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Organized Craft Cupboard

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Is it already Tuesday?  And can you believe we are half way through July?  This summer is flying by so quickly.  I’m still recovering from my weekend.  Kenny took the girls camping at the beach so Kole and I had our own party.  I tried to hit the Nordstroms sale, but quickly realized that shopping wasn’t in the cards (had a lovely experience with Kole climbing underneath into the fitting room next to me.  Good times!) So instead we spent the weekend playing trains, climbing on the backyard retaining wall, and cuddling during Toy Story 3.  I love time alone with my little man.  Even though his shopping skills have much to be desired.  :)  A good chunk of today was spent doing endless laundry and cleaning endless sand out of everything my campers touched.  It all felt so… endless.  But despite the mess they brought home, I am happy to have them back.  So is Kole.  Now he has four people to play trains, climb the backyard retaining wall, and cuddle during Toy Story 3 with.  
Well!  Enough about sand and laundry.  I’m so excited to share my newly organized craft cupboard today!  First some “befores”… because what fun are “afters” without some really awful “befores?”   Here are the problems I was dealing with in my kitchen…

Our craft drawer was always a mess.  There wasn’t enough room for all of the supplies and with no specific place to put things, it had become a total catch all.  This mess was hardly inspiring creativity.

Meanwhile my pots and pans were being crowded out by the girls’ coloring books and art paper.  Every time someone pulled out a coloring book it resulted in the whole tower toppling over.  (Part of the problem was that we just had TOO MANY coloring books.)

Not to mention that the homework drawer was near impossible to keep organized and I felt like I was cleaning it out every other week.  It was hard to keep track of what was Ellie’s and what was Addison’s and I had to really search every time I needed to find something for one of them.  
So I dumped out the craft drawer and made a mess in the left corner of my kitchen.

Then I dumped out the coloring books and made a mess in the right corner of my kitchen.
Which resulted in — a messy kitchen.

{And finally, a few “afters”}

After re-arranging some miscellaneous kitchen items around I was able to clear out a smaller cabinet specifically for pots and pans.  This cupboard is just right for my small collection.  :)

Then I turned the homework drawer into a drawer for my home decor and time management binders along with all of my random new house stuff.  So happy to not have these things piled all over my counter anymore!  Notice my new binder cover Addison illustrated at the beginning of Kindergarten.  It’s a picture of me and Kenny that says “I love you a whole lot of bunches.”  :)
And after much categorizing, sorting, and purging, I present to you our new craft cupboard!
As Kole would say:  TA DA!
Organized.  Colorful.  Functional.  A joy to behold.  
(Yeah – Kole can’t say all that yet, but we are happy with TA DA)  :)
A closer look.  
Quick breakdown of how we are squeezing so much into this small cupboard – 

Coloring books are lined up vertically.  
(Donated over half of them and made a note to self.  Self – stop buying the kids coloring books.)  
Pink bins hold flashcards, blank cards/envelopes (my girls love making letters), and all of our stamps.  

Behind them are a few clear containers that hold random items we don’t use as often. 
Things like our crayon holders for when we travel.  

This paper divider I’ve had forever.  I’m finally putting it to good use to corral the girls’ homework.  

I didn’t have any small labels so I just used big, white labels and cut them the size I needed.  

Right now the girls’ sections hold workbooks/ pages we are working on this summer.  Once school starts this will be a place to keep things they are working on for school.  I love that they each have their own section!  Makes it so much easier for me to pull out something I’m working on with them.

The bottom two sections hold stencils and paper.  
Moving on to the next section of the craft cupboard!  Sorry – snore if you’re not into organizing.  But if you are, isn’t this fun!?  In my book there isn’t much that can top organizing school supplies.  Takes me to a happy place like nothing else.  It’s why I became a school teacher.  I mean yeah – the kids were great… I made a difference… yadda yadda.
I was totally in it for the school supplies.  

Crayons and pencils are on top in pencil boxes – easy to grab. 

The four clear containers hold the rest of our craft supplies.  (Glue/Glitter/Paint, Markers/Pens, Stickers, and the Craft Supply bin is full of random little… well… craft supplies.)  :)
Finally! A specific place for everything.  Now when the girls want to decorate with stickers they aren’t digging through the drawer and dumping everything out all over the kitchen floor to find them.  Amazing the difference a few 2 dollar bins can make.  

