Classroom Management

How to Create a Clay System That Works for You

sorting glaze

Clay. It’s one of the most intimidating mediums art teachers use. Maybe it’s the sheer amount of stuff to store: clay, slip, tools, place mats, glazes… the list goes on. However, with a solid plan, organizing clay supplies doesn’t have to be a chore. Knowing where everything is and having supplies readily available when you need them will save you time in the long run. Here is how I helped my colleague, Chelsea, get her clay supplies under control.

The Problem

Chelsea wanted some assistance with her clay storage conundrum. She shares her kiln and clay storage area with a larger closet. We worked together to tackle the clay portion of this closet so it didn’t overflow into the rest. We also gave her clay carts a much needed makeover!

cabinet before


The Plan

When Chelsea inherited her room, she never had time to create a system for her clay materials. She had been on maternity leave, then packed her room for renovations. Chelsea’s main goal was to create an efficient and accessible storage system that included room to grow.

The Process

The majority of Chelsea’s clay supplies were already stored in one spot. Most of our work was a matter of reorganizing. Our first step was to empty out the tall metal cabinet and gather any extraneous materials.

gathering materials

We tossed and recycled materials as we sorted like items into groups. We paid special attention to old glaze, clay, and other materials, especially those that were better to toss than keep.

sorting glaze

After sorting the items, we organized them into properly sized containers.

sorting materials

The Payoff

As we put items back, we revisited our strategy to create ease and efficiency, as well as store items in a logical way. The most frequently-used materials were stored at eye-level, and the glazes were arranged by color and age. Now there was adequate space to store the essential clay materials, with room to grow.

cabinet after

One cart was more efficiently used to store the slab roller and kiln shelves. Another cart used recycled containers for clay distribution and tool storage.

clay carts


Now, Chelsea’s clay carts and cabinet are much more user-friendly. Each has an organizational system that can be easily maintained. If you’re in need of the inspiration to get your own clay storage space under control, check out the handy download below!

clay organization download

Download Now


Need some inspiration for your painting supplies? Check out my article about that here.


What is keeping you from tackling your own clay storage system?

What is your best tip for storing glazes? 

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.


Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek, an elementary school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She is passionate about teaching and reaching students through an innovative and meaningful arts education.

More from Alecia