And I like my pens and markers to be separated by type as I use them for different projects. That becomes a challenge in the small space that I have.

    Reply
  71. Ruth

    I quilt, do bits of paper art such as reusable page toppers for my daily to-do list, knit (occasionally) and am also working on a long-haul writing project.
    Working from home and living in a multi-generation family I have my own space but right now cannot cut fabric or use my machine in there. Space is occupied by a quilting frame which perhaps was a mistake to have bought.
    Fabric is wrapped around cardboard like it would be in a store (but smaller scale), some projects are in clear boxes from baked goods and paper is semi organized in an armoire.
    It;s the lack of flat work surface that’s the biggest drawback meaning I have to wait until the house is empty and work on the dining room table, then pack everything away immediately

    Reply
  72. Cheryl Wright

    In January, I finally decided to make the guest bedroom do double duty as my art/writing/craft studio. It’s a WIP and I’m enjoying the slow improvements I am seeing.

    Reply
    • Liliana

      Dear Amy, thank you for this enormous gift you’re offering us. Thank you for making the time to make us reflect on such a simple but at the same time crucial step we need to make about making the time and space to create.
      With me, the challenge is keeping momentum to finish my projects, also when a project don’t go the way I would want, I find it difficult to be motivated again to repeat the project. Keep my space tidy, organized.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        This is such a great comment Liliana because it’s something so many struggle with. I like to work in a series – so several similar pieces at once – this way I am working in multiples straight off the bat and I feel more free with all of them because there is more than one. I wonder if this gives you any ideas for your own process? xo

        Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh goodness Cheryl – what an exciting step to be taking. I am so excited for you. I think the challenge will come in handy. Cheers!

      Reply
  73. Suzanne McCurdy

    My studio is always a mess. Try as I might, it seems hopeless to keep it organized. Help!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      You are in the right place Suzanne! The writing reflection section of the prep for the challenge will be really crucial for you I think. You have the wisdom about yourself – then you can plug my ideas into a structure that matches for you. You can sign up here if you haven’t already: https://mindfulartstudio.com/clear-out-2023

      Reply
  74. Margherita Allan

    The biggest thing I follow is “find what works for you” even if it makes no sense to anyone else. It has to work for you so you are then free to create – or just feel inspired and peaceful when not creating. The change I made was organising my fabrics. I use lots of small amounts of different colours and was overwhelmed with all the different categories. Then I read about the colour wheel clothing shops used and it works brilliantly for me. Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Brown, Beige, White, Gray, Black. It’s perfect for me to store and find what I have. I now use this colour wheel for everything I split into colours. BUT so looking forward to following the challenge to get more organised

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Thank you for sharing this tip Margherita. I agree – it’s about taking the advice and then asking – How do I make this fit realistically for ME and the way I am? Thank you for this great color wheel tip. For sure it will help someone else!

      XO

      Reply
  75. Adah Masaoka

    I’m having trouble knowing how to organize all the ephemera and papers used for backgrounds!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Adah:

      You are in the right place! I have lots of ideas on that topic. I love using a converted dresser and various boxes. It’s contain and contain within the container! 😉 I hope you join us for the challenge: https://mindfulartstudio.com/clear-out-2023

      Reply
      • elisabeth

        I have oodles of stuff. Because of more than one hobby that all need their specific art supplies or art supplies that can be used for all of them. So it is hard to categorize. I also like to repurpose stuff in recycle projects so I safe all kinds of stuff. So yes, HELP….I usually work on my diningriom table as my artrose is more like an walk in tiny closet space for keeping all the above.

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          I know that lots of folks are in the same boat as you Elisabeth! We’ve got you!

          Reply
  76. Candace W. Barnes

    I try to stay reasonably organized because I can’t stand clutter anyway. When I do something one way and it doesn’t work, I change it up until I find a way that does. I’ve been getting rid of things I have too much of or know I’ll never use to make room for more of what I know I will use. It’s an ongoing process. I live in a small 2 bedroom apartment and will soon be moving into a 1 bedroom, so I will need to be more selective about what I keep anyway.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      It sounds like that attitude serves you well Candace! xo

      Reply
  77. Jamie

    I have always been good at categorizing- and nothing soothes me more than sorting and putting away … so it is easy to get sidetracked into a “new” organization method instead of actually using my materials to create art! I am the same way with my books!! I am now faced with moving my art studio into the larger room next door … I just have to first conquer cleaning out enough stuff to make it happen. The possibilities will be endless once I get there though!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I hear you on this challenge. I think some of the reflection exercises we will do may really help. Excited to get started! xo

      Reply
  78. Stacey

    What you said rings true. I have my supplies in multiple areas instead of grouped so I forget what I have. I have supplies I haven’t used this year at all that I can donate to a church or school near me.

