My Kids' Craft Supplies Are Driving Me Bonkers

by Katie Cloyd

Lego. Wooden blocks. Magnatiles. Action figures. Doll accessories. Trading cards. Craft supplies. Every night when I help my kids clean their daily messes, I can count on the fact that these toys and their tiny pieces will be sprinkled everywhere, waiting for their rightful owner to come back and claim them.

I don’t know why my kids literally refuse to play with things in a semi-organized fashion, but that’s just how it is. I don’t mind helping my kiddos pick up toys and games after a long day of fun, but there is one “kid thing” in my house that consistently drives me at least a little bonkers.

The dang craft supplies.

I love that my kids love creating art. Really I do. I much prefer my children parked at my kitchen table with crayons and paper than on the couch with an iPad.

But in my decade as a mom, I’ve never really figured out a great way to keep the crafty clutter at bay. We have a modest home without extra rooms or closets, so tucking it all away in a Pinterest-worthy collection of matching baskets isn’t an option for me. There is no craft room. There is no playroom.

And since I’m not totally bananas, I am not going to stash art supplies in my boys’ shared bedroom. My two-year-old and five-year-old would tag-team “redecorate” on the reg, and I just don’t have the bandwidth (or enough Magic Erasers) to deal with that.

That leaves me with piles of construction paper, crayons, markers, pencils, glitter, scissors, glue, coloring books, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, pompons, and all other manner of bits and pieces that all need a home.

I tried keeping it a plastic tote box. Disaster. My kids just threw it all in there like a dumpster, and I ended up having to dig through it for them and reorganize it every five seconds. No thanks.

Once, I thought I’d just start slowly culling the craft supplies herd little by little. I figured I could throw things away until it was at a manageable level. That backfired. As it turns out, my oldest can’t remember where he put his shoes or to brush his teeth without a reminder, but he absolutely remembers that before his evil mother decided to break his heart, he had half of a pink crayon that was the only color he could use to draw an accurate Jigglypuff.

Plus, we all know that craft supplies multiply like rabbits. I swear, they’re in the cabinet making little colored pencil babies. Where does it all keep coming from!?

Right now, I’ve defaulted to keeping all the craft supplies in a rolling cart in the laundry room, and that’s working out okay. I mean, do I have to put away 4,000 Crayola markers once in a while before I can wash towels? Sure. But at least when I have company, I have somewhere to just shove it all (and forget it exists.)

Older moms tell me that someday I’m going to miss this, so I’m trying to embrace the clutter of craft supplies. I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that while my kids are little, there are going to be popsicle birdhouses drying on my hutch, half-finished paintings on my table waiting for their owners to come home from school to complete them, specks of glitter showing up literally everywhere, and the occasional pile of coloring books and crayons piled on the coffee table. I try to remind myself that this particular “mess” is actually a sign that my babies are happy, loved and enjoying their life in our little home.