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4 Creative Ways to Clean Up & Organize your Art Studio

There are many times as an artist when you might want to take a break from painting. For me, lately, it’s because I have some everyday tasks around the studio (organizing, cleaning, etc) that needed to be taken care of.

Here are a couple of ideas to have some creative fun while still cleaning up, organizing, and accomplishing those tasks that are hanging over your head:

1. Make some beautiful jars to hold your art supplies

Over the next few weeks or months, instead of throwing away glass jars that tomato sauce, jam, or jelly comes in, rinse them out really well and keep them. Clean off their labels with some “Goo-Gone” or “De-Solv-It” and get creative!

One option is to paint them on the inside, either with some leftover house paint or inexpensive bottles of Acrylic/Multi Surface paint from your local craft supply stores. Once the paint has dried, you can use them to organize your brushes, pencils, and other art supplies. Here are a few of mine:


Just make sure to give them at least 2 or 3 days to dry inside completely before you use them – they should be smooth and dry to the touch.

2. Stock up on reference photos

Whenever you’re out and about running errands, look around for some interesting people, places or things that might make a good painting and snap a photo on your cell phone. The pictures don’t have to be perfect, they’ll just give you ideas for later.

3. Organize your old photos into albums

There are a couple of ways you can keep your photos organized and easy to find. One option is to use old shoe boxes, or any kind of long rectangular box with a lid, and separate your photos by subject (landscapes, food, people, animals, etc) with 3×5 cards or tabs.

Lately I’ve been using binders from the dollar store and placing my photographs in see-through plastic sleeves, separated by subject with divider tabs, like the ones you used for school. . . or still might use, if you have kids.


4. Repurpose furniture to store art supplies

My boyfriend had an extra dresser which I started using to store different art papers. Each drawer holds a different kind, so I labeled the outside in calligraphy. . . now I have a dedicated place for pastel papers, watercolor, small canvases, etc.


So if your own studio is a mess, why not take a break from creating this week, and get creatively organized instead? And if you need more ideas like these, just search for “creative organization” on Pinterest—you’ll find more than enough to keep you busy!

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

November and December are not normally months that you would plan on taking a painting class outdoors, but this winter has been warm enough that on some days we brave the elements.

With each class, I wait until the night before to decide whether I will take them out or not, and each morning I carefully listen for complaints from my students if it's near or below 50. . . read more

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