We’ve had our craft cupboard organized this way for the past few weeks and I can honestly say that it is working so well for us.  This has been one of my favorite makeovers for several reasons.  The bins are so easy for my girls to pull out and take to the table.  They have been making all sorts of cards and pictures and creations because they can easily see all of their supplies.  Plus it’s a cinch to clean up! They know where everything goes and it’s so easy for them to toss their supplies in the correct bin and put the bins back where they go so everything stays looking nice and neat.  I also didn’t spend a dime.  All of the bins I used were leftover organizers I have had forever.  (Honestly I think I bought the pink bins at Target before I had Ellie!)  It felt good to use things I already had and to free up space they were taking in Kole’s closet.  When you feel like you are running out of storage in your home every ounce of space counts!  So yes.  I am in love with my newly organized craft cupboard.  And so happy to share it with all of you!

Enjoy your day!  We are off to create!
Not really.  It’s late and I’m actually off to bed.  But at some point tomorrow…
we will be off to create!    
xoxo, Erin
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50 thoughts on “Organized Craft Cupboard

  1. Glad to hear you had fun one on one time with Kole. I bet you were glad to see the girls. I am loving your organized crafts. I always LOVE to organize and then go back and look at it a hundred times. I am organized out in the house. I can’t find anything else to organize. I am off to the garage..Not tonight.) Wish me luck. I am shopping for organizers this week.
    As you know we are having a few cool days. I want to get it done before it gets hot again.
    Have a fun week Erin. :)

  2. You are so good! With all that’s on your plate, with building a house and all, you still find time to organize!!! very inspiring… Might just have to go and organize a drawer now myself :)

  3. I have a system similar to this in my classroom. However, my students still wouldn’t put things pack the way I had them. (It totally made sense to me, but I guess not to them). They would put them back without the label facing out- horror- etc. So, I took a picture of the “correct” way to do it and taped it onto the cupboard door. The visual made all the difference!

  4. Oh YES, this is my happy space too. I had a ton of fun organising toys this weekend :)

    And I made those star charts a few weeks ago… but with feet because i don’t have stars :)

  5. Love this — I have way to much craft stuff. Is that even possiable to have to much? I need to let go of some and get more organized! Thanks for the wonderful photos!

  6. Erin this is off topic but walmart has the most beautiful baking dishes by paula dean and they have them in speckled deep turquoise. The edges are curvy. I got a 9×11 and displayed fresh baked blueberry muffins in it yesterday and it the dish was gorgeous. You should check them out, the dish was $20, Im going back for different sizes.

  7. Oh Erin, I just love you. I am not as organized as you but I have been organizing things about once a week in your honor. I have to tell you something. I had a dream about you the other day. Apparently I was just walking down your street and saw you outside and said hello and you invited me in. After i told you that I knew so much about you due to your blog. Your house was a mix between your current house and your future home. It was soo funny. I was so confused. I kept asking you questions and you kept telling me you wanted to ask me questions since you knew nothing about me. I was acting like I had known you for years and you knew not an ounce about me. I just told you it’s cool and just wanted to see the rest of your house. Please tell me you are having dreams about your own future house and it’s just not me. HA HA HA
    It’s crazy how much you get to know you a whole family and have never met them before. I just want you to know you are awesome. I share your ideas and thoughts with other people as if you and I talk every day or something. I always say “well, this blog that I read… and then yaddi yaddi yaddah” Just want to say thank you for letting all of us into your life. You are really something wonderful. I truly mean that. :-)

  8. I’m officially inspired Erin. I struggle with all the pappers, markers, coloring books etc. This is just what i needed to see to whip me into shap. Thanks:-)

  9. Thanks for the sweet comments everyone!

    Tobiasstacey- Pictures for labels are such a great idea! I did that a lot for my girls when they were too little to read. Perfect in a classroom!

    Anonymous – thanks for the tip about the baking dishes at Walmart! I’ll have to check them out! If I buy them I’ll have to save them for the new house. I have no where to put them in this house! :)

    Stephanie – you are so sweet! Your dream was hilarious! :) I have strange dreams like that all the time. And yes! Lately they are all about the new house. They are always so random and make no sense. :) Thanks for your kind comment! I’m sure we would be great friends in real life.

  10. I must say I am so addicted to your blog! I have missed you and your blog in last few days but I understand we all are busy with our life. wow what a makeover! I am also happy to see the real picture of previously organized space turn into whole mess. It makes me happy that I am not the only one who organized her previously well organized space constantly. My little ones pull out everything from craft cabinet and have party! your craft cupboard inspires me to reorganize the space.

