How can i better store my art supplies?


We live in a small apartment, me, my husband, and our 8 year old son. Our living room has been an everything you can imagine room. This area behind the door is the space I have found where I can store my art supplies. But, as you can see in the photo, it does not look nice. Plus, when I need to find something, I often end up having to go through every box, or at least take down the top boxes wherever I need something from one of the bottom ones.

This space you're looking at is literally the only space I have for these things. How can I store these things so they don't look so messy, ugly, and can be better organised. But it should also be fairly easy to get (we live in Denmark), and not too expensive. I would love some ideas!!

q how can i better store my art supplies


I'm getting a unit like this one I've linked.

My next question is: how can I create drawers for some of the spaces here? I have so many little things, I don't want everything just shoved into large containers.

  19 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jun 17, 2020

    Shelving would be my solution. You can build a book case in the area if you can't find something to fit. Something simple, shelving boards for sides and shelves with plywood for the back. Use wood glue to put together and small nails (brads) to secure in place. Then you can stain, paint, or cover with contact paper. You can still utilize the storage containers you have or get baskets. But this way you won't have to move everything since they will be on shelves. I've built them a few times and they are pretty much a beginner project.

    • Meagan Palmer Meagan Palmer on Mar 12, 2021

      I want this so, so badly! Sadly, I'm not so handy, and don't have the room to build such a thing.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 17, 2020

    Hello. In my personal experience I have an elevated drafting table with a tall stool and multiple drawers in bins under this drawing craft table. Sometimes these plastic or wire drawer organizers are very effective for sorting supplies. Each drawer can be sorted and labeled for a different item. I hope you find the perfect solution for your craft supply storage situation.

  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Jun 17, 2020

    Hi Megan, Ikea has some narrow tall bookshelves that would be perfect in that space. With a bookshelf you can then use baskets to organize your things and they will help with finding things when you need them.

  • Beth Beth on Jun 17, 2020

    Could you try putting some shelves on the wall to save yourself the floor space and make each box more easily accesible?

  • Annie Annie on Jun 17, 2020

    We like large or medium size "Rubber Maid" totes. They seal well and stack up easy

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 17, 2020

    Hello there,

    Buy or make a wardrobe type cupboard with shelves to one side and storage to the other for the stacked and labelled boxes. or maybe a folding screen would work for you?

  • Patty Patty on Jun 17, 2020

    Drawers. And label what is in your drawers.

  • Janice Janice on Jun 17, 2020

    Hi Meagan, I'd start by organizing the craft tools and items you have, then measure some of the larger ones and either build shelves onto that wall or purchase a shelving unit that will fit there if that is absolutely the only area for storage. You can make attractive containers to hold a wide variety of smaller items by using cardboard boxes either painted nicely or covered with fabric o contact paper. Label each box well and place on the shelves by placing the less used items very low or very high with the most used items easy to reach. You could fashion a "cover" for the shelves by using drapes or a large sheet cut to measurements and adhered with velcro to make the area look nicer and hide the area if you like. If the boxes you decorate are attractive enough you may not want to hide them!

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 17, 2020

    Oh yes, I know your frustration! The problem with bins, even larger bins, is that when you want to retrieve a particular item, you have to take the bins down, find somewhere to put them, then unpack the certain bin. When you have found the item you wanted, then you have to then go through this process in reverse. I found that I was constantly sitting on the floor amidst a heap of stuff!

    My suggestion is to invest in units with shallow drawers. These can easily be custom-designed by any cabinet supplier business, by putting together individual pre-made drawers of certain sizes. If and when you move out of this particular apt, you will be able to take it with you. If you are short of floor space in the apartment then design the drawer unit higher than it is wider, still with shallower depth drawers so it is easy to find little items without having to take out others on top first. If you feel you can spare a little more floor space, then I would suggest designing a unit with a laminate countertop on top of the drawers, to give you a work surface.

