Art Cupboard Decluttering

21 Sep

I made it out alive…just…but it took me ALL day.

This is our Art and Craft cupboard (with the top shelf sneaking in as a Science space).  It’s supposed to be a linen cupboard but there are two linen cupboards in our house and I don’t need that much space for linen.  So the space was claimed for a school cupboard and I love having this space.  Without it I would be totally lost.


As you can see the cupboard was screaming out for more than a tidy up.  You can’t tidy this much stuff.  You have to declutter and part with a lot of it.


I started bright and early in the morning with the bottom shelf.


I store our instruction manuals in a box at the bottom of the cupboard and it was overflowing too.  I thought I needed a bigger or second box but when I started going through it I ended up throwing out a whole shopping bag of instruction manuals for products we no longer own!!


By mid morning I was still looking up at all of this work!  It was no small task, let me tell you!!


The second and third bottom shelves were my worst shelves and I found that once I pulled out half of the stuff the shelves were still full!!!

Another problem was my poor use of space.  In the past I’d used a mish mash of containers to store items in.  Some tall with no lids, some teeny tiny reclaimed from all sorts of places, others that were rectangular and stacked nicely and  worst of all circluar storage dishes.

Thankfully this week my two favourite storage devices were on sale.  Firstly basic rectangular chinese containers (they are sadly getting rid of them at my local Woolies so I stocked up for a mere pittance) and secondly Sistema’s Klip It dishes (they often go on sale for half price which makes me love them more!).

I know I know.  It’s not wise to buy more when you are trying to declutter but parting with my ecletic storage has made the world of difference in this cupboard.


No your eyes aren’t deceiving you.  It is evening in this next picture.  Okay to be fair it was a rainy day today and it did seem to get dark early but I was still working in this cupboard until evening.  I seemed to get bogged down in shelf two and three AND I popped out for an hour to buy more storage when I ran a little short.


I also spent time doing tedious things that I’d avoided in the past like going through all of the stray markers.  In the end I was just ruthless and parting with stuff left, right and center.


We also had a few other distractions – finding cool stuff in the cupboard.  Brayden hadn’t ever seen our Yowie collection before


so we sat and enjoyed putting together a few creatures.  Yeah we got a little distracted at times.


But we got there in the end AND I managed to throw out bags and bags.  I also filled three bags full of stuff to give away.


Ready for the grand reveal??

The bottom shelf…. instruction manuals, craft kits, magazines, and various paper varieties.


The second bottom shelf – collage items, sticks of all sorts (paddle pops, matchsticks, pegs etc), beads, foamies, sequins, pipe cleaners, feathers, tape, fancy scissors…hey I gave away and threw out at least half this much.

But at least you can see it all now and it’ll actually get used.

Oh and the three big dishes in front are our everyday markers and coloured pencils.  The boys grab a box and take it wherever they are working.


My third bottom shelf – paint smocks, cellophane, foam sheets, Styrofoam shapes, string and twine, art notebooks (black paper, tracing, watercolour etc), specialised art media (watercolour pencils and crayons, charcoal, oil pastels, soft pastels etc), tape dispensers, scissors and spare tape and glue.

It’s such a change to be able to see everything on the shelf and actually get to it!


The second from the top shelf – the painting shelf.

The basket in the middle is our acrylic painting basket.  It has everything we need to do painting so I can just grab it and take it to our work area.  And now I can actually grab it without having to move a dozen things to get to it!

The other large basket beside it contains various other painting materials – foam brushes, powder paints, paint palettes, brushes in varying sizes, paint scrappers and splatter screens.

Beside this basket is all of our rolls – foil, adhesive contact paper, brown paper, and tracing paper.

On the other side of the paint baskets are our glues, glitter (well hidden behind everything…horrid stuff!) and occasional use stuff like air drying clay, Plaster of Paris, seasonal paper punches, and fabric paint.


And finally our Science shelf on the top.  Behind these kits are our bag of wool and scrap material which is only occasionally used but still very useful.

Yes there are a lot of unused kits up here but we got them for a bargain price so we stocked up knowing that they will be used.  The boys like being able to select a kit to do and I love being able to open the cupboard and find just the right kit for the moment when the boys ask a question or we read about a concept.  But I have drawn the line that we can’t purchase more kits until there is space in this cupboard.

I have had a little talk with myself about keeping used kits.  Yes the items “might” be useful again for something else but this doesn’t mean I need to keep the whole kit.  It takes up too much space if I try to keep everything.  To help with this problem I’ve made “an experiment equipment” box in our other science cupboard and I’m putting individual items from kits that “will” be useful in there and throwing out the rest.  Sometimes we have to be hard with ourselves.


And finally by nine at night (my family insisted on being fed before this so they caused part of the delay) my cupboard was looking like this…


Phew!  What an achievement!  If I do nothing else over the school break I’ll be very pleased that I did this.

Now that the cupboard is more user friendly I suspect my boys will be busy creating art over the next few days.  So I’m also glad the cupboard clean up makes it easier to put things away!

My next big decluttering job…the bottom of my Walk-in-robe…eeek!!!


Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Resources and Organising


5 responses to “Art Cupboard Decluttering

  1. SeventhHeaven

    September 21, 2010 at 12:48 am

    In looking at the pictures of all the stuff on the floor, I am simply AMAZED at how much stuff you managed to squeeze onto those shelves! I am now admiring you for the wrong reasons! “This woman knows how to overload her cupboards!!” 😆

    How I wish I had extra cupboard space for our school stuff! *SIGH*

    Nice job! 🙂

  2. Tracey

    September 21, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Hehehe….blushing…why thankyou. The technique is in the “stand back and shove” approach. Just make sure you close the door quickly!

  3. Renelle

    September 21, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I can’t believe how many cupboards you have!!
    I’m sure you’ve heard it said before that you know you’re a homeschool mum when your pantry has more art supplies in it than food!
    My kids love it when I do big clean outs because the rediscover all the little things they forgot about. Our hose is small so I have to be careful otherwise we’d have to climb over the top of everything. We have been saving to put on an extension! seriously – I’m a homeschooler now!

  4. Tracey

    September 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Oh this house has been a dream house for storage. Every room has a built in cupboard some as much as a whole wall long. My bedroom has a decent sized walk-in-robe. The kitchen has a good sized corner pantry. There are two linen closets, one in each hallway. The art cupboard is the smaller of the two linen cupboards. The other is twice that size. Then in the laundry where there are tall cupboards all the way down the wall. Oh it’s great.

    The last house we had I had barely any storage. Our bedroom storage was smaller than my current art cupboard, as was the kitchen pantry and for the rest of the house there was only one small cupboard!!! In that house a lot of stuff lived in boxes in the garage!

    The biggest problem with lots of storage is that behind closed doors clutter breeds. So beware!!

  5. Jen in NSW

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Wow, great clean out! I hope you have room in your wheelie bin for all that rubbish. And your local kindie/daycare mum would love your extras.

    Good luck with the next project! Remember that school holidays are also for having a holiday, although a good clean out can be more satisfying anyway.

    Best wishes
    Jen in NSW


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