Moving My Art Studio: What I wish I had done a year ago...

organizing studio

Moving my Art Studio: What I wish I had done a year ago


For many years now, I knew I needed to start sorting through all my art supplies. My time ran out suddenly when someone approached us and offered to buy our wonderful 4,400 square foot home that was built in 1880. After living there for the past 24 years, my art studio was full of products from many conventions, chapter meetings, and well- intentioned friends who shared their supplies with me.


When we started looking for our “retirement” home, it became very clear, that I had a problem. Way too many art supplies, and how could I possibly move all of that stuff without my husband finding out just how much stuff I really had!


The house we bought had a bonus room above the garage that was perfect for my art studio. This room was not nearly as big as the space I had. So, I began to sort, donate, and sell. I made phone calls to my artist friends and got advice.


Soon it was time to start packing and moving the boxes. I quickly figured out that about 50 bottles of paint is all I could carry without my husband wanting to know what I had in that box. Up the basement steps at the old house, into the Honda, and then up the steps into the new house…I made many trips. Thinking I was being clever and that he had no clue what was in all those boxes. But as the room filled with containers, it became evident what I was toting up those stairs.



My husband decided I was going to need a place to store items as well as a place to paint. He surprised me for Mother’s Day with a new storage space and countertop to paint and sew on. It is wonderful.


To date, we have been in the new home for 15 weeks. I am still not organized, but I am getting there. If I had to do it all over, here is what I would do to save time and headaches during the move:


1. Start sorting long before the move. Even if there is a chance you will not move for a year, it’s best to take a look at what you have.

2. I found I had duplicates of pattern books and patterns. I had unfinished painted wood pieces half done, and some never started. All those items sell well on Facebook sites for decorative painters.

3. I had way too many canvases. This was a great reason to hold a few classes to use up the surfaces quickly. I donated painting supplies to the local Arts Council. I also gave supplies away to painting friends who were on a budget. We had 4 garage sales. Since I wasn’t prepared for the sale of our house, I had to scramble to get all this done in the middle of an already stressful move.


The hardest items to sort through were my finished painted pieces. Some were given to family, friends, and neighbors. I kept my favorites. I also kept my favorites that my friends had painted. I hope to showcase those on my new art studio wall.


While I had plastic organized storage units, I found that even those drawers were not all that organized, making it difficult to place the items in the new studio. I ended up re-arranging the storage units a few times and finally had to just empty each one and sort.




As I look around the room now, I realize that many of the supplies that I had stored, I would have never finish or us. By reducing those items, I have room to try new products. That has helped me to let go of what I “might finish someday,” and get inspired once again to paint with fresh ideas and new surfaces.


Ruth Green has been a DecoArt Helping Artist since 1998.  She has traveled to and worked at many decorative painting conventions throughout the United States as well as the CHA Conventions (now Creativation).  When not at conventions, she teaches classes locally and works a full-time job.  Ruth is married and has two grown children, Erin and Ryan. Contact Ruth at or find her on Facebook!

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  • Sue Harruff on

    Looks great, Ruth, and loved your article!
    Sure do miss you guys, and will have to get over to see your new home soon!
    PS Sure glad I got my “new lamp” when I did – remember?

  • Theresa Wellness Business Inman on

    Great tips. Stay organized.

  • Karen on

    Boy can I relate! All my painting supplies had been packed up in my mother’s basement and garage for 8 years while I took care of her, then sold her house and moved. I have 450 bottles of acrylic paint, many of which are no longer any good. After a year, I’m still going thru them and trying to set up a studio. (I might add I had an elderly woman living with me that I took care of for most of that year.) I’ll get there one day! I have many of the same issues, with UFO’s and endless patterns and books. But I’m not ready to part with them yet!

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