By Laura Storage and Organization Contributor

I love art history. I love crafts and painting. I never turn down a chance to paint whether it is creatively or just for household purposes. Well, this past weekend my husband and I spent the majority of our time at a friend’s house helping her paint. We like to paint. We’ve helped our families paint rooms many times before and painted an accent wall in our house with relative success. We naively thought that a bunch of us would stroll in and knock out an entire two rooms in a matter of hours! HA, we were wrong. By the end of the first day, we had succeeded in painting the kitchen and succeeded in making a giant mess. For day two, we realized there we needed a little method to our madness or else we were going to end up with nothing but a giant mess. Overnight, we came up with a plan for better storage, organization, and painting practices to use in round two of the project.   First of all, we learned to have every piece of painting equipment kept in one area when it was not in use. My friend used one of our painting trays and turned it into sort of a painting bullpen. For different projects, we’d call in different tools to work. So, when we were using a brush for trim, we kept the rollers, sponges, stirring sticks, and any other utensils in this paint tray until it was needed. By storing everything in one place in the room we saved a ton of time in searching for stuff. Also, we kept the paint cans there as well. Having this little station made it quick and easy to get a paint refill and to switch tools.   Next, we figured out that we needed to do something about our feet. It didn’t take long to see that paint splatters, drips, and spills were going to happen frequently which lead to foot prints throughout the area. Thankfully we were well prepared with bunches of tarps, but we still needed to be careful. We started storing our flip-flops on either exit from the room and just walked barefoot in the painting area. Being barefoot is NOT ideal to me, but it was much safer for the floors throughout the house if I conceded to being barefoot in the danger zones and only wore shoes elsewhere. Just by going barefoot and putting on shoes when needing to travel to another room we were able to save a lot of time and a lot of accidents.   During cleanup time was when we hit our stride with organization. Our lovely “painting party” hostess was prepared with labeled bins to store our supplies in when we were done. REMEMBER though, before you jump into storing your painting supplies to clean them completely. (We had one member of our party on brush/roller cleaning duty and that person used water to rinse out the majority of the paint and then used paint thinner to get out the rest of the paint. It is imperative to completely clean out all of the paint from your tools or else they will be useless for future painting projects.) Brushes, sponge sticks, and roller pads all went into separate air tight bags and those bags were then put into a larger bin that held the painter’s tape, extra tarps, and trays. When she is ready to paint next, she will just have to buy new paint because everything is ready to go!   Clearly, even though I love painting, I will never be a professional painter in any fashion. What a constant mess paint is! How in the world did Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, or Michelangelo keep from going crazy with all of that cleaning, organization, drips, spills, and those smells? Eh, on second thought maybe they weren’t 100% sane, but who is? Anyway, we got better at painting and keeping ourselves organized and ended up with a fairly successfully painted set of rooms. Our hostess said she loved it and that is all that matters. Also, I learned a lot about what it takes to keep a big project like painting organized.

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