Children's art supplies can quickly overtake your home, especially if you are a primary teacher or youth leader for young children. You need to stockpile certain craft items, like toilet paper rolls, without sacrificing your living space to them. A small self-storage unit can be just the thing, especially if you are storing things for several classes or clubs. The following tips can help you store the items without any problems.
Tip #1: Opt for plastic
Many children's craft items can attract pests. Certain glues and paste products provide a food source for insects or rodents, while roaches or mice may be drawn to cardboard or paper for nesting. Opt for plastic storage bins for all the craft products so that you can ensure pests aren't attracted to your storage unit. Clear bins are especially useful, since you can see the contents. If you need to save cash, consider repurposing bins or storage containers. For example, you can often get 5-gallon buckets with lids from bakeries, or you can reuse bulk kitty litter or laundry detergent containers.
Tip #2: Create a system
There are only so many used paper towel rolls, for example, that a single class can use. To ensure you aren't overrun with items, create a storage system. The simplest way to do this is to stack the bins in your storage unit so they all face the same direction. Place them in aisles so the bins don't get buried behind each other and they are all clearly visible. Label each bin with the contents inside, and try to limit the contents to a single type of item or theme of items. This way you can tell at a glance if you already have enough empty yogurt containers for your next project.
Tip #3: Store only clean items
Although plastic containers will keep pests away, you still don't want to store food or food residue. Make sure all repurposed supplies, like butter tubs, are washed and dried before you store them. It's no fun to open your storage tub to the smell of rancid butter or spoiled milk. Plus, moisture can lead to mildew or fungal growth, which can ruin all the supplies stored in the tub.
Tip #4: Rotate your stock
Art and craft supplies don't last forever. Glue sticks dry up, water colors crack, and paper discolors. Keep your old supplies in separate containers from the new and make a rule of using the supplies in a rotating "first in, first out" pattern. If you notice supplies are losing quality or usability, toss them instead of placing them back into storage. Otherwise, they will just be taking up space since you will likely push them aside to grab the newer supplies next time.