  11. Look great Erin!
    I need to do this to my girls crafting supplies big time.
    But, it’s summer, and we are not on a schedule, and I am getting lazy! ha. Soon I will. :)

    What did ya think of Men Tell All? I thought it was just so so. Sean looked cute. But other than that, kind of a snore. And I didn’t love Emily’s extensions. I like her hair how it was on the show.

  12. Yes please check the paula dean stuff out, you will fall in love. I didnt think of this but they also have the whole pots and pans in that color as well! You can google it on walmart and paula dean and look if you want!

  13. I LOVE this Erin! I’m just finishing setting up a craft area in our house and also organizing our school supplies drawers. I guess great minds think alike! You beat me to it though :) Oh and I love the pink bins!

  14. I have been on an organizing kick lately, thanks to Pinterest, your blog and another blog or two. The kids’ craft stuff has been hanging over my head because I had no idea what direction to take. I love what you have done! Perfect timing, too. I know what I’ll be doing during nap time.

  15. L-O-V-E Love It! You are such an amazing knack for organizing. My husband thanks you for inspiring me to do the same for my cupboards and closets!

  16. Awesome looking craft cupboard! Lets them find everything they need to get creative easily too.

    Are those the labels from the Martha Stewart Staples Collection? I just bought them last night when my man told me to kill some time in the store while he was looking at a computer….he should have known better…I cam home with lots of fun labels and a new notebook :)

  17. Ahhh, these are the posts I love! Before and after organizing= inspiration! Such a good idea to have it in a central location. I read it at 7:30am and had organized my kids craft stuff within a few hours. But then I was done for the day, lol! I am very pregnant and in Maryland and it is 100 degrees plus so so humid. I think we need to take a trip to San Diego!

  18. Looks fabulous! Organizing is so much fun. I seriously have about 3 different organizing projects going on in my house and in my head. The problem is none of them are getting finished! Love seeing the befores and afters.

    p.s. love school supplies! ;)

  19. LOVE it! My husband thinks I am a huge dork because I love organizing and triple love office supplies. Glad to see I am not alone in my obsession :)

  20. Looks great Erin! I also love organized craft supplies!! And I must say I always get the organizing bug after I read a post like this. Thank you!! My family thanks you too!

  21. SO much fun hearing from people who love organizing as much as I do!

    Amanda – yes! Martha Stewart’s labels. LOVE them! I need to go back for more!

    Michelle – I am so impressed you are organizing while you’re pregnant! I’d be done for the day too!

    Laura – I chuck them! Our pencils don’t get too stubby because the girls always wear the erasers down so fast and as soon as they do I get rid of them. Now and then we have broken crayons, but because of my obsession with office supplies I buy new crayons often and replace the old, broken ones. :)

    Thank you so much everyone for all of your sweet comments! They made my day. :)

  22. Brilliant post Erin. I love it when you do articles on organizing.

    If possible please could you do a post on how you organize your page protectors that you use for scrapbooks/project life albums? I have loads of different sized pp & I’ve been getting stressed out because I don’t know how to organize them.

    Do your children have a routine in the school holidays, such as getting up at a certain time & going to bed? I’m sure you mentioned last year that they still go to bed at roughly the same time as in term time.

    I love the idea about taking pictures of how something (books etc) should be put away. Brilliant idea:)

  23. My 7 year old son has accumulated alot of legos from various sets he has gotten. Im now left with legos everywhere I look. Different sizes, colors etc. Erin, your likely going to be in my position since you have a boy too. Im wondering, how would you organize legos? There are 2000-3000 plus pieces of small legos. I am not wure I want to go and organize them by size because they will just get mixed up again, but Im so tired of looking at this mess of legos in various bins. Should I just donate half of them?

  24. Love this, love your blog! You are amazingly creative and talented when organizing a space. I hope to one day have an ounce of that! Where were you able to donate coloring books? I had wondered about local preschools or the like. We accumulate them so fast with three kids! Can’t wait to see what you are up to next. Thank you!

  25. One tip I saw on organizing Lego is to organize the pieces in a fishing tackle box or something with that a bloke (man) would use in his shed/garage to hold various items, like screws & nails.

    One great site on this is on remarkably domestic (.com)

    I hope it’s ok for me to mention that site.