    I have found that designing a custom-sized unit is often not that much more expensive in the end than purchasing a ready-made one IF you are able to find one that is. Designing your own will save time, and will result in you having a long-lasting usable piece of furniture that fits your needs and suits your particular craft and lifestyle.

  • Karyl anne Karyl anne on Jun 17, 2020

    rid dandilyion weeds

  • Zoe Emiko Zoe Emiko on Jun 18, 2020

    Hi! I had the same problem. My solution was to buy 2 tall bookcases, the kind you assemble yourself and using tension rods hang drapes ( a pretty flat sheet I had cut in half) on the front. Between them I hung a 2.5' wide piece of pegboard ( a scrap piece from my local lumberyard) to hang my project sheets, scissors, little buckets for small tools and 2 hooks with a wood dowel hung between to hold ribbons. Under the pegboard I have this small rolling craft cart table I bought on sale for 30% off plus an additional 10% off holiday special discount. I used clear plastic shoe boxes I already had on the shelves & made some baskets using an old drop cloth I painted a design on & covered cardboard boxes for the rest.

    The final total cost was under $150. I'm, for the 1st time, completely organized, can easily see everything I have and it looks great instead of a piled up mess.

    I found my bookcases at Walmart online, 2 for $69.00. The only thing I have not on the shelves, cart or peg board is 2 cat litter buckets I covered with a part roll of wallpaper I bought at a thrift store for $1 that sit on the floor to hold all my silk flowers and look more decorative than like a storage solution. Watch your thrift stores for used shelf units! Right after I finished mine I saw 4 that were $10 each which I bought 2 of just for the extra shelves.

    • See 1 previous
    • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 19, 2020

      The poster of the question lives in Denmark. These particular items are neither available from Walmart, Michaels, or available at that price due to prohibitive shipping charges.

      Hopefully she can find similar if she chooses to take up this suggestion.

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Jun 18, 2020

    I'd add a tall shelf to put your bins in. So you can use more vertical space!

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jun 19, 2020

    The problem with tall shelves being used for bin storage is that often the upper weight or height exceeds what is optimal for the size of the base of the unit, causing it to tip forward, which could be a safety hazard.

    I would recommend anchoring these units securely to the wall, especially if the bins were going to be sliding out and back in all the time, which in itself upsets the weight balance of the overall unit.

    The other problem with using a tall shelving unit for craft storage and frequent retrieval, is that every time you need to take a bin down and remove the lid to search for an item, there is often no where to put it other than on the floor.

    • See 1 previous
    • Heidi Ann Heidi Ann on Mar 11, 2021

      So do you visualize any solutions to the issues you’ve highlighted? I found your pointer valuable, and I would imagine that you have created at least one?!!

  • Homeroad Homeroad on Jun 22, 2020

    I would get some kind of open shelving unit and then bins from the dollar store that all match. Separate crafts into the bins and make labels for them. This way you can see what you need at a glance

  • Ang Ang on Jun 28, 2020

    Like most others have said, I too would suggest shelving. I built my own to fit my space. I don't know about there, but here they will cut the lumber to size for you at the hardware store. All I had to do was bring home and screw it together.

    Also, I utilize available door space. It looks like you could hang an organizer on that door too. Maybe a shoe or bag organizer to keep your most used items within quick reach. I used an inexpensive shoe organizer and cut the bottom out of a few pockets to allow for taller rolls and created a place for wrapping supplies.

    Depending on the type of art supplies you may be able to create your own over the door organizer.

  • Meagan Palmer Meagan Palmer on Mar 12, 2021

    Hi, I'm the one posting the question. I know this question was from more than a year ago, but I'm only now getting a shelf to organise my art supplies.

    I have a new question:

    How can I create drawers for the shelving unit I'm getting? I'd like to have smaller drawers to keep certain things in.

  • I bought an old armoire at the thrift store and I keep all my supplies tucked away inside. It's organized inside with lots of small bins and baskets.