Classroom Management

How to Pare Down Your Paintbrushes

Because minimalism means ‘paring down to the essentials’ let’s ask ourselves, “What is essential when it comes to the supplies we keep on hand?” One area that can easily get out of control is paint brushes. When you inherit something that looks like this – it can be hard to know where to start.

old paintbrushes

After trying to sort this mess, I finally gave up. The inconsistencies in brush types and sizes made it impossible to give my students the same art experience. The complicated brush caddies on which I wasted my precious budget dollars quickly became a disorganized mess and didn’t stand up to the heavy use of my elementary art room.
After a few years of this madness, I settled on three brush types and ordered 30 of each. I went with brushes with plastic handles (I liked to soak them for a long time) in three sizes: small, medium, and large.
That’s it.
new paintbrushes
This is all I kept out on the counter. These are all the brushes my classroom owned.
The leftovers were used for junk sculptures and sketchbook binding. The three brush types left were different colors for easy sorting. If another class needed them, they were simply washed quickly and used again.
These were the bare essentials. And I was never happier with my paintbrush situation.

Tell us, how do you sort paintbrushes in your room?

In what areas of your room do you take a minimalist approach?




Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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