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Setting up a Small Art Room

December 23, 2023 No Comments

When I started a new position at an older K-5 school, I immediately noticed that my “new” art room was significantly smaller than what I was used to. At the time, I had 18 years of teaching behind me and had accumulated a lot of supplies and teaching resources. In other words, I had a lot “stuff” and struggled with where to store it all. Luckily, I had the summer to sort it all out and adjust to my new space. Most importantly, I needed to make sure that the room was well organized and set-up efficiently so that my students would be able to easily access everything that they needed.

It has now been 5 years since I moved into my current art room. Setting up the space was a work in progress, but it is finally a well-organized, community studio space where a lot of great art and creativity happen!

  1. GO VERTICAL – Hang Whenever Possible

For me, investing in vertical storage was worth it! I use hanging shoe racks that I bought at Walmart to store yarn and craft items such as craft sticks, corks, fabric scraps and pipe cleaners. Hanging file folders are perfect for storing stencils and paper. I use manila file folders attached to metal cabinets with heavy magnetic clips to store artist statements and other resources. One of my favorite finds was a sturdy hanging book holder with lots of pockets that I hung on the outside of my closet door to hold all of our drawing books.

2. USE IT ALL – Utilize Every Possible Storage Space

Closets, shelving, plastic storage units and even the tops of cabinets (pending fire codes) can all be utilized to find extra storage space.

3. CHANGE IT UP – Rethink the Space

After 5 years, I have the most efficient room arrangement yet! At the beginning of the year, I rearranged and regrouped some of the tables. A few small changes made a HUGE difference in the space. It really helps to have someone look at your room with fresh eyes and offer suggestions. One of my colleagues provided valuable input and even helped move tables!

4. ROLL WITH IT – Put it on a Cart

I love carts for organizing materials. Carts can be placed in the parameters of the room and also pulled out to the center for students to easily access supplies. Before buying a cart from an arts and craft store, I check around the school to see if there are any extra utility carts available. Both types of carts are useful and efficient for storing supplies.

5. BE A MINIMALIST – Use it or Lose it!

At the end of each school year, I look through all of my supplies and resources. If I haven’t used something in 2 school years, I either donate or toss it.

Lisa Blanchette

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Welcome to my blog! I’ve been an art teacher for over 20 years and have worked with a variety of age levels. I am passionate about art, teaching and learning. I’m excited to share lessons, resources, tips and tricks that I currently use in my elementary choice-based art room. Read More

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