    Reply
  79. Brenda Silberman

    After finishing pieces for a huge show in October, my studio looks like twin tornadoes ran through it. It is a overwhelming task and I would love someone else’s strategies to try since mine are cowering in a corner somewhere.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Brenda: I totally understand where you are coming from. It can feel totally overwhelming. If you haven’t already, you will see that my prep materials help you to think through what will work best for you and your personality before you touch a thing. I think this is so helpful, as well as my prep video which is also full of strategies. We’ve got this! xo

      Reply
  80. Kathy R

    I am lucky enough to have a small room in my house dedicated to all my creative endevours. I reorganized it last year and I think one of the best purchases I made was an over the door organizer and a bunch of clear zippered pouches. It took all of my pens, pencils, markers and so much more from needing shelf space to hanging organized behind the door. It cost under $50 and gave me so much clear space to devote to creating. Thanks Amy for always reinforcing the need to shake-up our spaces in order to push our creative boundaries.

    Reply
    • Becky

      When my art space is unorganized so is my brain and very little creativity happens! I am looking forward to the challenge 😀

      Reply
  81. Tamara Santos

    I like using bins and big plastic envelopes to corral and organize collage papers, paints and supplies. I write on the envelopes and store in large wooden crates so it’s a bit like a filing system. I’m creating a dedicated studio in a house currently being built and plan to have a floor to ceiling (10 feet) built-in with shelves and cabinets to store everything including sewing machine, paper cutters and other bulky items. I’ll have a library ladder to reach the top shelves.

    Reply
  82. Karen Nantes

    Hello all,
    I am fairly organized and tidy but I just have too much stuff!! Every time I think I’m going to start clearing out I think “oh, but what if I need that someday”. Its a vicious cycle that certainly takes too much of my art time trying to find things or completely forgetting what I actually have.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Karen – you are not alone in that! This will be a good process. xo

      Reply
  83. Michelle Treber

    Too much stuff is an issue I have – whether it is art supplies or kitchen items. I can’t wait to get my art space streamlined so it isn’t so cluttered.

    Reply
  84. Lynne S.

    I am excited to clean, organize and clear space in my hobby room! Recently I repurposed an old medicine cabinet to my art area, where I’m enjoying the added light provided by the mirror, as well as shelves inside where I can display my inks. My big project now is to move my boxes of fabric and sewing supplies to another area of the house. I’m also managing scrapbooking in the same space, so the range of creative supplies can feel overwhelming and quickly be cluttered.

    Reply
  85. Marianne

    Hello ! (please forget my english, I’m french…) I am lucky to have my own little cabin as a studio, in my garden…but I am also someone who is really sruggling with throwing things…I have a lot of papers, old books, obsolete road maps, sewing patterns…that I am planning to use…one day ! I reaaly need to follow your path !!! thanks a lot for your tips !

    Reply
  86. Tineswari

    Kia ora from New Zealand! I am fortunate to have a studio space, which is 3/4 of the spare bedroom. I share the space with my husband who has his home office set up in the remaining 1/4 of the room. I sew, paint, draw and collage, so the tiny space gets quite overwhelmingly cluttered. I have to usually work on one particular medium at a time, to avoid having too many materials out. So I try to save all my sewing projects and then do them all in one go for a several weeks. I find that cleaning up after every creative session helps, especially sewing when I have tiny bits of thread and fabric on the carpet. Once it’s cleaned up, I feel like I have a better headspace (and table space!) to work on a different project in a different medium. I keep my supplies organised by category and boxes are clearly labelled with simple post-it notes and markers, so I know where everything is at a glance. Thank you for sharing your tips, I could always do with more organising and throwing out of old stuff from my studio to make more space. 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Tine – That’s so similar to how I operate. I find once I switch to another medium, I’ve broken the flow in a sense of the one previous, so it works for that reason to focus on one thing at a time. I do sometimes float back and forth if I’m doing collage and mixed media, but then that’s the theme. Cheers!

      Reply
  87. Karen

    My biggest challenge is to figure out which supplies I want to use. I have a variety of things, but as my style and interest changes I have difficulty letting go of what I no longer use “just in case “ I change my mind and want to use it again

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Karen: I hear you! I find rotating some things out of the space for a while helps me have more space and notice what I actually need and don’t. There’s more on this in your prep materials when you sign up! xo

      Reply
  88. Sandy Skinner

    After doing last year’s class, I got super organized! But I’m not able to see what i have to do art with.
    My cube storage system has fabric bins inside and so the supplies aren’t visible. I made tags to tie to
    each bin saying what’s inside. This helped a lot; however, I still need to have a better system for papers and
    ephemera. I am really looking forward to doing this class again. Thank you for this class!

    Reply
  89. Sharon Williams

    I think m? They are currently stacked against the sliding doors of the cupboard and now I can’t get into the cupboard to access my stuff or put it away. Granted I have too much stuff but I dabble in all sorts of things and when I began teaching, I created even more piles of things that I keep out so I don’t have to find them again. I end up working on a tiny space which is really annoying as my desk has a view of the ocean that I should enjoy more. I now have piles osf art things beside my bed and in the lounge. I think the only space that doesn’t have art stuff in it is the bathroom.

