I’ve been working on a few new areas in the house, reorganizing to fit the changing needs of our family. One of the best redecorating decisions I made recently was the decision to move the living room furniture around so that the fireplace was no longer the center of the room. Somehow it never occurred to me that we didn’t always have to have the couches facing the mantle. Now that I’ve turned the couches to face outward, the room feels bigger and we have a little area behind the couches for the piano and a few toys.
Over the holidays, we kept our Christmas tree in one of the new areas. Once it was moved, I decided to create a space dedicated to Eva’s art supplies. She’s just now starting to be really interested in art and I very much want to encourage her, so I figured having everything out and accessible would be the best way to keep her creativity flowing.
The best part of this project is that I didn’t have to spend money to do it. It’s 100% found items in our house. I’m cheating a bit, because the IKEA chalkboard easel was a holiday gift for her uncles and the lazy susan (for the crayon organizer) was actually a gift we bought for someone and then decided not to gift after all. Still, it’s nice that we didn’t feel like we needed to buy a bunch of special kid art organizers or anything (since we’re prone to do that).
One of the big headaches has been keeping her coloring books, sticker books, and drawing pads organized (since they’re all different shapes and sizes) so they landed in an old magazine holder. It’s been a great way to contain all the little pieces.
I didn’t want to put a lot of single sheets in the magazine file, though, so I pulled an old paper basket out of my parents’ basement and stashed Eva’s construction paper under the easel. She’s into cutting things up right now (thanks a lot for the scissors lesson, preschool), so it was good to have a set stack that I could point to as the yes-you-can-cut-this option. It’s saving my magazines!
Her scissors landed in the middle of her new crayon organizer. I used masking tape to secure baby food jars to a lazy susan and a basket in the center holds a few odds and ends. I probably should have used a glue gun to make the jars a little more secure, but she doesn’t turn it very fast and I’m a lazy mom.
The crayons have been fun too. Eva had accumulated random sets of crayons over time, so she had a lot of different shapes, brands, and shades. I picked a spectrum out for her and then put the rest in storage so she isn’t overwhelmed. She doesn’t always get the colors back in exactly the right place, but she’s working on it. (Violet and dark blue do look awfully similar.)
Oatmeal tins are something we have an abundance of, since we eat about a can of oatmeal a week. I put pipe cleaners in one so that Eva could string beads on them and the other one holds her Color Wonder markers. She does own “real” markers, but I haven’t quite gotten brave enough to let her run around with them. She also has a basket with some crayons in unusual shapes and a little dish of linking shapes.
The art supplies are sitting on top of an old crate I bought at a craft store about two decades ago. I thought about doing shallow shelves to get more of her art supplies out of storage (play dough, glitter glue, etc.) but this corner of the living room is the inconvenient source of our cable, so the crate is hiding the router and a few other electronics. Ultimately, it was probably better not to let her have absolutely everything out at once since she struggles with putting her stuff back at the end of the day.
I also withheld a little bit on the chalk. She got a small pack of colored chalk, a couple of erasers, and then some larger pieces of sidewalk chalk. We own a rainbow pack of sidewalk chalk which contains 100+ pieces…way too much for any kid ever. Limiting the selection has been totally fine with Eva so that extra chalk will probably make its way to the preschool come Spring. Nobody needs that many chalky shades of blue.
She also got a jar of colored pencils. This was a big mom step, but I wanted to do it because she sees me use them and she’s been desperate for her own. I keep having visions of her running with them, tripping, and losing an eye but I’m working on not being crazy. So far she still has two eyeballs.
A last-minute addition was an old clip-on desk lamp that was actually in the pile headed to the thrift shop. It turns out that Eva really likes to end the day by coloring and it’s been fun for her to be in charge of her own light.
I’ll have to share some more from the house soon…we redid both the bedrooms and made changes that have made me much happier!