5 Tips for Moving with Art Supplies

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

Moving is never fun. And no matter what anyone says, I’m not going to believe otherwise. But just because it isn’t fun doesn’t mean you can’t get it done in an organized fashion. And there’s no better place to employ an orderly move than your art studio, at least in my opinion. Our supplies are precious, our work priceless. To help get your move done efficiently and safely, I’m giving you 5 Tips for Moving with Art Supplies (and artwork).

Take Inventory

When we’re packing, we tend to pull everything out and tuck things into boxes based on categories. And because everything tends to be right in front of us, packing is the perfect moment to take inventory of all of the supplies you have. You might even find things you had forgotten about entirely! Take the time to note down exactly how much you have of something and keep it on a list somewhere (phones are great for this while moving). This will help you in so many ways. First, it will prevent you from over-buying items when you’re settled in again. If you find 10 half-filled sketchbooks, you know you don’t need to get another one when you arrive at your new home or studio. Second, you’ll be able to better plan your storage needs in your new place. Instead of guessing what you need, you'll have a list you can use to plan furniture for your new workspace. Third, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you get to where you’re going. It hasn’t happened to me, but I’d be pretty upset if I realized a box was missing weeks after the move was done. Save yourself the future headache and jot down what you have now.

Donate Unused Supplies

As you go through and take inventory of all the awesome things you have, you might find some not-so-loved items. This is the best time to donate these materials to someone or someplace that would love to have them. Teachers, after-school programs, retirement homes, neighbors, friends - the list goes on - would all love to get a chance to try something new. If you forgot about them already, I guarantee you won’t miss them. Go ahead and give those things a new home where they’ll be fully appreciated. (Disclaimer: obviously covid-times make this harder, but there are still places that accept donations. Be sure to call ahead and ask about their current rules. And, most importantly, make sure you sanitize them before donating.)

Pack Supplies the Right Way

As a Type A person, I would have a panic attack if I saw someone haphazardly throwing their supplies into random boxes. I crave order and organization, and moving is the perfect time to utilize those skills! Take your time and properly pack your supplies. For starters, don’t store paints, colored pencils, crayons, or any other sensitive materials in places where they’ll be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Instead, pack like-items together and make sure they get to ride in the car with you. This will protect them from any potential damage. Additionally, make sure paint brushes are wrapped together safely to ensure the bristles don’t get damaged during your move. A spare pillowcase or towel should do the trick! Lastly, mark all fragile items as such on their box. I would be devastated if my super nice colored pencils were dropped or smooshed during the move. Broken leads are nothing to sneeze at. And remember, moving is expensive enough! You don’t want to end up replacing expensive materials, too! Taking the extra time to pack with care is time well spent.

Protect Your Work

So your supplies are all bundled and secure, but you still have plenty of finished pieces to transport. Safe and archival methods of transport will differ from piece to piece based on materials, but there are some general pieces of advice to follow. For one, make sure your work is stored flat and in protective gear. If you work with paper, make sure they go in an archival box to protect them from getting scraped, torn, or smudged. The box will keep them out of the sun and the archival quality of the box will ensure their longevity for years to come. If you use canvas, you can buy archival boxes to store them in during the move, as well. My favorite way to transport canvases is by placing them in a box like a filing cabinet with a protective board between them. This prevents them from leaning against one another and potentially denting your work. And, finally, please make sure they’re not going to be exposed to moisture for a long time. We all know that moisture and artwork do not belong together. It might be a good idea to keep these in the car, as well, if you think they’d be exposed to humidity for too long.

Plan Your New space

If already you know what your next studio looks like, you can start planning out your furniture, storage, and work areas before you even get there. This could be done with paper and pencil or an online planning tool. Either way, you want to make sure what you have is going to fit in the new space. If you're lucky, you might be upgrading from a corner to a spare room! In that case, you could use your chosen method to plan out new furniture pieces and storage solutions. For instance, if you’ve been waiting for more space to buy a new easel, this is the best time to plan for that. Or maybe you can finally have a desk to work at after years of sitting at the counter (hm, sounds familiar). If that’s the case, get out the ruler and measure what size desk you can get in there. And don’t forget to assess the vertical space! This is especially true for those of us living in smaller quarters. Vertical space = valuable storage space. So use it wisely.


And there you have it, my 5 Tips for Moving with Art Supplies (and artwork). We’re currently in the middle of a move, so you can bet I’ve been using every one of these tips. Hopefully they’ll help you at some point, too! Especially when you finally move to that dream studio.

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Thanks for reading and happy creating!