Organizing the kids' creative space - Reclaiming Our Spaces series

I can tell you exactly what happens here.  This is the former dining area of our eat-in kitchen.  It became a great spot for my kids to do activities, eat breakfast, whatever and still be close to me.  Next to this kid table is another table that houses the microwave and gives me more counter space.  Except my oldest kid has a bad habit of leaving her stuff on that table when she walks in from the garage. Then while I'm preparing a meal I toss it onto her table.  Then when she wants to use the table she'll toss it onto the window bench.  Observing what is causing the pile-up is the first step.  She and I will soon have a discussion about what I've observed and problem solve the initial issue of her leaving stuff on the prep table.

I began in this area by de-cluttering and organized this area under the window bench.  This area changes as my kids change but there is one thing that has stood the test of time:
These Clever Container "Double Duty" cubes are the rockstars in this house.  I have at least 12 of them working for me.  These four are a perfect fit under my window bench and are incredibly sturdy.
 Cube 1 has supplies like stickers and stamps which are in ziploc bags.  It also stores items like googly eyes, kits, etc.
Cube 2 is loaded with mostly paper: construction paper, sticker paper, drawing paper.  And here's an idea to corral thin paper:
Take a file envelope, and use a few stripes of cute washi tape.  Then layer your label on top of the washi tape!  So cute!
Cube 3 is vital and it's something a lot of people forget to plan for.  Where can your little creators leave their creations when they are finished or only half done?  This bin is exactly for that need!
Cube 4 is loaded with coloring books and notebooks mostly.  The notebooks are contained inside the green and white polka-dot Great Divide from Clever Container.  I also use these little containers in a lot of places.  The blue containers hold crayons and twistable crayons.  It's handy using containers inside of containers.

Here is what you see from the other side:
I have some hooks to help keep a few things off the floor but still keep them out of most people's site.  And while we're here let me just talk about this dresser.  It's pretty much the smartest, think outside the box, purchase I've ever made.  I bought it after we had purchased this house in 2002.  I found it and the matching painted bread box (also on my list!) at a local Flea Market.  I literally gasped out loud when I saw it.  I got louder as I measured it.  And I sighed because I wouldn't even have to paint it (not my favorite thing).  I changed the knobs to Mary Engelbreit cheer and that's it.

I am a huge fan of drawer storage.  And I mean HUGE.  In the top all our kitchen linens are stored.  One row of absorbent, one row of non-absorbent, some dish cloths, a few things I don't want my littlest to find (shhh!).  The second drawer is where my food storage containers go.  It's my boundary and if I buy any more I have to get rid of some.  The third is the snack drawer and this is pretty much a kid drawer:
This stuff use to all be tossed together.  But four months ago I grabbed three old kid-sized shoe boxes and sorted through the goods.  I kid you not, I didn't do a single bit of tidying to this drawer today.  It stays this way all the time.  And my kids are in this drawer every day. They ask if they can have a piece of candy and when I say yes they choose one then ask if that particular one is okay.  They love this system.

Let's go back to the corner:
I've had this little tote for three years. I got it as a shower gift and knew it would be handy for many things.  Lately it is storing all things Color Wonder.  We can easily take this off the wall to go with us anywhere.  The bottom basket is in easy reach of my three year old so it stores freshly sharpened colored pencils and some coloring rolls.  As she gets more trustworthy I can put another cup in the basket for the markers.  But for now, they are stowed on top of the nearby microwave:
I'm also using a few of Clever Container's document boxes. The top is my oldest's she likes to keep some of her activity papers (to do) in here.
This next photo is in the kids' area but it's not for them.  I added a chair here because my husband likes to put his shoes on here before work.  He works hard, he can have a chair anywhere he wants!  I can't let the space underneath it go to waste so I added another Clever Container cube and designated it the returns or "stuff that goes to someone else" cube.  Every house needs a container, a hook, some where to temporarily house this type of thing.  You need it out in the open so you don't forget, but it can't just all be in a pile.  This has been working for me for at least six months.
So there you have it.  One day I would love to revamp this whole kitchen area to make more counter space, my actual kitchen is very small, I dream of awesome kitchen islands often.  But for now this layout really works for us.

Can you use any of these ideas in your house?

I'm looking forward to seeing what Jacqueline worked on in her own home.

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