Get a Jumpstart on Bead Studio Spring Cleaning

Mar 30, 2011

There are robins in the yard, so I guess that means it's just about spring in Minnesota (even though Mother Nature seems to have forgotten?). I'm always glad when spring comes, though, because it goads me into cleaning my bead room/office. After the flurry of designing, teaching, and kitting I had this winter, my room really needed a cleaning! It truly became unusable a couple weeks ago. In fact, I realized the other day that I was beading in my bed because I couldn't stand to open my office door. That's when I thought that whether it feels like springtime or not, it was definitely time to buckle down and clean up my mess.


Cleaning a bead room isn't always the easiest thing. All those little bags, tubes, and boxes of beads seem to multiply and scatter, and it can feel really overwhelming. I think the key is to tackle only a few areas that need to be cleaned, one at a time. This way you gain some gratification, but it's not an all-day task. That's exactly what happened in my studio last week. Here are the three things I did, complete with before/after photos (which I can't quite believe I'm sharing. . . now you all know what a piggy I can become!):

My first order of business was to tackle the table where I do a lot of my beadwork. It was inundated with kitting materials in big and small cardboard boxes, empty crystal boxes, old papers, half-filled bead tubes, plastic baggies, and little bits of thread, chain, and wire. Not really conducive to working, right?

Spacer 10x10 pixels  

To get organized, I first cleared the table, moving all the boxes into a storage unit in a large closet in my studio, but not before using a permanent marker to mark the boxes with their contents. I tossed out all the worn plastic baggies and other bits of garbage, and was ruthless about throwing out boxes, tubes, and papers I didn't need. Now I have no excuse not to work here.

This might be the most embarrassing photo of the lot. People wonder how I get so much done, and after looking at this photo, I wonder, too! I had so much stuff on my desk that it was difficult to put my fingers on anything.

To clean it up, I only allowed what I need to use every day on it: my laptop, monitor, printer, lamp, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, and a copy of Beadwork. All the other important papers went into the fabric file boxes under my desk (that's what they're there for!) or into drawers. Actually, most of it went into the proverbial circular file. There was so much stuff on my desk I really didn't need.

My next stop was my inspiration board. I use this to tack up images that inspire me, but by the end of this winter it had become completely out of control. When it gets this full, it's not an inspiration anymore, it's just an eyesore. In a time when I'm trying to simplify and hone, this kind of mess is just a reminder that I'm a hoarder at heart.

So I pulled everything off the board except these three things: a photo of me jumping off a cliff into Lake Superior (my inspiration for taking risks); the photo I took of an unusually tame fox (my inspiration for ingenuity); and the three free projects I downloaded from the latest issue of Beadwork magazine that I'm eager to make.

(Did you know you get several free downloadable projects when you subscribe to Beadwork? Not only are you paying less as a subscriber, but you also get these great downloads every issue. I like these downloadables because I can print out only the projects I'm interested in, and when I'm out and about I don't have to bring my entire magazine with me to do the project. My issue stays more pristine that way, too.) 

By just cleaning these three areas of my studio, I feel like I can tackle a whole season of creativity. Now on to clean the workbench, which is a whole other story. . .

Happy beading-

Related Posts
+ Add a comment


TashaMc wrote
on Mar 30, 2011 4:04 AM

Hi Jean,

I know I should be able to get subscriber projects for Beadwork - the only problem is, the mag's website is really user-unfriendly and I simply cannot find a link to the subscriber projects ANYWHERE. Can you tell me where I should be looking?

Please and thank you


on Mar 30, 2011 9:04 AM

Thanks for sharing photos of your studio clean-up.  Now, I know it can be done and have no excuse not to tackle mine!

on Mar 31, 2011 8:45 AM

Hi Tasha,  

It took me a while to find it,  

Go to

You will be able to download from there.


on Mar 31, 2011 5:44 PM


Share a website with you ,

( )

Believe you will love it.

We accept any form of payment

on Mar 31, 2011 5:46 PM


Share a website with you ,

( )

Believe you will love it.

We accept any form of payment

CryssT wrote
on Mar 31, 2011 9:30 PM

this was a great editorial to post and cleaning my bead space is tomorrow's project - and it's not an April Fool.  i'll have to take a before picture to give me incentive. thanks.

penny55 wrote
on Apr 4, 2011 8:58 PM

Thanks for the inspiration, it is so hard to make anything, with your workspace a mess.


BarbMarch58 wrote
on Apr 6, 2011 8:42 AM

Dear Jean,

Yeh...I saw that first Robin last week, too. The beginning of Spring. The beginning of Spring Cleaning. Now, I've not been a faithful "spring cleaner" - darned I wished I had been born with that OCD gene - but just for cleaning.  So as I begin Spring Cleaning 2002, I will be rooting all of you on to victory.  My goal (and this is just for the studio) is to get the fibers that have become emeshed with my polymer clay dug out and disposed of!  If that happens, I move on the the kitchen, where I'm still trying to find a spectacular salad serving bowl, given at my wedding 21 years ago - and he's been gone 11...

Love your Enthusiasm,

Barb (always striving to reach the level of mediocre!!)

on Apr 25, 2011 5:56 AM

I love this post because it is so easy to have your work space get so bad you can’t find anything! the photos are great I started my spring cleaning last November and all the hard work paid off I can get so involved in pieces that I start piling the bead boards on top of each other I have been working hard to put projects away before starting a new one the other very cool thing I did when my table was finally cleared off was take an old blanket  I am not sure what they call them but them but it’s the kind you sometimes see in luxury hotels  light wait and  kind of a short haired fuzz you can cut the cloth and it dose not unravel well I covered the table with it taping the underside now when beads spill they don’t go anywhere kind of a need trick