    Reply
  90. Barbara Y Carter

    OK. Ive taken everything out of my art space that doesnt pertain to art. Whew! Its a lot of stuff. Now I have to figure out where to put all the stuff. I moved from a 3 bedroom house to a tiny one bedroom retirement apartment. I’ve carved out a little space in my livingroom, using an old door as my art table and my childjhood bookcase that my grandpa made me, Its been a real challenge and very overwhelming, and I’m still working on it. I’m not good at organizing. I’m 76 years young and have kept all my daughters things from barbie dolls to books to baby clothes. Unfortunately, we are estranged, and I worry that when I’m gone, she wont get these things. Its heartbreaking for me. Oops! I’ve said too much.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I think the materials I provide in the challenge should really be able to help with your organizing. I’m sorry about your daughter. All the best.

      Reply
  91. Cindy

    I use clear plastic containers (Like the kind that lettuce comes in) to house smaller projects. For example, I keep six iridescent acrylic paints along with envelopes to be gelli printed and instruction website to make travel journals for friends. For stitching I use one container for fabric, needles, thread, and embroidery hoop.
    And, numerous labeled floral boxes stacked vertically because they take up so much less space too.

    Reply
  92. LisaMarie LMNOP

    Organization.. not my strong suit. Please lead me to a new approach. 😁

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Lisa Marie: You’ve got this. There’s a lot of resources I offer in the challenge materials! xo

      Reply
  93. Teresa

    Returned to teaching this year and what I have is a space that needs organizing and is more office than studio. Would love to be a part of your studio class just for accountability. BTW have enjoyed the slow drawing process as well.

    Reply
  94. Leenie Hobbie

    Thanks so much for these tips and launch pads to organizing. I’m enjoying reading through all of your blog posts after completing my first inchie challenge. One small thing that I have learned about my own process is that too much order shuts me down creatively. Because my early home life was characterized by the ideal, sought daily and obsessively, to have an environment that “looked like a model home”, when my studio (or home) is neat as a pin I feel like an interloper and it intensifies anxiety about making a mess and triggers perfectionism rather than play. So, I know that part of my process is having a homey, come-out-and-play, welcoming studio. I can tolerate a good bit of clutter when it comes to tools and resources so I think organization is probably a most important thread for supporting creative exploration. My husband and I live in a big, spacious (to us) hand built home (Now, THAT was a creative adventure 3 decades ago! 🙂 and our 4 kids are grown and flown. In 6 months my husband will be retired and we’re both excited about all the creative opportunities of our eldering time. My biggest challenge is that I have so many artistic interests, and so does my husband. Gradually, I have created multiple “studios”. I have a writing desk where I recently finished my first draft of a historical herbal mystery and am enmeshed in the revision/editing process. There are storyboards, a long corkboard filled with dozens of scene cards I move around as I tweak the story arc, maps of the fictional town, floor plans and garden design plots of my protagonist’s home, and other tools ranging from Strunk & White’s ELEMENTS OF STYLE , dictionaries, and laptop to post-it notes and lots and lots of pens. I have another studio/room where I house primarily textiles and associated tools. Since I knit, weave, sew (hand and machine), mend, eco-print, natural dye, and more, this room may be the most chaotic. In our living room I have a drafting table and sort of scriptorium space where I design handmade cards and letters, practice calligraphy, and tend to correspondence. There is another similar but much smaller desk in our bedroom. And now that I am doing the ‘In the Wild Spaces” self-guided retreat, I have a long table set up outside with papers, ink, and found mark making tools. My husband has a separate shop where he currently hand carves wood spoons and implements as well as fiddles. Sometimes we collaborate when I design on handles of his spoons and add kolrosing. Probably you can see where the challenge lies. How to keep all the supplies organized and accessible when I use them in multiple spaces for many purposes? Definitely a first world problem but I would still like to find some effective solutions. Thanks again for your work and inspiration!

    Reply
  95. Athina

    Hi Amy

    I’ve loved looking through your website but I feel sad as I’ve struggled to make art and especially organise my space over the years. I have the space, I just clutter it with stuff I can’t get rid of and that doesn’t have another space. I’m also Audhd – autistic and adhd. I have art therapist certification and am an arts facilitator for adults with intellectual disabilities, BUT I can’t get it together for myself. If you have any ideas at all or know where I can look, I’d be grateful 🙏 Thanks so much,
    Athina

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Athina:

      Oh I hear you. I find that being rather strict with myself is the best way to go. I create bags for recycling, regifting, and trash and try to approach it with the idea that I’m clearing space for the next art project to emerge. I hope this might help. I have a great class if you’d like more hand holding – It’s called Studio Space and you can see more what it’s about here. Cheers

      Reply

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