  26. I just found your blog a week or two ago and love it! Thanks for your great posts! And, I’m a teacher and totally agree… organizing school supplies is the best! I love the beginning of the school year when you get to organize and put up fresh bulletin boards. The first day of school is like Christmas with all those new crayons and pencils…and the kids, of course. ;)

  27. Love the post Erin. Looks fantastic. Off the subject though. I was wondering how you organize your kiddos bathroom drawers, cabinets, and linen closets? How do store all their bath toys, tolietries and etc? I have 4 kiddos all under 7. And don’t even know where to begin. If you have any tips they would greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

  28. Erin,

    I’ve read your blog for a couple years now but I think have only commented once or twice before. This is totally random but my husband is interviewing for a job in the San Diego area and I was wondering if you could suggest a few areas to live that would be nice/affordable/good schools etc. I would be more than happy to send you my email address.

    Thanks so much!

  29. Hi Julie!

    I don’t have a great system on how I organize page protectors. For now they are all just in a drawer in Kole’s closet (a.k.a my scrapbook room). Once I move into my new house I’m excited to find a better system for all of my scrapbook supplies! As far as the kids’ schedule goes, they are going to bed around 8 or 8:30 now in the summer because they can sleep in later in the morning, but as soon as school starts we always have all kids in bed by 7:30 because my girls have to be up by 6:30 in the a.m. to get ready for school.

    Anonymous – your Lego question is such a good one! I’m not quite dealing with that problem yet, but I know I will be some day soon so I’m planning on doing something similar to what Jen from I Heart Organizing has done. Check out these two posts from Jen on lego organization:

    I’ll also add my two cents and say that I would totally donate some of them. I’ve found with my kids that too many toys (especially of one thing like that) can be overwhelming and they play better when they have a smaller selection. Hope that helps! :)

    girlofgrace – I just took the coloring books to our local goodwill. They know me well. :) But donating to a local preschool is a great idea! I’ve done that in the past with books.

    Willow – I’ll answer your question in an upcoming Q & A post. :)

    Sammie – I’d be more than happy to give you a few San Diego tips! Email me anytime at

    Thanks everyone! Enjoy your day! :)

  30. Thanks Erin, Im going to check out those links you gave me. Earlier today, I ended up using a toy bin shelf that has four racks with several bins, and had my son separate them out by color, with my help because he was overwhelmed with so many legos to tackle. Next, Im going to go and get some smaller dividers for the tiny pieces. Im also going to try and force my son to give some up, although I tried with no luck today, because he was doing the ugly cry. Is it wrong to go in when he’s not around and get rid of a portion? Im not sure how I feel about that since they are his things. They do look ten times better just being organized by color.

  31. Hi again! :)

    Here is a suggestion – something I do all the time when I want to get rid of some of my girls’ toys (they would NEVER let me get rid of a thing!). When they aren’t home, I gather up stuff that I don’t think they play with as often and wouldn’t miss and put it all in a garbage bag. Then I just hide the bag under the stairs or somewhere they won’t find it. If over the next week or two they say “where’s that …” and ask for one of the toys in the bag, I go get the toy for them and don’t get rid of it. If we go a few weeks and they haven’t even noticed the toys are gone, I take it to goodwill.

    Just an idea of one way to get rid of some toys without the tears. :) That being said, if he really loves and plays with all of his legos, then I would do exactly what you are doing – organize them instead of tossing them. Good luck! :)

  32. Thanks Erin! It all worked out great, organizing the legos by color made a huge difference, and I would highly recommend organizing them that way verses mixing colors and organizing by size…for two reasons: 1. Every lego set comes with an instruction book and at the back of the book, the pieces required are organized by color…therefore the kids can scan the book and pick out the pieces they need ahead of time, easily by looking in the correct color bins. 2. It just looks neater and cleaner when your looking at bins that have all of one color. One thing I tnk is important is to have big enough bins that allow for the legos to be shallow enough for the child to search for the items needed rather then piling too much into smaller bins.

  33. Hi again Erin,
    Just another quick scrapbooking question:

    Do you keep the colouring pictures etc that your children do in primary (& also talks) & if so do you include them in their PL albums?

  34. Your organising posts give me little thrills, and it’s all I can do to not get in the car and buy a BUNCH of cute containers lol. Have reaorganised so much since I started reading your blog though, and it makes me feel so free and happy in our home! :) My husband is pretty happy too – thanks for the ideas and boosts! :)

  35. I always LOVE your organization posts. I just reorganized our arts and crafts stuff last night for the third time since moving into our apartment almost two years ago. It just feels SO much better (to me, anyway) to have everything have it’s own spot.

    Good job! :)

  36. This has got to be one of my favorite organizational posts yet. I just finished organizing all of our school/crafting supplies but felt that there were things I could have done better and you have given me some great ideas. Thank you!
    P.S. I love reading about your house plans so feel free to talk about that as much as you want:)

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