1 Provide protective coverings. To keep children clean, offer waterproof smocks near the water tub. Hang old, adult-size, short-sleeved shirts by the painting easel. Newspapers or plastic shower curtains make good table and floor coverings.

2 Reduce floor clatter. Do messy activities in washable areas. Or be creative: Place your sand and water tables inside an unused plastic wading pool to catch the spills. Provide child-size brooms and mops for children to clean un their own messes.

3 Keep storage simple. Use see-through containers on low shelves to help children locate and put away individual collections of messy art supplies (pebbles, tiny fabric scraps, colored chalk, and so on). Store gritty sand toys and wet water toys in separate boxes to avoid a caked-on mess.

4 Organize materials attractively. Arrange collage materials (such as yarn snips and small colored plastic tiles) attractively on the art table in shallow, flat, individual containers or divided foil TV dinner trays.

5 Provide drying space. Store painted wooden constructions or clay sculptures that need to be air-dried on sturdy, low shelves. Hanging a clothesline provides a handy place to clip on drippy paintings. Put gluey collages in empty pizza boxes.

6 Keep scrap bias handy. Recycle dried clay bits in a clean plastic garbage pail with a little water Have a basket to hold scissor snippings. Build wooden boxes to hold wood pieces or sawdust from the workbench.

7 Make washup quick and easy. Design low sinks or provide a sturdy step stool to encourage children to wash messy hands. Add a bucket of soapy water to soak clay tools. Offer sponges so children can scrub table tops independently. Outside, set up a hose to wash off muddy feet and hands.

8 Simplify cubby mess. Help children develop a sense of order in their only bit of private space. Roll up dried art papers and then place them on the top shelf. Hang coats on one hook and a plastic bag for spare or wet clothes on the other

9 Add special storage aids. Use hanging racks or bags for shoes. Use pegboard hooks for purses and hats in the dramatic-play area. Put block outlines on open shelves to help guide children as they stack blocks. Provide racks to replace a finished puzzle before starting the next one.

10 Enlist children's help! Brainstorm ways to keep centers and materials organized. Try out children's ideas. And of course, compliment children on a job well done!