Tips and Hacks on How to Organize Your Art Supplies

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." – Scott Adams. 

As artists, we have to constantly deal with one part of our creative life - making room for all our art supplies! From brushes to tubes of paint, there are so many art supplies to organize and keep track of. If you're someone who doesn't have an art studio and uses their home area to create their gorgeous pieces of art, it can be mind-boggling to find space! 

A shelf full of organized art supplies

Watercolor Brush Markers

Worry not! Because in today's blog post, we will be showing you some nifty tricks and hacks on how to organize and store your art supplies - even in a limited space. After all, a clean room makes for a clean mind, giving you more freedom to be creative! So get your cleaning mode on because it's time to work on a different kind of project today! 

Why You Should Clean and Declutter Your Art Space

Before diving into organizing your art supplies, it's crucial to declutter your collection. Decluttering not only helps you create a more streamlined and efficient workspace but also allows you to assess and appreciate the supplies you truly need and love. 

Sometimes, there are times when we don't fully utilize all of our supplies. If you're like us, there are specific supplies we keep reaching for again and again! Maintaining inventory and decluttering through your unused items will help you see what supplies you still have and what you're low on. 

Stacks of clear shelves filled with ArtistrybyAltenew art supplies

Liquid Watercolors

By eliminating unnecessary or unused items, you free up valuable space for the supplies you genuinely enjoy using. This creates a more functional and inspiring art environment. Since decluttering reduces visual distractions and clutter, allowing you to focus on your creative process without feeling overwhelmed or scattered.

Plus, when your supplies are organized and free from clutter, you can quickly locate what you need, saving time and energy during your artistic process! Imagine being in the middle of a painting and noticing that your flat brush is missing - buried underneath piles of mess on your desk! There's nothing worse than interrupting your session - so make sure to declutter! 

How to Start Organizing Your Art Supplies

There are multiple steps on how to best organize and group your supplies. Of course, managing your supplies is very important because proper storage is critical to the long life of your creative tools. You can't just stick all your supplies in one basket and hope for the best!

A container full of watercolor brushes and pens

Fine Watercolor Brushes

Art supplies can be pretty hefty on our pockets, so you need to use and take care of them properly. You can read our comprehensive guide on how to clean your brushes like a pro to get more information, but for today, we'll focus on how you can categorize your supplies one by one: 

Identify Key Categories

Start by identifying broad categories that make sense for your specific art supplies. Common types include paints, brushes, paper, canvas, drawing tools, and miscellaneous accessories.

Group Similar Items Together

Within each category, group similar items together. Whether according to the painting technique or material, you need to separate certain pieces from one another. For instance, within the paints category, separate acrylics from watercolors or oils. This helps you quickly locate specific supplies when needed. It would help if you also were careful of storing specific painting materials like oils, turpentine, and paint thinner because of their flammable properties.

A shelf full of watercolor coloring books and some paint mediums

Watercolor Coloring Book

Consider Frequency of Use

Think about how often you use certain supplies. Keep frequently used items within easy reach, while those used less frequently can be stored further away or at the bottom of your artsy pile. 

Consider Workflows and Projects 

If you work on specific types of projects or have different creative workflows, consider creating separate categories or sections for these materials. For example, if you enjoy mixed media art, allocate a dedicated section for your mixed media supplies. If you do watercolors, you may want to position your area nearer the window to get some natural light and some inspiration from your outdoor view. It all depends on the type of projects you work on and how your space can accommodate and support them. 

How to Store Art Supplies in a Small Area

Woodless coloring pencils in a clear glass container

Woodless Coloring Pencils

When organizing art supplies, various storage options are available to accommodate different types of materials and your personal preferences. Consider the following storage options:

  1. Drawers: Drawers are versatile and provide enclosed storage. They are suitable for organizing smaller art supplies like pens, pencils, erasers, and small tools. Use dividers or trays within the drawers to further compartmentalize items.
  2. Bins and Containers: Plastic bins or containers with lids are excellent for storing bulkier supplies or items you want to keep protected. They are ideal for holding paints, larger brushes, fabric, or yarn. Clear containers make it easy to see the contents at a glance.
  3. Shelves: Open shelves allow for easy access and display of frequently used supplies. They work well for storing items such as coloring books, reference materials, storage boxes, and decorative containers. Utilize vertical space by adding multiple shelves or adjustable shelving units.
  4. Wall-mounted Storage: These options, such as pegboards, wall grids, or hanging organizers, are excellent for maximizing vertical space. They provide customizable storage for tools, scissors, paintbrushes, and other frequently used items.
  5. Carts or Trolleys: Mobile storage carts or trolleys with multiple tiers and compartments are convenient for artists who prefer to transport their supplies easily. They are versatile and can hold various art materials, making them suitable for studios or artists who work in different locations. 

Bonus Tip: Create Your Own Creativity Station!

Have you ever heard of creativity stations? A creativity station is a designated area that serves as a visual and tactile source of inspiration for your projects. It's a space where you can display art references, mood boards, and other creative materials to stimulate your imagination and fuel your artistic process.

Some watercolor brush markers in clear containers


From displaying your favorite artists' works to pinning photographs, sketches, and inspirational quotes, there are many fun ways to decore your "creative space"! Think of it as a sanctuary for ideas - a physical altar of your artistic aesthetic. Hang specialized lighting, add hanging banners, and put fluffy pillows or plants - whatever floats your boat! As long as it provides fuel for your creativity, it belongs there! 

Level up Your Space With These Handy Tips and Tricks! 

We all know how a messy room is considered part of the "artist" package, but gone are the days of torturing yourself through cluttered piles of paper! Remember, a well-organized and inspiring art space sets the stage for creativity to flourish. So, take the time to declutter, sort, and create a space that sparks joy, fosters stimulation, and fuels your artistic genius!

For more tips like these, especially on handling art supplies, be sure to always check out our Creative Corner - where inspiration always abounds! 

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