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9 Ways Artists Can Stay Organized


The Organized Artist

Artist and organized are not usually words that appear together. Typically, when you think of “artist” you think of a chaotic studio filled with spilled paint, abandoned canvases and general disarray. After all, the creative process needs spontaneity.

In today’s world, the business of art requires a much more organized approach. There is a need to track your work, deadlines, expenses and revenue, studio, supplies, social media and web sites, and info related to buyers…..the list goes on.

Here are a few helpful tips on how to stay organized with a minimal effort that give you more time alone with your creative self. You can also read my post about useful apps to help you organize your artistic life.


colored pencils, sharpeners, paint and sketchbooks


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9 Ways Artists Can Stay Organized


1.  Write It Down


Don’t keep everything in your head. You need that space for inspiration. Keep a written record of things such as passwords, contact info, details of each piece, bookkeeping information, as well as your goals and to do list.

A file on your computer is a great place to keep track of everything. A spreadsheet is ideal for recording info about each piece you do. Keep a written notebook with you to jot down ideas, dates and appointments and use the notes section of your phone.

It’s also a good idea to jot down paint mixes you use in your painting. It’s hard to remember exactly what ratios you used to mix a particular color of paint. I keep a separate notebook for paint mixes that has thicker paper so I can add a small swatch of paint next to the mix.


2. Stick With a Routine


Set aside a block of time each week to work on the business side of art. Have a morning allocated to answer emails, do paperwork, make phone calls, prepare pieces for shipping, and all the boring non art stuff. That leaves the rest of the week free for masterpiece creation. 🙂

It helps to have a dedicated area of your studio or you home for the business stuff. A place for your computer and a basket for files, notebooks etc. is all you really need to keep this organized. 



3. Keep Bookkeeping Records



white laptop and coffee cup organized artist


It is important to keep a record of revenues and expenses. The tax man has no sense of humor when it comes to missing receipts. Keep an envelope in your desk or taped to a wall where you can deposit your receipts.

Once a week, empty the envelope and record the expense or revenue in a spreadsheet. An excel spreadsheet works fine for this. Then file the receipt so you will know where it is. Print off any emailed receipts or invoices and record and file those.



4. Inventory Your Art


Keep an inventory of your art complete with pictures, dates, which galleries it was shown in and the dates, sales, number of prints, medium and any other pertinent information. You can compile this on your computer and then save it to a jump drive so you always have a portable copy.


paint brushes with text overlay 9 simple tips to help artists stay organized


5. Reminders


Hang a whiteboard or chalkboard on the wall to write important reminders on. Things such as appointments or deadlines can easily be forgotten if you are involved in your work. Chalkboard paint on any surface or a small peel and stick chalk board like this one are also great.




6. A Place for Everything


Have a home for everything in your studio. Use bins, baskets, crates, shelving to store your art supplies and finished work. These don’t have to be expensive. Discount stores or yard sales are a good place to find inexpensive storage that can be both functional and pretty.

Recycling empty containers from your home can also work well. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to be an organized artist.


artist brushes, pencils, scissors and rulers in metal jars organized artist


7. Get Rid of Stuff


While organizing your supplies into containers, get rid of never used or duplicate items. It’s easier to stay organized if you don’t hoard supplies. Donate unwanted items to charities or have a yard sale.

You may have a ton of used canvases or paintings lying around. For those you want to keep I have a post on how to properly store your artwork with some great ideas on how to protect and store your finished paintings.

For the canvases that you don’t want to hold onto or didn’t quiet work out the way you wanted, I have another post on what to do with used canvases


8. Keep a List


Make a list of supplies you are running low on or tools you would like to purchase. When a tube of paint is almost empty or you are running low on canvas, add it to the list.

This will save you multiple trips to the art supply store because you forgot something. ( Unless you are like me and could happily go there every day. 🙂 ).

Also, you don’t want to be in the middle of a piece and run out of paint. Plan ahead. Having a list also makes it easier to take advantage of art store sales. 



9. Clean Up


Clean up after each session. Wash your brushes and other equipment, put everything back in its bin or container, and store your finished work properly or lay it out to dry in a safe place.

When you are ready to start another project you will know where everything is. Keeping your equipment clean, especially your brushes, will make them last longer and save you money.



I hope these tips help to get you a little more organized and free up more time to make amazing art. If you have some great tips you use in your art business, let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.


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2 thoughts on “9 Ways Artists Can Stay Organized”

  1. Thank you, This is just what i needed to see & action. I always seemed to be sorting, tidying up-nearly, hunting for scribbled ‘how I did it’ on scraps of paper with the intent of doing it later. Then the mind takes awander…..

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