With the new year came the intense desire to organize. Almost as soon as I returned home from the holidays, I wanted to clean up my workspace—not for luck or obligation, but for the me that will be sitting and working here all through 2024. With that in mind, today I’ll be sharing the layout of my art and stationery supply cart. This contains the tools I use the most while I’m working from home. (Notebooks, paper matter, fancy ink bottles, computer-related items and other art supplies are stored elsewhere.) I don’t usually show pictures of this cart; it remains out of frame in workspace photos, in the shadows under my desk, on the right hand side. It’s not aesthetic, but it gets the job(s) done.
Generally, the tools I use most often occupy space at the front of each shelf for easy access. Less-used tools and containers stay towards the back and bottom of the cart—because I don’t need these as often, it’s okay that I have to pull the cart all the way out from under the table to get to them.
1. Cup of pens, pencils, sharpies. I keep fountain pens in their own zipper pouch, which I’ve written about before here.
2. Favorite glue stick and a roll of artist’s tape.
3. Water cup. Many things on the cart can move around as needed, but this absolutely must be at the front of the top shelf so that I can dip my brush into it quickly and without obstruction while working with ink and watercolor, where time is of the essence. Right now it’s just a former marmalade jar, but someday I’d like to replace it with a larger-capacity, easy-to-clean ceramic well.
4. Leather pen roll containing my better-quality brushes and inking nibs.
5. Box containing more ink supplies.
6. Cases containing pen nibs and travel-size watercolors.
7. Ink-spattered paper towels.
8. Incense holder.
9. Hanging from a hook on the side: a brush for sweeping dust, pencil shavings and eraser debris off of my working surfaces.
10. Washi tape rolls, stored in a tin that used to contain cookies. The overturned lid fits on top of the box, so I can have two levels. The most-used tapes sit on the top tray while the more seasonal, sparingly used rolls are below. I try to forget there’s room for more tape in here…
11. Small utility pouch containing medicine, hand balm and sanitizer. If I’m going out somewhere, it’s easy to grab this whole bag and know I have all the health-related essentials with me.
12. Staplers, stored in a box that used to contain macarons.
13. Box of ink samples. Someday I’d like to replace this with a clear container with holes specifically designed to hold the test tubes—they are maddeningly easy to knock over.
14. Box of wax supplies. I find making wax seals a fiddly process, and because it comes at the end of a wrapping/packaging/decorating session, if I don’t make it as easy for myself as possible I end up skipping it. Keeping everything in a cute box helps.
15. Box of various supplies for writing small notes and cards.
16. Box of supplies specifically for hand-lettering comics.
17. Sticker storage book. Even though it’s on the bottom shelf, I use it almost every time I check my planner, so I store it on its side in a way that makes it very easy to grab.
18. Box (and pouch) of stamps.
19. Hand and finger exercise ball.
20. Extra or oversized supplies that I don’t use quite as often or wouldn’t fit elsewhere on the cart.
21. This is a box that I call “the pencil graveyard”. I don’t know why I keep these. I just kinda like looking at them and hearing them rattle around in the box every now and then.
If anyone out there is thinking about organizing your stationery…station, I hope this gives you some ideas. The storage you see above didn’t become orderly in January or even in the last year—it definitely took time and multiple evolutions to figure out what supplies needed to be nearby most consistently, and how to arrange it in a way that made sense to my brain. But it is awfully satisfying, and has certainly made getting to work easier. With any luck, I’ll run through lots of these supplies, learn even more about how I like to create and have to reconfigure the trusty supply cart again.
Text and photos by: A.C. Esguerra
Where to find A.C. : instagram @blueludebar
Read other stories by A.C. : Here
BK Artifacts Featured:
- TSL Pen Rolls (Photos show a past limited edition. Alternative patterns here).