Buying natural art supplies is perfect for downsizing if you want a minimalist lifestyle. The best part? It is more beautiful, smells better, and is more environmentally friendly.
Downsizing our art and craft supplies for the Tiny House move was a little bit overwhelming. Since we homeschool, we have had boxes and bags and jars of glitter and sequins and fabric scraps and so many broken crayons. At one point, we had an entire walk-in closet full of art supplies. I wish I had a photo. It was probably 1/3 of the square footage of the entire tiny house and it was just piles of stuff.
To be honest, once I got over the fear of downsizing, and stopped thinking things like, “but I might need that jelly jar full of felt scraps or that box of half finished origami. If we throw it away, it’s just a waste.” It was really, really freeing. Who really needs 10,000 broken crayons?
Here is a step-by-step guide to replacing all of that junk with a very small amount of natural, minimal supplies.
1. Anything that is immediately usable, let the kids go wild. It’s summer, so it’s the perfect time to drag out an old sheet and let the kids sit in the yard and throw paint and glitter all over the place. They’ll have a blast, and you’ll be able to wipe out a good portion of your old supplies. Take photos!
2. Is there anything that is unused and probably won’t ever be? Sell it, or even give it away in a Facebook b/s/t group or give it to charity. There are tons of groups out there for moms, homeschoolers, Waldorf, Montessori, or Reggio supply groups, college students, or whatever genre you identify with.
3. Throw out everything that is broken, dried out, mostly used, old, or uninspiring. It doesn’t matter that you think you might use it one day next year. If you’re absolutely sure you will use it at Christmas, then put it in the Christmas box. Otherwise, you’ll appreciate throwing it all out and starting with a clean slate. There is a reason that teachers clean out their room and get new supplies every year.
4. Buy new supplies.
For us, this list is all natural supplies. Instead of petroleum crayons, we bought crayons made from beeswax. Instead of multiple discs of watercolor paints, three primary colors of liquid paint that can be mixed. Instead of plastic or pressboard, solid wood. 100% wool felt instead of acrylic felt. They’re a little bit more expensive compared to the other supplies, but they’re worth every penny because they last longer, and because I know I’ll buy less, I keep them organized and stored properly. Here are our favorites:
- Stockmar stick crayons and Stockmar block crayons – These are made from beeswax instead of petroleum and they’re gorgeous. The blocks are my favorite, and I ordered the kids the set of 8 colors, and myself the set of 16 colors of the sticks and blocks because I like having browns. Unlike Crayola crayons, these can be layered, which is really cool! They also smell like beeswax, which is probably the best part.
- Stockmar water color paints and Camden Rose watercolor jar holder. The paints seem super expensive, but they’re not really. You’re buying the concentrated pigments and diluting it with water. They last for a really long time and since they’re liquid, they don’t get cracked and dried out like other paints.
- Plain computer paper and watercolor paper. We threw out all of our coloring books and decided to stick with plain paper. Best. Decision. Ever.
- These colored pencils in colors and in skin tones. I have been looking for skin tones for so long! I am so glad these exist.
- 100% wool felt from Weir
- 100% cotton embroidery thread
- Wooden Peg Dolls
- And of course, leaves, flowers, sticks, pine cones and other things we find outside!
5. Find somewhere to store your supplies that is neat and organized. For now, I have everything in a cabinet in my bedroom. I keep the crayons in the tins they came in, and the pencils in the box they came in. I know that won’t last, so I am looking at the storage ideas for something solid wood with mason jars… maybe? I haven’t decided yet.6. Relax. Now that you’ve downsized, there will never again be thousands of little scraps of Crayola crayon paper all over the living room. As an added bonus, if you keep everything in their tins and put them away, you’ll know if there’s a random crayon being hidden in the crib for nap time wall art. When we had endless bits of crayons, it seemed like there were always renegades that would only reappear, months later, as as scribbles on my couch.
I love downsizing. It is a little hard to get over the instinct to keep every single thing you’ve ever thought you might need, but once you can make the jump, it becomes easier and easier every time. The best part is that every time I exchange quantity for quality, I wonder why commercialism ever convinced me to buy anything cheap. Even if we move back into a big house after all of this, minimalism will stick for our family.